JLA/Doom Patrol Milk Wars Pt. 1
Written By Steve Orlando & Gerard Way
Illustrated by ACO with Hugo Petrus
Colored by Tamra Bonvillain & Marissa Louise
Published By DC’s Young Animals
Release Date January 31, 2018
For years Gerard Way has been making waves in the comic book industry with creations like Umbrella Academy, The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, and most recently his Young Animals title Doom Patrol. Butler’s Young Animal DC Comics imprint has been responsible for some of the most fun and off-the-rocker stories in comics lately. Last year it was announced that Young Animal would be producing an event titled “Milk Wars” in which an evil inter-dimensional corporation named RetConn takes and repackages entire worlds and stories to resell, and essentially retconning them.
Honestly, this is one of those books that you will either really love for its quirky and trippy aspects or that you will really hate because of the shits just too weird for you. The book wastes no time in dropping you right into the shady dealings of RetConn as a member of the corporation is doing a presentation to a mysterious figure who is revealed to be the supervillain Lord Manga Khan. The presence of Manga Khan in the RetConn narrative is absolutely perfect as the supervillain is known for dealing and trading in just about anything of reputable value so it would make perfect sense that he would be attempting to buy an entire reality from RetConn.
The presentation opens with a viewing of an Earth that looks like its trapped in a 1950’s white suburban daydream in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island, a place that many DC fans will recognize. Happy Harbor is sporting its very own RetConn version of the Man of Steel named Milk Man, a chipper hero dressed like a 1950’s Milk Man and armed with a milk carton carrier and a dapper dan smile. Happy Harbor’s wholesome image is however shattered just as soon as it was established when we realize that Milk Man might not be the protagonist of the story but rather the antagonist. In what is one of the best laid out and one of my favorite pages in the entire book we realize that Milk Man is actually forcing milk down people’s throats as he smiles and says “It’s my pleasure”.
The books weirdness is only elevated when the Doom Patrol burst through a portal and begin looking through the house that Milk Man had just paid a visit. Upon entering the house they discover what appears to be an inside-out alien how which members of the family refer to as “Grandma”, however, thats not all they find because strewn around the house are the unconscious milk soaked bodies of the family that lived there.
Members of the family who managed to avoid Milk Man’s dairy ass-whooping apparently don’t want to disturb the peace of Happy Harbor and want the Doom Patrol out. Its at this moment that my absolute favorite part of the comic happens, the family apparently has called a man by the name Carl Lobo, the Head of the Neighborhood Watch. Yes, this is exactly who you think it is, it’s none other than the Main Man himself, Lobo. However, this version of Lobo is what you’d get if Lobo sat down and binge-watched Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood and Mad Men. Never in my 24 years of living did I think I’d see a version of Lobo wearing a cardigan, a dress shirt, slacks, and smocking a pipe while uttering the words “That type of language is a big no before the kids are asleep”. As a fight between the Doom Patrol and the Main Man breaks out, the next page returns us to RetConn headquarters in a place called “Final Heaven”.
Now there are a few key pieces of information that we learn during the RetConn presentation that will most definitely be carrying over into the other books of the crossover. During the presentation, we learn that RetConn has its own version of the Trinity which is actually quite surprising to Lord Manga Khan. Another thing we learn is that the milk isn’t just some random choice of obsession from Milk Man but its actually one of the means through which RetConn santizies and “Homogenizes” the inhabitants of whatever world it sets its sights on. Essentially RetConn has Milk Man zooming around faster than a speeding bullet force feeding people alien mind control milk. We also learn that there is apparently a “God of Heroes” who is the template of all superheroes and who happens to be a descendant of the Man of Steel himself.
Back in Happy Harbor, the gang has officially run into trouble when not just Milk Man, but the entire Community League of Rhode Island appears ready to fight. Turns out the mind control milk (three words I never thought I’d say together) is actually responsible for creating the Community League as they are none other than the JLA under the control of RetConn. In typical crossover fashion, the JLA and the Doom Patrol duke it out while Jane attempts to find a way to end this due to the JLA’s immense and overwhelming power.
The artwork during the fight between the JLA and the Doom Patrol is some of my absolute favorite in the book because its full of motion and literally everything about it compliments the style of book that Gerard Way is known for. Every panel ties and cuts together fantastically and while each panel is detailed the overall message and image within the panel is never lost or cluttered.
I won’t spoil too much about the book, but I will say it features a lot of interesting and wacky concepts like the reveal of a forgotten child, “A Lineage of Justice”, and just the overall concept of mind-altering alien milk. The “Everything is Art” sequence within the book is absolutely stunning and while it does play into the trippy aesthetic and themes of the book it definitely features some heartwarming and emotional moments between The Milk Man and Casey Brinke. Aside from 1950’s Dapper Dan Lobo, this is definitely my favorite section of the book and I hope the rest of the event features moments like this.
Overall I would give Part One of the Milk Wars a solid 9/10 due to its AMAZING art, fun and wacky storytelling, interesting imagery, and the overall concept being so unique and well executed. I highly recommend everyone picking this book up and watching out for the rest of the event.