When I was first invited to participate in the Super-Blog Team-Up the subject was Redemption. My initial thought was to write about the “Daredevil: Redemption” mini-series, but then I stopped for a second and decided that is a little on the nose, maybe use your imagination and think of something with a little more pizzazz. I ended up writing about Elfquest and how I thought that the chief of the tribe redeemed himself through the course of the first story. This time around I did not stop and think.
When the subject for this round of the SBTU was announced that it was going to be “Immortal” I instantly thought of the Immortal Dr. Fate and knew I wanted to write about him. Sure the concept of being immortal is right there in the name but I did not care. This was a chance to write about a character that I’ve enjoyed since I was a kid and all through my collecting years. I mean what’s not to like? The character design alone is amazing. The blue and yellow color scheme of his costume just leaps off the page. The gold helmet is one of the most iconic items in all of the DC universe. He lives in a tower that is reminiscent of a lighthouse and exists between dimensions. I could go on but let’s get to the comics.
All-Star Squadron #47
Writer & Editor – Roy Thomas
Guest Penciller – Todd McFarlane (pgs 2-23)
Guest Penciller – Mike Clark (pgs 1, 24)
Inker – Vince Colleta
Colorist – Gene D’Angelo
Letter – Cody (no last name listed)
My introduction to the character Dr. Fate was in the pages of All-Star Squadron. While he was technically a member of the Justice Society of America he had plenty of appearances with the Squadron (35 according to comic vine). In this particular issue we are treated to the fantastic origin of Dr. Fate. I’d like to note a couple of items about this comic before getting into the synopsis. There is an editorial note on the letters page from Roy Thomas that states that this story was supposed to appear in the forthcoming, unnamed “secret origins” comic that he was working on but because of an upcoming Dr. Fate monthly series the story was moved up. What is odd about that statement is Dr. Fate did not get his own mini series until 1987, and a regular monthly series until 1989. I have to wonder what series Thomas was referring to at this time (July 1985 cover date), was it the mini-series, the 89 monthly or a book that never saw the light of day.
Thomas also mentions that this comic is actually guest penciller Todd McFarlane’s first work for DC, despite being the new regular artist on Infinity Inc., of which several issues had already been published by the time this issue came out. That is one reason that this book can be more difficult to come by. It was the last issue I needed to complete my set of All-Star Squadron and I paid two dollars for it. I’ve seen it as high as fifteen dollars recently, and it is always noted prominently by the dealer that it is McFarlane’s first DC comic. I guess that qualifies it as a “key” book.
Several issues of All-Star Squadron are used entirely to tell the origin of one golden age superhero or another and I believe they all do it using the same gimmick. The hero decides he or she wants to tell their story to John Law (a.k.a. The Tarantula) who is writing a book about masked heroes that he intends to publish when he retires from the crime fighting business. Fun Fact: John Law’s book is called “Alter Egos”, or “Altered Egos” depending on where you look. The book shows up in Alex Ross and Mark Waid’s “Kingdom Come” as “Alternate Egos” by John Law and as “Behind the Mask” in James Robinson’s “The Golden Age”. Anyway, it is an easy way for Thomas to devote an entire issue to tell one characters story.
Kent Nelson, wearing his half helmet, starts off the story saying that he is not really the same Dr. Fate as when his journey began. It does not come up until the end of the story but the half helmet that he is currently wearing is not a different version of the Helmet of Fate, it is just a helmet fashioned to look like Fate’s Helmet. It does not have the magical powers or contain the spirit of Nabu that the full version does. Kent wears this particular helmet to avoid being controlled by Nabu. Kent goes on to tell his story about how his father, an archaeologist, took him to Egypt after World War One had ended in order to excavate a pyramid. This particular pyramid should not exist in this part of Egypt it being so close the Tigris-Euphrates river and so far from where all the other pyramids were.
