THE DOOM PATROL #98|
Summary written by Lou Mougin (email@example.com)
"The Death of the Doom Patrol" (16 pages)
Villain: Mr. 103 (John Dubrovny; intro)
Claiming that the Doom Patrol has failed in its mission to be accepted by humanity, and was unable even to capture the Brotherhood of Evil and their allies last time, the Chief brusquely disbands the group. Larry and Cliff are angered, Rita is saddened, and the threesome decide to remain together as a new Doom Patrol, even constructing a new headquarters building. Before long, the three heroes tangle with Mr. 103, alias John Dubrovny, a biochemist who has created a ray that allows him to turn himself into any of the 103 extant elements known by 1965. After repeated failures to capture Mr. 103, Cliff admits that they need the brain of the Chief to help them out on the case, and forces the other two to go along with him.
But the Chief is dying, poisoned by radioactive copper from one of his experiments, and tells them he didn't want them there when he died. However, he does have a gimmick with which to beat 103, a freezing ray he discovered via telescope on another solar system and duplicated in his lab. The three heroes subdue Mr. 103 with the ray, then impel him to use his device on The Chief. When The Chief is turned into pure copper and then restored to normal, the radioactive copper is withdrawn from his system and he recovers. The Doom Patrol is reunited, and the second headquarters is converted into an orphanage.
Lots of fun bits in this one. But it's hard to believe that the other three would so quickly accept The Chief's "firing" them without being at least a little suspicious. Larry's emergence as the new leader is an interesting facet, while Cliff's funny-angry demeanor continues to please. Mr. 103 is a visually interesting villain, even though his persona is somewhat bland. Luckily, he makes repeat appearances, and finally dies in the 1980's as a member of the Suicide Squad.
"Sixty Sinister Seconds" (8 pages)
Villains: Four conspirators (intro)
A group of four conspirators has planted four atomic bombs in various places around the globe, having been paid $4,000,000 by an unnamed third party to use them to spark World War III between America and the Soviet Union. When the plot is finally uncovered, Negative Man has only sixty seconds to find and destroy the bombs. He eliminates three of them, but the fourth one, in Siberia, goes off. The Chief alerts the President of the United States, who attempts to contact Moscow via the hotline and explain what has happened. But the line has been cut, and Negative Man must make a connection with his own body to get the President's message through to the Premier. The mission is accomplished, atomic war is averted, and Negative Man gets back to Larry Trainor's body just as the last second of the minutes ticks off.
This one, obviously inspired by Sixties nuclear-jitters movies like Fail-Safe and Dr. Strangelove, does take a little suspension of disbelief from the older reader (who would benefit from inciting nuclear war between the Big Two? China? A sinister SPECTRE-like cabal? The Brotherhood of Evil?). It's also unlikely that even Negative Man could do everything he has to do in this story in 60 seconds. The conversation between Johnson and his Russian counterpart would almost certainly take longer than a minute. All in all, though, it's entertaining, and Brown's art works better here, since he's mostly just drawing Negative Man. (It's hard to get a black silhouette wrong.)
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