Doom Patrol began as a feature in My Greatest Adventure, and when the team was awarded its own title, the numbering of MGA was continued (a common practice in the fifties and sixties to save on money when it came to post office mailing permit regulations).
Doom Patrol #102
"8 Against Eternity"
Script by Arnold Drake
Art by Bruno Premiani
Cover by Bob Brown
SYNOPSIS: The Chief received an emergency message from the Challengers of the Unknown, but unfortunately none of the Doom Patrol were in the headquarters. The Chief found Cliff as he was entertaining some sick children at the Mercy Hospital Carnival. Rita was relaxing around the swimming pool of Steve Dayton, otherwise known as Mento when Cliff arrived to collect her. Larry was being a test pilot again, this time in a newer model of the same plane that he flew when he first passed through the radiation belt that changed him into Negative Man. He was apparently glad to do it, both for the time behind the stick and the time in which he wouldn't have to wear his protective bandages, since he had already been exposed to the radiation the plane would be passing through. Larry decided to play "tag" with a missle that was being tested at the same time, but when the weapon went awry and couldn't be destroyed, Negative Man was forced to destroy it (after absorbing the energy of a nearby electrical storm.
The Challengers were already at Doom Patrol headquarters when the team arrived. After the obligatory squabble between Rocky and Cliff, Prof and The Chief reminded everyone of the task ahead of them, mainly finding the Challenger-Haters. Prof had run a 24-hour instrument surveillance of the same area that the undersea city had been, and had detected heavy blasting and continual drilling in the region. The Chief used his electronic brain to determine that Multi-Man and his compatriots were devising an army of zombies. The Chief explained that one of the theories surrounding the legend of Atlantis was that when the civilization sank into the sea, it was encased in a shell of lava that preserved everything inside it, much like a mummy.
At that same moment, the Challenger-Haters had come upon that very same well-preserved society, stopped in a very moment of time. Kra and Multi-Woman worked to use the super-science of Kra's planet to bring the Atlanteans back to life. The process succeeded, and Kra brought King Zatopa back to life, who agreed to use his army to help the Challenger-Haters, in return for them bringing his Queen back to life.
The zombie army attacked the surface world, using its ancient yet much more advanced technology to cut a path through defending armed forces. The Challengers and the Doom Patrol sped to the region in the Chief's rocket-foil, and Ace, Rita and Prof dove down to the site of Multi-Man's city. Multi-Man was on the alert though, and attacked the two teams, in the form of a manta ray, a giant shellfish, and finally a giant rooster fish. Rita managed to catch Multi-Man in the last form, using a giant clam to grab onto him safely. He escaped the clam by changing into a school of sardines, telling his enemies that while they were battling him, his zombie army was headed for the capital of Japorta and its first big victory. This prompted the rest of the team to head back to the rocket-foil and speed off for the endangered country.
Meanwhile, Gar Logan, better known as Beast Boy, was picked up by Mento (Steve Dayton), who had been ordered by the Chief to get the boy and head out to help. Using an incredibly fast aircraft, the two reached the Pacific location of Multi-Man's city in ninety minutes. The other two teams had reached Japorta, and found the capital under siege by the zombie army from Atlantis. They saw the ray guns the army had (which they suspected had been built by Kra) vaporize the metal dome of the capital building. Negative Man went to attack, believing that the heat rays couldn't affect him, but the energy that created the intense heat interrupted his "radio power", which caused his Negative Energy Being to break up into many pieces, and he only just barely gathered himself together before the sixty second time limit to use Negative Man was up. Negative Man instead ran interference for Red as he used a small explosive to unhorse King Zatopa. The King told his men not to kill Red or Larry, saying that they had only defended what was precious to them, as he himself was trying to do with his Queen.
Meanwhile, Volcano Man was attacking the others underwater, having learned to control his head so the steam wouldn't knock him over. He attacked Prof, but Mento's timely arrival upended the giant, but Kra was also on hand to remove Mento's helmet (and with it, his powers). Cliff, having been flown in by Negative Man, intercepted Kra, who started beating on the Doom Patroler, but Cliff magnetized his feet to Kra's robotic leg, and the giant robot ended up pulling off his own lef while he tried to destroy Cliff. Rita took care of Multi-Woman, but Multi-Man slipped away and transformed into a giant whale, capable of swallowing them all whole. Beast Boy, in the form of giant sea turtle, was able to divert his attention, and stopped the giant "Multi-Mammal" by transforming into a mass of barnacles that soon grew to cover and weigh down the large creature.