Kent, just a young boy, and his father, Sven, venture into the pyramid in order to unlock its secrets. Kent eventually comes across a chamber that when he opens it he finds a giant that looks very life like. The giant’s eyes turn red and a white gas cloud fills the room. Kent tries to escape but when he gets back to his father he finds him collapsed on the ground, dead. It is not stated as such in this story, but in Flash #306, the gas is supposed to preserve the giant, kill anyone who disturbs him, and finally spare the person who would replace him. The giant is Nabu, the wise. He is a Lord of Order and a sorcerer. His desire is to train Kent to carry on his work.
While Kent is still grieving Nabu looks deep into his mind and makes all the pain go away. The young boy accepts this and Nabu becomes his mentor and guardian. This is just the first time Nabu will manipulate Kent. The years pass and Kent grows up with Nabu teaching him how to use magic to do almost anything. As the final lesson Nabu commands Kent to use all his power to destroy him. Kent refuses so Nabu reminds him of his father dying, making him feel all the anger and sorrow all over again. This works and Kent unleashes all his fury towards Nabu. The physical form of Kent’s teacher is destroyed but Nabu is far from gone.
In Kent’s minds eye he learns the truth about Nabu. Nabu is an exiled Lord of Order who became a guardian of mankind. He took a human form and was worshiped. Nabu tells him of the eternal struggle between Order and Chaos. He explains that the form he had taken on Earth can no longer house him, he needs a new host which Kent is to become. The energy that was Nabu transforms into the gold and blue costume that we are familiar with, the cape, the amulet and the Helmet. Kent Nelson wearing this outfit becomes Dr. Fate! It is important to understand that Dr. Fate at this point is not just Kent Nelson wearing a snazzy outfit and has a helmet that talks to him. The being known as Dr. Fate is a physical manifestation of the exiled Lord of Order using the body of Kent Nelson to exist in our world.
Dr. Fate’s first action is to find the Egyptian City of Alexandria in order to find the “single secret worth having for a lifetime unending”, whatever that means. Along the way Dr. Fate feels what he calls “an aura of incredible ageless evil”. He comes across a dead tour guide and an overturned car. Using his magic he learns that a beautiful woman is being held prisoner by a man that is familiar but he does not remember. Running on instinct Dr. Fate eventually finds a door-less tower and know he is in the right place to rescue the woman he saw. Using his powers to enter the tower he is greeted by the green faced man from his vision. The person knows Dr. Fate and refers to him by name, but Fate remembers nothing of his adversary. The green man chastises Dr. Fate and tells him that he knows Wotan and that he won’t play the same games, telling him that he knows all about him and Nabu the Wise. What he doesn’t know is what the girl means to Fate.
After a little banter between the two sorcerers Wotan decides to give Dr. Fate the old razzle dazzle and expels him from the tower with a mighty Throoom! Wotan returns to his questioning of the young woman trying to figure out what she and Dr. Fate mean to each other. She’s giving him nothing (because she doesn’t really have anything to give). Frustrated Wotan decides to leave his tower with his hostage before Dr. Fate regains his wits and remembers who they are to each other. When Dr. Fate starts to come around, he decides to give Wotan what for and since he’s still new at these he can’t put Wotan down for the final count. Wotan gives it back as good as he received and then some, seemingly putting an end to his old foe.
Just before he is going to finish Dr. Fate off, the young woman frees herself, I assume because Wotan is devoting all his energy to destroying Nabu. She runs to Dr. Fate, cradles him in her lap and removes the helmet. She feels awful for the hurt, handsome, young man who was mortally wounded trying to rescue her and she starts to cry. Now, in what I can only describe as a Disney magic moment, one tear lands on Kent Nelson’s face and our hero is back in the game.
Dr. Fate starts to rise. He dons the helmet, and with all the pep and vigor he can muster, he attacks Wotan and disintegrates him, scattering his atoms throughout the universe. This revived Dr. Fate, now more confident in his abilities, tells the young woman he should wipe her mind so that she forgets everything she’s seen. The woman convinces him not to do that and tells him that he needs her humanity and that the world needs Dr. Fate. He mulls this over and decides that she is the secret which he was searching for in the first place, the one worth having for a lifetime. She says that they should be friends and Dr. Fate agrees, picks her up and they fly off together.
