- We don't all get to choose our paths! You think I wanted to burn up in my plane and become some nuclear accident? You think I raised my hand at flight school, volunteered to have an alien entity merge with my body, basically making me a radioactive pariah? [...] And until today, yeah, I selfishly wanted more. But if my being around you is so harmful, then I am done trying.
- — Larry Trainor src
Captain Lawrence "Larry" Trainor is a former Air Force test pilot, and a quiet, remorse-filled member of the Doom Patrol bound to an alien negative spirit that made his body radioactive and gave him special powers. He spent decades dwelling on his past, but eventually, Larry was forced to let go of his mistakes, evolve emotionally and even physically, and accept the power inside him, as well as his closeted homosexuality, as a gift, not a curse.
Larry Trainor was born around 1927 to Gerald and Debbie Trainor in North Dakota. He discovered his budding homosexuality at a young age, but mostly kept it hidden out of fear and the pressuring of his devout Christian parents. As an adult, Larry moved to California and became a test pilot for the United States Air Force, making the rank of captain, marrying a woman named Sheryl, and having two sons with her named Paul and Gary. However, Larry couldn't suppress his feelings completely and began cheating on Sheryl with another Air Force colleague named John Bowers. He wasn't a great husband or father, but he still tried his best despite everything. In 1961, Larry was selected for an experimental X-15 flight test to the Earth's stratosphere. Now terrified he may never get another chance, Larry attempted to choose between running away with John and staying at his family. Unbeknownst to Larry, scientist Niles Caulder purposefully mapped out a dangerous path for his vessel, all to further his experiments in immortality. This course change caused Larry to pilot the X-15 through an alien energy being he would come to call the "Negative Spirit", and the two were fused.
The process left Larry's body to be endlessly seeping deadly radiation, and the subsequent crash back to Earth horrifically burned and scarred his body, though the Spirit allowed him to survive. It became able to leave Larry's body at will, able to fly around and manipulate and project energy, but leaving Larry unconscious and defenseless until it returned to him. Larry was then detained by the U.S. government's Bureau of Normalcy within their facility known as the Ant Farm, and separated from John and his family for decades. The government also covered up his accident and declared him dead.
Trapped in a bulky radiation-proof suit, Larry spent years in constant pain, with the Bureau members attempting to weaponize him and the Negative Spirit within him for military use by torturing and experimenting on the two of them. Pained and scared, he developed a very introverted nature, even pushing away Flex Mentallo, a fellow prisoner in his neighboring cell who could have possibly helped him. All that time, he ignored and was angered by the Spirit, not even bothering to try and understand it, despite its desperate attempts to communicate with him. He was eventually rescued in 1966 by Caulder, whom Larry would come to know as "the Chief", who offered him a home in his manor house just outside Cloverton, Ohio, an offer Larry gladly accepted. He was given radiation-proof bandages and goggles to wear, which proved more flexible than his Ant Farm outfit, and a comfortable radiation-proof room for him to stay in.
Life at Doom Manor
Larry spent decades at the manor, dwelling on the life he lost and the time that passed him by. He took up gardening and mainly kept to himself, but still got to know some of the Manor's other residents, including Rita Farr, a regal and overt Hollywood actress who Caulder had made molecularly unstable and elastic, and became Larry's closest friend over the years. Also staying with them were Jane, an aggressive loner with sixty-four split personalities, each of which the Chief had given their own metahuman ability, and Cliff Steele, a loud-mouthed and boisterous racecar driver whose body was destroyed in a car collision manufactured by the Chief, necessitating his brain to be placed in a robot body. None of these people, Larry included, knew of the Chief's involvement in the events that scarred them, seeing them only as accidents.
Search for the Chief
In 2019, soon after the Chief left on one of his regular expeditions, Jane convinced Larry, Rita, and Cliff to go into downtown Cloverton for a day. The trip was a complete disaster, with Rita becoming a massive, amorphous blob creature that rolled around town destroying things and frightening people, and the Spirit briefly forcing itself from Larry's body in an effort to help. This caught the attention of Caulder's arch-nemesis, the nigh-omnipotent Mister Nobody, who had been searching for him for decades. He sent a superpowered albino donkey to Cloverton to capture the Chief. When the Chief returned, he attempted to leave town with the manor tenants for somewhere safer, but since Cliff convinced them all to stay and protect the town, the donkey caught up with them, farting as a vortex opened up behind it, swallowing the Chief, Jane, and all of Cloverton, leaving Larry, Rita, and Cliff standing in burning rubble.
