Tag Archives: milk wars

Logan’s Favorite Comics of 2018

Without further ado, these are my favorite comics of 2018. This was the year I fell back on series that I had been checking out for years and found some new faves in the worlds of newspaper comics, symbiotes, gamma irradiated beasts, and maybe even a choose your own adventure game. Marvel seriously did a 180 this year, and I went from picking zero of their comics on my last year end list to three so well done on their part, and Donny Cates and Al Ewing should receive hefty bonus checks. But, honestly, this list should show you that visual humor, character driven narratives, and weirdness are my things, and I can’t wait to read more comics in that vein in 2019.

Honorable Mentions: Sex Death Revolution (Black Mask), Runaways (Marvel), Assassinistas (IDW/Black Crown), Punks Not Dead (IDW/Black Crown), That one really good issue of Peter Parker, Spider-Man that Chip Zdarsky wrote and drew (Marvel), Gideon Falls (Image)

10.Modern Fantasy  (Dark Horse)

Modern Fantasy is a miniseries about a data entry worker named Sage of the Riverlands, who secretly wants to epic hero or maybe just a curator at a cool museum, and has a penchant for smooching handsome elves. Did Rafer Roberts and Kristen Gudsnuk have access to my most secret thoughts while writing this book? In all seriousness, this comic marries millennial angst and struggles (Dead end jobs, mooching friends, annoying co-workers) with all kinds of fantasy tropes, including urban, high, and good ol’ Lovecraftian. Gudsnuk’s art is both humorous and touching and filled with background details and jokes that reward a close reading. But what makes Modern Fantasy a great comic is the awkward friend group dynamic that Roberts and Gudsnuk craft filled with drama, jokes, a touch of romance, and a final showdown with a fire demon.

9.The Wicked + the Divine (Image)

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matthew Wilson’s story of young gods and fandom hit some dark bits in 2018 and had plenty of surprises to go with the formalism and “glimpse behind the curtain” of the “Mothering Invention” arc. However, at its best, WicDiv is the story of the girl, who thought she wanted something, and then painfully realized that she didn’t really want it. That girl, of course, is Persephone whose personal journey along with McKelvie’s amazing facial expressions, Gillen’s clever quips, and Wilson’s majestic color palette keeps me returning to this series as it is about to hit its fifth year. Also, the specials were spectacularly glorious in 2018 from the illustrated prose story/murder mystery in 1923 to 1373’s dark piety. Then, there was the absolute bonkers nature of The Funnies  where we find out the origin of Laura’s cracked phone and the Pantheon gets to solve a Scooby Doo mystery courtesy of Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris.

8.  Nancy (Go Comics)

I’ve been doing year end comics lists for five years, and this is the first time I’ve put a newspaper strip on one. However, Olivia Jaimes’ work on Nancy is one of the most hilarious things to come out of 2018. There are her “millennial” gags (Even though Nancy and Sluggo are definitely Generation Z.) about Nancy’s overuse of the Internet or swapping streaming service passwords with Sluggo, who is also “lit”. But she also has a firm grasp on meta-gags and the uniqueness of the comics medium like playing with panel layouts, lettering styles, reusing panels, and then having Nancy make a joke about it. Nancy is truly a ray of sunshine in a dark landscape while still being sarcastic and self-deprecating as hell and shows that even the proverbial old dog of the newspaper comic can learn some new tricks.