Kent wraps up his story to John telling him the woman’s name was Inza Cramer and that they eventually fell in love. He also explains why he stopped wearing the helmet, that he can still fly, and is pretty strong but does not have much other magical power. He then poses the question, is he still Dr. Fate without all that? The comic ends with Hourman, Starman, and Firebrand bursting into the room saying the president called and Winston Churchill (who Hourman refers to as Winnie) has requested the assistance of the All-Stars, specifically the Spectre or Dr. Fate!. Personally if were the Prime Minister of the united Kingdom, I know who I’d want to come help.
Roy Thomas is a master when it comes to golden age characters, continuity, and origin stories. In this comic he writes a complex story about a young boy who is raised by a cosmic deity who basically kills his father and then teaches him how to fly, move things with his mind, and defeat his enemies all in the name of immortality and order. This story is not as dense as Thomas usually writes. It is a good mix of storytelling, captivating dialog, and superhero action. Being a fan of Todd McFarlane I also really enjoyed the art.
Having listened to interviews with Jerry Ordway where he talks about working with Roy on All-Star Squadron and it seems that Roy worked very closely with his creative partners to guide them how he wanted his comics to look. I’m sure this was the case with Todd on this book and as we’ll see in the next story that was originally published in DC Special Series #10 – Secret Origin of Super Heroes.
The Immortal Dr. Fate #1
The Immortal Destiny (The Secret Origin of Dr. Fate)
Excerpted From the Diary of Inza Nelson
Writer – Paul Levitiz
Artists – Joe Staton & Mike Nasser
Letterer – Shelly Leferman
Colorist – Adrienne Roy
This story is presented as being from the journal of Inza where she is struggling with the challenges of being married to Kent Nelson. It seems that Kent Nelson and Dr. Fate are two very different people and the immortal doctor has too much influence over the man she loves. Inza argues with herself about wanting to be with Kent and the problems that come with him being Dr Fate, combating the agents of chaos, all the while recounting how the twelve year old boy traveling with his archaeologist father became the man she is married too.
Except for some minor details this origin story and the one Roy Thomas wrote in All-Star Squadron are nearly identical. Father and son enter a tomb alone. When the young Kent Nelson finds the giant Nabu a mysterious gas is released killing his father. Nabu soothes the child by making him forget his grief and begins teaching the boy magic. As a young man the final step to his training is to destroy Nabu’s human form. When he does this he learns Nabu’s origin and about the lords of order and chaos. This story ends with Kent Nelson receiving the Helmet and amulet from Nabu and becoming Dr. Fate.
Golden Age Classic
Reprinted from More Fun Comics #56 (Dr. Fate’s 2nd appearance)
Writer – Gardner Fox
Artist – Hal Sherman
Gardner Fox and Hal Sherman created Dr. Fate in 1940 in More Fun Comics #55. The story in issue 56 recaps issue 55 where Dr. Fate battled Wotan. In this issue Dr. Fate and Inza have to journey to the realm of the dead to make sure that the defeated Wotan is actually dead. The story is fun, and a little hokey, but the interesting thing is that Wotan is a scientist and not a mage like Dr. Fate. He is attempting to manipulate Earth’s magnetic flow between the poles in order to destroy the planet.
I bring up both of these stories to show how Roy Thomas used the stories that his predecessors wrote and drew to share the origin of Dr. Fate with new readers. He makes minor changes and embellishes here and there but he remains extremely faithful to the source material that he loved when he was reading these comics growing up. He honors the past and DC’s rich history. You can see this in the art as well. The character designs for Wotan and Dr. Fate are identical in All-Star Squadron and More Fun Comics. Also take a look at the following panels from the DC Special Series story and the ones from All-Star Squadron. Thomas had to have guided McFarlane in order to tell the story as he wanted to.
Example 1 – From The Immortal Destiny:
And All-Star Squadron:
Example 2 – Immortal Destiny
And All-Star Squadron
Now that I’ve established where Dr. Fate comes from let’s take a look at some of his adventures. How does Kent Nelson deal with the controlling mage Nabu? Does his relationship with Inza withstand the strain of immortality and order? Let’s find out as we examine the “The Mummy that Time Forgot”!
