A superhero team published by DC Comics. The Doom Patrol first appeared in My Greatest Adventures #80.

The Doom Patrol was a group of misfit heroes who have had their powers thrust upon them by strange circumstances. The members are somewhat outcasts because of their abilities and have banded together to do some good with their powers. The team has gone through a number of incarnations over the years.

The original Doom Patrol was made up of four individuals. The leader of the group was known as the Chief. The Chief was a wheelchair bound scientist named Niles Caulder. Caulder had been a brilliant young scientist who was working on a formula to impart immortality. He was employed by secret benefactor, whose only requirement was that the resulting formula be given to him first.

Caulder was making great progress in his work when he discovered that his employer was General Immortus, a criminal. Immortus had been alive for nearly 700 years through the use of a formula that extended his days, but which was nearly gone. Immortus employed Caulder in hopes of duplicating the formula. When Caulder refused to continue his work, Immortus had Caulder knocked out and a bomb attached to his chest. Believing that all men valued life as much as he, Immortus had the bomb created so that it could not be removed while Caulder lived, thinking that Caulder would then be forced to do his will or die.

Caulder was more clever than Immortus believed and set into motion a plan that would remove him from Immortus's power. Caulder created a robot with the ability to do complex surgery and then provoked Immortus into shooting him. Caulder was killed, but his robot took his body and removed both the bullets and the bomb. The robot then revived Caulder, but the surgery took longer than Caulder had anticipated. The lack of oxygen caused nerve damage and Caulder lost the use of his legs. Caulder used decided to help those whose lives had been touched by tragedy.

Caulder's first subject was Cliff Steele, a former racecar driver whose body was destroyed during a fiery crash. Caulder intervened and saved Steele's brain and transplanted into a robot body made of ceramic metal, a material of his own design. Steele awoke to find himself a freak and began to rampage, seeking to destroy Caulder, the man he held responsible. Caulder reasoned with Steele and the two became friends.Steele adopted the name Robotman as a codename.

Next, Caulder assisted a test pilot named Larry Trainor. While flying an experimental plane, Trainor came into contact with the Van Allen Belt, the electomagnetic field that surrounds the Earth and produces the Northern Lights. Trainor blacked out after being exposed to the radiation of the Belt and his plane nearly crashed, but Trainor was able to save the craft. When a rescue plane nearly crashed near him, Trainor inexplicably released an black energy being who was able to save the craft. While the energy being was away from Trainor, he fell unconsious, but it was under his control. The exposure to the Van Allen Belt also caused Trainor's skin and muscles to become transparent giving him a skeletal appearance. With the help of Caulder, Trainor was able to go about in public clothed in special bandages. Calling himself Negative Man, Trainor became the next member of Caulder's Doom Patrol.

The final member of the original group was an actress named Rita Farr. While filming on location near some volcanoes, Farr was exposed to and was overcome by a mysterious gas that erupted out of the ground. When Farr recovered, she found that she had the ability to control her size, growing to become a huge giantess or shrinking to become tiny. Her ability ended her acting career, but she joined Caulder and the others as a member of the Doom Patrol. Farr adopted the name Elasti-girl.

The original group fought against many menaces that threatened humanity. They fought against Monsieur Mallah and the Brain and their Brotherhood of Evil, as well as General Immortus and other threats. The group was joined for a time by Steve Dayton, a millionaire inventor, who was wooing Elasti-girl. Dayton invented a helmet which allowed the wearer to be able to use his mind to read minds or move objects. Dayton adopted the name Mento and joined in a number of the Doom Patrol's adventures but was never considered a full member.

Farr and Dayton eventtually married and the two adopted a young orphan named Garfield Logan. Logan had been exposed to an experimental ray by his father, to help save him from the bite of a poisonous snake. The ray had caused Logan's skin to turn green and given him the ability to turn into any animal. Calling himself Beast Boy, Logan had done some adventuring and joined in a few of the Doom Patrol's adventures.

The original group finally met their end when two villians, General Immortus and Madame Rogue, forced the group to choose between themselves and a small English fishing village. Immortus gave them the choice of being blown up or allowing the village to be. The four heroes sacrificed themselves rather than let innocents be hurt and seemingly perished in the explosion.

Robotman however survived and was found by Dr. Will Magnus, creator of the Metal Men. Magnus created a new body to house Steele's brain. Steele then made his way back to Caulder's mansion, which had been the headquarters of the Doom Patrol. When he arrived, he discovered that a group of strangers were in the house. The leader of this new group was an Indian woman who called herself Arani Caulder. She claimed to be the wife of Niles Caulder, the original leader of the group, though Caulder had never mentioned having a wife. Arani possessed the ability to project both intense heat and intense cold from her hands and used the codename Celsius. She claimed that her powers came from an experimental version of Caulder's immortality formula.

One of the other strangers Josh Clay, an ex-Army medic, now deserter, who possessed the ability to project beams of concussive force from his hands and who went by the name Tempest. Clay was hiding from the law and had been given safe haven by Arani.