7.  “Milk Wars” (DC Comics/Young Animal)

“Milk Wars” really brought the best of DC Rebirth and Young Animal together and was the only Big Two crossover I kept up with in 2018. The series brings together the Doom Patrol, Mother Panic, Shade the Changing Girl, and Cave Carson to fight warped versions of DC Comics heroes, who are under the control of the Retconn corporation. The story is a literal metaphor for how corporations sanitize characters and go for the retread instead of taking risks with iconic characters as Wonder Woman becomes a submissive housewife in her tie-in story from Cecil Castelluci and Mirka Andolfo. “Milk Wars” shows that it’s okay to be a little weird as milk goes bad if it’s left in the bridge past its expiration day. It also features some gorgeous layouts from Aco in the crossover’s first chapter, which was co-written by Gerard Way and Steve Orlando, and he and the artists did an excellent job of melding an indie and mainstream sensibility throughout “Milk Wars”. Also, the story had a real effect on Mother Panic, Cave Carson, and Shade in their solo titles and introduced Magdalene Visaggio and Sonny Liew’s wonderful, yet depressed Eternity Girl character.

6.Venom (Marvel)

Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, and Iban Coello’s Venom ongoing series is filled with all the fun excesses of the 1990s (Especially in the Venom Annual where James Stokoe shows him going toe to toe with Juggernaut.) and none of its toxicity. The first arc of the series is about Eddie Brock and his symbiote going to war against Knull, god of the symbiotes and a symbiote dragon. This has a terrible effect on him, and Cates carefully uses the symbiote as a metaphor for PTSD while freeing Stegman to draw unhinged heavy metal battles. And this series wasn’t just a one arc wonder as Cates, Coello, and Stegman explore the after effects of the battle with Knull on Eddie’s symbiote and have him confront his father. Plus one of the most underrated Marvel villains, Ultimate Reed Richards aka the Maker pops up for a little bit. This series work because it explores the psychological effects of the symbiote as well as the oozy, shoot-y violent bits.

5.Crowded (Image)

Crowded is a wicked bit of satire with a side of mismatched buddy adventure from the beautiful minds of Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, and Triona Farrell. It is about an obnoxious woman named Charlie, who has a $2 million price on her head on an app called Reapr that is basically crowdfunded murder. Luckily, there’s an app called Defendr where Charlie hires a badass, meticulous, and noble woman named Vita to protect her. Stein and Brandt fill each page with oodles of panels, but you are able to follow every action scene, conversation, or Charlie ending up at the club or a bachelorette party even if she has a price on her head. The bounty hunting drives the plot while Sebela uses the quieter moments to develop the personality and relationships of Charlie and Vita as well as some of the “professionals” hunting them. Crowded is a thrill ride, but also looks at the dark, not so altruistic side of human nature through the Internet and constant connectivity.

4. You Are Deadpool (Marvel)

Al Ewing and Salva Espin’s You Are Deadpool was some of the most fun I had reading a comic book in 2018 beginning with Kieron Gillen showing up in the “tutorial” brandishing a sandwich as a weapon. It’s a combination spoof of different eras of Marvel Comics along with a pretty damn fun and addictive Choose Your Own Adventure Game. In some cases, you don’t even read the issues in order. Ewing and Espin also take cues from some not so table top RPGs and have the moral choices that Deadpool makes effect your reading and playing experience. Having Deadpool interact with both heroes and innocent passerbies during the Silver Age, horror/kung fu/blaxploitation, the edgy 80s, and of course, the good ol’ 90s is hilarious and shows Espin’s versatility as a cartoonist.

3. Archival Quality (Oni)

Archival Quality is a spooky graphic novel by Ivy Noelle Weir and Steenz about a young woman named Cel, who gets a job as an archivist at a medical museum. The comic tenderly explores Cel’s anxiety and depression and unexpected connection with a woman named Celine, who was a patient at the sanatorium that preceded the museum. It isn’t caught up in a fast paced thriller plot, but slowly unveils the mystery while focusing on Cel’s interactions with her boss Abayomi, super rad co-worker Holly, and her declining relationship with her boyfriend Kyle. Archival Quality has real atmosphere, and Steenz creates some fantastic spaces as Cel begins to explore her workplace with its skulls and lack of cellphone service. It is a fantastic story about mental health and relationships through the mystery genre.

