Milk Wars Part ONE Review
Doom Patrol, as a series, has been drenched in weird since its relaunch with the Young Animal imprint a couple years ago and with this new story arc it brings the rest of the DCU in its strange tales. Milk Wars, written by Steve Orlando and Gerard Way is a crossover arc between Justice League of America and Doom Patrol and, even though its hard to follow at times, it’s an enjoyable and deceptively meta read. In brief, a company called Retconn is trying make a television program out of alternate realities in the DCU and has turned its sights on the prime universe. To make their program more appealing to audiences they create a milk that sanitizes the JLA into more wholesome version of themselves, which translates to classic 1950’s suburbia. The Doom Patrol team battle the milked JLA and Milkman Man (an alternate version of Superman, although that become more complicated at the end of this issue) all while Retconn explains how they were able to change the heroes.
The Retconn part of the story offers some interesting meta-narrative about how media presents superheroes to the masses as opposed to their actual portrayal in comics. One could argue it’s a slight against how Marvel sanitizes their heroes in movie or against DC’s own criticism about the DCEU’s more dark and violent image. Doom Patrol often juxtaposes humor and absurdity with philosophy and existentialism and that’s no different here; Milkman Man agonizing over his false identity and culture relevancy coupled with a Superman, milkman analog force-feeding people mind-altering milk.
This arc is not a story that will be an easy jumping on point for new reader as it requires knowledge of both the weird characters from Doom Patrol (such as Danny the Street, who is a sentient neighborhood block but is now a sentient ambulance) and the somewhat obscure characters from JLA, like Lobo or the Ray. If you don’t follow either series individually, you can eventually understand the gist of what’s happening, but the narrative style of Doom Patrol will send you for a loop. Its recommended you, at least, read the first arc of Doom Patrol and the first issue of JLA.
ACO, Tamra Bonvillain, and Marissa Louise are the are team for this arc and they display fun and active visuals with engaging panel composition. The line in panel boxes are blurred with images and sound effects bleeding into one another, but still having clear and clean action. The onomatopoeias are reminiscent of Walt Siminson’s run on Thor, especially with sounds like “KRAKA CHOOM!” filling the page. A funny visual is seeing the JLA turn into the Community League of Rhode Island and their various embodiment of wholesome 50’s tropes.
Milk Wars continues the weirdness of Doom Patrol and invites the JLA along for the ride. Its fun and insightful without being too silly and pretentious. Its exciting to see how this story plays out especially after looking the cover for the following issues which feature Batman as a priest and Wonder Woman as 50’s housewife. If you like trippy visuals and storytelling and crazy versions of old characters or are just a fan of the new Doom Patrol series, check this out.