Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Review # 162: "All-New Doop"

When news broke last year that Peter Milligan would be returning to Marvel to pen a miniseries about Doop - the green blob he created in the pages of X-Force/X-Statix - I was thrilled. Unfortunately, I think I set my expectations too high.

I love what Milligan did with the small character - in stature and notoriety - in the pages of his classic series. Some of the stories were very strange. For example, the silent issue with a universe in a popped blackhead that sucked all of his ex-teammates inside. There's also the saga of his brain being split into several pieces. These stories were what came to the forefront when I thought about the possibilities.

The problem is I forgot about Milligan's only real Doop-centric series that didn't directly involve X-Statix: "Wolverine & Doop." It's a cheeky pair of issues that become just a little bit too bizarre for me to buy into. "All-New Doop" is similar to that degree. As I read through its pages, things get too strange or too loose to be believable even under the wacky rules that govern the Marvel universe.

There are two storylines at play. The first ties in directly to the major "Battle of the Atom" X-Men crossover as Doop drops in and out of time to play a bigger role in the story's events than originally suggested, including attempts at a romantic relationship with Kitty Pryde. The second storyline deals with Doop's very existence as a - quote - "marginal character." Milligan takes that designation a step further by allowing Doop to leap from margin to margin in a page, controlling time and taking other characters with him.

It's a novel concept, but it's "marginalized" as it were by inconsistencies that don't match up with past events as they've appeared. The first is Doop "learning" broken English to communicate with Kitty. This doesn't sync with the "X-Statix vs. Avengers" storyline as it was established then that Doop was already capable of speaking perfect English. Other problems pop up through flashbacks including a shot of X-Statix in action where U-Go-Girl is seen fighting alongside Venus Dee Milo. (For the record, U-Go-Girl was killed off and Venus was her replacement.) Perhaps it's a commentary by Milligan about how "marginal characters" can have inconsistent histories, but given that most of the people who picked up this series are fans of "X-Statix," errors like that are going to get noticed. They pile up to the point that it becomes impossible to believe this has any bearing on the established mutant reality and kills the joke of Doop being involved.

Still, I am far away from condemning this book as - if those problems are thrown out the window under the thought that this isn't actually happening in the mainstream universe - it's just fine. And given Milligan's semi-canonical work in the past, it's a fair assumption. While I don't like it as much as a few Doop stories (including the incredible issue of "Wolverine and the X-Men" centred on the green blob by Jason Aaron and Mike Allred, the latter of whom is sadly not drawing "All-New Doop,") it's still a fun book with a strong dose of weirdness and some fun fan service. There's an absolutely hilarious X-Statix cameo that I loved as someone who collected the series.

To that degree, though, I feel it's more for fans only. Appreciating Doop comes with appreciating "X-Statix." Hopefully Milligan follows up on the hints here that the team makes its return.

Rating: 7/10

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