2. Giant Days (BOOM! Studios) 

Giant Days continues to be one of life’s true blessings thanks to John Allison, Max Sarin, Liz Fleming, Julia Madrigal, and Whitney Cogar. At this point, we know the characters and their quirks are on fully display, especially when Sarin draws the title because she is a real pro at expressive eyes and touches of surrealism to break up the slice of life. 2018 was full of drama to go with the Giant Days’ comedy as Daisy broke up with her a little too footloose and fancy free girlfriend Ingrid, and Esther missed her shot at being in a relationship with Ed when he begins a romance with Nina, a girl he met while recuperating from a pub related injury. Nina being Australian is the subject of this year holiday’s special, which was a special treat drawn and written by Allison as Ed fends for himself Down Under. Giant Days shows that it’s one of the pre-eminent slice of life comics as it enters its fourth year, and Esther, Daisy, and Susan’s relationships continue to ebb and flow.

1. Immortal Hulk  (Marvel)

I will preface this by saying that the Hulk is one of my least favorite Marvel characters because he’s often used as a simplistic Jekyll/Hyde metaphor. Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, Ruy Jose, Lee Garbett, Martin Simmonds, and Paul Mounts blow that up in Immortal Hulk, which resembles an intelligent horror story rather than a superhero beat ’em up. It’s a road story with Bruce Banner on the run from the monster that comes out, wrecks, and kills when the sun goes down before morphing into a government conspiracy thriller and something more malevolent towards the end. Through cutting narration, Ewing reveals exactly what is going through Banner’s head while Bennett’s art shows the often gruesome effects of his rages. I also like how Ewing humanizes the supporting players from Walter Langkowski, who is struggling with his own monstrous nature to honest reporter Jackie McGee and even his opponent the Absorbing Man.

Immortal Hulk is the best comic of 2018 because it has a compelling plot, is a searing character study of an American pop culture icon, and is an homage to Jack Kirby and Bernie Wrightson while breaking new ground. (See issue 10’s final page.)

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Review: DC’s Young Animal Milk Wars

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got the collection of the non-event, Milk Wars!

Milk Wars is by Steve Orlando, Gerard Way, Jody Houser, Cecil Castellucci, Jon Rivera, Magdalene Visaggio, Aco, Ty Templeton, Mirka Andolfo, Langdon Foss, Dale Eaglesham, Nick Derington, Sonny Liew, Tamra Bonvillain, Marissa Louise, Keiren Smith, Nick Filardi, Clem Robins, John Workman, Saida Temofonte, Todd Klein, Frank Quitely, Rian Hughes, Clay Mann, and Marissa Louise.

Get your copy in comic shops today. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

 

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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Review: Doom Patrol/JLA Special #1

JLADPA_Cv1It’s safe to say that Doom Patrol/JLA Special is the best comic ever to feature superheroes inflated like beachballs saving the day. Writers Gerard Way and Steve Orlando, artists Dale Eaglesham and Nick Derington, and colorists Marissa Louise and Tamra Bonvillain deliver a story that is action packed, emotion filled, and cerebral too. Orlando and Way steep the book in DC history, like the collected works of Grant Morrison, the first appearance of Doom Patrol in My Greatest Adventure #80, and even Keith Giffen “Bwahaha” era of Justice LeagueHowever, they aren’t overwhelmed by history and/or nostalgia and craft a satisfying ending to the battle against the Retconn corporation that has real consequences for both the DC Universe and Young Animal world going forward.

Along with the stained glass psychedelic passion play that is the return of Doom Patrol founding member Rita Farr aka , the relationship between Casey Brinke and her son Milkman. Way, Orlando, and Eaglesham could just use him as a strawman representation of corporate comics, but they give the tabula rasa turned moralizing pitchman a human side. Much of Eaglesham’s work in Doom Patrol/JLA is bombastic with splash pages and topsy turvy layouts, but the scenes with Casey and Milkman showcase his skill with interpersonal drama.

