This week on Titans, we followed Gar home and met his unusual housemates. Did you all enjoy getting to know the Doom Patrol? Some of you may be wondering how close they are to their comic book counterparts. Since we’ve been looking at the show's comic book references each week, this is the perfect opportunity to see how the Doom Patrol jumped from the pages of their DC Comics series to their first live-action outing!
DC readers first met the Doom Patrol in 1963's My Greatest Adventure #80 (written by Arnold Drake with Bob Haney, penciled by Bruno Premiani, read it here). A mysterious man known only as the Chief gathered Clifford Steele (Robotman), Larry Trainor (Negative Man) and Rita Farr (Elasti-Girl) to form the Doom Patrol. The Titans episode got their origins pretty spot on --- Rita was a former actress who stumbled onto a mysterious gas, Cliff had a nasty car wreck, and Larry piloted his plane through mysterious radioactive energy. In the early issues, the Chief kept his real name and origins a secret, and even told the team members different phony backstories. In Doom Patrol #88 (written by Arnold Drake, penciled by Bruno Premiani), he finally opened up to the team and revealed his name as Dr. Niles Caulder.
THE ORIGIN OF BEAST BOY
At the beginning of the episode, we flashback to Africa to see the Chief helping an ailing Gar Logan. The circumstances in the comics were similar, but the Chief was not involved. In Doom Patrol #100 (written by Arnold Drake, penciled by Bruno Premiani, read it here) we learn via flashback that young Gar Logan had contracted a disease called Sakutia. Animals can survive Sakutia, but for humans it’s fatal. To save the life of his son, scientist Mark Logan (more on him in a bit) reshaped his DNA. Young Gar survived, but he eventually turned permanently green and soon learned that he could morph into any animal. This meant a fun childhood for the young boy until….
MARK AND MARIE LOGAN
While exploring Doom Patrol’s eerie headquarters, you may have noticed the framed photo of Gar Logan with his parents. In the comics, we met Mark and Marie Logan in Doom Patrol #100 (written by Arnold Drake, penciled by Bruno Premiani, read it here). They were research scientists stationed in Africa. Their specialty was biology, and Mark was particularly interested in learning what breakthroughs could be discovered through animal DNA. Years after Gar had turned into Beast Boy, his parents lost their lives when a rainstorm swept their canoe over a waterfall, leaving the poor kid an orphan. Although Beast Boy was able to change into a bird and fly away, his inability to save his parents has haunted him ever since.
Did anyone catch Robotman muttering “brat” under his breath when Gar told that robot joke? Believe it or not, that’s actually a callback to Robotman’s pet name for Beast Boy in the comics. Back in Doom Patrol #100 (written by Arnold Drake, penciled by Bruno Premiani, read it here) Cliff began to chide Gar by calling him “Beast Brat”. The nickname stuck around for years, and eventually evolved into a term of endearment after the teammates improved their relationship.
THE CHIEF’S MOBILITY
During the episode, Cliff mentions the Chief recently regaining his mobility. In the comics, the Chief was already in a wheelchair when the readers met him, and we didn’t learn the circumstances behind his handicap until Doom Patrol #88 (written by Arnold Drake, penciled by Bruno Premiani). The villainous General Immortus had surgically placed a bomb on the Chief’s spine, which could only be neutralized with Caulder’s death. Caulder tricked Immortus into fatally shooting him, but by the time the Chief’s robot assistant revived him, the damage had been done – he was paralyzed. Although this episode didn’t explain how the television version of the Chief learned to walk again, the comics version did regain the ability a few times under strange circumstances. He’s gained new bodies, fused with other beings, and has even become a Kryptonian. Making him just as much of a misfit as his nutty housemates…
As her name implies, Elasti-Girl has taken many different shapes over the years. For most of her history, Rita had no trouble controlling her form and was able to stretch, shrink, and grow at will. Things changed after Rita was presumed dead in an explosion set by the Brotherhood of Evil. In Doom Patrol #13 (written by Keith Giffen, penciled by Matthew Clark and Ron Randall), Rita and the team learned that the Chief had secretly revived her with the protoplasm of her remains. When he brought her back, the Chief left out internal organs and bones that he felt were liabilities, and ever since then Rita has had a hard time keeping it together...literally. As we saw in the episode (and in the image above), this resulted in Rita struggling to maintain a regular human form.
SOMEONE KISS THE COOK
During the dinner scene, Larry is very quick to reply “kiss the cook” when Rita compliments his culinary skills. Although he plays it off as a joke and invites anyone at the table to supply the kiss, there seems to be a small implication that he’s smitten with Rita. Doom Patrol #86 (written by Arnold Drake, penciled by Bruno Premiani) introduced a subplot where Larry had feelings for Rita, but he was reluctant to act on them because he was self-conscious about his condition. The subplot was revisited a few times during early Doom Patrol issues, and it was implied that Rita shared his feelings…but the story was ultimately dropped and forgotten. Will we see more of Larry’s crush when the Doom Patrol series debuts on DC Universe next year?
When the Chief arrived at the mansion, he brought with him a wounded girl named Shyleen Lao. Although she played only a small role here, Shyleen was a full-fledged member of the Doom Patrol in the comics. We first met her in 2001's Doom Patrol #1 (written by John Arcudi, penciled by Tang Eng Huat) when Cliff formed a new team, for which she adopted the codename Fever. In the show, Shyleen lowered the temperature of the room she was in, which contrasted with her comic powers of manipulating heat. The Chief has a habit of keeping the strays he brings home. So could we see more of Shyleen?
Did you catch any Easter eggs in the latest episode that we missed? Let us know in our Community!