- 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? You think I enjoy wrapping my body every day in bandages and unwrapping them just to take a piss? [...] 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 sad, introverted member of the Doom Patrol. He was involved in an experiment engineered by Niles Caulder that bound him to the alien Negative Spirit and made his body radioactive. 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. 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 pilot named John Bowers. He wasn't a great husband or father, but he still tried his best despite everything.
The Birth of Negative Man
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.
New Life at Doom Manor
Eventually, in 1966, Niles Caulder, whom Larry would come to know as the "Chief", rescued him from the Ant Farm, and offered him a home in his home, a mansion known as Doom Manor in Cloverton, Ohio. Larry accepted, and was given radiation-proof bandages and goggles to wear, which proved more flexible than his current costume, and a comfortable radiation-proof room for him to stay in. He 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 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 bottle in everything.
Powers and Abilities
- Cosmic Radiation-Altered Physiology
- Immobility: (Formerly) When the Negative Spirit leaves him, his body becomes motionless and vulnerable to attack.
- Life Force Loss: When Larry and the Negative Spirit learned to separate without the host being unconscious, Larry becomes weak, as if all the aging of which he was deprived returned quickly, and may die if the separation lasts too long.
- 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.
- Larry does not need to eat or drink to stay alive, but he does need to urinate for some reason.
- 32 Appearances of Lawrence Trainor (Doom Patrol TV Series)
- 21 Images featuring Lawrence Trainor (Doom Patrol TV Series)
- 4 Quotations by or about Lawrence Trainor (Doom Patrol TV Series)
- Character Gallery: Lawrence Trainor (Doom Patrol TV Series)
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