Up to this point, Milkman has been a punch/(misogynist) insult machine, but Casey, who is more EMT than superhero, takes him away from the fight, clasps his hand, and says it’s okay that he’s a little screwed up. This is because all of Doom Patrol is a little weird. In a few pages, Way, Orlando, Eaglesham, and Bonvillain and Louise’s warm color palette create a beautiful mother/son relationship that is stripped away in a moment that could be a “put the toys back in the box” plot device moment, but really resonates. Derington even adds a grace note at the end with Casey thinking about Milkman while having a “Good job, rookie superhero” chat with Wonder Woman.

CaseyFeels

Like all good final crossover issues, JLA/Doom Patrol has some great superhero battles beginning with the first double page splash of the entire JLA and Doom Patrol plus special friends Mother Panic and Shade jumping out of Cave Carson’s cybernetic eye. However, the story shows the futility of fisticuffs and the power of healing and, of course, hope to save the world. There’s the aforementioned conversation between Casey and Milkman as well as dialogue from Vixen about the power of the Red (Contained in her ancestral totem) to heal, their plan to save reality as a “defebrillation” and finally Flex Mentallo’s big damn monologue.

It’s quite amusing to see the super serious Batman speaking about “muscle mystery”, and Gerard Way and Steve Orlando take a page out of the Grant Morrison Batman handbook and make him comfortable with the absurd. You can definitely see him dressing up in a rainbow suit to confuse bad guys. It’s also just plain clever to make the most metafictional character of the bunch literally reset the reboot button while getting an assist from the rest of the teams. It also dovetails nicely with the Rita storyline, which goes from gaudy and religious to primal and minimalist while also kind of reminding me of the video for “Take On Me” as Elastigirl leaves her fictional television world for the real to her, sadly fictional to us world of the DC Universe literally entering the panels of JLA/Doom Patrol Special. She faces the literal comic of her origin story as a victim of circumstance and re-enters the world as a formidable character and charter Doom Patrol member. Retcons can be pretty great some time, and I think Grant Morrison would be proud at this use of comic book as magic spell that calls back to Multiversity and the letters page of The Invisibles. (Think wankathon…)

Speaking of meta, Way, Orlando, Eaglesham, and Derington don’t just use the fourth wall breaking for jokes and jabs at superhero comics (Everything out of Shade’s mouth is comedic gold though.), but give the self-aware-that-he’s-a-comics-character Robotman some big character moments. It’s kind of adorable to see The Ray geek out on him and mention the impact that fictional superheroes had on him. This heat of battle rapport pays huge dividends in the epilogue. Let’s just say, there are hugs.

Doom Patrol/JLA Special isn’t just an entertaining comic that is filled to the brim with hopefulness, it’s a paradigm for how superhero stories can be told. Basically, Gerard Way, Steve Orlando, Dale Eaglesham, Nick Derington, Tamra Bonvillain, and Marissa Louise are saying that superhero comics are pretty damn weird, and they can embrace this strangeness, be inspirational and even funny, and not just be grist in the mill of real life Retconns aka their corporate overlords. Because of this, I’m excited to see what Young Animal does next with its Eternity GirlShade the Changing WomanMother Panic: Gotham A.D., and Cave Carson Has An Interstellar Eye comics that get short, unobtrusive teasers in Doom Patrol/JLA Special.

Story: Gerard Way and Steve Orlando Art: Dale Eaglesham and Nick Derington
Colors: Tamra Bonvillain and Marissa Louise
Story: 10 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.9 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics/Young Animal provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Doom Patrol/JLA Special #1

Doom Patrol/JLA Special #1

(W) Steve Orlando, Gerard Way (A) Dale Eaglesham (CA) Clay Mann
In Shops: Feb 28, 2018
SRP: $4.99

“MILK WARS” finale! As RetCo’s foundation shatters, the Young Animal teams come together with the Justice League and even more DC Universe heroes to finish the job. The only problem is, Milkman Man and RetCo still stand in their way. To right reality, the heroes of Young Animal and the DC Universe will have to unlock an outrageous power never before seen on any world!

