This is the second and final volume collecting issues from Keith Giffen's run on Doom Patrol. Despite what wikipedia has to say, sadly the third and final volume has been avaliable for pre-order only on Amazon since 2011 so I'm guessing the likelihood of it being released is zero now. Luckily this volume does end on the completion of an arc, so it we aren't left hanging too much and I have enjoyed these two volumes enough to hunt down the rest of the run as single issues on eBay at some point. Anyway, we last left the Patrol in the middle of the DCU wide crossover Blackest Night/Brightest Day. Elasti-woman, Negative Man and Robotman or Rita Farr, Larry Trainor and Cliff Steel as they are more commonly known had been zapped away from their base on Oolong Island fighting zombie versions of their ex-teammates, while their crippled mentor/leader Niles Caulder was left with his fate uncertain. If you want to know how the crossover resolved itself, well, the good guys won. What a surprise. You can tell Giffen's wasn't totally enthralled by having to incorporate the Patrol into this crossover as he hurries through the resolution and quickly moves onto quirkier stuff. There's a real feeling that with the Patrol reintroduced, a crossover dealt with and all their history back in DCU continuity job done, Giffen finally gets to write the Patrol exactly how he wants to and this volume is very much more recognisably his work.
The story begins with a man called Thayer Jost interviewing Amanda Beckett, she of the human/botflies from volume one. He wants to givce her a place on his new superteam we later find out he calls the "Front Men". He is a multi-bilionaire who is "covetus of the metahuman condition" as Amanda put it. Although later it becomes clear Thayer is being possessed by someone with his own agenda.
Back with Niles Caulder, he is recovering in hospital and Father Leslie tries to talk to him about the loss of his legs, which Caulder doesn't seem to concerned about. Then Father Leslie is called to the isolation ward as their has been an "incident". The action then cuts to Dayton Manor, a former Doom Patrol base, and a character called Oberon a member of Mister Miracle's cast who has started his own removal firm for metahuman resources. They are collecting stuff to go to Oolong Island, including a Portal that appears to be on the fritz.
Elsewhere a man called Dr. Larsen is holed up in a diner, he is also known as Animal-Vegetable-Mineral man and after he transforms and breaks out, a strange, unspeaking porcelain doll like woman hands him a phone with Jost on the other end, who says if he doesn't cooperate life will become more difficult for him. Finally we find the Doom Patrol returned from fighting the Black Lanterns, they share a moment of camaraderie then it's back to Oolong Island for them.
|A rare moment of relaxation for Cliff.|
Cliff: " I don't want it no more Dusty gal. I mean I want it, but..."
Dusty: "It's not you anymore?"
Cliff: "Yeah something like that."
At Oolong's airport, Oberon's delivery is being held up by the military. Suddenly there is an explosion from the plane. Larry and Cliff run to the scene, Rita does the same even though she was just on the verge of confronting Steve. Back with Crazy Jane, she hands Father Leslie a brick and tells him "if you build it, he will come." The brick is all that's left of Danny the Street, another character from Grant Morrison's run, he's a sentient transvestite street who travels about inserting himself into the streetplans of cities, and was where Crazy Jane went to live when she left the Doom Patrol.
|Alien land grabbers.|
Rita and Larry stay at the airport to deal with the aliens there while Ciff chases the dog alien to the hospital fighting it as they go. When they reach the hospital, Cliff notes Father Leslie has a brick and upon the brick appear the words:
Danny The Brick: "I have always relied upon the kindness of strangers."
