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THE DOOM PATROL #91
November 1964

summary written by Lou Mougin (lomougin@wf.net)

"Mento--The Man Who Split the Doom Patrol" (24 pages)
Cover: Bob Brown
Editor: Murray Boltinoff
Writer: Arnold Drake
Artist: Bruno Premiani

Character Notes

Intro: Mento (Steve Dayton)
Villains: Garguax (intro), the Plastic Men (androids; intro; destroyed in this story)

Synopsis

When the Doom Patrol is stymied momentarily in trying to take care of a nitro bomb, a new costumed figure, who calls himself Mento, appears and takes care of it via a telekinetic beam from his helmet. At first, Larry and Cliff think Mento wants to join the Patrol, but he arrogantly debunks them of that notion, makes a pitch for Elasti-Girl's hand, and walks off with her in tow. She tells him that she went along because of curiosity, and because Cliff and Larry would have clobbered him if he'd stayed there another minute. In short order, Rita learns that Mento is really Steve Dayton, the fifth richest man in the world, that he is a research psychologist as well as extremely strong (though not superhuman), and that he has his eyes and heart set on her. But Rita refuses to leave the Doom Patrol for him, though she is attracted.

Later, three strange androids appear from the sky: a super-swift silver-colored one, a super-strong blue one, and a heat-radiating red one. The Chief and the rest of the Patrol watch a news broadcast which shows the android trio creating an "X + 3" message with various objects. Larry, Cliff, and Rita locate the androids and find they are easily destroyed, but others drop from the skies in increasing numbers. When it looks as though the threesome may be drowned in gooey android residue, the bombardment finally stops.

The Chief calls his comrades back to headquarters and shows them the source of the androids: a small alien city, floating 25 miles above the Earth. Mento has also located the city-base, and reaches it in a jet plane, only to be taken captive. The master of the city-fortress, a green-skinned alien called Garguax, admits that he is using Earth as a proving ground for weapons he is developing for use against his own planet in a conquest scheme. He offers Mento the chance to join him. When Mento turns it down, Garguax has him brainwashed into becoming his slave.

Cliff, Larry, and Rita arrive at Garguax's city via rocket, and have a brief battle with Mento before knocking the latter out. When Mento revives, seconds later, he is free of Garguax's mental domination. The four heroes battle through several traps and against Garguax's androids before Mento destroys the city, using the androids themselves against it. The quartet manage to escape before Garguax's fortress-city explodes.

Later, Cliff and Larry look on as Rita bids a fond farewell to Mento, who hasn't given up his quest for her love. When Larry wonders what Rita sees in Mento, Cliff replies, "He's only brilliant, handsome, courageous, witty, and a multi-millionaire! The girl's got to be crazy!"

Reviewer Comments

Another good story, mainly for the introductions of Mento (who will later marry Elasti-Girl, strive to avenge her death, pay a terrible price in John Constantine's seance in Swamp Thing #50, and become a super-villain before being healed by Raven of the New Teen Titans) and Garguax. Mento has an extraordianarily stupid-looking costume. Evidently others felt the same, because he modified it in later issues. Nonetheless, thanks to his arrogance, charisma, and challenge to the others for Rita's love, he's an interesting character, and he'll grow in subsequent stories.

Garguax is a fun villain, mainly for his Goldfingerish demeanor and his visual bulk and greenness. Taking a look at his androids now, though, it's impossible to see the silver-colored one and not note its phallic head, especially on the cover. It's a wonder this one made it past the Comics Code!


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