Tuesday, March 20, 2018

What Unscoolers Read: Milk Wars

Seven year-old No. 1, five year-old No. 2, and i had a blast last weekend reading through the YoungAnimal/DC Universe team-up mini-series, Milk Wars!  We got caught up on all the issues, and then sat down to compare them to our back issues of Doom Patrol, where a big part of the Milk Wars story line has been evolving for the last year and a half.  We talked about RobotMan, (somewhere there's a 9 panel origin story for him just like the one for Negative Man in in DP #2), and wondered whether the lion in DP #1 had anything to do with the lion from Narnia, (1 just read The Lion The Withch and the Wardrobe a few weeks ago.)

1 and I have been reading Doom Patrol since it came out in late 2016.  It's one of our all time favorites!  Last summer we even got to meet Gerard Way and Nick Derington, the writer and artist for the series.  They unwittingly taught 1 how to sketch Robotman and Lotion. (That's 1's practice next to Gerard & Nick's originals.)  Doom Patrol's stories are approachable, complex, layered, (it's telling that Milk Wars wrapped up plot points that were introduced in DP #1), and always positive.   

There are a few small spoilers below, so if you haven't read the story in Milk Wars yet, you might want to do that first.  As I alluded to earlier, Part 1 of the mini-series was almost the last one for us.  It was a Justice League/Doom Patrol team-up, and it rang more true to the Justice League than Doom Patrol to me.  There was violence of a kind that hadn't ever turned up in the first 10 issues of Doom Patrol.  I set it aside and wondered if I really wanted to read the rest of the series.  Part I had revealed what happened after the end of Doom Patrol #10, but it cast  Casey Brink's and Terry None's resulting progeny as a bad guy!  In the end I decided I'd give the rest of the series a try, and I'm glad I did!  After the first episode, everything got right back on track in a very Young Animal sort of way.

Part II teamed Mother Panic with Batman.  This time, I felt I was right to worry about violence since that's an integral part of Mother Panic.  Boy, was I wrong!  The story did a great job of introducing Mother Panic sans violence. 

The kid's experience with part III, featuring Shade the Changing Girl and Wonder Woman was similar to my experience with part I.  She put it down unfinished for awhile, albeit for a different reason.  She didn't think it was right that the villains setup a universe where Shade the Changing Girl was forced to feel only one feeling, ever, (happiness), no matter what.  I made it all the way through part III to a more upbeat ending than 1 had expected.  The coolest thing about part III though is what it taught me about the kid.  She'll take care of monitoring her own reading list.  She's aware of how things make her feel, and whether or not she wants to feel that way.  Is Good!

The mini-series ended with part V, another Doom Patrol/Justice League team-up.  While cleaning house, the kid and I came across parts III and V, the ones each of us hadn't finished.  1 assured me that part V ended well.  I assured her of the same thing with respect to part III as we sat down to read. 

And, Wow!  Part V was classic YoungAnimal Doom Patrol:  the heroes thought, and felt their way to saving the universe.  It was non-gendered story all about love, acceptance, and redemption even in the face of abject failure and the end of the world.  Like almost all Doom Patrol stories, it wasn't fun, and it's characters also set a good example!

Oh, and the story brought back //big spoiler here// Rita Farr aka Elastigirl!  The kid seems to have known this was coming all along.  Her first introduction to Doom Patrol was through the Teen Titans cartoon where Rita's adopted son Beast Boy is featured.  Even though Farr didn't appear in a single Doom Patrol story till part V of Milk Wars, 1 always kept her in the picture:  That's her there just to the right of Negative Man!

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