The Mummy that Time Forgot
Reprinted from 1st Issue Special #9
Writer – Martin Pasko
Artist – Walt Simonson
Editor – Gerry Conway
The thing that I want to talk about, before we get to this story, is how I came across this book. I was at the Baltimore Comic Con and was attending a panel where Walt Simonson was being interviewed. Along with the interview there was a power-point presentation that was being used to show examples of his work that there were going to be discussed. At one point in the interview they got to talking about the artist edition that was soon to be released “Manhunter and other Stories”. As they were showing a preview of the book there was a slide that contained the art for the cover of “The Immortal Dr. Fate”, seen above. I was blown away. I did not know that the great Walt Simonson had drawn a Dr. Fate comic. I did a quick google search for “Walt Simonson Dr. Fate” and quickly found that “The Immortal Dr. Fate” was a three issue series. From there I knew what my mission was and add the comic to my list of things to search the bins for.
It was not too difficult to find the first two issues, but the third did take some time. Since I had only done a cursory search I didn’t really know much about the comic, and at the time I still had not yet discovered the joys of 1st issue special. I mention all this because I did not realize that “The Immortal Dr. Fate” was a reprint series. The first issue collects wthe three stories I am discussing here and the second and third issues collect the Dr. Fate back up stories that appeared in The Flash, vol. 1, issues 306-313. I love reprint comics, they provide a great way to read old stories, very often ones that have never been collected or that the average collector cannot afford. And because they are just reprints they are typically inexpensive. When I finally was able to read the comic I was slightly disappointed that it was not a three issue Dr. Fate mini-series drawn by Walt Simonson. I got over that feeling pretty quickly though because all the stories were so good. Now let’s check out Walter Pasko and Walt Simonson’s Dr. Fate.
The story begins with Dr. Fate leaving his Tower in Salem Massachusetts on a mission. He’s off to the Boston Museum of Egyptology because the crystal orb of Nabu has directed him there. It’s late and two wealthy men have decided to peruse the collection without having to be bothered by other museum patrons. They are greeted by a mummy coming out of his sarcophagus.
The mummy dispatches both men quickly and as they lay broken on the ground Dr. Fate arrives. The mummy recognizes Dr. Fate as the student of Nabu and Dr. Fate recalls the mummy as Nabu’s foe, Khalis. Catching Dr. Fate off guard Khalis attacks and stuns him giving him the opportunity to steal the medallion he wears around his neck. Khalis leaves the fallen Dr. Fate and the museum in order to complete his goal of enslaving mankind and worshiping the Egyptian deity, Anubis. When Dr. Fate comes too he is hurt and disoriented. He heads back to his tower and Inza. As Fate collapses on the floor he tells Inza that he has returned her husband to her. This brief dialog between Inza and Dr. Fate really reinforces the idea the Kent Nelson and Dr. Fate are different people.
When Inza helps Kent recover from his battle with Khalis she lays into him about how she’s tired of healing his body just to have Nabu retake control of him and do it all over again as he battles his foes. Kent, obviously worn out, does not want to have this argument again and passes out, frustrating Inza even more. She decides to leave the tower and let Kent sleep it off.
When Kent comes to, he heads up to the library to do some research to try and find out what Khalis’s deal is. He eventually finds some ancient text that details the rise to power of a mad priest, Khalis, who worships Anubis. Anubis bestows Khalis with a magical amulet who then uses it to control the slaves. One day someone new shows up who cannot be controlled by Khalis, or the amulet. Three guesses on who that might be and the first two don’t count. If you have made it this far and guessed it was Nabu, congratulations (and thank you). Nabu thinks the priest has overstepped and that pharaoh should be the only one to command such power. Nabu separates Khalis from the amulet. Khalis loses control of his slaves and they quickly revolt turning Khalis into a mummy while he is still alive. Ouch. Anubis observes this and tells Khalis he will live on even in death until he can recover the amulet.
