Ten Pounds of Crap
Writer: Gerard Way
Penciller & Cover: Nick Derington
Inker & Variant Cover Artist: Tom Fowler
Colorist: Tamra Bonvillain
Letterer: Todd Klein
Special Thanks: Jeremy Lambert
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: April 25, 2018
**NON SPOILERS AND SCORE AT THE BOTTOM**
Well, well, well, look who decided to finally show up to the party? Months after it ended, even! It’s going to be tough for me to put my feelings about this disaster of a volume aside when I review its final issue, Doom Patrol #11. But I did my best, and you can read it right here!
The one-time penultimate issue, initially planned to lead into the Young Animal crossover event “Milk Wars,” has now arrived—only issue #11 is now the final issue of Doom Patrol, and “Milk Wars” ended two months ago. Better late than never? I admit that it’s tough to review this issue without considering the absolutely clusterfuck that has been its release schedule, but I will do my best. Tune in to this week’s Young Animal segment on the Weird Science DC Comics Dot Com Podcast to get an earful of what I really think.
This being the final issue of Doom Patrol, it’s time to explain just what the honking hell has been going on. And to its credit, this issue does exactly that…in what is one of the most cumbersome infodumps I have seen in comic books for some time. The chatter begins on page 5 and doesn’t let up until the end. Haxxalon the Star Archer explains where he came from: he is the manifestation of a narrative created for an action figure line that was unceremoniously cancelled. In order to bring himself into tangible reality, he usurped Retconn’s God of Superheroes, using Danny the Brick which was somehow brought to him by Crazy Jane, and then finds he has to recreate the wedding scene from his comic book. Haxxalon does this with Rita Farr, which is how she got involved in this mishegoss during Milk Wars. Still following?
Terry None has her baby upon arrival at Retconn, and it is immediately spirited away. We know now that it becomes Milkman Man during “Milk Wars,” somehow. Mister Nobody of the Brotherhood of Nada is given the choice to broadcast his brand of offbeat surrealism throughout the galaxy, if he’ll stop undermining Retconn, and he accepts the offer—by then forcing his daughter Terry to tap dance. So she doesn’t die. Maybe. Whatever her deal is, she’s off the playing field. Meanwhile, Crazy Jane is made to confront her other personalities within the subway system that is an allegory for her mind, and upon doing so finds out that she had powers before being exposed to the Gene Bomb—this would have happened way back in 1987, during the Invasion! crossover event that heralded Grant Morrison’s run on Doom Patrol. Learning this, she returns to Retconn to thwart Haxxalon from destroying everything with a “destroy everything” switch. With his dying breath, he turns back into the visible Haxxalon, which is nice enough I suppose.
And the folks at Retconn tell Cliff that he’s not Cliff at all, but manifested fan fiction written since the time of Grant Morrison’s run—that would be the last time he was real. Why don’t they just have a picture of Gerard Way suckling at Grant Morrison’s teat? For crying out loud. For all that “happened” in this series, Way might have saved us all the trouble and just written Morrison a sappy love letter. We know now that Cliff turns into a Homer Simpson-esque human at the end of “Milk Wars,” and that Rita Farr joins the team without anyone knowing she’s a “new” addition, so a lot of this information is pointless now. And to add insult to injury, the last panel suggests we see the continuation of this story in June, when the “Milk Wars” trade collection comes out. Or, you know, you could be a loyal customer and have read “Milk Wars” as it came out EIGHT FUCKING WEEKS AGO.
Taken as a single issue, #11 is quite the slog of dialogue to wend through. Loose ends are tied up at such a clip so as to make the accompanying pictures ancillary. And the pictures do look terrific, but the entire comic book is not very enjoyable. Even Lotion the Human Cat shows up, if only to remind us that he existed. For the series, I must deem it a complete failure given how poorly it’s ended, all the promise of past storylines wasted on this rushed, unpleasant fever scrawl. This is certainly something that will read better as a trade, and still might not be entirely satisfying, at that. But what other recourse does the reader have when the comics themselves are recommending trade collections in call-outs? Way to make the Wednesday Warriors feel useless as shit.
Bits and Pieces:
This issue could be titled "Everything You Wanted to Know About Young Animal's Doom Patrol, But Were Afraid to Ask." Many loose ends are tied up, in rushed and unsatisfying ways that should please only the most sycophantic reader. The rest of us will know we've been hoodwinked when we see the final panel's suggestion that we pick up the "Milk Wars" trade collection. That's the unkindest cut of all.