Doom Patrol #15, art by John Byrne
|First appearance||My Greatest Adventure #80 (June 1963)|
|Created by||Arnold Drake|
|Alter ego||Rita Farr Dayton|
|Team affiliations||Doom Patrol|
Elasti-Girl (also known as Elasti-Woman) is a fictional comic book superheroine appearing in books published by DC Comics, primarily as a member of the Doom Patrol. Created by writer Arnold Drake and artist Bruno Premiani, the character first appeared in My Greatest Adventure #80 (June 1963).
Elasti-Girl has appeared in numerous cartoon television shows and films. Rita Farr made her first live-action appearance as a guest star on the DC Universe series, Titans, played by April Bowlby. She is also a main cast member on its sister series, Doom Patrol.
Elasti-Girl was created by Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani. She first appeared in My Greatest Adventure #80 (June 1963). According to Drake, the issue's co-writer Bob Haney was not brought on to the project until after Elasti-Girl was created.
Fictional character biography
Rita Farr is an Olympic swimming gold medalist turned Hollywood actress who is exposed to unusual volcanic gases while shooting a film in Africa. When Farr recovers, she discovers that she can expand or shrink her body at will—from hundreds of feet tall to mere inches in height. When she gains greater control of her powers, she discovers that she can enlarge one limb at a time.
Although not physically disfigured, Rita initially has no control over her size changes, is considered a freak and a menace, and becomes a recluse, leaving her Hollywood career in ruins. However, Rita is approached by Dr. Niles Caulder (also known as The Chief) who offers her a place among fellow "freaks" attempting to use their powers for good. As Elasti-Girl, she joins Caulder's team, the Doom Patrol. Rita falls in love with, and marries, Steve Dayton, the hero Mento. Later on, the couple adopts young Gar Logan, who would become the Teen Titans' Beast Boy.
In the JLA: Year One storyline, the Martian Manhunter tells Rita that he was something of a fan of her "chiller pictures" and that he was disappointed that she did not continue making films. Flattered, she kisses him on the cheek and later tells him that she has met Alien actress Sigourney Weaver and that she is sure he would approve of her.
Tragedy strikes when the Doom Patrol's enemies, the Brotherhood of Evil, threaten a small New England fishing village. The Patrol members elect to sacrifice themselves to save the innocents, and are killed in an explosion. It is later revealed that several members of the team actually cheated death (to appear in Doom Patrol revivals), although Elasti-Girl would remain "dead" until Infinite Crisis.
I remember the explosion on the island. And then nothing but darkness. Am I supposed to be dead?
- —Elasti-Girl, Teen Titans #32, March 2006.
This situation was explained as an after-effect of Superboy-Prime's pounding on the barrier to reality, which created ripples that changed reality for several characters, including the original Doom Patrol.
The Patrol members retain no memories of their previous lives—until Superboy-Prime breaks the Phantom Zone barrier during his battle with the Teen Titans and their allies. At that moment their minds discern visions of the previous Doom Patrols, and Rita remembers everything—her husband, her son, and her own death.
Rita is seen in issue #7 of the 2005 storyline Infinite Crisis as one of the many heroes defending the city of Metropolis from the army calling themselves the Secret Society of Super Villains. She personally battles the giant villain Giganta.
Infinite Crisis ultimately retconned Byrne's reboot out of continuity.
One Year Later
The explanation for Rita's resurrection: The Chief salvaged a piece of Elasti-Girl's skull and used his technology to regrow her entire body due to its malleable form. Consequently, Elasti-Girl is very docile, and is reluctant to question the Chief. The Chief hints that her malleable form hampers her thinking abilities, leading to her lack of personal initiative which makes her dependent upon Caulder (a.k.a. The Chief). As he observes her interaction with the Chief, Robin suspects that the Chief has brainwashed Rita and the other Patrol members. Rita's husband, Mento, is under the control of his Mento-helmet, and believes that his wife would never love him without it.
Following their battle against the Brotherhood, the Titans and the Doom Patrol witness the Chief working to convince Kid Devil that he is a freak and that the Titans actually dislike him. This pushes the teams to confront the Chief: Mento finally removes his helmet and pointedly tells the Chief that he is no longer leader of the Patrol and if he ever again insults his wife and son, he will use his powers to destroy the Chief's intellect. Rita firmly stands behind her husband, breaking out of the Chief's control.