Kent Nelson knows what he must do and puts on the Helmet. As Dr. Fate leaves his tower a second time, this time to face one of his strongest foes, we turn to Inza who has rented a room for the evening. She’s starting to have second thoughts about blowing off her husband just because of Dr. Fate. She decides that helping him might be the better thing to do and heads off to the museums where she might be able to do some good. Dr. Fate catches up Khalis and they fight. One of the things I like about Dr. Fate is that he’s more like a paladin than a wizard. He’ll throw a punch or two and then whip out some eldritch magic.
Khalis manages to get away and just then Inza pulls up with the final piece of the puzzle. She’s found a piece of Khalis’s tomb that has his “magical name” in hieroglyphics on it. She figures it had to be used to help imprison the mummy. Dr. Fate thanks her and splits. He’s got to stop Khalis before he can go through with his plan.
By now Khalis has summoned Anubis who says he’ll only help him if he can destroy Dr. Fate. Deities can be tricky folks, especially the gods of Death. Dr. Fate eventually finds Khalis and decides playtime is over, he’s going for broke here. He reads the name on the tomb fragment and then summons Amon-Ra, the god of the sun (Anubis’s spiritual opposite) and together they turn Khalis to dust. Dr. Fate recovers the amulet and then passes out having used so much power. Inza pulls up in her car and helps Dr. Fate to his feet. In a cool touch, while still wearing the helmet, Dr. Fate says that “we did it”. When Inza questions this Kent Nelson takes off the helmet and says “Yeah, we. You and me”.
This is easily one of my favorite Dr. Fate stories. Sure it wraps up the conflict between Kent, Inza, and Nabu in a nice, neat little package but it at least addresses the challenges that they face when dealing with Nabu’s control of their lives. It also shows that Dr. Fate can be an action hero instead of just some aloof magical being that can get out of any jam by just uttering a magic word and waving his arms around. Finally we see that Kent Nelson is not the Immortal being, Dr. Fate is. After the first fight with Khalis, Kent has taken a beating and is pretty out of it. It is his physical body takes the punishment while Nabu is just a metaphysical entity using Kent as a host. With that in mind we get to our next story, the four issue Dr. Fate mini-series from 1987 by J.M DeMatteis and Keith Giffen.
Dr. Fate (#1-4)
Writer – J.M. DeMatteis
Illustrator – Keith Giffen
Inker – Dave Hunt
Letterer – Agustin Mas
Colorist – Anthony Tollin
Editor – Denny O’Neil
All I remember about reading this series when it came out in 1987 is that I did not like it. I did not like the art and the store was too cerebral for me. At the time I was not into “heady” comics. I liked my action packed stories. By 1987 I was heavily into Daredevil, The Punisher, Batman, and Spiderman. All-Star Squadron was coming to an end. Infinity Inc. and the Young All-Stars were something my brother was reading. I just wasn’t in a place to appreciate this comic. Reading it now as an adult is a whole other story.
This story deals with chaos, madness, death, and immortality in a way that I can really get behind. By this time DeMatteis and Giffen were quite comfortable with Dr. Fate. Giffen had drawn that backup story from the Flash that I mentioned and they had co written the Justice League series that followed the Legends event, the team that Dr. Fate was on. In this story though they tear the character down only to bring him back in a new form.
The story begins with Dr. Fate fighting chaos demons. As strong as he is though, his opponents are belligerent and numerous. Eventually all the little demons combine to form one big demon named Typhon, a heavy among the Lords of Chaos. Just as Dr. Fate seems like he is about to defeat his foe he is pulled away. He’s as surprised as the reader is. At first it is hard to tell what is going on but as the conversation progresses we can infer that Dr. Fate has been brought to another dimension by the Lords of Order and it is not Dr. Fate that is being addressed but Nabu, the Lord of Order who has spent a millenia on Earth. The conversation here sets up the whole story but the basic premise is that time is divided up into cycles, or yugas, as they are referred to on Earth. The Lords of Order tell Nabu that the current cycle is coming to an end and that the Lords of Chaos have won, or are at least winning. Nabu is instructed to give up, let them win, so the next cycle can start and in that cycle Order will reign.
