The Baron Re-Reads the John Arcudi/Tan Eng Huat Doom Patrol (SPOILERS)

Doom Patrol #1 (December 2001): "--Doom Patrol!"

Written by John Arcudi, art by Tan Eng Huat

As the cover says: "4/5 new! All different!" The cover picture is amusing - it's a head shot of Robotman with the other members reflected inhis face, and him thinking "We're doomed."   As I said about Alllred in the X-Statix thread, TanEng Huat's art really suits this book, and was a big draw for me.

 

The premise of this is that a fellow by the name of Thayer Jost is sponsoring a super-team.  The members include:

 

  • Fast Forward (Ted Bruder), the team leader, who can see 30 seconds into the future.
  • Freak (Ava) - a girl who can extrude tendrils from her hands.
  • Fever (Shyleen Lao) - she can raise the temperature of objects around her.
  • Kid Slick (Vic Darge) - he can eliminate friction around his body.

 

When we meet our heroes, they are in the midst of doing very badly in a rescue simulation. Jost cancels the team's debut.  Elsewhere, we see Cliff Steele working in a boiler room. Jost hears of him, and  hires him to shape up the team.  After some initial relcutance, Cliff signs up, and begins helping them train. As an additional bonus, hiring Cliif allows him to name the team - the Doom Patrol!

Overall: Another book that I picked up on a whim - I never was a big fan of any previous versions of this team.  The combination of Arcudi's writing style and Tan Eng Huat's art really drew me in, however!  Fun stuff!

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Doom Patrol #16 (March 2003): "What To Do"

Shyleen takes the badly-burned Vic to a hospitla, where she encounter a "sub-hero" called "the Purple Purposeless", who advises her to do nothing.  She is doing nothing when the police arrive.

Ted tries to develop his powers, but they go out of control. Kolodenko speculates that he is now seeing all possible futures.

We get two flashbacks: In 1949 China, a man is piad to haul a crate.  In 9169 Saigon, a woman is mailing the crate to California.

We end with Cliff hitchhiking west, unknowingly passed by a truck carrying Tycho Bray!

 

Overall: Interesitng. I like the idea of a "sub-hero" It seems an obvious idea, but I don't recall seeing it done elsewhere.

 

Legion tryouts perhaps?

The Baron said:


Overall: Interesitng. I like the idea of a "sub-hero" It seems an obvious idea, but I don't recall seeing it done elsewhere.

 



Randy Jackson said:

Legion tryouts perhaps?

The Baron said:


Overall: Interesitng. I like the idea of a "sub-hero" It seems an obvious idea, but I don't recall seeing it done elsewhere.

 

 

When I would read those Legion stories, I tended to imagine that the Legion "hopefuls" - even the ones who were obviously fooling themsleves if they ever thought they stood a chance of making it onto the team - all at least thought of themselves as prospective super-heroes. The Purple Purposeless is the first character I can recall coming across who made a "virtue" of not being able to help at all.

 

Doom Patrol #17 (April 2003): "No Hope for a Robot?"

We start with the mystrious package arriving in California in 1969. We see Cliff making his way across country. He encounters a man who has a woman tied up inhis trunk, but after much hooraw, it turns out that it was all some sort of bizarre role play on their part. (Do people actually do stuff like that?  Maybe I'm better off not knowing!)

 

Kolodenko goes to Jost for help, with Vic and Ted in the hospital, Ava losing it and Shyleen in jail, steadfastly continuing to do nothing.

 

Meanwhile, Tyco steals his own blood from the Red Cross!

 

We end with Cliff arrivng at his brother's home, and meeting his sister-in-law and niece!  (Were they ever established before? I don't remember Cliff having a family, but I'm not as familiar with his history as I am with some other characters.)

 

Overall: Still quite enjoyable. What I like about this book is the way in which it goes beyond the usual "heroes vs. Villains" paradigm, and yet still remains interesting. Also, there's plenty of inspired weirdness, and I love that sort of thing.

 

The Baron said:

We end with Cliff arrivng at his brother's home, and meeting his sister-in-law and niece! (Were they ever established before? I don't remember Cliff having a family, but I'm not as familiar with his history as I am with some other characters.)