While Larry and Rita went home, the ambitious tech-aided superhero Vic Stone, alias Cyborg, helped Cliff retrieve the donkey, and brought it back to the manor along with Jane. Rita, Larry, and Rita investigated the donkey, who swallowed them, transporting them to the White Space, Mister Nobody's base of operations where the rest of the town had been sent. He tortured them for a bit, and ultimately warned them to stop looking for Caulder if they wanted to live. He then released them and the town, simply making them more determined than ever to find their Chief. Larry, realizing the mission would require help, finally made a genuine attempt to connect and cooperate with the Negative Spirit. Although their interactions did not go well at first, with Larry treating the Spirit as a pest he wanted to kill, they began to learn to coexist, with Larry discovering he was doing more harm to the Spirit than it was to himself.
The mission took several twists and turns, with the team aiding chaos magician Willoughby Kipling in saving the world from the Cult of the Unwritten Book's attempt to destroy it, and meeting the Doom Patrol, a team that had been defeated and driven mad by Mister Nobody. Throughout all of this, the Spirit attempted to help Larry work through his pain by influencing the dreams he had while outside his body, including helping him let go of his past and John in particular.
A sentient, teleporting, genderqueer street named Danny attempted to aide Vic and Larry on their mission, seeing how Caulder was their friend. Larry discovered Danny and one of their most trusted residents, a drag queen named Maura Lee Karupt, was a former agent of the Bureau of Normalcy, helping Danny evade the Bureau for years. With Larry and Vic's help, Danny finally stood up to and fought the Bureau, forcing them to leave the street and its residents alone, and in return, Danny and Maura helped Larry realize that he didn't need to hide who he was, and that being gay is nothing to be ashamed of.
During an experience in which the Spirit was forced to connect Cliff and Jane to save their lives, it psychically connected Larry to an old John Bowers, dying of old age. Realizing he lived close by, Larry drove over to see him as soon as he and the Spirit were reunited. The two caught up and talked a little, but John passed away soon after. Larry felt closure in seeing him one last time, however, and the experience taught him the important lesson of opening up and moving on are healthy things. He became more open towards others, making jokes to help cope rather than just keeping to himself.
The days after his farewell to John saw Larry reluctantly join the team on an infiltration mission of the Ant Farm to rescue a captured Vic. As part of their plan, the team was willingly captured by the Bureau of Normalcy to be studied and experimented on. Larry was forcibly separated from the Negative Spirit in these experiments, allowing him to separate from it without losing consciousness, remaining as such even when the team escaped along with Flex Mentallo. Larry was initially happy to be free of the Spirit, even pushing it away when it tried to enter him again as he began dying without it, telling it to go and be free. The Spirit felt compassion, though, and decided to stay with Larry, helping him and keeping him alive.
Now free with Flex, Vic and Rita were able to track down the Beard Hunter, a metahuman tracker searching for Caulder, to Danny the Street. When the group arrived, the Chief was nowhere to be found, but Danny revealed that they knew all along that Mister Nobody was keeping him in the White Space, and had stayed quiet out of fear for their residents. Using his reality-warping powers, Flex teleported the team into the White Space, where Nobody was waiting for them. He tortured them all before the Chief's eyes for a time, until finally Caulder caved in and told the team the truth: that he caused all of their "accidents" in his search for immortality. Feeling betrayed, hurt, and furious at Caulder, the team went their separate ways as soon as the now-satisfied Mister Nobody transported them out of the White Space, and back to the real world.
Journey of Self-Acceptance
Eventually, the team was lured back to Doom Manor by Mister Nobody for a second revenge scheme, having kidnapped Danny and the Chief's daughter, Dorothy Spinner, a naive but powerful girl able to bring her imaginary friends to life, including a dangerous, potentially world-ending one called the Candlemaker. Dorothy had been the reason for Caulder's immortality experiments, wanting to outlive her to protect the world from the Candlemaker. For the sake of the girl, the team went to rescue her and Danny, but through their rescue, every one of them, excluding Larry, was shrunken down to being only a few inches tall, while Danny was reduced to a brick. For the next few months, Larry did his best to care for them, making them food and trying to find a way to make them big again. Eventually, they were restored the normal size by Willoughby Kipling, in exchange for Caulder's longevity talisman, leading him to finally begin to die.