The final stranger was Valentina Vostok, a Russian test pilot, who was saved from a plane crash by the same energy being that had possessed Larry Trainor, an original member of the team. Vostok found herself in the same predicament that Trainor had, so she took help from Arani and became part of her group. She took the name Negative Woman.

The group was called together to protect Arani from Caulder's former employer General Immortus, who Arani said was hunting her for the formula that was in her veins. The group continued to work together, eventually following Arani as she sought Caulder, who was rumored to have survived the explosion that was believed to have killed the other members of the Doom Patrol. This belief was further compounded when Larry Trainor was found alive, though comatose.

The group expanded when three new members joined this second incarnation of the Doom Patrol. Rhea Jones, a young woman with powers over gravity and magnetic forces, joined the group under the codename Lodestone. A young man named Scott Fisher joined the group as well. Scott had been exposed to toxic waste and gained the ability to melt through nearly any substance with his hands, requiring him to wear special gloves to contain his powers. Finally, a street punk named Wayne,who went by the codename Karma also joined. Karma possessed the ability to influence those who would attack him, causing them to miss or have bad luck.

The group again fought many menaces, while searching for the Chief. During this time, Trainor attempted to steal back the negative being from Vostok with the help of the villain Reactron. Reactron successfully captured the negative being and transferred it to Trainor. Realizing that the negative being would not stay bonded with him, Trainor attempted suicide by flying a plane into the upper atmosphere and then releasing the energy being. The being saved Trainor and then returned and rebonded with Vostok.

Soon afterward, the group discovered that the Chief had survived the explosion that they believed had killed him. He exchanged himself for the Doom Patrol when they were captured by his former employer General Immortus. Caulder denied even knowing Arani. Caulder was eventually reunited with his former teammates and explanined that he had gone into hiding to avoid Immortus.

The group helped the other heroes of Earth to protect their home from invading aliens, but sustained heavy losses. Celsius was killed trying to stop an alien ship from activating its engines. Scott Fisher died as a result of the gene bomb, which the alien invaders detonated. Rhea Jones fell into a coma from which she did not awaken for a long time by the gene bomb as well.

The group battled their long-time foe Garguax and during the battle, Vostok was struck with a beam that stripped her of the negative being. During the same battle, Larry Trainor was injured. Garguax was eventually killed when the Chief was able to destroy his spacecraft.

The group went through a new incarnation next adding three new members. Larry Trainor and psychiatrist Eleanor Poole were merged by the negative energy being into an amalgam of both male and female, which called itself Rebis. A woman suffering multiple personality disorder which each personality having its own ability also joined the group. Called Crazy Jane, the woman's actual name was Kay Challis. Finally, an teenage girl named Dorothy Spinner, who could create beings from her imagination. This ability was stronger and less in her control when she was having her period.

The group had continued adventures, though they became more and more odd. The group battled the Brotherhood of Dada and others. Eventually, the group discovered that the Chief had orchastrated much of what had occured to them. He had created the accidents that caused both Cliff Steele to become Robotman and Larry Trainor to become Negative Man. He also killed Josh Clay (Tempest). He was eventually defeated, being decapitated. His mind was saved through he intervention of Will Magnus and his mind was preserved.

Of late, Cliff Steele has joined with a new group of heroes and the Doom Patrol lives again.

"...I, for one, am grateful a disembodied Chumbawamba has brought us all back together."

I enjoyed superhero comics, and imagined their broader potential before they went Hollywood mainstream. But never did I expect to see the adult-rated adventures of a third-rate super-team that climaxes with a kaiju cockroach frenching a giant rat on a sentient, genderqueer street. And then realize that's not the strangest thing that's happened.

In 2019, DC Comics' Doom Patrol hit the small screen.

A brilliant scientist (Timothy Dalton) gathers misfit metahumans. When a super-villain captures him, they join forces with mainstream superhero Cyborg (Joivan Wade) to rescue their "Chief." Along they way, they encounter The Bureau of Normalcy, a Charles Atlas-inspired superdoer, a sinister Nazi scientist, a pocket dimension inside a flatulent donkey, and other challenges.

We're watching superhero tropes through the fifth glass, and someone has spiked our drink. Despite the show's demented sensibilities, the characters' journeys feel painfully real. The first episode delivers a conventional origin for Robotman (Brendan Fraser and Riley Shanahan), before revealing a darker story. We also learn that his daughter has grown up without him, raised by his wife's paramour. We feel for him no matter how bizarre his circumstances. Diane Guerrero gets the Orphan Black award for her depiction of Crazy Jane's multiple identities. Negative Man (Matt Bomer and Matthew Zuk) plays the character, in part, as a metaphor for the oppression of queerfolk, without becoming excessive. April Bowlby presents an on-edge Elasti-Woman fighting to keep herself intact.

Alan Tudyk brings a crazed brilliance to his depiction as the show's fourth-wall breaking lead supervillain, Mister Nobody. I nevertheless hope we don't see him again in Season Two. They've told that story and brought it to a frequently hilarious conclusion.

The Doom Patrol needs new, deranged challenges.

297 words

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