Dec 28, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 672: The Doom Patrol #87, May 1964

http://www.comics.org/issue/18360/

"The Terrible Secret of Negative Man" is revealed...but is it all that terrible? I suppose being a constant danger of radiation poisoning to one's friends is a problem, but at least he's got the seemingly benign machinations of the Chief to help him out.

Larry is seemingly tricked by Mme. Rouge (who I mistakenly called "Rogue" yesterday - blame that awesome new Star Wars film) into helping the Brotherhood carry out some bank robberies. What's particularly interesting about this fairly run-of-the-mill plot is that it carries over elements from the previous issue, both with the Brotherhood as villains and with Larry's worry over exposing his secret. This is a bit odd for comics of this era. Most 60s superhero stories, at least the ones I've read, are self-contained, and have very little carry-over from previous issues. Doom Patrol does this for the most part, but there is more continuity to the DP's adventures than in most Silver Age comics. This technique allows for more character development, I think, in that themes and problems from previous issues can be developed, as can the characters themselves.

We also get an inkling of where the series is going with the back-up feature today, which is a solo Robotman adventure. Later in the series we'll get origin stories for most of the characters as back-ups, which signals the end of the anthology-style set-up of My Greatest Adventure. The back-up features also flesh out the characters in ways that aren't usually available to members of teams, which is perhaps another reason why the DP have always seemed more like people than gods to me.

More 1960s silliness tomorrow. Onward!

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