Beek's Books - an ongoing collection of comic book reviews
A special Zero-Hour Retrospective... see also my reviews of Xenobrood, Starman, Manhunter, and Primal Force.
 Fate (DC)
by John Francis Moore/Steven Grant/Len Kaminski,
Anthony Williams, Andy Lanning

Rating: bad, Content: [super]

This series was printed in color, but I sold my copies before I got access to a color scanner. Hence, the b&w art samples.

 I was never a big Dr. Fate fanatic, so I didn't have the kind of visceral reaction that many had to the disintegration of that character. But when I saw that they were replacing that classic character with a scowling ruffian, transmogrifying the Doctor's ankh-shaped energy into little ankh-shaped daggers, and replacing the distinctive Egyptian helmet with an over-sized steak knife... it didn't sit well.

 But I figured I should give it a chance, so I picked up #0. In it, Moore showed enough respect for the characters of Kent & Inza Nelson to include them prominently in Jared "Fate" Stevens' origin story. But the story seemed to serve mostly to explain (or justify) the peculiarities of this character's visual design... such as where this gnarly yellow cloth wrapped around his arm came from, or how he got that kewl tattoo on his face. And the story itself was overwhelmed by a bunch of wild layouts with even wilder monsters.

 There were some interesting ideas here and there, but I could see that they were going to be diluted - or even lost - in the rather fanboy-pandering atmosphere. Not worth the trouble, for me.

 I gave Fate another look with #5, when Grant and Kaminsky took over the writing, mostly because of a guest appearance by the Phantom Stranger and original Green Lantern Alan Scott (along with several other mystics). But it was fundamentally the same combination of grim (and often shrill) dialogue, scowling poses, and mystic fisticuffs.

 The series Fate is ended after 23 issues. That's not a bad track record by modern standards: nearly two years. But from the solicitation for that last issue, it sounds like Dr. Fate is going to be back, and the character known as just "Fate" will be consigned to oblivion. That may be too harsh a... um... fate for Mr. Stevens, but it'll be nice to welcome back Dr. Fate.

 Early 1997: Jared Stevens has been saved from oblivion and stars in a new series called The Book of Fate; I hear it's quite a bit different from Fate. The creative team of Kaminski/Williams/Lanning has moved on to a series called Scare Tactics, which has a much more lighthearted feel.

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