THE DOOM PATROL #106|
Summary written by Lou Mougin (email@example.com)
"Blood Brothers" (16 pages)
Guest stars: Mento, Beast Boy
Mr. Z, now the go-between for Nicholas Galtry and Mr. 103, brings 103 a cash payment from their patron and is almost killed when he tells the super-villain that Galtry wants a private audience with him. Nonetheless, 103 consents, and Galtry tells 103 he wants him to destroy the Doom Patrol. 103 laughingly admits that he'd have done that for nothing.
Cliff, Larry, Rita, and Beast-Boy track 103 to an abandoned sports arena, are soon joined by Mento, and do battle. When 103 assumes the form of an atomic pile, Larry zaps him with the freeze-ray. The ray cannot immobilize 103, but it locks him into his atomic-pile form, and the villain is in danger of consuming himself. The Chief calls in with the antidote for 103's problem, and the DP makes 103 swear to surrender if they enable him to change form and thus save him life. 103 complies. Larry douses him with the antidote--a cup of water.
However, 103 does not honor his pledge, transforming himself into a balloon and floating out a window. On the way out, he boasts to all that Galtry is financing him. Mento and the DP realize that Beast- Boy was telling the truth about Galtry's evildoing. Steve Dayton later hires an entire detective agency to investigate Galtry, and he and Rita harbor Gar Logan and make plans to free him from Galtry's custody.
Some nice bits in this story, including Mento's and Rita's continued squabbles over her membership in the DP and her sticking up for Beast Boy; Rita's crying scene before the Patrol when she temporarily regrets her marriage; 103's brief attack on Mr. Z; and the bit that all it takes to save 103 is a cup of water. Dumb bits: Robotman telling 103 that snapping the connection between his head and his robot body will kill him, when we've already seen Cliff's head removed from his body in other issues without any ill effects whatever. (Drake often seemed sloppy with his research, even when it concerned stories he'd written.) Also, 103's boasting that Galtry is his financier. If he wants to keep the money coming, why tell the Doom Patrol the identity of his backer?
"The Private World of Negative Man" (8 pages)
Intro: Dr. Vaughn, Mrs. Trainor (Larry's mother)
This story features Negative Man and The Chief and takes place "one year before the Doom Patrol was formed".
Test pilot Larry Trainor flies experimental rocket plane K-2F all the way into the radioactive Van Allen Belt surrounding the Earth. There he undergoes a tremendous radiation exposure, blacks out momentarily, and recovers barely in time to bring the craft in for an emergency landing. Trainor's irradiated body now emits deadly radiation, and his flesh has turned transparent, making his skeleton fully visible to onlookers. When a rescue plane comes in with one wheel of the landing gear still undeployed, Larry instinctively releases "A strange duplicate--a negative being from within me!" which flies from his body, pulls down the plane's other wheel, and enables it to land safely.
Larry soon learns his fate and is forced to live within a lead-lined chamber. When his mother comes to visit, Larry obscures the videocamera within his cell so that she will not behold his hideous new state. But Niles Caulder has devised and demonstrates a new form of plastic anti-radioactive bandage which can block out radiation. The bandages are applied to Larry, who is thus enabled to leave his cell and rejoin the world again.
But Larry's mummy-like appearance leads people to shun him as a freak. He puts his new Negative Man to work saving a girl from a bomb threat, and earns her gratitude--until she sees his unbandaged face, and flees in terror.
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