Nabu has different ideas though and cares more for humans than maybe a Lord of Order should. The Lords of Order don’t particularly care for his tone and separate Nabu from Dr. Fate by removing the helmet and revealing a tired and broken down Kent Nelson. They question Nelson, asking him if he’s ready to accept the end, accept death and based on the crying, old man’s look, he is.
Back on Earth we meet Linda, a pretty, young woman in a fur coat and a young boy named Eric. Linda has brought Eric to the park to play with kids his age, but he does not seem to want to. He’s awkward and afraid. While Linda sits on a park bench we find out who these characters are. Linda is a young woman who married a rich old man for his money. It turns out becoming an heiress isn’t easy, but she is one, nonetheless. Eric is her step son, the child of her dead husband’s first wife, who killed herself rather than be with Eric’s father. Neither Linda or Eric are happy about their predicament but they also have a special relationship (yes, it is almost that kind of special). Linda thinks Eric is a very old soul trapped in a boys body and and Eric is really only comfortable around Linda.
As Linda returns from her internal monologue we see that Eric is being lead away quietly by a man in a trench coat. The man says they are going to Salem and Eric replies that he thinks they should let Linda know where they are going but also that he thinks he’s been waiting for the man for a long time.
Next we meet the final actor in our story, Doctor Stoner, who works are Arkham Asylum. This doctor happens to be in his office communicating with the Lords of Chaos that we met at the beginning of the story. Since this is Arkham Asylum and there are demons talking to the doctor, we can assume he’s up to no good. We then cut back to Kent Nelson, Eric, and Nabu in Dr. Fate’s tower in Salem. This version of Kent and Nabu is slightly different than previous versions in that Nabu is a talking mouth where Kent’s belly should be. It’s pretty disturbing. Kent Nelson is a visibly tired and weary old man. We learn that Inza has passed away and Kent is only being kept alive by the Lord of Order that he plays host for. Eric has been chosen to become the new host for Nabu. Eric actually seems pretty comfortable with this. Energy is expelled from Nabu’s mouth / Kent’s belly and Eric is transformed into a strapping young man.
A distraught Linda is back in her apartment fretting over the loss of Eric when there is an explosion outside. Dr. Fate appears outside her window and tells her that Eric Strauss will be back. He then flies off to fight the giant chaos demon, Typhon. Eric and Nabu don’t really know how to work well together yet. Eric did not receive all the training Kent did. Nabu took a shortcut and it does not pay off. Eric is fighting Nabu in his mind and Typhon takes advantage of that. He’s able to separate the two finally defeating Dr. Fate. Nabu’s energy returns to Kent and Eric Strauss ends up naked and babbling about only being a ten year old boy. Conveniently Doctor Stoner is called by the police to take this obviously deranged person to the asylum.
In the next issue we see Kent and Nabu back at the Salem Tower debating whether or not the Lords of order are right and the current Yuga is coming to and end, that chaos has won. Linda decides that she needs to go and search for Eric, feeling somehow drawn to Massachusetts. Doctor Stoner torments the addled Eric who does not understand how to deal with the changes he has gone though. Stoner is also working with Typhon and getting stronger and stronger. What works really well in this story is the fact that Stoner works in the asylum. With the inmates Joker, Two Face and the rest of loonies the place is a natural breeding ground for chaos. It thrives there. The damaged minds of the patients make it a place where the negative energy can flourish in this plane.
Kent and Nabu reach out to Eric. Nabu forces Eric further down in his own psyche so he can take full control. They transform into Dr. Fate with Nabu almost completely in control. Fate goes to challenge Stoner and Typhon. It does not go well, Typhon is too strong with all the chaotic energy of the asylum to power him. Typhon is able to expel Nabu from Dr. Fate. He has Stoner put the mantle and amulet on becoming the Chaotic Dr. Fate. Nabu returns to Kent. The Lords of Order then make a grand entrance and and question Nabu again, about giving up and letting chaos win this age. Nabu says no dice and he and Kent Nelson are alone again. Finally now that Stoner and Typhon have become Dr. Fate they leave Eric all alone. This will end up being a mistake.