Negative Man flew the King back to be with his petrified Queen as the domed city collapsed upon itself, with the Challengers and the Doom Patrol barely escaping the destruction. The zombie army in Japorta also crumbled to dust the same time that the city sundered itself, and the Challengers and the Doom Patrol returned home, to the usual arguments all around.
COMMENTS: This was a good ending for this rare two-part story (rare as in spanning two separate books back before the days of long-winded annual crossovers), and the highlight was the excellent Arnold Drake script. You could really feel the camaraderie between the DP members and the Challs ... I've always felt that both teams were scripted easily on a par with the best of the Fantastic Four or Avengers stories of the time over at Marvel, particularly Doom Patrol. Bruno Premiani's artwork was, of course, a treat to see.
I also liked the inclusion of Beast Boy and Mento to the tale, and all it was really missing to make it perfect was to have an appearance by June Robbins on the Challengers' side of the coin. This was a wonderful little story featuring what I would consider DC's two best second-tier teams.
Like in the previous chapter to this story, Rita once again exhibited the ability to enlarge just a limb instead of her whole body. I don't know why I don't like that particular aspect of her abilities, but I just don't, probably because it strains even comic-book-physics (how could her normal-size body and musculature move or even support a giant limb?).
Doom Patrol #103
"The Meteor Man"
Script by Arnold Drake
Art by Bruno Premiani
Cover by Bob Brown
SYNOPSIS: Eighty miles above the Earth, the Meteor Man burst through the side of the rocket also holding the Doom Patrol (and Mento). The hole through which their air was rapidly escaping was plugged by Cliff Steele's torso, and Larry sought to land the damage rocket, while remembering the events that had led up to that moment.
Professor Randolph Ormsby joined the Chief and the Doom Patrol on "Operation Shooting Star". Ormsby was a hypochondriac and sneezed and coughed constantly. Mento joined them and the rocket took off on its mission to study a giant meteor, which they hoped would help them unlock the secret of Earth's own origin. Larry was worried about the radiation, but The Chief insisted that the ship was much more heavily shielded than his jet fighter had been. The rocket soon came upon the meteor they were to study and the began taking measurements with their sensitive instruments. Ormsby, manning the "Big Ear" that analyzed cosmic rays, accidentally sneezed and hit the control to full power, which directed the entire stream of cosmic rays from the meteor to him. Before Cliff could turn the device off, Ormsby had changed, growing into a flaming giant with an iron core ... a living meteor. After Cliff failed to restrain him, the "Meteor Man" burst from the rocket.
The rocket began shaking tremendously, and apparently caused a hatch to open. As Mento tried to close it, he found it pushed back out, by none other than Beast Boy, who had stowed away aboard the ship. Beast Boy changed into a large elephant to help stop Cliff from vibrating his way out of the hole he was plugging up. Meanwhile, the Meteor Man had landed on Earth and began a rampage of sorts, which was still being interrupted by sneezing (though now he sneezed a fiery fallout). The Doom Patrol landed safely and investigated the damage the giant had caused, finding the word "help" written out in giant smoking letters on the side of a hill, indicating that some part of Ormsby was still in control of The Meteor Man.
The Chief's first plan of attack was to have Larry bomb the Meteor Man with shells filled with carbon-dioxide foam to snuff the creature's flames. It worked temporarily, but started cracking allowing oxygen in to re-ignite the Meteor Man. Cliff then taunted the giant, who chased him and fell into a pit that had been dug by Rita and Mento, who then buried the Meteor Man quickly, hoping to put out his fires and buy them time to find a cure for his condition. The giant still gabve off enough heat to make Cliff's feet begin to melt on the ground above his prison, and the heat turned the silcon deposits in the trap to glass, which cracked and exploded with the Meteor Man's next sneeze.
