Staff Picks – Week of 31/01/2018

JLA/Doom Patrol Special #1
Steve Orlando/Gerard Way (w), Aco (a)
DC Comics

Liz says: Unsurprisingly, the first chapter of ‘Milk Wars’, DC’s Young Animal/Justice League of America crossover, is utterly bonkers, borderline-incomprehensible and darned entertaining at the same time.

The Justice League of America (not the Justice League, to be clear) are the perfect characters to make first contact with the Young Animal branch of the DC universe. They’re the misfits of the DCU, a team formed of ex-villains and anti-heroes, brought together by Batman to better themselves through teamwork. The Doom Patrol, meanwhile, are an even stranger bunch, composed of high-concept ideas in human(-ish) form. Their collision was bound to be strange, and strange it most certainly is.

It all kicks off when an extra-physical corporation called Retconn sends a brainwashed copy of Superman (called Milkman Man) to Earth-Prime to condition the current population into something less idiosyncratic and more (ahem) homogenous, using Retconn’s brand of mind-controlling milk. One sip is enough to turn the entire JLA into a 1950’s-style neighbourhood-watch of the Pleasantville-esque town of Happy Harbor, Rhode Island. It falls to the Doom Patrol to save them.

As wacky as some (well, a lot) of this is, it’s also engaging, enjoyable and full of interesting ideas about art and identity. Aco’s artwork is just fantastic; even if you took away every bit of dialogue, I reckon you’d be able to follow the story just as easily.

Even if you haven’t been following the Young Animal books, or the JLA for that matter, this issue is worth picking up just for how refreshingly bizarre it is. Might just be the jumping on point you need for something new and different, which I suppose is the whole point!

Hi-Fructose Vol. 46
Ouchfactory Yumclub

Karl says: The first issue of Hi-Fructose of 2018 and it’s off to a great start with a beautiful cover by Los Angelino Young Chun who gets an in depth feature and interview within. As always the interviews and articles about the dozen or so artists covered in this volume are insightful and expertly curated. The excellent insert on lovely matte paper looks at the dreamlike work of Laurie Lipton whose beautiful drawings really benefit from being highlighted in this way.

Another article on the splendid sculptures of one Johnson Tsang describe them as “lucid dreams in a freeze-frame state” and that gives a hint at these wonderfully weird creations. Whether you are familiar with these artists and look forward to an interview with a favourite creator, or are just dipping in to find something new and awesome, Hi-Fructose always delivers the goods.

Kakegurui 3
Homura Kawamoto and Toru Naomura
Yen press

Clair says: Kagegurui is a macabre take on a Japanese highschool’s obsessed with gambling, risk and public humiliation. The third instalment follows Yumeko and her naive but sinister addiction to high risk games which lands her in a life or death situation involving cleverly written twists paired with beautiful art.

I recommend this series for those who are a fan of horror, “mystery” and a sick twist on a coming of age classroom dynamic.