The third issue begins with Dr. Fate sowing the seeds of chaos across the globe. He is looking to see the world burn. In a neat twist we see the Justice League meeting. Mister Miracle, Guy Gardner, the Martian Manhunter, and Batman get together because the world seems to be worse off than usual. The Phantom Stranger shows up, making one of the greatest entrances I have ever read in Comics.
Linda has found the tower in Salem. She and Kent are arguing about Dr. Fate, Nabu, and what they should be doing. Kent is ready to give in. Linda cannot believe it and Nabu is just pissed. Just as Kent is beginning to stand up to Nabu, Eric shows up saying they cannot let chaos win. He’s still naked but now more confident than ever. While Eric gives Kent the ultimate pep talk the Justice League decides to tussle with demon Dr. Fate. They don’t accomplish much but they do slow him down a bit.
In the climatic issue demon Dr. Fate decides that in order to spread chaos more quickly and speed up his victory he heads to Egypt where everything began. He’s not alone though. The newly invigorated Eric Strauss is there, now calling himself Fate, along with Kent, Nabu and Linda. Nabu is pissed that Linda is there. He thinks she’s a distraction for Eric. Eric and Kent know better in this case. Eric goes to challenge demon Dr. Fate and starts to take a pretty good beating. Kent tells Linda to go and help Eric, that he needs her. Nabu tries to prevent it but Kent is able to stop him. As demon Dr. Fate is about to finish Eric, Linda is transformed into a being of energy (it doesn’t sound like much, but trust me, in the comic is works really well).
As Eric and Linda merge into one being Kent explains what is happening. That may be at one time Nabu had good intentions but over the years his desire for full control over his host, Kent, he made him miss out on what really mattered in life. Too much of it was spent away and apart from Inza. Dr Fate could have been so much more if there was more love, than order in his life. Kent is not going to allow that to happen to Eric and Linda. Eric / Linda resume control of the helmet and amulet becoming the new Dr. Fate. Typhon and Stoner are defeated and Order reigns.
The story ends with Eric, Linda and Kent back in Salem. Nabu has left Kent so that he can finally be at peace and returns to the realm of order. Eric and Linda bury Kent and are ready to begin their own journey. Nabu is arguing with the Lords of Order. He’s finally comes to understand that order and chaos are not everything there is to existence. He does not come out and say it but he’s referring to love. There is also love. The Lords of Order expel Nabu for the final time, he’s never to return. He goes back to earth and decides to use Kent’s body to help teach and learn from Eric and Linda.
This Dr. Fate mini-series launches the monthly series with Eric and Linda Strauss taking the mantle up. It was written by J.M. Dematteis and drawn by Shawn McManus. As I mentioned I did not like this story as a kid and therefore did not read the on going title that came after it. This series really is an excellent story, maybe not for a fourteen year kid who was really into Spiderman, but it was definitely worth my time to revisit as an adult. The themes of madness feeding chaos and order struggling to survive and have meaning it today’s world were worthy explorations. Keith Giffen’s art really fits the tone of the book. The coloring and heavy inks also lend to the overall oppressive mood. Everything is heavy and drab except Dr. Fate’s awesome yellow and blue costume. It stands out against everything and brings something better to the world in this story.
What really brings it all home is that in the end it is that love wins and that is how Dr. Fate is able to defeat chaos. It’s a good message. It is not justice or right that overcomes chaos and destruction, but simply love. And after all the stories I’ve discussed here where all Nabu wants is total control for him to come around in the end really just caps it off nicely. Finally I want to discuss briefly one more incarnation of Dr. Fate.
Doctor Fate #1
Storytellers – Paul Levitz & Sonny Liew
Colorist – Lee Loughridge
Letterer – Nick J. Napolitano
This Doctor Fate comic was the DC – You story launched in 2015. DC had finally dropped the New 52 moniker and launched a couple of new titles aimed at younger readers and still ignored pretty much everything that happened prior to the launch of the New 52. Now while that may sound pretty negative, and it was mostly poorly received, I did enjoy some of the things they tried. Case in point this new Doctor Fate.
