The Return of Doom Patrol

I am really loving the “Titans” on DC universe. I especially enjoyed watching last Friday night’s episode! The fourth episode of the series introduced a team called “Doom Patrol“. I vaguely remembered Doom Patrol from the 1960s. It was not one of the comic books that I read, and I am glad that I did not because now it is all brand-new to me!

About a month ago I discovered Doom Patrol: The Silver Age volume 1 at my online digital library “Hoopla“. This collection brings together the first 14 issues that featured the team that was called the “World’s Strangest Heroes”.

The team made its first appearance in issue #80 of the series titled My Greatest Adventure in June 1963. Starting with issue #86 in March 1964 the series took on the title Doom Patrol. The last issue #124, was published in July 1973

After finishing volume 1, I found out that I did not have to wait for volume 2 to come out. I found that I could continue reading the series with my subscription to DC Universe. They have issues #99 through #108 of Doom Patrol available for subscribers to read.

The Doom Patrol was the creation of writers Arnold Drake & Bob Haney and drawn by Bruno Premiani & Bob Brown. The original team consisted of three individuals who had each recently endured a life-altering event. They were brought together by a charismatic leader known as Chief – a wheelchair-bound genius named Niles Caulder. It was said of Dr. Caulder that he was so brilliant that he could perform brain surgery on a mosquito. The team members were Robotman (Cliff Steele), Elasti-Girl (Rita Farr), and Negative Man (Larry Trainor). Issue #90 introduced Beast Boy (Garfield Logan). Shortly after that, Mento (Steve Drayton), the 5th richest man in the world, came on the scene and after a brief romance married Rita.

Reading this series today, I think that a lot of the humor expressed within the story would have been lost on an 11-year-old boy in the 1960s. The Doom Patrol is a superhero team unlike no other I have read in the DC universe. Compared with the tight-knit Justice league of America or the Teen Titans, the team that was known as the Legion of The World’s Strangest Heroes was dysfunctional, rash and yet, in some cases, predictable in a delightful way. After the second or third issue that I read, I got the idea that in every issue the reader could count on Robotman losing one of his appendages, Negative Man nearly dying, and Elasti-Girl saving the day in some clever and unexpected way.

The original series was canceled in 1968, when the writers killed the team off in the final issue, Doom Patrol #121 (October 1968). Beast Boy survived. He tried to change his name to Changeling when he joined the Teen Titans in the early Eighties, but today he remains known as Beast Boy.

Following the team’s 2018 appearance in Titans, it will return with its own Doom Patrol series on the same DC Universe streaming service in 2019.