Review by Frank Plowright
Remember the sliding doors into different places seen in Monsters Inc.? That’s the quickest description of Eliot Rahal and Daniel Kibblesmith’s concept, except their doors lead to other planets, and there’s one on every populated planet. No-one knows who built them, but each has an operator, strangely not called a Doorman despite the title, but a Porter, an arcane position whose secrets are only ever shared with an apprentice. After 45 years of service Earth’s Porter, Henry Clay Waters is retiring. He’s used to a quiet life, but his last day is anything but, when he’s thrown into a hostile takeover attempt.
Rahal and Kibblesmith attempt to disguise it with swearing and explicit violence, but they supply a jaunty space comedy of the type that used to appear in 2000AD back when it was still aimed at a young audience. It’s easy enough to pick holes in the foundations and there’s a fair chance you’ll anticipate some plot developments before they occur, yet The Doorman remains an entertaining romp. A lot of that is down to Kendall Goode really putting a lot of effort into the cartooning. To begin with he closes the viewpoint in too tightly on what’s happening when greater distance is needed, but he enjoys the world building aspects of the story, and provides plenty of panoramas you can lose yourself in (see sample art).
While The Doorman works okay for what it is, the comedy approach perhaps needed greater consideration. There aren’t any really amazing jokes resulting from it, and the plot is strong enough to have been treated seriously. The exaggerated villain pulls things too far over the top, being of a type we’ve all seen often before, whereas a nicely modulated Alan Rickman-style performance in a plot with greater tension may have been the better route.