Wednesday, February 28, 2018

TITANS Casts Dwain Murphy as Negative Man

The Doom Patrol is finally complete.

Den of Geek has revealed that the upcoming DC Universe digital series Titans has cast Dwain Murphy as Larry Trainor, better known to DC Comics fans as Negative Man, member of the team of strange superheroes known as The Doom Patrol.  

Murphy joins Bruno Bichir as The Chief, April Bowlby as Elasti-Girl and Jake Michaels as Robotman.  The Doom Patrol will make their debut in the series' fifth episode, "The Doom Patrol", written by Geoff Johns.

According to the article, Negative Man is described as "A pilot in the Air Force, Larry Trainor crashed his plane and was exposed to a mysterious “negative” energy.  Wrapped in bandages to protect those around him, Larry struggles with this new strange power."

Murphy, 32, is a Caribbean-born Canadian actor probably best known as Sean Duncan on the FX series The Strain and as Captain Maddox on the CBS All Access series Star Trek: Discovery.  He's also appeared in episodes of Suits, The Mist, Killjoys, Lost Girl, Nikita, Warehouse 13, Degrassi: The Next Generation, Rogue, and Mohawk Girls.

Created in 1963 by Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani, Negative Man first appeared in My Greatest Adventure #80 as Larry Trainor, a test pilot accidentally exposed to a radioactive field in the atmosphere while piloting a test plane.  This experience left him radioactive himself, but also gave him a strange superpower -- the ability to release a negatively charged energy being from his body.  The being, also referred to as Negative Man, or later as the Negative Spirit, can fly at high speed, cause solid objects to explode, and pass through solid materials.  It resembles a shadowy silhouette of a human being, surrounded by a bright glow. The being is under Trainor's control and appeared at first to have no mind of its own.  Unfortunately, Trainor was left weak and defenseless while the being was separated from his body, and he could only risk sending it forth for 60 seconds at a time without risking death.  After his accident, Trainor resembled the Invisible Man and was forced to wear specially treated bandages over his entire body to protect bystanders from his radioactivity.

Larry was approached by Niles Caulder, who offered him a place among fellow "freaks" attempting to use their powers for good.  As Negative Man, he joined Caulder's team, the Doom Patrol.  Eventually, tragedy struck when the Doom Patrol's enemies, the Brotherhood of Evil, threatened a small New England fishing village.  The Patrol members opted to sacrifice themselves to save the innocents, and were killed in an explosion.

Inexplicably, Trainor turned up alive, permanently separated from the radio energy being, but still radioactive, bandaged, and weak in its absence.  The Negative Spirit possessed a Russian cosmonaut, Colonel Valentina Vostok, who became Negative Woman.  Initially, Vostok could transform herself into a radio-energy form, possessing the same capabilities as Trainor's "partner."   The Negative Spirit later revealed itself to be amoral, intelligent, and capable of speech.  Trainor pleaded with it to leave him alone, but it forcefully merged itself with both Trainor, a white man, and his physician, Dr. Eleanor Poole, a black woman. Together the three entities formed Rebis, a divine intersex person, who also needed to wear special bandages.  Rebis had all of the memories of all three beings as a compound being, frequently using "we" when speaking of itself.  Rebis had a larger range of powers than those of either Trainor or Vostok.  He could fly and was psychic, extraordinarily intelligent, and, most significantly, immortal.

In the current DC Comics continuity known as "The New 52", Negative Man and the Doom Patrol went on a mission to capture the Ring of Volthoom, which had attached itself onto a woman named Jessica Cruz.  Their mission put them in opposition of the Justice League. However, it was revealed by Lex Luthor that Caulder caused Larry and everyone else on the team's respective accidents, forcing them to lose morale and give up.  Some time later, Larry was mysteriously beamed to what was known as "the Negative Space" and separated from his negative spirit Keeg Bovo.  After being sent back to Earth, Larry was reunited with his fellow former Doom Patrol member Robotman and contacted by Keeg Bovo, who invited Larry to return to the Negative Space for trial.  Both Negative Man and Robotman went to the Negative Space and, despite Larry being sentenced to remain connected to Keeg, Robotman talked the council out of their decision, stating it was only fair for Larry to decide if he wanted to continue having powers or be normal.  Larry agreed to continue being Negative Man and accepted Keeg, hoping that his powers could be used to continue helping people.

This will be the first time the character will appear in live-action, although Negative Man has appeared in various animation projects, including Teen Titans (voiced by Judge Reinhold), Batman: The Brave and the Bold (voiced by David K. Hill), and in the DC Nation Doom Patrol shorts (voiced by Clancy Brown).

Titans is expected to debut on the DC Universe digital service sometime in 2018.

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