REVIEW: Justice League of America / Doom Patrol #1 (Intolerant Lactose: Milk Wars Part One)

The Doom Patrol finds themselves in the idyllic pastel neighborhood of Happy Harbor, Rhode Island. For the first time ever, The Doom Patrol isn’t the weirdest thing in town. Who is the mysterious Milkman Man? Doesn’t the Neighborhood Watch seem awfully familiar? What is the secret of the milk?

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JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA/DOOM PATROL #1
Authors: Steve Orlando and Gerard Way
Artist: ACO
Inker: ACO
Colors: Tamra Bonvillain and Marissa Louise
Publisher: DC

What You Need to Know:
With the birth of Casey Brinke and Terry None’s child imminent, the Doom Patrol flees from Mr. Nobody in Danny the Ambulance. Right at the moment of birth, the Ambulance crashes through the walls of reality itself. Meanwhile, the mysterious Retconn watches on.

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What You’ll Find Out: Happy Harbor, Rhode Island. Retconn and Lord Manga Khan are locked in negotiations over its future. A mysterious milkman who seems a little too eager makes deliveries to clients that seem none too happy to see him. The Doom Patrol comes crashing into this odd pocket reality. They begin to search their surreal Dick Van Dyke-esque surroundings and are immediately shown distrust from the locals. Tempers flare almost immediately when Robotman meets Carl Lobo, a clean-cut pipe-smoking man that looks a lot like a certain Czarnian. Things escalate, and the Doom Patrol finds themselves facing the Community League of Rhode Island. Crazy Jane realizes they are facing a Retconn brainwashed Justice League of America and tries to talk them down to no avail. Led by Milkman Man, the fight rages on. Meanwhile, at Retconn, it is revealed that all superheroes are descended from Ahl, the god of superheroes. Retconn knows this and has been adjusting superheroes archetypes, but the Superman archetype resisted modification. Rather than fight that, Retconn simply copied it, thus Milkman Man was created. Back at Happy Harbor, Crazy Jane taps into one of her personalities and frees the Justice League from their mind control, but it effects Milkman Man unexpectedly. He realizes he isn’t Superman and is being used by Retconn. As he works this out, Casey realizes that Milkman Man is her son. Sad and confused, Milkman Man runs away. With the Justice League restored, Crazy Jane, explains that they’ve been brainwashed and altered by Retconn via the milk, along with the rest of the town. As they hash all this out, Cave Carson’s eye suddenly appears with a dire warning and a plan to meet and take down Retconn. Joining forces, the JLA and the Doom Patrol strike out in search of Retconn.

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What Just Happened?

“What just happened?” may be the perfect quote to sum this issue up. This thing moves fast and covers a lot of odd territory. This isn’t your typical event book. It definitely has the Young Animal vibe more so than your typical DC event. From a Multiverse standpoint, I’m left wondering just how powerful Retconn is, and more importantly who they are. I’m sure more will be revealed as we go on, but right now I’m left with more questions than answers. When Crazy Jane restores the JLA, their comic book first appearances are shown, implying that those are still valid? Where does Retconn fit in the big scheme in relation to the New 52, Rebirth and so on? I guess we’ll have to stay tuned.

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As a Doom Patrol fan, it was very fun to see them interacting with other superheroes. That didn’t happen very often in the Morrison era, and I may be wrong, but I don’t think it ever happened in the Silver Age incarnation. I really enjoyed seeing the “normal” superheroes in the weird world of the Doom Patrol. I thought they in interaction and particularly the last few pages had a good message of how weird and normal sometimes complement each other beautifully.

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As much as I loved the writing, which is evident in the last few paragraphs, the art deserves a special mention. The Frank Quietly covers for the event are gorgeous. I am particularly enjoying seeing the Doom Patrol drawn by Aco. The whole book has a cool, retro-Silver Age vibe that the art is really nailing, and is really brought home by the cool pastel pallet of Tamra Bonvillain and Marisa Louise. All in all, the art is stellar.

Rating: 9/10.

Final Thoughts: This issue is full-on weird, but more importantly, fun. It’s very cool to see these Young Animal books finally meet the DC Universe proper. I feel like this event could have some very real and lasting impact on the Multiverse. I very much enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading the rest. While it’s a little out there and leaves a lot of questions hanging, this event is definitely worth a read.

 

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