THE DOOM PATROL #92|
Summary written by Lou Mougin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
"The Sinister Secret of Dr. Tyme" (24 pages)
Guest Star: Mento
After Larry and Rita save a child from a locked bank vault, Rita tells her partner that Mento is too egotistical for her and she's giving him the brush-off. Unknown to them, Robotman has taken a hand in things, in the other direction: since Rita has been mooning for days over Steve Dayton, he pushes his way into Dayton's mansion, has a brief set-to with Mento, and persuades him to ask Rita for a date by holding him over a swimming pool by his neck. After Mento agrees, Cliff warns him that revealing this little escapade to Rita would not be good for his health.
But a new villain, Dr. Tyme, has made his debut, armed with a ray in his clock-style helmet that slows down time in whatever direction its beam is triggered. He uses his device to pull off a spectacular airborne robbery, seeming to move at super-speed to the slowed- down passengers and crew. While Steve and Rita are on their date, they notice Dr. Tyme pulling a brazen payroll robbery nearby and slowing policemen to a crawl with his ray. Steve tries to attack him, but is frozen in mid-air by Tyme's beam. Elasti-Girl shrinks to tiny size and hitches a ride on Tyme's car when the latter makes his getaway.
However, Rita inadvertently gives her presence away while she is still at tiny size in the villain's clock- filled hideout, and he traps her in a clock's glass case. Mento petitions the Doom Patrol to allow him to go on a rescue mission. Since The Chief has located Dr. Tyme by tracing his time-ray, all three are able to find his headquarters.
Cliff, Steve, and Larry fight their way through various traps, while Rita escapes the clock case, expands to giant-size, and nabs Tyme. But Larry unknowingly lobs in a sleep-gas grenade that kayoes Rita, leaving Tyme unharmed, shielded by his helmet. They are unable to move the giant-sized, sleeping Rita, and Tyme makes his escape, telling them one of the 600 clocks in his mansion contains a bomb. Desperately, Mento uses his powers to cause Rita to shrink while unconscious, and she is carried to safety with Steve, Larry, and Cliff just before the bomb explodes.
Lots of nice touches here, in particular the Fantastic Four-like intercharacter conflict (the Robotman-Mento battle is straight out of an old Torch-Thing tussle). Elasti-Girl's admission that she was delayed to a red alert by a hairdresser's appointment, and a banker's anguish at seeing his vault wrecked, are both echoes, but not direct copies, of Stan Lee scripts of that time. Arnold Drake was the only writer at DC to take Lee's tropes and make them work, and he was probably the first writer at DC to know what did make them work. (Ironically, when he went to Marvel in 1968, Drake found Lee's hands-on editorial approach too constricting after Boltinoff's hands-off manner, and eventually quit.)
Dr. Tyme is visually fun with his clock-face helmet and had an interesting gimmick. Sadly, he never made a return appearance. But he does look just crazy enough to be picked up someday for a modern Doom Patrol encore, if anyone cares to. In the Brotherhood of Dada, he'd fit right in.
And it wouldn't be another early Doom Patrol issue without a bomb threat. Evidently Drake liked to blow things up real good.
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