Cliff grab's Danny and races off, still followed by the dog alien. At the airport Rita and Larry hold off the blue aliens. Larry manifests a new ability where he becomes Negative Man but retains his humanoid shape and does some punching. More aliens arrive through the portal. Cliff leads the dog alien back to the airport where he finally manages to take it out.
|Danny, partially resurrected.|
The aliens decide the loss of profit in having to fight for the brick and take over the Earth is not worth it and they depart through the portal, which the Doom Patrol go to destroy. Father Leslie asks Crazy Jane who was going to come, now Danny is a bungalow. Crazy Jane say's she forgot to ask, but very soon Ambush Bug turns up. He is a Keith Giffen created character with some history with the Patrol and most well known for his fourth wall breaking antics. He becomes Danny's new resident.
|Ambush Bug arrives.|
The action then cuts to Thayer Jost, the china doll woman has teleported to Oolong Island. Dr. Larsen (Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man) is with him and Thayer wants him to kill the Titan Gar Logan, who is Rita Farr's adoptive son. The china doll woman appears at the Doom Patrol base and attacks Caulder. Mr. Black Hole protects him with a forcefield. She manages to get inside Cliff so Larry zaps them both. She keeps reconstituting herself, so Larry enacts a plan. He zaps her again and then Rita dumps a pile of soil and rubble on her to keep her from putting herself back together.
|Scary doll woman.|
Later she is subdued, while china doll woman is also in captivity. She is being held by the Oolong Island scientists, much to the annoyance of Niles Caulder, who wanted him for his own experiments. Jost gives a press conference blaming the Doom Patrol for an unprovoked attack and also complicity with all the deaths in Germany, as well as condemning meta-humans as a whole for their "self righteous arrogance." Meanwhile Larry and Cliff decide to rescue Rita now they know where she is. They grab Ambush Bug who has the ability to teleport himself and other and off they go.
|The search for Rita.|
Ambush Bug: "I was saving that for last."
Cliff: "Saving?! Last?!"
Ambush Bug: "It's always the last place you look."
Before Cliff can lamp him, Ambush Bug zaps them to the toilets in Jost's headquarters and immediately they get into a fight with Dr. Larsen. Larry finds Rita, but she's covered in Dr. Beckett's botfly people and Beckett says if they don't stop fighting the botflies will strip Rita to the bone. Back with Jost he has Toy restrained in a chair, and goes on a two page rant about becoming a "somebody" after being a "nobody". Then he crushes Toy's head and reveals who he really is, once Mr. Nobody, leader of the Brotherhood of Dada (antagonists during Grant Morrison's run), now Mr. Somebody in control of Thayer Jost's body and financial empire.
|Mister Somebody reveals himself.|
Mr. Somebody starts editing the fight footage he's receiving from tiny airbourne cameras in the area to make his Front Men look good. Larry continues fighting Beckett, while Cliff takes on the china doll woman. Suddenly Larsen slices into Rita revealing not skin and bone, but that she's made up of pink goo.
Cliff: "We just got played big time. Again! We got played. Us."
Rita: "If you hadn't come after me..."
Cliff: "What? The world'd still love us? Rita, the world never loved us."
They share a bonding moment, while Caulder reviews the footage of the Patrol leaving the battle and Jost's call for meta-human regulation.
The final chapter in the book spotlights Rita and gives us the background on how she became made of goo. When she died, Caulder combed the area she was blown up at (the first time the original run of the Doom Patrol ended) and found a piece of her skull. It was enough to pull DNA from and Caulder improvised a synthetic protoplasm to bond with the DNA and grew her from scratch. Rita bitterly tells her friend Karen that Caulder wanted a more "durable" model Rita.
Rita: "He brought me back to life as a mass of sentinet protoplasm. Silly putty with a sense of purpose."
|Bad mornings for Rita. Squick.|
Karen asks if Steve knows, and Rita says how could he not. His mental image of her is crystal clear while he took her out for test drives in her sleep. Rita then goes to Steve to confront him over the mental stalking, Cliff and Larry discuss her and how much they care for her. Larry says she's the only reason he came back to the Patrol.
Steve returns home to find Rita waiting. We get a short flashback covering how Rita mark one got her powers which was exposure to strange gas during fliming of a movie she was starring in. Back with Steve she tells him that he has to stop getting in her head. He goes to get her a drink and says he couldn't help it and only wanted her to be happy, but he'll stop. Then Rita realises he knew she wanted a drink without asking and this sends her into a rage, she grows huge and grabs him and on that image the book ends.
|Alas for the books this was the end.|