The premise here was that Anbuis, god of the dead, is seeking to wash the world away in a great flood. He is opposed by Bastet, the Egyptian cat goddess. Bastet gives the Helmet of Dr Fate to a young Egyptian boy named Nassour, who is descended from pharaohs. Nassour rejects it all at first but eventually gives in. Nassour, not fully understanding what is happening to him, struggles in his role as the mystery mage. Eventually he and Bastet will defeat Anubis and Kent Nelson will show up too in order to help.
The series was very similar to Marvel’s Ms. Marvel where they story revolved around a Muslim family instead of a Caucasian family. It also felt a little bit little the Greatest American Hero TV show in that Nassour is given a lot of great power but has no idea what to do with it. I enjoyed the changes and it did not feel heavy handed or forced. I thought it was a well told story about a family in the city struggling to put their brightest and smartest child through college in a time when most people struggle to get by. It also just so happens that the same young man has access to magical powers that he’ll have to use to save the world. For as long as it lasted, I thought it was fine storytelling.
Wrapping it all up
Through the years there have been quite a few different creators writing Dr. Fate stories and yet his origin remained pretty much the same, not a lot of retconing happening is this case. Of course he fights crime and evil doers wherever they may be but there is also a great personal conflict that comes with the character. It is interesting to see how different writers deal with the strife between Kent, or whomever is wearing the helmet, and Nabu. I particularly enjoyed the moment in the DeMatteis / Giffen mini-series when Nabu realizes there is more to existence than order and chaos. Inza is also a complex character who is a good foil for Nabu.
There are plenty of other instances of Dr. Fate out there to enjoy. One of these days I’ll get around to the Dematteis series that followed the mini-series. Not to mention the Earth 2 Fate from the New 52 series. He’s also featured in the new Justice League Dark series which I am looking forward to reading once I get caught up on that series. Dr. Fate has been around a long time and gone through a lot of changes (aren’t you glad that since you made it this far I didn’t discuss the Fate series). He faced all sorts of enemies, been on lots of different superhero teams, has lived and died but through it all, one thing has been constant, one thing does not change, he’s always got that SWEET ASS Helmet!
Of course one of the great things about comic book characters is that essentially they are all Immortal as long as we are there to buy and read their stories. I’ve enjoyed the character most of my life which is why when I chose to write about him for this Super-Blog Team-Up event it felt really good. I had a ton of fun writing this and revisiting the character in all these different stories. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as much I did writing it. I encourage you to now read and listen to some more really AWESOME tales of various Immortal characters please check out the rest of the what the Super-Blog Team-Up gang has to offer. You’ll be glad you did.
Super-Blog Team Up Links:
Comic Reviews By Walt: TMNT and Highlander
The Superhero Satellite: Super-Blog Team-Up Presents IMMORTAL: Peter Loves Mary Jane
Between The Pages Blog: Big Finish: Doctor Who’s Finest Regeneration
The Unspoken Decade: Archer and Armstrong: Opposites Attract: Archer and Armstrong
DC In the 80s: Young Animals Bug
Black, White and Bronze: What Price Immortality? A Review of Red Nails
The Daily Rios: Arion The Immortal (1992 Six Issue Mini Series)
Chris Is On Infinite Earths: Podcast Episode 26 – Resurrection Man 1997 & 2011
In My Not So Humble Opinion : It Came from the 1990s: Ivar the Timewalker
Vic Sage “…of the upcoming Pop Culture Retrorama site.”: I am Legend
Pop Culture Retrorama Podcast Ep. 08 – I Am Legend
The Source Material Comics Podcast: Vampirella “Roses For The Dead”
Dave’s Comic Heroes Blog: Multi-Man LINK GOES LIVE 8/28/2019 1:00 am PST https://davescomicheroes.blogspot.com/2019/08/the-immortal-foe-of-challengers-multi.html
Magazines and Monsters:
Podcast episode – Kang/Immortus: Avengers-Kang: Time and Time Again TPB (Avengers 69-71)
Blog post: https://billydunleavy.wordpress.com/p=6243&preview_id=6243&preview_nonce=d756977e50&post_format=standard&_thumbnail_id=-1&preview=true&key=private_preview
Radulich Broadcasting Network: TV PARTY TONIGHT – Jupiter Ascending commentary