This is a review of the Dr. Fate story from the December 2010 JSA One-Shot issue. The issue actually features one shot stories of several JSA members such as Mr. Terrific, Sand, Obsidian, Cyclone, Wildcat and Jesse Quick. However, since this is a Dr. Fate blog, I will be focusing on the Dr. Fate story from this issue.
The story is written by Brandon Jerwa, and the art is provided by Mateus Santolouco. This is a really touching story that features the last incarnation of Dr. Fate, Kent V. Nelson. Dr. Nelson learns about a former patient of his taking his own life in the local paper. His patient, Michael Cohn, takes his life after his wife loses her battle with cancer. Dr. Nelson was seeing Michael as he was going through the ordeal of having to deal with his wife's decease. After their last session, Dr. Nelson felt that Michael had the tools and confidence to deal with the pending death of his wife and felt that Michael was a "success story." When he learns of Michael taking his life, Dr. Nelson feels that that he let Michael down and as Dr. Fate decides to go into the real of the dead to try and bring him back. Unbeknownst to Dr. Fate, he is being watched and followed by a demon of chaos who follows him into the realm of the dead.
Once in the realm of the dead, Dr. Fate finds Michael and tries to tell him that his wife would like him to live in happiness rather than taking his life. At this point, the demon shows up with Michael's wife and offers Michael a chance to be with his wife forever if he enters into the bargain of serving the demon as his master. Dr. Fate explains that he knew all along that the demon was following him, and allowed him to do so because he knew the demon would bring Michael's wife to them. Dr. Fate then cast a spell setting Michael's wife free and another banishing the demon from the realm. Dr. Fate then reveals his identity to both Michael and his wife and asks for forgiveness for failing them. The couple explain that Dr. Nelson indeed did not fail them, but provided Michael with the strength he needed to go through the ordeal of watching the cancer take his wife from him. They further explain that the are now somehow happier. Kent and Inza Nelson also make a cameo as they will be showing the newly dead couple around their new surroundings.
The story, although not action packed, was very well written. As I've said in the past, I really like Kent V. Nelson as a character. It's too bad that he (more than likely) will not be returning as Dr. Fate in the upcoming Earth-2 books. The art is also excellent. I liked the use of the coloring once Dr. Fate enters the dead realm, it gives you the feeling that they are indeed in not just another world, but an entire other realm. Overall, this an excellent one shot story that I like to go back and re-read every so often.