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The Doom Patrol Review


Showcase #94 presents The New Doom PatrolShowcase #94 Presents The New Doom Patrol

"The Doom Patrol Lives Forever"
Script by Paul Kupperberg
Art by Joe Staton
Cover by Jim Aparo

SYNOPSIS: Months ago, the original Doom Patrol met their ends at the hands of Madame Rouge and the murderous Captain Zahl, sacrificing their lives so that a small fishing community might live. The damaged but still surviving body of Robotman washed ashore a Caribbean island and was found by robotics expert Dr. Will Magnus, the creator of the Metal Men.

After Magnus repaired Robotman and gave himi an new robot body, Cliff returned the the mansion that had been the Doom Patrol's headquarters in Midway City. He found the meeting room occupied by three people he had never seen before: Celsius (Arani), who could project flames or ice from her hands; Tempest (Joshua Clay), who could emit powerful blasts from his hands that could cause damage or allow him to fly; and Negative Woman (Valentina Vostok), who could transform herself into a Negative Energy Being similar to the one that the original Negative Man could send forth from his body. After the obligatory brief battle, and introductions, Celsius told Robotman that the new Doom Patrol had been gathered together to battle the menace of General Immortus, one of the original Doom Patrol's oldest foes (pun intended). Celsius indicated that the villain was on the verge of discovering a new supply of his immortality serum, from herself. Robotman had finally agreed to help the new DP stop Immortus, when the villain and his men crashed in through the reinforced wall of the mansion. General Immortus demanded that they hand over the formula that Niles Caulder (The Chief) had discovered, and attacked when he was refused by Celsius. The Doom Patrol was on the verge of defeating Immortus's forces when Negative Woman was trapped in a lead sheath and taken hostage. This forced the others to stop fighting, and a noxious gas caused them all to lose consciousness.

Meanwhile, Lt. Matt Cable at the Fenwick Military Academy was being given orders to find an apprehend a Russian defector ... Valentina Vostok!

Showcase #95 presents The New Doom PatrolShowcase #95 Presents The New Doom Patrol

Script by Paul Kupperberg
Art by Joe Staton and Francisco Chiaramonte
Cover by Jim Aparo

SYNOPSIS: General Immortus captured the new Doom Patrol and was attempting to wrest the secret of Niles Caulder's immortality serum from Celsius, using his Psycho-Probe. Robotman managed to break out of the titanium steel chains that held him and freed Tempest. Unfortunately, Tempest was knocked out before he could free Negative Woman, and Immortus used a high-voltage current to incapacitate Robotman.

Continuing with the Psycho-Probe on Celsius, the viewscreen revealed that Arani had been found and nursed back to health by Caulder when he was working in a Red Cross hospital in Calcutta. They fell in love, but Caulder couldn't afford to take her back to the United States with him at that moment, so he left her with a sect of Holy Men in the hills, where she learned to read and became aware of her powers to generate fire and ice. She continued to train until Caulder returned years later, after a mysterious benefactor had provided him with unlimited funds for his experiments (the benefactor was, in fact, Immortus). Caulder married Arani, and his wedding present to her was a sample of his immortality formula.

Meanwhile, Matt Cable had arrived in Midway City to find Valentina Vostok (Negative Woman), staking out the Doom Patrol Headquarters. He noticed that Igor Brunovich, a KGB agent was doing the same, and apparently for the same reason. Cable attempted to get inside the DP mansion, and was nearly killed by the security system.

As Immortus continued his painful probe of Celsius' mind, the rage built up in Tempest until finally he destroyed his bonds, just as the madman was about to find the secret he had been looking for. Tempest freed Robotman and the two sped after the fleeing Immortus, who escaped behind a closing door. Tempest freed Negative Woman while Robotman removed Celsius from the Psycho-Probe. Robotman then punched through the wall to get them out of Immortus' base, only to discover that they were on the Moon. Celsius was able to plug the hole in the wall with ice before all of the air escaped, and the group headed after Immortus, who was being defended by a small army.

The team waded through the men and got to General Immortus just as he was drinking the Immortality Serum. He quickly reverted back to being a young man. Immortus' men came in and were ordered to attack the Doom Patrol, and a wayward energy blast hit the main control center for the base. As everyone headed for the rocket port, Immortus was slowly reverting back into an old man, and eventually laid down, too tired to move. As the new Doom Patrol rocketed back to Earth, Celsius explained that the Immortality Serum had to be adjusted to an individual's body chemistry, otherwise it would be useless.

Upon returning to their headquarters in Midway City, they were met in their meeting room by Matt Cable, who said he had some questions for them.

