Have you watched DC Universe's Doom Patrol yet? Believe it or not, much of its delightful strangeness comes straight from the titular team's comic book. The pilot episode alone borrows many elements from Doom Patrol’s wacky comic history to make a most mind-bending hour of TV. Let’s take a look…
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
Mr. Nobody’s Origin
The series begins with a recreation of Mr. Nobody’s origin, which was taken from Doom Patrol #26 (written by Grant Morrison and penciled by Richard Case). Eric Morden had first been seen in Doom Patrol #86 (written by Arnold Drake and penciled by Bruno Premiani), when he assisted the Brotherhood of Evil during their first encounter with the Doom Patrol. Years later, Eric was on the run and came across a former Nazi in Paraguay. The Nazi experimented on Morden, and after spending some time in a device known as the White Room, he became the being called Mr. Nobody. His body and mind had both been warped, and he traded in the Brotherhood of Evil for the more surrealistic Brotherhood of Dada.
“Larry crawled from the wreckage that day..”
As Mr. Nobody is recounting Larry’s origin, he talks about how Larry "crawled from the wreckage." That interesting choice of words is an illusion to “Crawling from the Wreckage”, the first arc of writer Grant Morrison’s legendary run, which began in Doom Patrol #19.
You might have noticed that before Cliff got his robot body he wasn’t the nicest person. Rita was also a bit of a diva, and Larry was cheating on his wife. This is in line with how they were portrayed in the comics before they became heroes. The original depiction of the trio’s origin in My Greatest Adventure #80 (written by Bob Haney and Arnold Drake, penciled by Bruno Premiani) portrayed them as innocent victims of misfortune, but later retellings took a different angle. Doom Patrol #57 (written by Grant Morrison and penciled by Richard Case) revealed that not only did the Chief secretly engineer all of their accidents, but he had chosen each of them because he felt their personalities had been flawed. That’s pretty harsh Chief! The Doom Patrol TV series seems to be going with the “flawed humans” version of their origin rather than “innocent victims," but does that mean the Chief is behind it here too?
This episode features a tender moment with Robotman and Crazy Jane which seems to be taken straight from Jane’s first appearance in Doom Patrol #19 (written by Grant Morrison and penciled by Richard Case). If you look at Jane’s painting in the episode, it also has a similar color scheme and layout to the one from the comics. Jane and Cliff’s conversation also has dialogue taken from the scene. It felt like watching the comic panels come to life.
When things are getting out of hand during the Doom Patrol’s field trip to Cloverton, Jane briefly turns into a giant with a flaming head before Cliff tells her they’re “not doing that." This strange power comes from Sun Daddy, one of Jane’s 64 extra personalities. Sun Daddy, first seen in Doom Patrol #22 (written by Grant Morrison and penciled by Richard Case), is a giant who has the power to throw fireballs. Maybe Cliff should have let her stick around...
The jacket that Cliff wears throughout the episode is similar to one he was drawn wearing during Grant Morrison and Richard Case’s run. For many years, Robotman seldomly wore clothes, and sometimes stuck to giant trench coats. But once he donned his iconic jacket in Doom Patrol #23 (written by Morrison and penciled by Case), he was rarely seen without it.