Justice League 31 and The Doom Patrol

First Doom Patrol
First Doom Patrol

The original Doom Patrol first appeared in My Greatest Adventure #80 (June 1963) just about the same time Marvel introduced the original X-Men. Writers Arnold Drake (who was the feature’s regular scripter) and Bob Haney, artist Bruno Premiani, and editor Murray Boltinoff are generally credited as the team’s creators. The first Doom Patrol consisted of super-powered misfits, whose “gifts” caused them alienation and trauma. The series was canceled in 1968, and Drake killed the team off in the final issue, Doom Patrol #121. In the years after this story several subsequent Doom Patrol series were launched. Each series tried to capture the spirit of the original team, but the only character constant to all was Robotman.

The Doom Patrol had two crossovers: one with the Challengers of the Unknown, teaming up to fight Multi-Man and Multi-Woman; and second with the Flash in Brave and Bold #65. Now they are crossing over in the Justice League title trying to address the threat of a new power ring from another universe. As Justice League #31 ended, the Doom Patrol was offering assistance — and maybe even membership? — to the new Power Ring, Jessica Cruz. The character is being controlled by an entity (Volthoom) inside the ring that was brought to Prime Earth by the Crime Syndicate / Earth 3 version of Hal Jordan. The ring sought out Jessica, presumably because she suffers from paranoia. But the Justice League is also on their way to the same area, also to hunt down Jessica Cruz. Is a confrontation between the Justice League and the Doom Patrol coming next? Will Dr. Caulder’s obvious dislike of the Justice League come into play?

End Justice League 31
End Justice League 31

Niles Caulder holds the Justice League responsible for the he evil unleashed upon the world by the Crime Syndicate. When Lex Luthor said (during a televised interview in Justice League #30) that it wasn’t the Justice League’s fault, Caulder said, “Like hell it wasn’t.” he New 52 version of Niles Caulder previously put together a team of people with superpowers who wanted to do good. But he had to “start over” after they were killed in Forever Evil.

In dialogue and art from Justice League #27, it was implied that Caulder could bring back these heroes from the dead. (If that’s true, we may see some of the killed-by-the-Crime-Syndicate members again, including Karma, Scorch, Celsius, Negative Woman and Tempest.) The final page of Justice League #31 showed a team that includes Dr. Niles Caulder (called “The Chief”), Robot Man, Elasti-Girl and Negative Man, as well as former Justice League ally, Element Woman. The line-up includes the founding members of the pre-reboot Doom Patrol, with the addition of Element Woman.

Element Woman, who was introduced during the Flashpoint event that created the New 52, was invited to join the Justice League in the post-New 52 universe. She’s been portrayed as socially awkward, with an unusual speech pattern, which may be part of her motivation to join with other misfits of the DCU in the Doom Patrol. DC seems to want to go back to the roots of the original Doom Patrol as misfits and people that work better together than with any other superhero group. If that is the case perhaps they can help Jessica Cruz and her domination of the Power ring from Earth 3 to gain control where none seems possible. At any rate it is good to see them in the main DCU again and I look forward to seeing our odd superheroes work justice in there own way.

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