Soon after this, Larry was told by the Spirit through his dreams that his son Gary had died, so he drove to attend his funeral in Greensboro, Indiana. While there, he met up with his surviving son Paul, now an old military veteran, shocked his father was indeed alive. He invited Larry to Gary's house to clean it out and meet his grandson Dex and great-grandson Toby. Larry accepted, and once there, began to really see what a poor father he was, and how much hiding his true feelings hurt those around him. Paul revealed to Larry that his wife and Gary had developed conspiracy theories about where he'd gone, hoping and praying he was still alive. Seeing them crumble like this made Paul bitter at his father, so he called the Bureau of Normalcy to recapture Larry as soon as he could. Larry evaded capture and returned to the manor, now determined to fix his relationship with his family.
After Larry returned to the manor, the Chief's space exploration team, the Pioneers of the Uncharted, returned from a decades-long mission to find the secrets of immortality. Leading the team was Moscow, a Russian cosmonaut who bonded to another Negative Spirit, but unlike Larry, learned to peacefully coexist with it in a mere five years. This revelation helped Larry realize that he could indeed harness the Spirit's power, and learning to truly accept it, and himself, could make them both better.
After an infestation of Scants at the manor brought Larry and his friends close to death, Jane was driven to confront her trauma at her childhood home, and she dragged Larry along. After talking with Jane about her experiences, he came to terms with the fact that he hadn't been a good family man, and that he needed to let his family go their own way. When he and Jane returned to the manor, they were forced to do battle with the released Candlemaker, and stop it from turning the world into wax. After a long battle, Dorothy finally rested control of the deity, but during their fight, Caulder succumbed to the ailments of his age, and his death was both celebrated and mourned by his test subjects. Larry felt was conflicted, but ultimately shifted his focus to the Spirit.
Becoming a Superhero
Soon after the Chief's death, the Spirit convinced Larry to properly travel into space. It telekinetically flew his body into deep space, keeping him alive in its vacuum, until they finally reached the Negative Nebula, the Spirit's home. There, the Spirit properly unfused from Larry, leaving him alive, and teleported him back to the manor on Earth. Unbeknownst to Larry, however, his experience in the nebula had impregnated him with another spirit named Keeg.
When he returned from space, he discovered that his friends had all been killed on vacation. He mourned them briefly, and with Dorothy's help, contacted the Dead Boy Detective Agency, who helped him bring the group back from the dead. The group then met Laura De Mille, an amnesiac time-traveler trying to remember why she came to 2021. Around the time she did so, Larry discovered the parasite, which appeared as a large growth on his skin, and assumed he was dying. While he was trying to figure out what it was, Laura revealed that she had arrived to kill the Sisterhood of Dada, who the group released by accident when leaving the Ant Farm.
After facing down and being defeated by the Sisterhood, Larry finally expelled the large larva-like Keeg from his body, and, assuming he was a parasite, took him into the forest by the manor with the intent to leave him to die. His own experiences with parenthood wouldn't let him do it, however, and he left him with supplies he hoped would help it survive the night. He was then forced to confront his subconscious self, the memory of him on his wedding day being to afraid to come out as gay, as part of the Sisterhood's "Eternal Flagellation", making him finally come to terms with, and fully embrace, his sexuality, and open up even more to his friends. He then went back to the woods, took Keeg home, and began caring for him like a baby, seeing it as his second chance at being a father.
While caring for Keeg, Larry learned that he shared with him an empathic connection, and they shared each others' pain. It grew more difficult to care for the creature when the group discovered that Laura had remembered her past as the villainous Madame Rouge of the Brotherhood of Evil, causing them all to feel betrayed and emotionally toxic. When Larry discovered that Vic was no longer Cyborg, and was able to appear normal for a fresh start, he became furious with envy, harming himself and Keeg even more.
When Cliff was captured by the Brotherhood's retired leader, the Brain, the group took their bus to save him, and the emotional toxicity of the team combined with Jane's sonic scream built up by her internal trauma caused the creature to surge with energy, wounding them both and destroying the bus.
