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The Doom Patrol Review


To be honest, I don't think you'd really be able to find many people who thought that The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl actually were just that. In fact, the only real highlights to this justifiably short-lived series were appearances by the New Doom Patrol and Ambush Bug. And the New DP's appearance in the title has been retroactively changed from Supergirl to Power Girl.

For the latecomers, this particular Supergirl was Linda Lee Danvers, who was Superman's cousin and fellow survivor of the planet Krypton, and is the same Supergirl who died in Crisis on Infinite Earths. This particular series is set in Chicago, Illinois, where Linda is attending college.

The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #7The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #7

"This Meeting Will Come to Disorder"
Script by Paul Kupperberg
Art by Carmine Infantino and Bob Oskner
Cover by Paris Cullins and Dick Giordano

SYNOPSIS: The majority of this issue concerns the ending of Supergirl's latest battle with Matrix-Prime, the Gang and the Council.

Linda Lee Danvers was attending a concert in the park in Chicago when she noticed a mysterious woman in a trenchcoat that gave her "incredibly bad vibes". All of a sudden, her super-hearing picked up a high-pitched squeal, and the trenchcoated woman started running, only to be hit by a bolt of energy from the sky. She revealed herself to be Negative Woman of the New Doom Patrol.

This issue also contains a Lois Lane back-up feature, "Reflection of Murders", by Tamsyn O'Flynn, Bob Oskner and Frank Giacoia.

The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #8The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #8

"Stand-Ins for Supergirl"
Script by Paul Kupperberg
Art by Carmine Infantino and Bob Oskner
Cover by Gil Kane

SYNOPSIS: Negative Woman released her Negative Energy form right before the blast from the sky hit her, which alerted the other members of the New Doom Patrol. Robotman, Celsius and Tempest had been watching from a specially-equipped armored car, and had been using Negative Woman as a decoy (an idea that naturally hadn't thrilled Tempest), to bring out one of their enemies. Supergirl, in her civilian identity of Linda Lee Danvers, was pushed aside by Tempest as she tried to help Negative Woman. Negative Woman's energy form was in the sky above them, in battle with Reactron, the Living Reactor, and Tepest flew off to help. Linda tried to get away to change into Supergirl, but one of her friends grabbed her and led her off to "safety".

Negative Woman managed to cause Reactron some pain, but he used his powers to speed up the decay of her radioactive elements, forcing the Negative Energy to retreat into her human body. Celsius attacked Reactron from the ground, blocking his radiation blasts with her heat (?!) and covering him with ice at the same time to make him too heavy to fly. Robotman started wailing on the villain once he was on the ground, but as they grappled Reactron grabbed Cliff's head and started emitting a high intensity proton bombardment directly into his brain. Negative Woman managed some sort of blast from her eyes (again, !?) to make Reactron release Cliff before he suffered any serious damage. Supergirl was watching the events with her super-vision as her friends left the area in a car, and saw Reactron escape from the New Doom Patrol, using a concentrated stream of particles to open some sort of a space warp to execute a strategic withdrawal. Reactron did mention before he left that it seemed as though the team had been "practicin'" since they last fought in Arizona.

Later, Tempest returned to the Doom Patrol's mobile headquarters (which was parked in an underground garage under Michigan Avenue) after finding no trace or Reactron. The criminal struck later that evening, in a secret laboratory underneath LSU's Fletcher Hall, killing a guard. Unfortunately for Reactron, this also brought Supergirl into the picture at last.

This issue also features another Lois Lane back-up feature, "There's No Fool ..." by Tamsyn O'Flynn, Bob Oskner and Dick Giordano.

The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #9The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #9

"Re-Enter: Reactron!"
Script by Paul Kupperberg
Art by Carmine Infantino and Bob Oskner
Cover by Gil Kane

SYNOPSIS: Supergirl engaged Reactron in battle in the lab under Fletcher Hall, but soon moved it outside. The confined space was having an impact on how she could fight him, even though his powers really didn't seem to be able to harm her at the time. Unfortunately, she also didn't notice that the secret nuclear reactor in the lab was drawing toward critical mass as she left.