The Chief had Larry release Negative Man, who sped to Steve (Mento) Dayton's mansion and retrieved his giant Brain-Wave Transmitter. While they waited for Negative Man to return, Mento created a wall in front of the Meteor Man, which slowed the creature down but also drained the hero. With the Transmitter, Mento's powers were vastly increased and he was able to levitate the giant off the ground, which caused him to shrink and burn out. The Meteor Man, deprived of contact with the ground and iron ore, quickly reverted to Ormsby.
COMMENTS: This story had all the elements of your average Doom Patrol adventure ... a lot of action, good characterization and a goofy villain. And an "average" DP story is usually a mile ahead of the next best story out there. Bruno Premiani did his usual outstanding job on the interior artwork, and Bob Brown gave us a unique version of the team on the cover.
"No Home For a Robot"
Script by Arnold Drake
Art by Bruno Premiani
SYNOPSIS: In this chapter of the "Robotman-iac" series featuring Robotman before he joined the Doom Patrol, The Chief is still searching for the missing Cliff Steele, who was acting like a criminal because of some loose wires in his robotic head. Cliff had gone to visit and hopefully hide out at his brother Randy's house. Randy was not sure that Cliff should stay, but his wife Helen welcomed his brother with open arms. Randy did manage to get Cliff to leave, but as he did, Cliff noticed that Randy's house was being cased by a couple of unsavory-looking characters. When Randy left with the two hoods, Cliff followed them to Davis Experimental Industries, where Randy worked. Randy and the thugs walked past numerous top secret weapons and projects, finally stopping and picking up a pair of special jet packs. Cliff also overheard the thugs tell Randy that since he had kept his end up, they would call his house and have his wife released. Once the word was given that Helen was safe, Cliff charged in, but the rocket packs allowed the criminals to easily evade him.
Meanwhile, the Mayor was after Lt. Briar to find the runaway robot, and placed a news story revealing that Dr. Niles Caulder had actually created Robotman in the paper. Cliff had sworn revenge on the man who had put him in his metal body, but he first planned to assist the flying crooks in their robberies, so that Randy wouldn't be implicated if they were captured by the police. Cliff did manage to keep the police off the thugs' trail, and then tracked them back to the experimental factory. There the crooks held Cliff off for awhile using the variety of high-tech weapons, including a powerful laser and a new tank. He captured the men and forced them to call the police and explain that Randy had been forced to work for them.
Lt. Briar had set up a trap to destroy Cliff outside the factory, but the Chief's quick thinking alerted him to the problem and he was able to get away. Randy patched Cliff's body up, and Robotman left his brother's home right before Lt. Briar forced his way in to search for the missing robot.
COMMENTS: The "Robotman-iac" series was a great little story all the way through. It's always interesting watch Cliff mature and start to become adjusted to his new situation. When he first found himself in the robot body, he swore complete vengeance on the Chief (not known who he was) and went on a rampage. Suddenly, even knowing who was responsible for his condition, Cliff was in control and adjusted to his new state enough to put off his plans and help his brother.
Interestingly enough, I don't believe Cliff's brother Randy and his family was seen again until they showed up in a recent (2003) issue of the current Doom Patrol series.
Doom Patrol #104
"The Bride of the Doom Patrol"
Script by Arnold Drake
Art by Bruno Premiani
Cover by Bruno Premiani
SYNOPSIS: Rita wanted to go to the Modern Art Museum, but everyone else in the Doom Patrol was busy with some sort of testing work (Larry was testing a device to channel his radioactivity into a single beam, Cliff was checking out his improved electro-magnetic feet, and the Chief was looking into some unidentifited radio signals he had noticed the previous day (probably from a distant "radio star")). Rita was pondering her lot in life when she suddenly began shaking and rose off the chair she was on and flew out the window, much to the amazement of the others. Negative Man went after her, but was stopped from grabbing Rita by an invisible wall of energy, which also paralyzed her (though she could still grow and shrink).
Minutes later, Rita was levitated into the familiar mansion of the fifth richest man in the world, Steve Dayton, also known as Mento. Mento had brought Rita to him using his newest gadget, a transformer that magnified his super-brain power, saying he had designed it to lift an object that weighed exactly 118 pounds ... Rita! Elasti-Girl was, needless to say, not all that interested. Cliff crashed through the wall in the next moment, and destroyed Mento's transformer. Mento levitated Cliff off the ground, but the mechanical man ripped off one of his hands and threw it at the billionaire hero, damaging the circuits in his helmet. Rita had to step in to prevent Cliff from killing Mento, and yelled at both Cliff and Larry to stay out of her affairs. Rita also, however, rebuffed Mento's attempt to kiss her after the others had left.
