THE DOOM PATROL #99|
Summary written by Lou Mougin (email@example.com)
"The Deadly Sting of the Bug Man" (13 pages)
Villain: The Bug Man (intro)
The Bug Man's appearance on the cover is not the same as his appearance in the story.
After Negative Man saves Robotman from danger during a benefit show, Larry Trainor admits that he's jealous of Neg Man, and declares that he will fight crime without his counterpart's help. Unfortunately, this coincides with the advent of the Bug Man, a super-villain whose mechanical armor and robot "bugs" mimic the powers of insects. The Bug Man is out to destroy the Doom Patrol in a bid to control Midway City. Eventually, Larry gets over his "jealousy" of Negative Man, Elasti-Girl is saved from a deathtrap, and the Bug Man is defeated and captured.
Brown's art is a little better on this story, but still not Premiani. Some fairly weak plot points here. First, Bug Man, while a good villain, is not given much motivation for his hatred of the DP, and even if he did them in, you couldn't conquer a city without the state and federal governments and a whole bunch of superheroes getting antsy (pun intended) about it. Second, Larry's jealousy of Neg Man is pretty lame, and not well-expressed. Nice bits: the fight between Larry and Clint, which goes from verbal to physical in short order, The Chief's pain and terror when his arms are hurt by a robot insect (refreshingly, Drake was never loath to show his heroes' fearful sides), and, when he hears an announcer wondering whether Negative Man will save him in time, Cliff's thought, "That fink better!"
"The Beast-Boy" (11 pages)
Intro: Beast Boy (Garfield "Gar" Logan; earlier
appearances revealed in issues #112-115)
The Doom Patrol comes home one night to find their headquarters broken into, by an invader who left a lion's paw-print, a huge bird feather, a tuft of gorilla hair, and chips from an elephant's tusk. The next night, they lie in wait for the intruder's return and trap him. He proves to be Gar Logan, a green- skinned boy with the power to transform himself into different animal shapes. After a rousing free-for-all, Logan is nabbed, and tells The Chief that he wants to join the Doom Patrol. Though his schoolmates reject him for his green skin color, nobody besides the Patrol knows that he can change into animals.
Even though Larry, Cliff, and The Chief are against letting Gar into the group, Elasti-Girl speaks up in his behalf. They finally agree to let him go on one mission, to let him see what superheroic life is about and to make him feel part of a group, possibly for the first time in his life. Robotman reports the news to Gar, and ends by saying, "How's that, Beast-Boy?" Logan, who has an adolescent's attitude problem, promises to make Robotman eat his words.
Later, when costumed robbers try to heist jewels displayed during a Pioneer Day Parade, Beast Boy does just that. The villains came prepared for the Doom Patrol with gimmicks that bowl them over, but Beast Boy is an unknown factor. Transforming into an eagle, an ape, and a dog in succession, he succeeds in routing the crooks. Later on, he crows about his exploit to The Chief, much to Cliff's chagrin. Before leaving, Beast Boy tells them to call on him again if they need a hand. The Chief remarks that they don't even know how he got his powers.
Not a bad story, though not as good as it could be. (Brown's art is part of it, though it works better here than in previous times; he's getting the hang of drawing the Patrol.) Beast Boy comes off as another pain in the tuchis among characters who, despite their mutual love for one another, don't get along that well. But Arnold Drake did have some sympathy for the youth culture of the Sixties, and said that the "Beast" part of Gar Logan's name not only signified that he could change into green-skinned animals, but that he was "a pain in the ass". There's an attempt at building some sympathy for Logan in the scene of him being taunted by classmates and rejected for a date even by Jill, the girl who sympathizes, but he isn't Peter Parker. Drake would begin building Beast Boy's character in earnest next issue with the origin story. Lots of nice character bits, including Cliff's instant rivalry with the kid, The Chief's concentrating so much on Gar's powers that he doesn't even note he's green-skinned, Rita's standing up for Beast Boy, and, of course, the school scene. The villains are just pop-ups without names, there to give Beast Boy a chance to strut his stuff. It could be a better story, but it's decent as is.
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