This mind-blowing conclusion will establish new realities for all of the DC’s Young Animal titles. Look for the return of Cave Carson, Shade and Mother Panic next month!

Review: Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye/Swamp Thing Special #1

CaveSwampIn its penultimate chapter, “Milk Wars” gets grody and corporate as Cave Carson, his daughter Chloe, and the hockey mask wearing vigilante Wild Dog team up with Swamp Thing against brainwashed cubicle dweller types and a spot-on parody of those soulless, yet addictive Pop Vinyl figures. Jon Rivera’s scripting is a little on the nose as far as the corporate satire goes, but is more than redeemed by some funny one-liners (A guy reading his fellow co-workers name badge while beheading him takes the cake.) and the cast chemistry between Cave, Chloe, and Wild Dog.

But the best part of Cave Carson/Swamp Thing Special #1 is the interplay between Langdon Foss’ (Bucky Barnes, The Winter Soldier) art and Nick Filardi that threads together like one of Swamp Thing’s tendrils. When Swamp Thing bursts into one of one Retconn’s (Evil mind-controlling and metafictional corporation) offices and wakes up Cave and the crew from a milk induced stupor, Filardi throws up the puke green, and Foss gets grotesque with faces and various liquids. It’s very third act of Hateful Eight, but without the two hours of self-indulgent dialogue. Sometimes, epiphanies about being rat in a cage, or cubicle slave in a cave aren’t beautiful come to Jesus moments, but involve puking your guts up.

However, Foss and Filardi can do sleek and beautiful too when Cave and Chloe try to blow the office and attempt to rescue those under lactose tolerant mind control. Foss channels his inner John McTiernan and also Michael Avon Oeming’s work in the original Cave Carson comic with air vent escapades and excavations that use every inch of the CaveOffice.jpgpage and turn overcrowded cubicle space into an action playground. Filardi contributes to the tense mood with pinks and blues that are the polar opposite of the clinical off white palette he uses for the office scenes earlier in the book. Almost, every page has Ben-Day dots giving the book an old school comic gone deranged feel.

Cave Carson/Swamp Thing Special explores similar themes of conformity and corporate subservience as the other “Milk Wars” comics, but also riffs off the viscous body horror of Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette, and John Totleben Saga of the Swamp Thing run. Swamp Thing’s first big splash page is an homage to the classic “Anatomy Lesson” story with a chopped up body emerging out of his green form. Langdon Foss’ take on Swamp Thing finds a happy medium between the sad, detailed Bissette/Totleben Swamp Thing and the more cartoonish Swampy like in the Justice League Dark animated film. It might not be as regal or easy on the eyes, but erring on the cartoon side helps when Swamp Thing starts punching office workers or emerging from a Green salad. Yeah, this is a pretty weird and great comic, and there’s even a much less sexual, but just as psychedelic allusion to Swamp Thing’s magic fruit.

On the Eternity Girl backup story front, Magdalene Visaggio and Sonny Liew turn in their best work yet in a minimalist, yellow tinged parody of comics that break the fourth wall. Basically, when you run out of ideas or stories just tear everything down. The two pager is quite cathartic in age of reboots, reimaginings, and fresh starts and has elegant layouts and line work.

Cave Carson/Swamp Thing Special is a tiny bit office drone satire with a portion of DC “mature readers” body horror and is mostly a damn fun caper from Jon Rivera, Langdon Foss, and Nick Filardi. It’s gross, thrilling, and thought provoking (Sometimes all at once.) and provides a segue to the “Milk Wars” finale without taking up too much space from this adventure.

