As superhero stories evolve and characters become much more complex, it is always fascinating to see which characters fans gravitate towards the most and the heroes that fans will instantly recognize as integral members of the team that they belong to. For DC Comic’s Doom Patrol, that hero has to be Robotman.
Real name Cliff Steele, the former daredevil and race car driver found his life changed forever after an accident took his life. After his brain was recovered intact, he was placed inside a robotic body. Here are ten things fans should know about the Robotman.
10 Founding Member
One of the big things fans should know about Robotman is that he is one of the founding members of the Doom Patrol. Created by Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani in 1963, Robotman is one of the first members ever to help form the Doom Patrol team as it is known today.
After Niles Caulder placed Cliff’s brain inside his new robot body, Cliff suffered from depression as he viewed himself as not being human after the operation. It was later on that Cliff was brought into the Doom Patrol. He is known as the only member to appear in every iteration of the team.
9 First Name Was Automaton
Whether it is from the original comics or from the hit DC Universe show Doom Patrol, many fans know Robotman by either his superhero name or his real name, race car driver Cliff Steele. However many fans may not know that Cliff’s first superhero name was in fact Automaton.
Named Automaton in the first two issues of the series, the creator Arnold Drake commented on how he realized how much the name Automaton didn’t fit into the character’s personality at all and so went on to rename him Robotman. This created the Cliff Steele fans know and love to this day.
8 Survived Doom Patrol’s Sacrifice
One iconic storyline that fans of the Doom Patrol’s original comics will know is when the team sacrificed themselves to stop the Brotherhood of Evil from destroying a small fishing village in New England. While many of the heroes of the team did not make it, Cliff actually survived the ordeal.
His brain survived the explosion, and Will Magnus collected his brain and put it inside of a brand new body created by Magnus who, in DC Comics, is known as the creator of the Metal Men. This story took place nearly a decade after the Doom Patrol sacrificed themselves.
7 Joined Niles Caulder’s Wife In Reforming Doom Patrol
After Cliff found himself inside of his new robot body, he was the only member of the original team to help reform the next generation of the Doom Patrol. He did so after discovering a woman who claimed to be the wife of Niles Caulder, aka The Chief.
Arani, the wife of Niles Caulder who also went by the name Celsius (she had heat and cold-based powers), became the team leader of the new Doom Patrol, with Cliff joining her in her mission to prove Niles, in fact, had survived the blast that took the lives of the Doom Patrol.
6 Changes Post-Crisis
After the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths saw many changes made to the DC Universe, Robotman went through some changes of his own. Not only was his origin updated to show that it was, in fact, Niles Caulder who caused Cliff’s accident that turned him into Robotman, but Cliff also fell into a deep depression.
He committed himself to an asylum, where he eventually met Crazy Jane. Becoming her protector, he found himself falling in love with Jane. Towards the final issues of Grant Morrison’s run on Doom Patrol, Cliff learned his brain had been replaced with a CPU, making him a complete robot.
5 Had A Relationship With Doom Patrol Member Coagula
One of the most interesting story developments for Cliff as a character has to be when he began a new romantic relationship, this time with teammate Coagula. Real name Kate Godwin, Coagula actually gained her power to coagulate liquids and dissolve solid objects after a night spent with Regis, the radioactive being made up of Larry Trainor, the Negative Spirit and another entity.
Known as one of the few transgender superheroes in the comic industry, Kate also was iconic for being identified as a bisexual woman as well. She would go on to date Robotman until her passing years later.
4 Fought During Blackest Night
Often when companies like DC Comics create an upcoming crossover event that affects the entire DC Universe, fans will not only see the main story play out but other comic books adapt their characters and stories to the events of the larger crossover event. Robotman and the Doom Patrol comics were no different.
Not only were Robotman and Negative Man attacked by Negative Woman, who had been resurrected as a Black Lantern, but they were also attacked by the body of Cliff Steele, who had also become a Black Lantern. They force the lanterns into a JLA warp gate and leave the fight to them.
3 New 52 Robotman Made Of Nanomachines
The New 52 era of DC Comics change a lot about the heroes of the DC Universe. This included the Doom Patrol and their longest running member, Robotman. In this new reboot era, Cliff was still a daredevil and driver who suffered an accident that destroyed his human body.
However, this new version was different in that he had agreed before his accident to be injected with nanomachines to improve and repair his body over time. When his accident occurs, the nanomachines repair his body by building a new robot body around his living brain, creating the hero Robotman.
2 Became Freelance Hero
After the nanomachines rebuilt him a new body, Cliff became very distraught over his new condition. Depressed and angry over the nanomachines putting him in this new body, he discovers her cannot pass on even if he wanted to, as the machines prevent him from doing so.
Coming to terms with his new robot body, Cliff decides to become a freelance hero for hire. He also finds himself assisted by a woman named Maddy, who joined Cliff’s heroic escapades after being involved in the project with the nanomachines and blaming herself for Cliff’s condition, leading to a new era of heroism for Robotman.
1 Nanomachines Grant New Powers
Robotman has always had super strength, endurance, and speed thanks to his robotic body. This has been a staple of the DC Comics hero for years. However, the New 52 reboot of the character, and the inclusion of nanomachines, greatly improved his power set and abilities as a hero in the field.
Now, Robotman has the ability not only to shapeshift and repair his body but can fly and also traverse underwater, making him a lot more powerful and able to help more so than he ever could before. This almost makes him into a completely new hero, often joining the Metal Men.