Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"The Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Menace" Doom Patrol #89

The DP get some much-needed, cooler superhero togs in this issue (Well, Negative Man and Elasti-girl do, Robotman doesn't wear clothes, just black trunks. And I suspect they're just paint.), and a really funky new villain. The Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Menace or AVM Man for short.

Once a friend and rival of the Chief's, the AVM Man is a brilliant scientist who has unlocked the secrets of the prime material from which all life developed. Staging an accident during a laboratory demonstration (do these really happen? I've never been to one of these, but they happen in old comics all the time. I mean, I've been to COSI -the science museum, not the patisserie- many times and NEVER have I witnessed any scientists, mad or otherwise seeking the origins of life, or irradiating helpless spiders or anything. ) Sven Larsen turns himself into the AVM Man with the power to change his form into anything animal, vegetable or mineral.

Bent on revenge for a wrong he believes the Chief has done him, AVM Man attacks the members of the Doom Patrol. Turning into a giant man of lead, he attempts to encase Negative Man's radioactive energy form. Robotman saves negative man, but AVM Man turns into a giant dandelion and blows away. Later he turns into a swarm of gnats and attempts to enter Robotman's ear canals in an effort to reach his human brain.

In a final showdown, AVM Man becomes a giant tiger and launches himself at Elasti-girl, only to be zapped by the Chief's "Anti-Decay Ray" which "halts all changes in living cells." It freezes the AVM Man as a tiger and prevents his ever-fluid form from continuing to move and change. I don't know why he can't just continue to attack as a giant tiger, but whatever. Irony-of-ironies, the ray is the very idea which Sven Larsen accused the Chief of stealing from him years ago, and is the very reason Larsen is seeking revenge.

A few notes: This issue contains one of the very few instances in which the chief involves himself in front line combat. Personally, I think any comic book in which a bad guy turns into a dandelion and blows away to escape capture is awesome. One more thing... should Robotman's brain really be accessible directly from his ear canals?? Shouldn't he have died in a much earlier issue if that were the case?