Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Review: Dr. Fate 1-24 by J.M. DeMatteis

I have very strong opinions about this book, so I won't beat around the bush and start by admitting that I hated everything about this Dr. Fate run.  I'll go as far as to say that this may have almost killed the character, but at least it kept Dr. Fate in the consciousness of comic book fans at that time.

I don't know where to start, the art or the story.  The art or the story, the art or the story, the art or the story? Ah, F' it....let me just jump in and begin with the art work of McManus. I've read articles in on the internet about how gorgeous the art was.  Are you freaking serious?  They absolutely destroyed the look of the Helm.  I hated the fact that you could see emotions on the face of the Helm.  What made Dr. Fate's distinctive look was/is the cold, expressionless face plate of the helm.  You can never tell what the wearer was going through inside of the helmet.  Also, the design of the helmet, although basically the same, took on an awful look that shed anything that was cool/awesome from the good doctor.  The other characters and villains Dr. Fate faced were also bad.  I guess I'm not much of a fan of McManus' exaggerated style of art.

On to the story(ies), DeMatteis basically took and used the character of Dr. Fate to spread his religious ideas/agenda (which is not a bad one).  I don't disagree with the religious notion he puts forth in the books of God (whatever that means to you the individual) as being pure love.  However, this makes for boring stories that rarely puts Dr. Fate in any type of action.  Furthermore, I hate the fact that in order to become Dr. Fate all Linda and Eric had to do was touch hands in order to merge instead of putting on the helmet.  Did not like the fact that the helmet was part of their souls.  Also Nabu.  Hated what they did with the character of Nabu. Yes he is supposed to be attempting to learn what it is like to be human, but this arcane Lord of Order, becomes a wise cracking side kick to Lisa and Eric.  Aaaaaarrggghhhhhh!!!  In short, although the run had a nice little message about religious unity, as a comic book it was horrible.  I get it that it was supposed to be light and humorous but this is Dr. Fate one of the most powerful characters in the DC universe which they turned into some silly cartoonish story.  If you want to look at great early Dr. Fate stories check out Martin Pasko's Dr. Fate run.


  1. I could never get into that series and I tried really hard to enjoy it. Saying that though I enjoyed the four issue 1987 mini. Unfortunately the Demattis series put me off reading the Messner-Loebs second half of the run.

  2. I really enjoyed the 1987 mini-series too. But, yeah, the ongoing series was very hard to get into. I'll be reviewing the Messner-Loebs run later.

  3. Wow. I applaud your honesty and appreciate your perspective. However for me, it's a favorite of mine. I agree it's not in the vein of the classic Doctor Fate, but I still love it. Perhaps I'm just used to my favorite characters getting screwed with (I do run a Firestorm site after all).

    I got into the preachy message of the book and reveled in the artwork. It was a huge departure for the character, but I still appreciated it for what it was. In fact, my first letter printed in the Doctor Fate letter column (I was printed in that letter col quite a few times) was in response to issue #24.

    Keep up the great work here!
    The Irredeemable Shag

  4. Thanks, I think as bloggers we should be honest and talk about the good with the bad. I think critiquing others' works is a good thing. We all have opinions and I am always willing to hear out peoples' opinions that differ from mine.