THE DOOM PATROL #101|
Summary written by Lou Mougin (email@example.com)
"I, Kranus, Robot Emperor" (16 pages)
Guest stars: The Challengers of the Unknown, Beast Boy
This story continues in CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN #48.
When stocks plunge that Nicholas Galtry had embezzled Gar Logan's trust fund to buy, Galtry finds he needs $25,000 to cover his losses. The only way to do that is if Gar dies and leaves him as beneficiary. Thus, Galtry hires Mr. Z, a professional assassin, to put out a contract on Gar's life.
Beast-Boy overhears the plot while in bird-form. He tries to convince the Doom Patrol of the plot, but they feel he is just trying to discredit Galtry in order to move in with them. The discussion (and fight with Robotman) is broken off when The Chief notifies them of "strange space signals" coming from a small island. Beast-Boy suits up and accompanies the Patrol to investigate.
Cliff, Larry, Rita, and Beast-Boy discover a giant robot who calls himself Kranus on the island. They do battle, eventually defeat the robot menace, and learn that it is a shell controlled by their old enemy The Brain, who manages an escape.
Later, Beast-Boy convinces the Patrol to come with him and observe Mr. Z's attempt to enter his room and "kill" a dummy Gar has left in his bed. Unfortunately, Galtry has learned of Gar's plot and left a message to tip Z off. The assassin leaves without firing a shot. The Doom Patrol chalk the incident up to a ruse Beast- Boy has staged, and they reject him, walking away. At their headquarters, Rita guesses what Galtry has done, but Cliff refuses to believe it.
Meanwhile, Ace Ryan of the Challengers of the Unknown broadcasts an appeal for help to the Doom Patrol as he and his fellow Challengers lie dying.
An uneven story. Kranus / The Brain makes for some great pictures, but isn't that much of a menace. The real meat of the story is the Galtry / Mr. Z conspiracy. Z is a surprisingly chilling adversary, Galtry is played (especially in visuals) as a Dickensian villain, and the last-minute trick of Galtry writing on the mirror to tip off Z is a fun bit of business. Not so convincing is the DP's refusal even to be very suspicious of Galtry--Gar is arrogant, but even they should trust him more than that. Also, we begin the DP's first crossover story, with the first super-hero guest appearance in the book.
"The Lonely Giant" (8 pages)
Intro: Poor Mary, Blind Mike, Tibor, and Manuel
This story features Robotman and The Chief, continues Robotman's origin in flashback, and continues in issue #103.
The Chief stops Robotman's ability to threaten the baseball stadium by spraying him with liquid rubber, which makes it impossible for him to conduct electricity. Nevertheless, Robotman escapes. Later, he falls in with a band of beggars, including Blind Mike, Poor Mary, the dwarf Manuel and the powerful hunchback Tibor. But Cliff weakens and falls ill due to a lack of brain food. The Chief cuts a deal with the police to deliver a canister of brain nutriments to Robotman and thus, hopefully, gain his confidence. Though the police spring a trap, they only end up with Blind Mike, who stood in for Cliff. Manuel gets away with the canister of brain food, administers it to Cliff, and saves his life. Then he leaves, knowing his presence would endanger his newfound friends. Disguised in a hat and coat, Robotman resolves to find the Chief and kill him. The Chief resolves to find Robotman and help him.
A nice little story. The four beggars with their individual talents are like something from a Jack Cole Plastic Man tale (and Arnold Drake, as we noted, wrote the first DC run of PLASTIC MAN some months later). The brain food crisis is nicely depicted. The problem is, Robotman isn't as crazy in this story as in the one previous. Evidently his personality changed from rampaging psychotic to sullen criminal in short order. It's nice to know that even a Robotman-iac can have a heart. Fun bits: Robotman dumping a piano downstairs, and the midget and hunchback helping him shore up their collapsing home.
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