This page is for the current Robotman, Cliff Steele.
For the original Robotman, see: Robert Crane.
Clifford "Cliff" Steele was an obsessive daredevil. He engaged in every extreme sporting event imaginable. Everything from spelunking to race car driving. He climbed the Himalayan Mountains, rafted down the Amazon River, and spent six months living in a tribal African village. At one point in his career, Cliff became involved in the NASCAR circuit. He became a professional racecar driver and participated in the Indianapolis 500. The Indy 500 proved to be Cliff's final race however. During the race, his car slid through an oil slick and toppled over. The car exploded irrevocably destroying Cliff's body, but leaves his brain intact. Dr. Niles Caulder saves Cliff Steele's brain and implants it in a robotic body. Unfortunately, one of the contacts to his brain comes loose, resulting in a criminal Robotman pursued by the police. Ultimately, Robotman is taken in by the Doom Patrol, and has his brain fixed.
Robotman was created by the writers Arnold Drake, Bob Haney and artist Bruno Premiani. He first appeared in My Greatest Adventure #80.
Robotman stays with the Doom Patrol until they are killed by General Zahl, defending Codsville, Maine. During his stay with the Doom Patrol, he exhibits a number of superpowers, most prominently super strength, super endurance and magnetic feet. He is able to rip off his limbs to use for various things - for example, climbing a wall using his magnetic soles. Several years later, it was discovered that Robotman's brain had survived, though his original robot body had been destroyed. Will Magnus, creator of the Metal Men, builds Cliff a new body. Cliff joins with a new Doom Patrol led by a woman claiming to be the Chief's widow Celsius. During this time period, he meets up with former Patroller Beast Boy, who has since joined the Teen Titans. The two hunt down Madame Rouge and General Zahl, who helped kill the original Doom Patrol. During the confrontation, Zahl is killed when his bullets ricochet off of Robotman's chassis.
Cliff was rebooted, in this new reality Cliff is member of Doom Patrol along with Caulder, Negative Man and Elasti-Girl. He started relationship with Elasti-Girl.
Following the Infinite Crisis, Cliff regained all old memories of his past. He stayed with the Doom Patrol, until Caulder moved the team on Oolong Island, they are the country's official superhero team. Cliff lives alone, in a bungalow on the island. Behind his house is a pit filled with discarded, broken Robotman bodies. By this point, he has discovered and accepted that his brain is no longer even his - the Chief has cloned it several times.
Cliff now lives separated from his former team in area of his own creation just outside of Las Vegas terraformed by his nano-bots the locals name "Uncanny Valley". He runs something of a detective agency with his partner Maddy Rouge. His robot body is made of nano-bots and is able to perform many functions, usually by Cliff just thinking them.
Major Story Arcs
The new Doom Patrol is ended during the Invasion!, which leaves Celsius dead, and Rhea Jones in a coma. Following this, Cliff voluntarily commits himself to a mental institution, angered at the loss of his teammates and his condition. In particular, he mourns the loss of his senses, which, as a robot, he no longer has. Caulder sends Magnus to introduce Cliff to someone who has worse troubles than he: a mentally ill woman with 64 split personalities called Crazy Jane. Cliff becomes Jane's guardian, and eventually falls in love with her. The two become part of a new Doom Patrol, once again led by Caulder.
Vertigo's Doom Patrol
Cliff has a new, black body made for him during this time, this one capable of synthesizing senses. Unfortunately, the body becomes self aware and attempts to kill Cliff, left as a brain in a jar until he is placed in his new body. The body ultimately self destructs after the Brain attempts to use it for himself. Cliff goes back to the gold body that is injured later during a war between the Geomancers and the Orthodoxy. Cliff is temporarily given a body with insectoid legs. Cliff's body is once again destroyed during the Candlemaker's assault, leaving him as nothing more than a backup of his mind in Caulder's CPU. During this time, it is discovered that Caulder had caused the accident that destroyed his human body in the first place. After this, Cliff and the Doom Patrol leave the planet on Danny the Street. Cliff presumably continues his relationship with Crazy Jane, after rescuing her from a mundane world. Cliff later met and began a relationship with a bisexual, post-op transsexual named Kate Godwin. At one point, Kate and Cliff merged and shared his memories.
