I don't know about you folks, but I've been enjoying the hell out of the latest Doom Patrol series, partially because I really like the idea of the Patrol as a part of the Oolong Island scientocracy but also due to the fact that Keith Giffen has been doing a fantastic job of integrating some of the weirder elements of the team's past back into a continuity that had essentially been kicked back to the Sixties by the combined effects of the Byrne reboot and the Infinite Crisis de-boot.
So far we've seen a Chief very much in the super-manipulative jerk mode of the Morrison team, a very successful and inclusive synthesis of all of the various Negative Men into one character, a resolution to nearly fifty years of Robotman bemoaning his lost humanity and most recently the reintroduction of Crazy Jane and Danny the Street, two of the most thoroughly long-lost characters that I could name.
And of course that got me thinking: just what else will be reappearing from the murky depths of the Doom Patrol's past? Join me as I present the top ten people, things and tendencies that I would love to see make their way back into the light.
10. The Arsenal
Not of course the post-Speedy, pre-Red Arrow Roy Harper (and isn't he going to be going back to that name again soon?). No, this was a guy in a pretty radical set of robotic armour who had a trap-filled castle and a giant chip on his shoulder, the latter because he was maybe three feet tall.
I really do think that there is a place on Oolong for someone brilliant enough to design a humanoid exoskeleton that can nearly defeat the Doom Patrol but dumb enough to try to rob a bank in a humanoid exoskeleton that has no hands.
9. Scott Fischer
Scott was one of the unfortunate characters introduced pre-Morrison in the 1980s revival of the series, all of whom were surplus to requirements after Invasion and most of whom met with grisly ends, including joining the Suicide Squad, being shot by the Chief and getting exploded by aliens. Poor Scott wasn't even doing that well beforehand, since the same childhood snacking on toxic waste that gave him his powers also gave him leukemia, but things just got sad once the Dominators set off their gene bomb and provided hundreds of DC characters with origin stories. Somehow Scott managed to take the mysterious radiations that were giving folks the world over super-powers and turn them into even more leukemia, leading to his off-panel death. Poor kid never had a chance - he never even came back as a Black Lantern, for heaven's sake!
Plus, he's got huge Erik Larsen-style ears! Who can resist those?
8. The Codpiece
One of Rachel Pollack's very first creations for her turn as Doom Patrol scribe. The motivation behind the Codpiece's criminal career is refreshingly transparent, but will I ever see him in a non-Vertigo comic? Probably not.
7. The Return of R-2
Way back in the day there was an origin of the Chief that involved a young Niles Caulder being sponsored in his hunt for a means of conquering death. Too late, he discovered that his sponsor was the dastardly General Immortus! To prevent Immortus from becoming... even more immortal, Caulder enacted a plan that called for him to die and for his trusted robot aide R-2 to bring him back with science.
The whole thing was a complete success, although Caulder was no longer a walking man. And how did he reward the faithful servant that had brought him back from death itself?
Yep, two in the back of the robo-head. That is cold, brother Niles.
I would dearly love to see R-2 come back as a headless mechanical ghost, or even as a robot servant that doesn't get mob-style executed for doing a good job. Perhaps then the above panel would stop haunting my dreams.
6. Giant Guys With Delusions of Grandeur
They sure fought a lot of them. Why not a few more?
Rog, the giant red robot used by the original Brotherhood of Evil: best giant robot ever? Judge for yourself:
Name me one other giant robot that has commenced an attempt to steal the Statue of Liberty by skiing up on two motorboats.
4. Shasta the Living Mountain
I know that he was just a useless, doomed-to-die sad sack character in Doom Force, the comic that only existed to mock the state of comics in the 90s, but how can you resist that sad little face?
Wait, no, it's a pretty hideous face. Well, maybe he could die again.
3. Ir, Ur and Ar, the Freaky Mutants
Ar, Ir and Ur, mutants caused by early atomic testing, were more than a match for the Doom Patrol. Heck, they almost took out the entire planet with a comet - the only reason that they didn't was that the Chief managed to trick them by employing the old Robot Gladiator From an Advanced Mutant-Run Alien Civilization Routine.
More importantly, these guys are completely freaky - they weird me out more than any number of tentacled hell-beasts in actual horror comics have managed to do, especially the face-on-chest guy. I bet that they could be turned to good, unsettling use nowadays.
2. The Beard Hunter
So I like the idea of super-serious Niles Caulder having a ridiculous Punisher parody as an arch-enemy, so sue me.
1. GIANT ROBOT JUKEBOX
I have loved a lot of giant robots down through the years - just last week I was loving those amazing red guys on the "Super Batman of Planet X!" episode of Batman: the Brave and the Bold - but the Giant Robot Jukebox holds a strong position in the race for the title of my favourite.
Putting aside the glory of the design (and ignoring the mediocrity of the colour scheme), there's just something about the idea of a guy taking the fact that his company has assigned him to make a giant promotional jukebox and just totally seizing the day. this might, after all, be his only chance to make a giant robot on the company dime.
And in a world filled with super-humans doing super things, how great would it be to be able to tell your boss you were late because a giant robotic jukebox destroyed the bridge with bad pop?
Don't worry: this doesn't invalidate my affection for Rog, since he is clearly a giant robot that you ride around in and that is completely different than the kind that you just let loose to go smash things.
And that's that: my list of ten things, the appearance of any two or three of which in Doom Patrol will completely validate me. Feel free to let me know your own preferences in the comments section and I'll share the list of runners-up. Good night!