A Tribute to the of






At times I wonder if Bruno Premiani wondered what was going through Arnold Drake’s noggin. All you have to do is scan a few covers of the Doom Patrol to get what I mean. Arnold’s imagination seemed to be unbounded and came up with some of the most bizarre creations to vex the World’s Strangest Heroes.

Case in point: Doom Patrol #115 with a publication date of November 1967. Check out that monstrous creature destroying everything in sight with brute strength and destructive beams from it’s lone eye, which is all that is attached to it’s neck. One massive, bloodshot eye. That dramatic cover was actually produced by Bob Brown, but interiors, as usual, were by Bruno and “The Mutant Master!” was scribed by Arnold Drake with editing by Murray Boltinoff.

We get another full color glimpse of this monstrosity on the splash page along with two others in the background and it’s pretty obvious that their goal is simple: Wreck the world. Flipping the page we get a better view of the “brothers” of Ur (eyeball boy) and they’re not going to win any beauty contests, either. All three are stripped to the waist and wearing tights and all three seem to sport 3-fingered hands, but one has an actual, featureless head with eyes in his palms while the other has no head at all, but a face on his chest. And are they motivated! Before we get to learn more about what is driving them, however, we shift gears to the laboratory of Niles “The Chief” Caulder, who is putting forth a full-court press of his own, albeit secretly and distantly as he works very hard to break the spell of the Brotherhood of Evil holding Madame Rouge.

He is literally beaming a psycho-ray to help free her mind of the Brain’s mental manipulations. Meanwhile the Brain and Monsieur Mallah, his intelligent ape assistant are also trying to retain their hold on her. Consequently, two spheres of influence are fighting a raging battle inside the woman’s head and it’s beginning to take a toll.

She awakens from her slumber in Paris, feeling the competing efforts and they’re giving her a whopper of a headache. Niles estimates that within 3 hours he’ll have freed her mind, but other matters emerge to take his attention when Larry (Negative Man) Trainor takes him to a massive display panel to show them what’s going on in the world.

They are joined by Cliff (Robotman) Steele and take in the horror of the three massive beings smashing a TV camera and manhandling a reporter who sought an interview. Cliff and Larry are appropriately repulsed, but when Rita (Elasti-Girl) Farr arrives, she insists that they take a look in the mirror and opt toward understanding.

So, off they go, but the creatures aren’t interested in making nice, demonstrated by Ur using a beam from his eye to sever Cliff’s left hand from his robot arm. When Rita confronts Ur and explains their peaceful intention he scoffs and proceeds to demonstrate their superiority to the Doom Patrol. Ar and Ir show their destructive abilities on nearby objects and the combination of their powers levels a nearby condemned building to so much dust and steam. Ur declares that this is just a sample of what they’re about to do, but before hot-headed Cliff can strike a blow, Larry convinces him to come back with them to HQ to gather and regroup.

Back at their safe haven, Niles repairs Cliff’s arm while being briefed on wshat they encountered. Among other things, Rita mentioned that they communicated telepathically, which is handy considering only one of them has a mouth. They head for the Electronic Brain, which the Chief explains that, as the largest computer system developed, it contains all human knowledge up to date within 24 hours. Primitive internet, anyone?

The printout from the machine (which fills half a room) explains that the beings are actually human rather than alien, but they’ve suffered birth mutation from exposure to the first atomic experiments in 1945.

Meanwhile, the trio is flying(!) over the Atlantic as they prepare for their ultimate revenge on the world that created them and mocked their appearance.

Shifting the scenery to an observatory, the people on duty are horrified to note that Halley’s Comet is somehow being drawn off course and toward the Earth. I’ll bet you can guess what’s causing that, eh? Yep. The three mutants are on a mountaintop, pooling their powers to drag the comet down. The Doom Patrol can see what’s going on courtesy of that massive monitor and Negative Man promptly carries Cliff and Rita to the mountains to deal with them.

The Chief, meanwhile, thinks that in a few short hours, Madame Rouge will be an ally and indeed she is in a state of internal conflict that leads to her literally splitting into two distinct but identical personages. One is ready to leave the world of the Brotherhood of Evil, while the other is trying to stay. In a pretty spectacular full-page panel, both have elongated their arms and necks and are fighting.

Thus, two battles are occurring simultaneously. The Doom Patrol vs. the mutant trio and Madame Rouge vs. herself. While the Doom Patrol, at this point only Cliff and Rita, is temporarily vanquished, the evil side of Madame Rouge is subdued and literally melts away into nothingness.

Then in a dialogue panel below Cliff’s severed hand, “Robotman dead? Rita captured? And the entire world just 60 minutes away from being barbecued? You miss the next ish, and we’ll never speak to you again!

*Sigh.* The dreaded two-part story. There is a backup tale of Beast Boy in this issue titled “General Beast Boy—of the Ape Brigade!” but it looks like we’ll have to delve into issue #116 to get to the climax of our main story. So, sorry to do this to you, dear readers, but if I gotta wait, you gotta wait.

In the interim, if the stretchy abilities of Elasti-Girl and Madame Rouge interest you, or you’re just a fan in general of characters with those abilities, allow me to invite you to pick up the latest edition of BACK ISSUE #77 where the very first piece is by yours truly and features a Bronze Age retrospective of Plastic Man with oodles of input from those who have worked on the character including several inteviewees from the Silver Age Sage archives.

Please be sure to check back on the 1st of December for the conclusion to the Doom Patrol adventure, and of course send any notes or comments to:professor_the@hotmail.com and until then…

Long live the Silver Age!



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