First DC Universe ‘Doom Patrol’

The just-released promo video for DC Universe’s Doom Patrol shows that the team of outcast superheroes has retained its misfit charms and unsettling tone while making its leap from the illustrated page to the illuminated screen.

Unlike the Justice League or the Avengers, membership in the downtrodden Doom Patrol is earned by affliction and tragedy — the team is as much a support group as it is a superhero collective. All of the Doom Patrol members received their superhuman powers via horrific accidents that left them traumatized, lonely and/or disfigured and all of them fight to save a world that ostracizes and fears them.

Given purpose by their leader, The Chief, a.k.a. Dr. Niles Caulder, portrayed by veteran actor Timothy Dalton (Penny Dreadful), the Patrol come together to investigate the weirdest phenomena on the dark fringe of the DC Universe. Following the mysterious disappearance of The Chief, the reluctant heroes find themselves in a place they never expected to be, called to action by none other than Cyborg, portrayed by Joivan Wade, who comes to them with a mission hard to refuse. The show also stars Matt Bomer as Larry Trainor/Negative Man, Brendan Fraser as Cliff Steele/Robotman, April Bowlby as Elasti-Woman, Diane Guerrero as Crazy Jane.

The unloved outcasts of Doom Patrol will arrive, no surprise, a day late for St. Valentine’s Day. The show’s February 15 premiere will make it the second live-action original series for DC Universe, the subscription streaming site that launched in September and premiered Titans in October. Members of the Doom Patrol made their first live-action appearance in the fourth episodes of Titans.

The outcast brigade has a considerable publishing heritage — this year marks the 55th anniversary of the team’s first appearance in the pages of DC Comics — but the group has rarely been a marquee brand or a spotlighted mythology. The group was created by writer Arnold Drake and artist Bruno Premiani. In the 1990s, the Doom Patrol was memorably reconstituted and reimagined by writer Grant Morrison, whose surreal and absurdist tones took the team into reality-bending directions.

The Doom Patrol’s idiosyncratic adventures, bizarre enemies and outsider ethos make the team the most “Marvel-like” of DC’s long-time properties. Comparisons have been frequently drawn between Doom Patrol and Marvel’s X-Men, the mutant team that debuted in September 1963, a mere three months after the DC squad’s summer debut that year.

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