Story: Jon Rivera Art: Langdon Foss Colors: Nick Filardi
  Backup Story: Magdalene Visaggio Backup Art: Sonny Liew 
Story: 7.9 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics/Young Animal provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Shade the Changing Girl/Wonder Woman Special #1

Shade the Changing Girl/Wonder Woman Special

(W) Cecil Castellucci, Magdalene Visaggio (A) Mirka Andolfo, Sonny Liew (CA) Frank Quitely
In Shops: Feb 14, 2018
SRP: $4.99

“MILK WARS” part three! Shade has been split into multiple parts, each representing a different mood, all in service to the perfect and beautiful Wonder Wife. But Happy Shade is starting to sense that not all is right in Wonderland, and she finds something strange staring back at her on the other side of the looking glass! Plus, part three of the Eternity Girl backup story!

Review: Shade the Changing Girl/Wonder Woman Special “Milk Wars Part Three”

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got the third part of “Milk Wars”!

Shade the Changing Girl/Wonder Woman is by Cecil Castellucci, Mirka Andolfo, Marissa Louise, Magdalene Visaggio, and Sonny Liew.

Get your copy in comic shops today. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology

 

DC Comics​ provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Mother Panic/Batman Special #1

PanicBatmanIn the second chapter of DC Comics/Young Animal crossover “Milk Wars”, writer Jody Houser, artist Ty Templeton, and colorist Keiren Smith serve up a large helping of Catholic guilt. Mother Panic/Batman Special uses religious iconography and of course, dairy products, to look at the sadness and loneliness at the center of both Gotham vigilantes. Templeton’s art fluctuates from bright pop art bursts similar to his work on Batman ’66 to a more Gothic style when Mother Panic thinks about her terrible childhood at the Gather House and how she killed her father. Along the way, he and Houser pose the question of whether vigilantes, especially ones of the darker side, should take child sidekicks, and they draw a parallel between the Gather House’s brainwashing and Batman dressing up young boys (And occasionally a girl.) in yellow capes and green pixie boots.

Even though she’s almost 80 years younger than him in character years, Violet Paige aka Mother Panic wasn’t about to get upstaged by Batman in this comic. In the issue’s funniest meta joke, Violet’s swearing is censored, but she has no fucks left when she infiltrates the new Gather House and sees Batman in a priest’s collar preaching to a group of children in a Robin costume. As he rants about how none of this is real, Batman aka Father Bruce and the “Holy Sidekick Choir of Merciful Justice” point out her surface-level moral failings like her use of profanity and breaking random 10 Commandments. However, she is after the truth of what is going on with these kids and knows that everything isn’t okay.

PanicInterior

The breaking point is when Violet sees a young girl that she’s saved multiple times in the main Mother Panic series enter the sidekick creation machine thing (It’s like something out of the Lego Batman games, but more nefarious.) and knows that she wants her to break the cycle of violence and revenge. After this, Ty Templeton loses the gaudy, religious trappings and replaces them with a flurry of quick hitting panels as Batman and Mother Panic go mano a mano and fight for reality itself. The fight choreography reminded me a lot of Batman ’66 especially with Keiren Smith’s bright background colors, and the “Milk Wars” theme of light exterior, dark interior continues in Mother Panic/Batman Special. On the outside, it looks like it’s Robin cosplay day or a Sunday School class, but these kids are being trained to go to war just like Violet was when she was a young girl with the body horror replaced by bright surrealism.

Even though it’s a crossover comic, Houser and Templeton find time to develop the character of Violet Paige between the crazy quilt of visuals and milk puns. A strong emphasis is placed on Violet’s strength as she sees through the ecclesiastical illusion and defies the Gotham City vigilante tropes to own her dark past instead of repressing it with toys and child sidekicks. However, as Mother Panic/Batman reaches its conclusion, Violet’s strength becomes tempered with responsibility because she lets the would-be Fennec Fox, who tugs on her cape and looks up to her as an inspiration, stay in her guest bedroom. Her war on crime doesn’t have to be a solo flagellation, and perhaps she can use her wealth and sense of empathy that is buried beneath snark and violence to help people and be a light and not a burning torch. It’ll be interesting to see if this thread continues in the conclusion of “Milk Wars” and the upcoming Mother Panic: Gotham A.D. series.

