[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: Steve Orlando & Gerard Way
Page 12: Hugo Petrus
Colorists: Tamra Bonvillain & Marissa Louise
This book is enhanced if you are lactose intolerant.
Following from last week’s Doom Patrol #10, this issue picks up with the results of the machinations of Retconn. In Happy Harbor, Rhode Island, a milkman who looks alarmingly like Superman is making his rounds. Unfortunately, this Milkmanman is not as benevolent as one might hope. He’s force over-feeding milk to his clients. Among the clients are such recognizable citizens as Gardner Fox and Jenette Khan. Luckily, the Doom Patrol crash lands in Happy Harbor with a real indication that something’s not right.
As they try to help some of the citizens, the Community League appears and intervenes. League…. It quickly becomes apparent to Crazy Jane that this Community League is really the Justice League of America (current version) and that they have been retconned!!!! And, milk is the active agent.
After a note worthy throwdown between the two teams, the League comes to it’s collective senses. However, there is still the question of Milkmanman. As he recounts his history to Casey Brinke and as she realizes the differences between Milkmanman and Superman, it becomes apparent to Casey that this is her son with Terry Noone. (see Doom Patrol #10 for the mostly whole story)
Soon after, the Patrol and League are interrupted by the appearance of Cave Carson’s Eye. He and Swamp Thing have apparently found the location of Retconn’s headquarters. He is able to enlist the Patrol and League. Both teams throw in together and go after Retconn.
The best thing about this issue is the ink that was used to print it, because everything in this issue is brilliant. There are so many references that it is nigh impossible to name them all. I will try…
Since this is a special crossover, it was surprising that it follows directly from last week’s Doom Patrol #10…(this should be a clear sign to go and buy [and read] Doom Patrol #10). This ties it directly into the current continuity for the Doom Patrol. It’s also seems to be part of continuity for the Justice League of America. While not referencing anything obvious, the nature of the story indicates that this is the real Justice League of America that has been the victim of Retconn.
Using Gardner Fox and Jenette Khan as characters in the story is a call back to Silver Age and Bronze Age tales in which creators travel to parallel Earths and interact with their characters. It’s a really fun concept that is only possible through the use of parallel Earths or alternate dimensions, or in this case – the retcon (Retconn) .
And speaking of retconning, the way in which the story addresses the concept is a fun, tongue-in-cheek critique of the practice. The DC Universe could never function under this retcon for long, but it says something about the decisions made in retconning in the past. How many other retcons were this inane?
When Casey figures out that she is a comic character, and that maybe every person is a comic character somewhere, it’s not only a fun idea, but a really exciting moment as we see covers for many of the characters in this book published by DC throughout its history. Two moments stand out, the first is when Milkmanman recognizes himself as Superman from Action Comics #1, and the second when Grant Morrison’s origin of Superman from All-Star Superman is referenced. This gave me a chill.
The idea that the wackiness and fun that permeates the Young Animal version of Doom Patrol is translatable to the broader DC Universe works in a couple ways. It brings together characters from different story telling style together and shows that they do exist in the same world and it validates the Young Animal line as part of the whole of the DC Universe.
Finally, the fact that dairy is the villain (of sorts), amuses me because I am lactose intolerant and it makes complete sense that milk would double over and incapacitate people.
Zero negatives for this issue.
I almost always say that “fun” is one of the most important elements in comics. Whether it be serious or humorous, conveying “fun” is at the heart of the medium of sequential art (thanks Will Eisner.) They used to be called “funny books” after all. Doom Patrol with all it’s weirdness, always manages to maintain this sense of fun. Transporting the broader DC Universe to the world of the Doom Patrol is perhaps the apex of the notion of fun. Even if you’ve never read an issue of Doom Patrol, I believe this issue extremely enjoyable through that notion of fun, because it relies on one’s basic knowledge of the first super-hero, Superman.