Cliff Puts End to Dorothy
Dorothy Spinner ultimately destroyed both Cliff's brain and his robot body following a nervous breakdown. Her subconscious created a new Robotman, who joined Thayer Jost's new corporate backed Doom Patrol. When the artificial Robotman discovered what it was, it faded away, leaving the team to try and find Cliff's brain. They discovered it underneath rubble in the Smokey Mountains, where Dorothy had had her breakdown. He has a body built for him by a Zviad Kolodenko, Russian prosthetics expert. Jost's ownership of the Patrol falls through when it is discovered that it was not actually Robotman who signed the rights to him. Robotman ultimately pulls Dorothy from life support.
Cliff Fights Black Lantern Cliff
During the Blackest Night, Cliff goes up against his human body, which has risen as a Black Lantern. The skull cap of the body is gone, revealing an empty head. The Black Lanterns are destroyed when the Patrol tricks them into following them through a Boom Tube style gate, directly in the center of a fight involving the JLA.
Cliff Becomes the Leader of Doom Patrol
During the attempted gentrification of New Earth by the Gentrifiers, Cliff discovers both Crazy Jane and Danny the Street, who has been reduced to a brick. Following the Chief's brain death, he has become the leader of the team.
My Greatest Adventures-Uncanny Valley
In this post Flashpoint mini series Cliff now runs a detective agency with Maddy Rouge out of Uncanny Valley Nevada. His origin story has changed slightly. Cliff used to be a man trekking across the world testing his body's limits and then he was approached by U.N.R.E.A.S.O.N. to pilot their Nano-tech race car in a world record breaking race.
Something went wrong and when the car exploded the Nano-bots in the car fused with Cliff, using his body as fuel for them to work fast enough to save his brain. When Cliff gained consciousness he was now Robotman. He tried to kill himself but the Nano-bots would not allow him. U.N.R.E.A.S.O.N. later found him on an abandon island near Zanzibar. U.N.R.E.A.S.O.N. wanted him to join them but Cliff said no and started his agency.
Years later a woman asked Cliff to find her brother/husband Dr. Turing. The trail lead back to the island Cliff was found on by U.N.R.E.A.S.O.N. There he discovers that Dr. Turing was responsible for his accident. Cliff tries to kill the doctor but his Nano-bots won't allow him. Instead Cliff turns the Doctor over to UNREASON, and goes back to Uncanny Valley. There he realizes that Maddy, who was blaming herself for Cliff's condition, is going to stay by his side, even though Cliff will always be more machine then man.
Powers & Abilities
Cliff's original mechanical body possessed superhuman strength, speed, and endurance. It was also equipped with electromagnetic feet that enabled him to scale metal walls, heating coils in his hands then enabled him to melt metals, an oxygen tank that could sustain his brain in an emergency, and a video communicator strapped to his chest that allowed Caulder to maintain contact with the team in the field, complete with visual information. Later bodies have featured various other functions, such as tools and weapons systems.
Cliff as Robotman appeared as one of the heroes that would usher in the Silver Age after the Justice Society of America and the All-Star Squadron have retired from active duty.
Ferro Man (Piotr Rasputin) is the member of X-Patrol. He can change into living metal and become unstoppable.
In the this world Vic Stone has taken up the name Robotman III. He is a liquid metal robot.
This version of Robotman was created by the mind of Dorothy Spinner to serve as an exact duplicate of the original Cliff Steele during a time when it was believed that Steele was dead.
Conceived and constructed by Professor Miller Sterling, Automan was the first graduate of Robot Tech, an institute for higher learning designed exclusively for mechanical men. At RobotTech, "computer men" were fed a wealth of information via intricate teaching computers.
Robotman makes several cameos in the Justice books.
Justice League of America: The Nail
Robotman appeared in Justice League of America: The Nail books.
Teen Titans Go!
Robotman appeared in several issues of Teen Titans Go! as a member of the Doom Patrol.
Batman: The Brave And The Bold
Robotman and his teammates team up with Batman.
Robotman appears as a member of the Doom Patrol in this show. He is a former teammate of Beast Boy.
In the episode "The Last Patrol!", Robotman appears as a former member of the Doom Patrol. Feeling suicidal over the dissolution of the team, and depressed that he cannot be destroyed, he becomes a crash test dummy. When Batman contacts him over someone targeting the former team, he is attacked by Arsenal. He and the other members of the Doom Patrol sacrifice themselves to save Codsville, Maine.