I just re-read the first appearance of the original Doom Patrol team. There is no reference to any of them having families, though it doesn't say they don't. I also looked at a reference for Robotman and there is no mention of a brother, living or dead. Maybe a brother was established in one of the runs I haven't read.

Doom Patrol #18 (May 2003): "Once Upon A Timer"

Kind of an unusual issue, even for this book.  We start out in present day California, with the reveal that the thing in the crate was a mummy of sorts, with Tycho telling the locals a story set in old China, with the various Patrollers actiing the parts of the characters:

 

  • Vic is a Prince,
  • Shyleen is a princess, Vic's wife, who has a child by an affair she had while the Prince was away.
  • Gar is the child, abandoned by his mother, and raised by tigers.
  • Ava is Shyleen's mother, the evil witch queen.
  • Ted is a general, doing a singularly bad job of defending the prince and his family.
  • Cliff is a blacksmith/wizard, who forges magical armor.

 

The tale is a fairly bleak one - the evil queen is defeated, abut the Princess is left alone in the world, even though she gets to be queen.  Tycho ends the tale saying that he is there to buy, presumable the mummy.

 

We end with Jost and Vic bailing Shyleen outy of jail.

 

Overall:  As I said, an unusual story, even for this book.  Very good, though, and quite funny in parts, especially as the Patrollers keep breaking character.



Richard Willis said:

The Baron said:

We end with Cliff arrivng at his brother's home, and meeting his sister-in-law and niece! (Were they ever established before? I don't remember Cliff having a family, but I'm not as familiar with his history as I am with some other characters.)

I just re-read the first appearance of the original Doom Patrol team. There is no reference to any of them having families, though it doesn't say they don't. I also looked at a reference for Robotman and there is no mention of a brother, living or dead. Maybe a brother was established in one of the runs I haven't read.

 

 

Interesting, thanks.  Robotman's one of those character that's been around so long that I have no idea what gaps there are in my knowledge of them.

Cliff's brother, Randy, and his sister-in-law, Helen, had previously appeared in Doom Patrol #103 (May, 1966).



Dave Elyea said:

Cliff's brother, Randy, and his sister-in-law, Helen, had previously appeared in Doom Patrol #103 (May, 1966).

Cool, thanks for the info!

Dave Elyea said:

Cliff's brother, Randy, and his sister-in-law, Helen, had previously appeared in Doom Patrol #103 (May, 1966).

Thanks, Dave. It's been a long time since I read these. I have the original run in Archive form but who has the time to re-read everything?

Cliff's brother Randy and his wife Helen appeared in the back-up series "Robotman Unchained," in the story titled "No Home for a Robot." They didn't seem to have a daughter at that point. This was a prequel to the formation of the Doom Patrol. The back-up series followed the events immediately after Cliff first awoke in his robot body. His reactions were a little negative, resulting in his becoming a fugitive. His sister-in-law Helen welcomes him to their home while his brother isn't too sure and is afraid they will get in trouble for harboring a fugitive. By the end of the short story Randy has come around.



Richard Willis said:

Dave Elyea said:

Cliff's brother, Randy, and his sister-in-law, Helen, had previously appeared in Doom Patrol #103 (May, 1966).

Thanks, Dave. It's been a long time since I read these. I have the original run in Archive form but who has the time to re-read everything?

Cliff's brother Randy and his wife Helen appeared in the back-up series "Robotman Unchained," in the story titled "No Home for a Robot." They didn't seem to have a daughter at that point.

 

Ah, that explains the title of isssue #17  "No Hope for a Robot?". the duaghter shown here is quite young, so she could plausibly have been born since then,

Doom Patrol #19 (June 2003): "Unwilling Spirits"

Cliff is attacked by Tycho and a possessed Garth, They flee when they realize that they cannot possess him - they need a spirit to latch on to, and apparently Cliff hasn't got one. (More indication, perhaps, of the idea that whatever Robotman is, there is nothing left of the original Cliff Steele in him except his memories.)   Cliff leaves to go warn the others.

 

Overall: An OK issue, good for a "moving the plot along" issue.  Good continuity as Cliff doesn't recognize Tycho, since it wasn't the "real" Cliff  that met Tycho the last time.

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