In the most recent Doom Patrol series, Rita changed her codename to "Elasti-Woman". It was revealed that when the Chief regrew her he did so using protoplasm to eliminate "weaknesses" such as bones and internal organs and therefore Rita is no longer human. When she sleeps Rita loses her human shape and reverts to a puddle of goo, having to reshape herself when she wakes up every morning.
Powers and abilities
Rita has the ability to expand and shrink her body. Her powers of expansion allow her to become as large as a skyscraper. She has the ability to shrink to mere inches (during one adventure, she was exposed to a gas that caused her to reduce to a microscopic scale and enter a sub-atomic universe; that experience has not been repeated). Rita can selectively shrink or expand parts of her body. As depicted in John Byrne's Doom Patrol (retconned out of existence), Elasti-Girl could change the size of objects and people by touching them; when she'd release them, they'd revert to their normal size. Because of her protoplasmic physiology, Rita can regenerate any part of her body. She can reconstruct a half-blown face or a torn leg and regrow severed limbs.
In other media
- Rita Farr is referenced in The Flash episode "Things You Can't Outrun", as she was the subject of a documentary film called The Rita Farr Story, which was showing at a Central City movie theater that Iris West and Barry Allen were at.
- Rita Farr / Elasti-Woman appeared in Titans, portrayed by April Bowlby, and reprises the role in the spinoff series Doom Patrol.
- Elasti-Girl has appeared as a member of the Doom Patrol in the two-part "Homecoming" episode of Teen Titans, voiced by Tara Strong. Her shrinking ability is not demonstrated in the series, except when she returns from her enlarged state to her normal size.
- Elasti-Girl (alongside Doom Patrol members Chief, Negative Man, and Robotman) appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "The Last Patrol" voiced by Olivia d'Abo. In this version, she has become very fat and is wallowing in self-pity due to the accident in Paris that broke up the Doom Patrol. She was even shown doing that at a party she held at her sea-side mansion when the Mutant Master and his minions attacked. When Batman and Chief arrived, they manage to convince Elasti-Girl to rejoin and fend off Mutant Master. She rapidly loses weight before doing so. In a recreation of the original Doom Patrol series' finale, she and her teammates later sacrifice their lives to stop General Zahl from detonating explosives planted on the island of a small fishing village.
- Rita Farr appears very briefly in the Young Justice episode "Image." Her name was seen in the credits for a fictional television sitcom called "Hello Megan" that starred a teenage Marie Logan (mother of Garfield Logan). She later appears as Elasti-Woman in the third season of Young Justice, voiced by Hynden Walch.
- Elasti-Girl appeared in the "Doom Patrol" segments of DC Nation Shorts voiced by Kari Wahlgren.
- Jimenez, Phil (2008). "Elasti-Girl". In Dougall, Alastair (ed.). The DC Comics Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley. p. 113. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5. OCLC 213309017.
- Browning, Michael (July 2013). "The Doom Patrol Interviews: Arnold Drake". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (65): 38–41.
- Drake, Arnold (w), Premiani, Bruno (a). "The Doom Patrol" My Greatest Adventure 80: 3/1 (June, 1963), DC Comics
- Drake, Arnold (w), Premiani, Bruno (a). "The Doom Patrol" My Greatest Adventure 80: 5/3 (June, 1963), DC Comics
- Beatty, Scott (2008). "Doom Patrol". In Dougall, Alastair (ed.). The DC Comics Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley. p. 109. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5. OCLC 213309017.
- Teen Titans (Vol. 3) #36 (July 2006)
- Doom Patrol (Vol. 5) #1 (October 2009)
- Frankenhoff, Brent (2011). Comics Buyer's Guide Presents: 100 Sexiest Women in Comics. Krause Publications. p. 55. ISBN 1-4402-2988-0.
- Andreeva, Nellie (July 13, 2018). "'Doom Patrol': April Bowlby To Play Elasti-Woman In DC Universe Live-Action Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 13, 2018.