SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Doom Patrol/Justice League of America Special #1 by Steve Orlando, Gerard Way, Dale Eaglesham, Nick Derington, Sonny Liew, Ibrahim Moustafa, Michael Avon Oeming, Marley Zarcone, Tamra Bonvillain, Marissa Louise and Clem Robins, on sale now.
"Milk Wars" has been weird. Really weird. Even for someone that likes their superhero comics with an extra dose of that Morrisonian weirdness, Gerard Way and Steve Orlando’s story about homogenized superheroes and the end of the world has been one of the most bizarre crossovers in recent memory and considering it’s coming out at the same time as Dark Nights: Metal, that’s saying something.
This week, the five-part crossover came to a close as the Justice League of America, Doom Patrol, Mother Panic, Shade The Changing Girl, Wonder Woman and Cave Carson came together to stop the evil Retconn from making Earth-Prime the most boring place in the multiverse. Along the way there were some major shake-ups for the status quos of each Young Animal title.
The Last Stand Against Sameness
Over the past month, Cave Carson’s cybernetic eye has been zipping around the DC Universe collecting heroes to help the spelunking hero fight back against Retconn, the evil organisation whose tainted milk can turn people into the most boring and safe versions of themselves. Now, with Carson at the mercy of Milkman Man, the collected heroes arrive to save the day as the execs of Retconn attempt to sell Earth-Prime to classic Justice League International villain Manga Khan.
Ultimately, Khan’s boss Mr. Nebula decides against the acquisition leaving Retconn no choice but to trigger the Final Refresh Button, an Ultimate Nullifier type weapon which threatens to wipe continuity clean.
Thankfully, the heroes have the Hero of the Beach, Flex Mentallo who can do anything when he sets his mind to it. Unlocking the bizarre power of Inflation Intensity — a counterpoint to his usual power of Muscle Mystery — he channels it through the Scarlet Harlot’s control of psychosexual energy and Vixen’s Tantu Totem in order to save reality, but in doing so reality gets rewritten a little bit.
Rita Farr, Superstar
One of the underlying mysteries of “Milk Wars” has centered around founding Doom Patrol member Rita Farr aka Elasti-Woman, held captive by Retconn and forced into her own personal passion play. The small skip in reality allows Rita to stretch her way out of the narrative Retconn created for her and rejoin the world, while Violet Paige is sent to a dystopian Gotham of the future, Cave Carson and his family journey into space and Shade is reborn in the body of an adult woman.
Most interestingly, the Eternity Girl back-ups from the previous instalments pay-off as Caroline Sharp returns from the void she cast herself in, ahead of Magdalene Visaggio and Sonny Liew’s upcoming ongoing series.
Perhaps the biggest change is to Cliff Steele, the Doom Patrol’s resident Robotman, who has spent much of the crossover worried that he was a fictional character and that any changes to continuity would erase him from existence. However, he gets a much happier ending as he winds back-up in his human body, last seen burning to a crisp in a NASCAR accident.
Cliff becoming human again is a huge deal, and one that the creators capture with all of the emotion and gravitas that it deserves. It, along with Rita’s return, sets up a bold new future for the Doom Patrol heading into 2018.