In Mother Panic/Batman Special , Jody Houser, Ty Templeton, and Keiren Smith deconstruct the child sidekick trope and takes a look at the connection between childhood trauma and masked vigilantes through the imagery of religious liturgy. Just like JLA/Doom Patrol showed how the “traditional family” could be a cover for all kinds of evil, Mother Panic/Batman goes for organized religion. These institutions, in and of themselves, are not bad, but can be used for nefarious ends because of their primal connection with humans. The comic doesn’t go full religious satire, but it’s a memorable framing narrative. I am never going to get the six panel Batman Year One  remix with him becoming a priest and not a “bat” out of my head.

Lastly, but certainly not least, Mother Panic/Batman also features the second installment in Magdalene Visaggio and Sonny Liew’s Eternity Girl serial featuring revenge, oozing body parts, and a late Bronze Age aesthetic. The two pager is a like an eye catching teaser trailer and has gotten me more excited for the upcoming miniseries with its play on superhero and horror tropes.

Story: Jody Houser Art: Ty Templeton Colors: Keiren Smith
  Backup Story: Mags Visaggio Backup Art: Sonny Liew 
Story: 8.1 Art: 9.5 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics/Young Animal provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: JLA/Doom Patrol Special #1

JLA DOOM PATROL SPECIAL #1Grab a milkshake, put a cherry on top, and maybe add a shot of whiskey or two, and you’ve got JLA/Doom Patrol #1, the first chapter of the monthlong DC Comics/Young Animal “Milk Wars” crossover. Writers Gerard Way and Steve Orlando combine the surrealism and fourth wall obliterating metafiction of Doom Patrol  with the punching and personality-driven Justice League of America to create the soft serve chocolate swirl of “event” comics. It roasts these kind of stories while indulging in all the tropes, including a spread it all around your dorm room four page spread from artist Aco and colorists Tamra Bonvillain and Marissa Louise of the Doom Patrol fighting the literally homogenized version of the JLA.

It’s super entertaining, in general, to see the book go from a critique of corporate comics to a 1950s Americana small town mystery thriller, then a slugfest, and finally an unlikely team-up thanks to a couple stinger pages that put those Wolverine “post-credits” pages in inconsequential Marvel Comics to shame. The play of genre, tongue in cheek sense satire, and embrace of the strange side of superhero stories makes JLA/Doom Patrol generally fantastic. It’s the comic book equivalent of getting a tasty dessert and getting some nutritious visuals and ideas along the way.

From his first appearance on the obviously homaging All Star Superman cover from Frank Quitely, Milkman Man is a fantastic villain even if the real Big Bad is the aptly named Retconn corporation. Besides being connected to a plot point in the main Doom Patrol series, Milkman Man is Superman drained of all his inspirational power, connection to social activism, and humanity. Aco might homage Action Comics #1 when he lifts Danny the Ambulance and throws it at the Doom Patrol, but this is a Superman, who punches down and stands for the status quo. With his neighborhood watch buddies, including a thoroughly neutered (and hilarious) Lobo, he’s here to make sure that outsiders stay down, and that superhero comics are just mind numbing punch outs and don’t have any real connection to people, their feelings, and the world around him.

