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The Doom Patrol Review

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DOOM PATROL

The Doom Patrol has long been compared to Marvel Comics' popular X-Men in terms of where they fit into the DC Universe. A lot of that comparison began simply because the Doom Patrol premiered in the pages of My Greatest Adventure a mere three months before The Uncanny X-Men hit the stands. While I enjoyed the original versions of both teams, The Doom Patrol is the one I stayed with over the years and various incarnations.

The X-Men were mutants, born with strange abilities, hunted and feared by the general populace of the planet, while the members of the Doom Patrol called themselves "freaks" and outcasts, normal people to whom amazing and catastrophic things occurred, changing them into beings that they believed were feared and disliked by normal humans.

The original Doom Patrol consisted of four people:

  • Cliff Steele, better known as Robotman. Cliff was a race car driver who had a tragic accident that almost killed him. Dr. Niles Caulder performed some nearly-miraculous surgery to transplant his brain into a robotic body possessed of great strength and durability.

  • Larry Trainor, Negative Man. Larry was an Air Force test pilot who was flying a plane that was caught in a burst of sunspot energy. Larry himself became radioactive, and was forced to live in a lead-lined room until an anonymous source created a type of shielded bandage that allowed him to move about with other people. Larry also soon found that he could release a being of Negative Energy from himself, which could fly at the speed of light and was only stopped by lead.
  • Rita Farr, also known as Elasti-Girl. Rita was a former swimmer and actress who had been overcome by strange volcanic fumes during a movie shoot. The fumes endowed her with the ability to change her size at will, but she felt it made her a freak and she quit her acting career and became a virtual recluse before she joined the Doom Patrol.
  • Dr. Niles Caulder, affectionately known as The Chief. Wheelchair-bound as a result of a daring encounter with his oldest enemy, General Immortus, the Chief is a brilliant scientist and strategist, was the anonymous benefactor who helped all of the others with their problems and, as was revealed decades later, was not entirely what he seemed.

Two other heroes can also be considered members of the original Doom Patrol team:

  • Beast Boy, now known as Changeling. Gar Logan was a young boy who was bitten by a poisonous snake, forcing his parents to use an untested serum on him to save his life. It worked, though it turned Gar's skin bright green and gave him the ability to change into animals. After his parents died in an accident, he was left in the care of Nicholas Galtry, a miserly villain who only wanted control over the vast fortune that Gar's parents had bequeathed him.
  • Mento, who was really billionaire industrialist Steve Dayton.

The team worked together for many years, gaining a reputation for handling truly odd menaces, such as The Brotherhood of Evil (formed by The Brain and M'Sieur Mallah, an intelligent gorilla), the Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, The Meteor Man, and Garguax's Plastic Men. Their final case was the one that truly cemented their reputations as being true heroes and to their living up to the name of "Doom Patrol". Captain Zahl and Madame Rouge (former member of the Brotherhood of Evil and one-time friend/lover to the Chief) captured the Doom Patrol on a Caribbean island, and gave them a decision to make ... the island was mined with explosives, as was a small New England fishing village. The Doom Patrol could save themselves or the village. Zahl, being so sure that the heroes would opt to save themselves, broadcast the entire affair to the world. Unfortunately, Zahl didn't quite get the answer he wanted, and the Doom Patrol went up in a horrific explosion as the island was blown to bits by the mad villain.



All images and logos ©2003 DC Comics. All text and html ©2003 Richard Meyer
DISCLAIMER: The Doom Patrol and all other characters and comic books mentioned in this site are the property of DC Comics, Inc. They are used here without permission. This page is created with the utmost respect for the characters and their creators, for the purpose of entertaining comic book fans and drawing more attention to these singular works.