online
home
characters
stories
links
about
Issue 34, "The Soul of a New Machine"

Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciller: Richard Case
Inker: John Nyberg

Summary:
written by William Sherman (sherman@netcom.com), edited by Robert Kelly (bobek@rt66.com)

This is a filler issue, between storylines. We open with the Chief working on an old body of Cliff's (built by Dr. Magnus) to give to Cliff as a temporary one until he can build a fresh one. He gets the body ready, but decides not to transplant Cliff's brain (now in a jar) into it until later. As he leaves the lab with Josh, he tells him that he plans to move the Doom Patrol to a new headquarters.

Meanwhile, Cliff is experiencing the well-known psychological effects of sensory deprivation, passing through a gruesome hallucination related to the auto-racing accident that destroyed his body, and reaching a mental equilibrium.

Cliff, floating in his jar, is awakened when his new body spontaneously becomes sentient, and decides to talk with Cliff. The body, which doesn't want a brain implanted in it, drills a hole in Cliff's jar, allowing his precious nutrient fluids to begin leaking.

Meanwhile, Monsieur Mallah (a mentally-enhanced gorilla) and the Brain (a brain), old enemies of the DP, are on their way to the HQ, plotting vengeance (in particular, they want to implant the Brain into Cliff's robot body). They discuss Cartesian duality and the nature of the mind, reminiscing about their old battles. They arrive at the HQ and enter by the cliche method: an air vent.

Cliff's body tells Cliff that it wants to experience life to the fullest; it wishes to be a body unfettered by analytical intellect. Mallah and the Brain burst in; Mallah defeats the robot body while Cliff and the Brain, well, meet in a not-so-titanic Battle of the Brains:

The Brain: "Hated enemy! At last we are face-to-face in open combat!"
Cliff: "This is ridiculous."

Mallah transplants the Brain into the body, and in a rush of emotion, the two declare their love for each other. Mallah removes his chewing gum (plugging the hole in Cliff's jar) and the two kiss; the robot body's automatic defense systems detonate. Cliff, still in his jar, is left to wonder what has happened. Mallah's beret falls onto Cliff's jar. We don't actually see the bodies, but I think it's safe to say that Mallah and the Brain are dead.

Annotations:
written by William Sherman

p. 7: "faulty responsometers" is a reference to the unpredictable behavior of Magnus' Metal Men. An in-joke.

When Cliff's body tells Cliff that it wants to experience life to the fullest, it quotes Gene Wilder's character Leo Bloom in Mel Brooks' "The Producers": "I want everything I've ever seen in the movies!" Note that Leo's name is a reference in itself; Leopold Bloom is the protagonist of Joyce's _Ulysses_. (I know, I know, cool it with the extraneous Joyce references...)

p. 24: "Does the body rule the mind or does the mind rule the body? I don't know." This is a lyric from a song by the Smiths, called "Still Ill," which may be found on their albums _The Smiths_ and _Hatful of Hollow_ (thanks to John Voorhees [VOORHEES@NSULA.EDU]).

The Doom Patrol is a licensed trademark of Jost Enterprises and, of course, DC Comics.
Click here to learn more about this web page.