Milkman Man is cereal mascot at best and alt right “Politics don’t belong in my white DP_JLA_1_3male spandex clad power fantasies” mascot at worst. In his first appearance, Aco goes for pure horror with inset panels of him shoving milk down the throats of an average white Middle America family.  This powerful, nearly silent scene played against an idyllic color palette from Bonvillain and Louise is a reminder that even when art claims to be apolitical, just for fun, or not have a message that it, in fact, does have a message. The Retconn Corporation wants to “homogenize” the DC Comics characters, including their classic Trinity, and turn them from powerful icons of justice into basically toys and merchandise as revealed in a couple pages that seem like a “behind the scenes” of a corporate board meeting. Milkman Man’s reaction to reading the actual Action Comics #1 (After yet another gorgeous and meta as hell double page spread from Aco, Bonvillain, and Louise.) is a reminder of how powerful Superman’s origin story is from Way and Orlando, who realize that pop culture can change the world and immigrants get the job done.

Along with having strong metaphors, a well-written villain, and some knock your skull off your body visuals, JLA/Doom Patrol succeeds because Way, Orlando, Aco, Bonvillain, and Louise realize that one thing that makes DC Comics great is that they’re pretty fucking weird. As the unflappable comic book character brought to life Casey Brinke says to Milkman Man, “Some of the best people are weirdos.” I mean, this is a universe where their most iconic hero wears his underwear on the outside and saves cats from trees while a bisexual, chain smoking, left wing British magician can have 300 straight issues of his comic and age in real time.

Way and Orlando’s understanding of the weirdness of DC Comics really comes out when the JLA and Doom Patrol interact as (Not so.) regular people and not milk drinking, mind controlled Stepford superheroes towards the end of the book. Ray and Danny the Ambulance kind of, sort of flirt, Larry Trainor the Negative Man opens up way too much to Lobo, and Killer Frost and Crazy Jane really bond over trying to do good with their vast, yet unwieldy powers. After the punching of the first 2/3 of the comic, Aco settles down into a casual hangout vibe for these scenes before going stylized with the aforementioned “stinger” sequences. It’s a reminder that some of the best superhero stories aren’t just action figure fights, but treat their larger than life characters like human beings with thoughts, motivations, and of course, flaws.

In JLA/Doom Patrol Special #1, Gerard Way, Steve Orlando, Aco, Hugo Petrus, Tamra Bonvillain, and Marissa Louise combine the best of DC Rebirth and the best of Young Animal in one beautiful, oversized package. And as a bonus, Mags Visaggio and Sonny Liew begin to tell the poetic, retro-styled origin story of Eternity Girl in a two page backup.

Story: Gerard Way and Steve Orlando Art: Aco with Hugo Petrus Colors: Tamra Bonvillain and Marissa Louise
  Backup Story: Mags Visaggio Backup Art: Sonny Liew 
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics/Young Animal provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: JLA/Doom Patrol Special #1

JLA/Doom Patrol Special #1

(W) Steve Orlando, Gerard Way, Magdalene Visaggio (A) Aco, Sonny Liew (CA) Frank Quitely
In Shops: Jan 31, 2018
SRP: $4.99

“MILK WARS” part one! Welcome to the un-event of the year! Kicking off a line-wide adventure, DC’s Young Animal collides with the DC Universe to bring you a different kind of crossover. The Doom Patrol has discovered that an interdimensional corporation called RetCo has been stealing stories, reconfiguring them and repackaging them for new markets. Our gang of misfit heroes have felt the touch of this nefarious company, and it has already started to change them. Even scarier, though, is how deeply RetCo has embedded itself into current continuity, using the radioactive milk of psychic cows to quell the more dangerous impulses of the Justice League and turn them into heroes safe for the masses. And to kick this off, RetCo has gone all the way to the top. Meet Milkman Man, heretofore unknown final son of Krypton, who was sent to our planet to save him from the destruction of his homeworld, only to be adopted by an evil dairy farmer and raised to love all things dairy! Co-plotted by Steve Orlando and Gerard Way, with art by ACO (MIDNIGHTER), this extra-sized special starts “Milk Wars” with a splash! Plus, who is Eternity Girl, and how does she connect to this whole scheme? A special four-part back-up feature by Magdalene Visaggio (Kim and Kim) and Sonny Liew (The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye) begins here.

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