After the group recovered from the bus being destroyed, the Fog, leader of the Sisterhood of Dada, brought them all into her mindscape to show them the truths within themselves. Larry was finally able to communicate with Keeg, and learned that he had to merge with Larry or he would die. Larry decided to do so, accepting the love and support of Keeg and his friends, and took Keeg back to the manor, where the pair fused. This granted Larry the power of flight, and possibly other abilities. He attempted to stop an out of control Cliff, whose brain had been transferred to a kaiju-sized robot he couldn't control, with his new abilities, but he didn't manage to control them, forcing Rita to stop Cliff herself.
After this, Rita insisted the group, along with the reformed Madame Rouge, become a superhero team: the Doom Patrol. Larry and Keeg accepted, and went on to fight bizarre otherworldly threats as a powerful superhero.
Powers and Abilities
- Cosmic Radiation-Altered Physiology
- Flight: Larry can fly with Keeg's help.
- Mental Illness: Larry's life experiences have left him mentally scarred as well as physically. While he has mainly gotten over his cowardice and introverted nature, he is still somewhat depressed and lonely, and while he is more willing to face the adversaries he comes across, he is no less afraid of them.
- Lead-lined bandages: Larry must wear lead-lined bandages at all times to protect others from his lethal radiation production.
- Goggles: Larry wears special goggles that contain his radiation while allowing him to see through eye-holes in his bandages.
- Doom Bus
- This version of the character is exclusive to the continuity of the television series Doom Patrol and is an adaptation of Negative Man (Larry Trainor). The original character was created by Arnold Drake, Bob Haney, and Bruno Premiani and first appeared in My Greatest Adventure #80.
- Larry is portrayed by Matt Bomer (voice, pre-accident, and post-accident without bandages) and Matthew Zuk (with bandages). As a kid, he was portrayed by Braxton Alexander.
- Another version of Larry Trainor, also voiced by Matt Bomer but portrayed by Dwain Murphy, had earlier appeared in the Titans episode "Doom Patrol".
- Though he has never taken the superhero name in the show, promotional marketing officially provided by DC Comics identified Larry as "Negative Man".
- Larry is 95 years old in 2019.
- While the other members of the Doom Patrol have died twice, Larry has only died once, in temporarily becoming a zombie.
- Larry does not need to eat or drink to stay alive, but he does need to urinate for some reason.
- 36 Appearances of Lawrence Trainor (Doom Patrol TV Series)
- 42 Images featuring Lawrence Trainor (Doom Patrol TV Series)
- 5 Quotations by or about Lawrence Trainor (Doom Patrol TV Series)
- Character Gallery: Lawrence Trainor (Doom Patrol TV Series)
- Doom Patrol: "Therapy Patrol"
- Doom Patrol: "Subconscious Patrol"
- Doom Patrol: "Pilot"
- Doom Patrol: "Pain Patrol"
- Doom Patrol: "Donkey Patrol"
- Doom Patrol: "Penultimate Patrol"
- Doom Patrol: "Flex Patrol"
- Doom Patrol: "Puppet Patrol"
- Doom Patrol: "Cult Patrol"
- Doom Patrol: "Paw Patrol"
- Doom Patrol: "Doom Patrol Patrol"
- Doom Patrol: "Danny Patrol"
- Doom Patrol: "Frances Patrol"
- Doom Patrol: "Cyborg Patrol"
- Doom Patrol: "Ezekiel Patrol"
- Doom Patrol: "Fun Size Patrol"
- Doom Patrol: "Tyme Patrol"
- Doom Patrol: "Finger Patrol"
- Doom Patrol: "Space Patrol"
- Doom Patrol: "Dumb Patrol"
- Doom Patrol: "Wax Patrol"
- Doom Patrol: "Possibilities Patrol"
- Doom Patrol: "Vacay Patrol"
- Doom Patrol: "Dead Patrol"
- Doom Patrol: "Undead Patrol"
- Doom Patrol: "Dada Patrol"
- Doom Patrol: "Bird Patrol"
- Doom Patrol: "Evil Patrol"
- Doom Patrol: "Amends Patrol"
- Doom Patrol | Negative Man | DC Universe | The Ultimate Membership
- Doom Patrol: "1917 Patrol"
Doom Patrol member