COMMENTS: I want to say right off that I like the New Doom Patrol. But there are some things I wish would've been done differently. Robotman's new body was lifted almost completely from that of Rog-2000, created by Joe Staton's fellow Charlton alumnus, John Byrne. The segmented-limb look just never really fit Cliff, in my opinion, and luckily it was only used in one more adventure (in Superman Family). The team also seemed to be a complete knock-off of the New X-Men, which was just gaining popularity back then. You've got your multicultural group, but the freak aspect was really gone from the team (except for Cliff), and they really became just a group of average super-heroes. And most of the costumes seemed to have been designed for Legionnaires, especially Tempest's "bare-legged" look.

That said, the first two-part story of the New DP was fairly good, though it naturally didn't compare to any of the Drake/Premiani works. The tale did pay respect to continuity and DC history, and the appearance of both Doc Magnus and Matt Cable (from Swamp Thing) were nice touches. I really liked Jim Aparo's covers, and wish he would've done more work on the Doom Patrol, as he really seemed to have a better handle on the characters than Joe Staton did (or any of the artists in their period of being guest-stars in other comics, except for Keith Giffen, of course).

This story also established a relationship between Cliff Steele and the Doom Patrol with Will Magnus of the Metal Men, which would be remembered by Grant Morrison and Rachel Pollack during the "Vertigo" series.

Showcase #96 presents The New Doom PatrolShowcase #96 Presents The New Doom Patrol

Script by Paul Kupperberg
Art by Joe Staton and Bruce Patterson
Cover by Jim Aparo

SYNOPSIS: Lt. Matt Cable of U.S. Intelligence was in the Doom Patrol's Midway City headquarters to arrest the team, and Negative Woman in particular. Lt. Colonel Valentina Vostok was a Russian Cosmonaut and a defector. When Cable said that everyone was coming with him, Robotman disarmed him and used his strength to mold Cable's gun into a pair of handcuffs, locking the agent in a broom closet).

After getting into an arguement with both Tempest and Robotman, Negative Woman bid them farewell and left the room, only to come face to face with the Cossack, a man on a horse with a glowing sword who had crashed in through the wall. She changed into her Negative Energy form, but was knocked unconscious when the electrical energy of the blade disrupted her. The noise of the fight brought the others into the fray as The Cossack tossed the unconscious Russian over the back of his horse. Tempest (who was quite taken with Negative Woman) surged to the front and was amazed at the speed at which the Cossack could move. The villain pushed Robotman aside effortlessly and his horse leapt out the hole in the wall to the street below. As the team tried to pursue the Cossack on foot, his horse grew wings and took to the air. The Doom Patrol followed soon after in a helicopter.

Meanwhile, Cable had managed to free himself and had emerged from the building in time to see the helicopter fly away. He was also seen by KGB agent Igor Brunovich, who pulled a gun on Cable. Cable was able to get the drop on the agent and knocked him out, pulling him back inside the DP HQ.

The DP helicopter caught up with the Cossack and Robotman leapt out of the cockpit, landing on the back of the Russian's horse. Unfortunately, he fell off avoiding the villain's charged blade, but Celsius was able to make an ice slide to slow down his descent to the pavement, and the upturned end of the slide sent the metal man flying back up to attack the Cossack. This time, Negative Woman woke up and grabbed Robotman before he could fall again, lowering him to the group as the Cossack came down in pursuit.

Robotman held off the Cossack, sacrificing some of his metal form in the process, until Celsius and Tempest could land and join the battle. Tempest's first power blast hit the Cossack's arm instead of his sword, which was revealed to be metal. Seeing that their attacker was a robot, Tempest and Celsius combined their powers to destroy the mechanical menace.

Negative Woman told them that her Soviet countrymen had sent the Cossack to kill her for leaving the Soviet Union in an experimental jet fighter. And with that, the Doom Patrol headed back to their headquarters.

COMMENTS: I like Joe Staton's work, but it looked like he had drawn one too many issues of E-Man before tackling this job ... everything was way too cartoony for my tastes. Luckily, he got back in the swing of things for his runs on All-Star Comics and Green Lantern.

This was a pretty bland story, too centered just on Negative Woman while not really telling us anything about her. And I don't believe that the Matt Cable plot thread was ever resolved or mentioned again, and probably won't, since Alan Moore gave him a somewhat pivotal role in Swamp Thing when he took over the book.

The whole three-issue try-out was fairly average on the whole, though the great covers and the snazzy new logo I hope helped snag a few readers into the fold. It is pretty obvious, going on the strength of just these three stories, why the Doom Patrol didn't get their shot at a regular title immediately ... the writing just wasn't good enough to even begin to compare with Arnold Drake's (or even their cross-company rival Chris Claremont's). The edginess and the comaraderie that the original team just wasn't there yet. And really wouldn't be for about ten years.

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