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Issue 64, "Burn in the Curse"

Writer: Rachel Pollack
Layout Artist: Richard Case
Finishes: Stan Woch

Summary:
written by John Bullough (bulloj@rpi.edu)

This is the first official "Vertigo" issue of the comic.

In grand Doom Patrol tradition, Morrison has gotten rid of most of the characters from his Patrol - and Rachel Pollack has to start from ground zero. Only a few characters will survive the transition between writers, and we start the issue with one of them. Dorothy, who chose to live in the "real world" in Issue 62, lives alone in an apartment. One day while she is shopping for herself, she is haunted by large, snake-carrying spirits who beckon her to "come home."

Dorothy has no intention of "coming home" with them, and fortunately, one of her "imaginary friends," Pretty Miss Dot, protects her by destroying the spirit-creatures. Dorothy and Dot leave the market, where several teenage boys are hanging out. One is making fun of Dorothy's appearance, but the others tell him to stop, saying "you start dissin' the monkey girl, you don't know _what's_ going to happen." Sure enough, the ground beneath them turns into a mixture of bloody entrails, a dead pig and a large snake, and a snake-headed woman appears, causing the boys to run away in fear.

Dorothy returns home, alone, and wishing that Cliff were with her. Apparently, she can "wish" her imaginary friends into existence, because sitting in a chair before her is a half-robot, half-human "Cliff Steele."

Meanwhile...
Dr. Magnus has brought Niles Caulder back to life, making him a new body, and discussing the ethics of Caulder's actions. Plus, Magnus wants to use Caulder's Think Tank. Caulder shows Magnus the Think Tank, which no longer appears to be working.

Back at Dorothy's place, she is having a tea party for "Cliff," Pretty Miss Dot, and imaginary versions of Josh Clay (complete with gaping chest wound) and Niles Caulder. Suddenly, more of the spirits from the market appear (all of them appear to be African in some way) and her imaginary Doom Patrol (including "Spinner" from the Doom Force Special) helps her defeat the spirit creatures. After this adventure, Dorothy falls asleep in her apartment.

Magnus shows up, and they go out to lunch, where he explains her ability to produce both friendly and unfriendly apparitions, which feed on her subconscious. The apparations are mixtures of cultural archetypes which she picked up by reading books about Africa and other places as a young child. So these apparations can now become manifest and even become hostile if Dorothy does something they don't want her to (Magnus thickly misses the connection between increased intensity of these apparations and Dorothy's period, falsely attributing it to the moon).

Dorothy also explains that the apparations are trying to convince her to go with them to their world, but she wants to stay in the "real world," although she is lonely. Magnus's advice is for her to try to make friends, perhaps joining some clubs, and he gives her money for her lunch, with a little extra, to go to the mall and buy herself a present.

She takes the money and heads to the cosmetics department in a store, wanting to buy makeup. The startled sales clerk begins to help her, but the apparations appear again, scaring the clerk and chasing Dorothy throughout the store, when who shows up, but Cliff, who knocks the spirits away and tells Dorothy "everything's going to be great." He stutters the last word "great" over a few times, and the white noise static from Issue 58 and Issue 62 appears in Cliff's eyes. Has he been "infected" by a computer "virus?"

Magnus returns to visit Caulder, explaining that after all he has done, he should help Cliff and Dorothy. Caulder disagrees, stating that he could never do enough to repay what he did, and to make his point, he rips his own head off using the body that Magnus made him. Magnus runs with Caulder's head and gets to the cryogenic chamber just in time.

That's a lot of story for 25 pages! Whew!

Annotations:
written by Kyle Seifried (kseif@one.net) and John Bullough

p. 3: Dorothy is wearing a Sonic Youth tee-shirt under her jacket.

p. 8: Dorothy has an Abba 8-track tape.

The Doom Patrol is a licensed trademark of Jost Enterprises and, of course, DC Comics.
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