On the way back to headquarters, The Chief, Larry and Cliff happened a bank robbery in progress, and quickly apprehended the crooks. Rita was waiting for them back at headquarters, but before she could berate them for their infantile behavior, the Chief received an urgent call for help from the site of a cave-in. Seven men at a tunnel site were trapped under tons of sand, and the Doom Patrol headed in to help. Cliff ripped off the back of a dump truck, and Negative Man punched dozens of tiny holes in it by making his body needle thin. Rita then enlarged and used it as a sieve to sort through the sand and rock until they got to the trapped men. After all of them were rescued, Rita continued to give her comrades the cold shoulder.
That night, Steve and Rita attended a "gay social affair", and Steve was showing off by balancing a $50,000 Ming vase at the end of a stick. A drunk (who, to me, looked a heckuva lot like Tony Stark) wanted to start a fight with Steve, and the "fifth richest man in the world" laid him out without dropping the vase. Later in the evening, Steve proposed marriage to Rita, and kissed her without getting slapped. Rita wouldn't give an answer to his proposal right away though, saying that there was too much at stake for her, a sentiment that Steve understood.
The next day, the Doom Patrol was called in to help in a hostage situation. "Killer" Keller was holding a housewife in her home and Rita shrank down, hiding inside the daily newspaper, and surprised the thug. Rita still wouldn't say much to her friends, though she did say their somewhat condescending attitude helped her make an important decision. Later, Larry and Cliff read in the evening newspaper that Rita had agreed to wed Steve Dayton. Larry, however, had a scheme to make sure the marriage never took place, and Cliff readily agreed to help him.
On the morning of the wedding, Larry anmd Cliff had a special message be delivered to Rita, who was at the altar with Steve and the Chief. The two had a change of heart, and tried to intercept the messenger, but Rita got ahold of it anyway. The message had been from Rita's old studio, M-B-M, and said that the studio was going broke and the head man had wanted Steve to get Rita back by any means possible. Even though Larry admitted that he had concocted the message, Rita refused to marry Steve, saying that she knew that Larry and Cliff really cared about her from all that they were willing to give up in order to make sure she was happy.
Mento walked the streets of the city, haunted by the cries of newspaper boys touting his rejection and by the fact that the one thing he wanted in the world was the only thing he couldn't buy ... Rita. Larry and Cliff were doing everything they could to cheer Rita up, who was very depressed over losing Mento, whom she did truly love. Mento also refitted himself in a new costume and a rebuilt psychokinetic helmet that had five times the power of his original one. He realized that Cliff and Larry had tricked Rita into turning him down, and called the two out for a duel outside of the Doom Patrol headquarters the next day. Cliff lost a foot to Mento's improved helmet, which also had a new radio-interference ray that was able to tear holes into Mento. Rita charged out to help her partners and grew right into the path of one of Mento's blasts, which blinded her, making her fall on Cliff and allowing Mento to escape. After Rita was given medical attention, Cliff barged into Mento's mansion and wrecked the place, with his butler trying to stop him with a shotgun. Rita appeared to have been blinded permanently by Mento's blast.
Meanwhile, a spaceship was arriving on the dark side of the moon, where the alien Garguax had set up his base of operations. The occupants of the spacecraft were The Brain and Madame Rouge, of the Brotherhood of Evil, and they revealed a devilish plan that they had executed flawlessly: Madame Rouge had used her malleable abilities to disguise herself as Mento, and used Garguax's technology to duplicate his abillities, and had been the Mento who attacked the Doom Patrol earlier that day. The villains hoped that the heroes would destroy one another to wipe away the greatest threat to their plans for the conquest of Earth.