Outside, the New Doom Patrol was able to track Reactron once again, and Negative Woman and Tempest went after him. Supergirl had just realized that since Reactron could absorb radiation from any source (including her X-Ray Vision), she needed to find some lead, so she left at super-speed to find some. Tempest and Negative Woman flew in to continue the fight, with Negative Woman's energy form once again able to cause Reactron considerable pain and force him to the ground. As the battle continued, Supergirl returned with a lead sheath that she placed over Reactron, much to Tempest's dismay. He blasted the heroine to get her attention, telling her that Reactron produces an energy that eats right through lead and causes an explosive reaction with it. Supergirl grabbed Reactron and the lead and flew up into the sky at super-speed, with the resulting explosion stunning her.

Negative Woman caught the falling Maid of Steel, and the rest of the New DP arrived on the scene. After Supergirl revived, Tempest explained that he had known Reactron before he got his powers, in Viet Nam. Reactron had been Sgt. Ben Krullen, the man who massacred a village of civilians, and whose actions originally triggered Joshua Clay's powers and his desertion from the army. He later found out that Krullen had been one of the soldiers who had witnessed the atom bomb tests in the fifties, and had apparently been too close to one of the blasts, which altered his body chemistry. Krullen took up working with the international crime cartel known as the Council (whom Supergirl had several run-ins with as well), which outfitted him as Reactron. Supergirl thought they should all work together to stop Reactron, but had to fly away suddenly because her super-vision detected that the secret nuclear reactor was about to have a core meltdown.

Supergirl bored down beneath them into the lab, where she found Reactron in the heart of the reactor, absorbing the radiation. Supergirl grabbed him and flew him out of the facility and high into the sky. Reactron blasted Supergirl with a beam of radiation, but she then created a vortex of wind that trapped the villain and sent him higher into the sky, as he overloaded and apparently exploded. Supergirl fell to the ground, where the New Doom Patrol found her unconscious. Cliff's sensors told them that a powerful and unknown kind of radiation was poisoning her.

This issue also features another Lois Lane back-up feature, "The Scream Queen" by Joey Cavalieri, Bob Oskner and Dave Hunt.

The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #10The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #10

"Radiation Fever"
Script by Paul Kupperberg
Art by Carmine Infantino and Bob Oskner
Cover by Ed Hannigan and Dick Giordano

SYNOPSIS: Supergirl awoke after Reactron exploded and didn't believe Robotman that she had absorbed any radiation, since Kryptonians are supposed to be immune and invulnerable to that sort of thing. Not listening to Cliff or Tempest, she flew off, only to be wracked with pain and fall to Earth again soon after.

COMMENTS: The reviews of the Supergirl issues only include the storylines that include the New Doom Patrol. Issues #8 and #10 have a lot of ancillary plot about Supergirl's battle with Matrix-Prime and the Council that really doesn't have much to do with the New DP, so I didn't capsulate those parts of the issues.

I will say that this story is better than the one in Superman Family, not that means things would necessarily be much of an improvement. This story does give us some more back story on Tempest, who was really the only New DP'er who hadn't been given a proper origin. It was also good to see the New Doom Patrol gain an honest-to-bogey super-villain of their own, and one much in the same vein as a lot of the original team's great foes. Unfortunately, the artwork really had a negative effect on the accessibility of this tale, which is sad, since the New DP had very few actual adventures before beginning of the 1987 series (and two of those were basically retconned or eliminated as a result of Crisis on Infinite Earths).

I love Carmine Infantino's artwork, but after he started working again after his stint as DC Publisher, he rarely had an inker with the proper skills to handle his artwork. His uninked pencils were more just like simple layouts, with very little detail, and many inkers finished them as such, which I think led to the serious decline in the quality of Carmine's work and reputation in the eighties. As layouts, his stories are good, but as finished work, this four-issue story easily ranks as the single worst-drawn Doom Patrol adventure (even eclipsing any of Erik Larsen's crappy work on the 1987 series). Robotman was drawn most of the time as if he was wearing Jay Garrick's helmet, and I'm not sure if anyone even bothered to look at the costume models for Negative Woman, since she was clad in a bodysuit and bandages for the entire story (and that was when anyone bothered to even ink in any details on her). I have to put the blame on DC here for not giving Carmine an inker with his own style. Bob Oskner is a legend in the business and a talented artist, but as an inker he's not all that innovative and doesn't add much to a penciller's work. The strength of Oskner's usual work can be seen in his pencils on the Lois Lane feature in each issue.

This issue also features another Lois Lane back-up feature, "Spellbound" by Joey Cavalieri, Bob Oskner and Dick Giordano.

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