Back on Earth, The Chief was able to use his machines to cure Rita's blindness, and in the process discovered that the ray that had caused it had been produced by an element that didn't exist on Earth (which he had uncovered in his analysis of a distant star). The Chief immediately called Cliff, telling him and the others to stop all activity until they had heard what he had to say. Soon after, the three villains on the moon, joined by M'Sieur Mallah, watched the events on Earth as Mento squared off against Robotman and Negative Man. Mento made short work of the two, but Elasti-Girl soon arrived and waded into battle with her ex-fiance, crushing his helmet and throwing him into the river. As she went to help Cliff, she was captured in a plastic bag that was too strong for her to tear. Cliff ezplained that the fight had been a hoax to trap whomever had blinded her. Madame Rouge, Mallah and Garguax arrived and agreed that it would've been a clever plan if it hadn't been for Elasti-Girl.
Garguax destroyed one of Cliff's legs, and Madame Rouge set about strangling Rita when the Chief grabbed her, using the giant claw from his Action Chair. Cliff also replaced his missing leg with a tree limb, allowing him to grab Mallah and toss him out of the action. Garguax's ship flew over them and Madame Rouge grabbed it, letting all three villains beat a hasty retreat. Rita begged Steve to forgive her for thinking he could've hurt her, and he asked her one last time if she would marry him, and she readily agreed. Three hours later, the two were married, with the Doom Patrol, Beast Boy, and a host of other luminaries in attendance. Unfortunately for Mento, before the honeymoon could begin, the Doom Patrol was called off on another emergency.
COMMENTS: You've got to love any Silver Age story that is allowed to have major effects on characters, and this is one of the better DP stories in that category (surpassed only, of course, by #121). Marriage isn't exactly a common event in comics today, even with the high profile vows of Superman and Spider-Man, so this was a fairly unexpected event to see go all the way (if you'll pardon the pun). Rita and Steve definitely had one of the strangest courtships in history, and I'm glad everyone finally got things straightened out and the two of them got together ... just brings more of a "family" sense to the book, which has always been one of comics' better ones in terms of characterizations and having super-folk act like regular people.
Bruno Premiani did another great job on the artwork in this issue. I suppose I don't need to say that in every review I do, but I think it bears repeating. This guy is just a damn fine artist and really made you think that the DP was just a bunch of normal people in extraordinary circumstances.
For the trivia buffs out there, the "super" guests at the wedding included Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Robin, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, and Super-Hip (from The Adventures of Bob Hope).
Doom Patrol #121
"The Death of the Doom Patrol?"
Script by Arnold Drake
Art by Bruno Premiani
Cover by Joe Orlando
SYNOPSIS: This issue begins with a sequence featuring artist Bruno Premiani and editor Murray Boltinoff, who were leaving the fate of the Doom Patrol in the hands of the readers (which Murray called "the marines" to help the team).
Madame Rouge, having reverted to her completely evil self, bombed the Parisian headquarters of her former allies, the Brotherhood of Evil, literally blowing the Brain and Mallah sky-high. In the Doom Patrol's headquarters, the Chief had determined that Rouge was behind the deaths of their longtime enemies, but Cliff and Larry didn't really believe him until a car screeched to a halt outside the building and a volley of machine gun fire rattled the building. Negative Man sped a bystander caught in the firefight to the hospital, while Cliff retrieved the empty shell casings for ballistic information. Cliff found one "dud" that hadn't fired, and the Chief told him to put it under the sofa cushion quickly. It exploded, destroying the chair, the shell casings, and Cliff's right hand.
Meanwhile Rita, who had been with her husband Steve Dayton at the school he was teaching at, hurried back to headquarters after hearing about the attacks on the radio. She was met at the door by Cliff and Larry, both toting sub-machine guns. Shortly afterwards, the Chief's radarscope detected incoming aerial attackers, as three helicopters blasted the headquarters with streams of napalm. Luckily, the building was fireproof, and the Chief's anti-aircraft weapons, and Negative Man, took out the attacking choppers. Amid the chaos of the aftermath, which left much of their neighborhood devastated, Wilber Boggs, a government representative, arrived to tell them that a sanctuary had been prepared for them so that the city would be safe. Against Cliff's wishes, the Chief and the others acquiesed, agreeing to move to the new location. Their departure from the city was met with a jeering crowd (who apparently didn't have all the information on their reasons for leaving). In the plane however, the Chief revealed that this had all been part of his plan, moving them to a new command post for a counterattack.
The Caribbean island they arrived at was a very high-tech base, powered by a nuclear reactor and protected by missles. Unfortunately, a submarine 200 fathoms below them commanded by Captain Zahl and Madame Rouge indicated that their arrival had not gone unnoticed. Zahl sent in his demolition squad, as he wanted The Chief in particular dead, as the scientist's radar devices and anti-U-boat bombs had been instrumental in the defeat of Hitler's plans and also been responsible for the injuries Zahl suffered during the war (requiring him now to live with a metal collar to support his own head, as well as costing him an arm). The demolition squad divers snuck onto the island and blew up the transport plane that brought the team to their new headquarters.
Cliff made fairly short work of the divers, and Captain Zahl revealed himself to the Doom Patrol. He fired a special shell at Larry, which blasted sand into his skin that was completely radio-resistant and imprisoned Negative Man inside his body. Rita was captured in a steel net, and Cliff was hit by a magnetic charge that permanently froze half of the small motors that powered his mechanical body. Zahl then produced his master plan. Broadcasting every word they said to the world at large, he gave the Doom Patrol a choice. Either the New England fishing village of Codsville, Maine (and its fourteen inhabitants) would die in two minutes, or the Doom Patrol would. He wanted to prove that The Chief would opt to save his own life before anyone else's (like any man would, he rationalized). The Doom Patrol gave him the only answer possible: "Fire away!" Before Madame Rouge could stop him, Zahl blew up the island, apparently killing the entire Doom Patrol.
The news of the death of the Doom Patrol went quickly around an unbelieving world. The people of Codsville, Maine decided to rename their village Four Heroes, Maine, hoping to make it a place that the Doom Patrol could be proud of. Steve Dayton's yacht couldn't get close to the site of the island, as the ocean floor was still boiling as a result of the explosion. He tossed a single rose into the water, and vowed to spend every dollar of his fortune to destroy those responsible for taking his wife from him.
Our tale ended with Bruno Premiani and Murray Boltinoff again asking for their readers' help in saving the Doom Patrol, saying that only a miracle could change that ending.
COMMENTS: You know, with all the fantasy that goes on in your average comic, it wasn't too often that a story could really stand out, especially during the Silver Age. This is one of the few stories that a lot of people really remember. There really hadn't been all that much actual death in comic books. There had been "death", but the characters came back next issue or the next year as good as new. This story was something a little different ... the good guys lost, even though they really did win, saving the lives of others with their sacrifice. This tale, and the issues of Justice League of America that featured the death of the Red Tornado (and revealed the death of Wing) were two stories that I read when I was first starting to get into comic books and they showed me, even at that young age, that this was a medium that had a lot of potential. It wasn't until years later, with works such as Watchmen, V for Vendetta and Sandman that I really understood how good things could get with a simple little comic book ... but this was a great start. Yeah, I know that the only people still dead from those two tales are Rita and Wing, but the changes made by later writers in no way lessen the impact of the originals.
Bruno Premiani's artwork is at its peak in this issue. The framing sequence with him and Murray Boltinoff was interesting, and the last time I read the story I was amazed at how a lot of his line work reminds me of the work of one of my favorite "alternative" artists, Daniel Clowes now.
Doom Patrol #122
"The Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Menace"
Script by Arnold Drake and Bob Haney
Art by Bruno Premiani
Cover by Bob Brown and Bruno Premiani (reformatted version of the cover to issue #89)
"We Battle the Micro-Monster"
Inks by Mort Meskin
COMMENTS: The lead story was originally printed in Doom Patrol #89. The back-up feature, from My Greatest Adventure #76, does not feature the Doom Patrol. This issue also has a text feature, "Meet ... the Doom Patrol" that recounts the origins of Negative Man, Robotman and Elasti-Girl.
Doom Patrol #123
"Menace of the Turnabout Heroes"
Script by Arnold Drake
Art by Bruno Premiani
Cover by Bob Brown and Bruno Premiani (reformatted version of the cover to issue #95)
COMMENTS: The lead story was originally printed in Doom Patrol #95. This issue also features a text page of "The Men Behind ... the Doom Patrol", with a lot of biographical information on Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani.
Doom Patrol #124
"The Enemy Within The Doom Patrol"
Script by Arnold Drake
Art by Bruno Premiani
Cover by Bob Brown and Bruno Premiani (reformatted version of the cover to issue #90)
COMMENTS: The lead story was originally printed in Doom Patrol #90.
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