Monday, March 26, 2012
Review: Brave and the Bold # 30; Green Lantern and Doctor Fate
This is a great story written by J. Michael Straczynski and illustrated by Jesus Saiz. The story takes place with Dr. Fate (Kent Nelson) witnessing the Lords of Order "releasing" the Gray Man from his duties and giving him the peace that he wanted. When Dr. Fate/Kent Nelson asks about the Gray Man's mission, the Lords of Order coldly reply that there will be others more willing as there will always be a Gray Man. This gets Kent Nelson thinking about his role with the Lords of Order and his importance as Dr. Fate. (It should be noted that in this version, Kent Nelson appears to not be possessed by Nabu, but the Helm still gives him the powers of Dr. Fate much like Hector Hall or his grandnephew, Kent V. Nelson).
Dr. Fate goes into outer space to ponder what he witnessed during the day, and this is where he runs into GL Hal Jordan. Jordan inquires if Dr. Fate is okay as he seems more pensive than normal. Dr. Fate thanks his friend for asking and they part ways with a handshake. Cut to an unspecified amount of years later, and Hal Jordan finds himself in trouble in a distant, deserted planet where he has been poisoned by the planet's automated defense system and his ring is almost out of power. Jordan asks his ring to scan for a power source, and to his surprise the ring states that it found a power source but that it is coming from within the ring. The power source turns out to be Dr. Fate himself, although just a projection of a fraction of himself (power and soul). In the moment that both friends shook hands and parted ways on that day, Dr. Fate projected part of himself into the Jordan's ring that would prop up sometime in the future so that Dr. Fate could see how he has fared in the distant future.
Jordan informs Dr. Fate/Kent Nelson of his and Inza's death. Jordan explains that Dr. Fate began to lose the energy that kept him and his wife youthful and deduces that his projection into the Lantern's ring may have been his own undoing. It is at this point that Dr. Fate has a choice to return to his fractured self in the past and hope that that keeps him from dying or helping his friend in need get off the planet as he only has enough energy to do one of those things. Although Jordan pleads Kent Nelson to return to his past self in hopes that this would save him, Nelson sacrifices his possible future in order to help his friend in need. The story ends with Dr. Fate waiting for his fractured self to return, which never happens. Dr. Fate admits that he did this in vanity, hoping to find out that in the future he still matters. The last phrase of the story is Dr. Fate/Kent Nelson stating how vanity is always destructive.
As stated earlier, this was a great one-shot story. Beautifully written by Straczynski and illustrated by Saiz. It's great to see Dr. Fate pondering his own fate in the future. Also the paradox posed at the end of the story of vanity being destructive. On the one hand, vanity probably had a hand in Kent and Inza's undoing if indeed his astral projection into the ring did cause Dr. Fate to lose his powers. On the other hand, it was Kent Nelson's vanity which ultimately may have saved Hal Jordan's life. Lastly, Kent Nelson's sacrifice in the end is far from an act of vanity, had he been truly just concerned with himself he would half left his friend Jordan to fend for himself in the deserted planet in hopes of saving himself.
I absolutely love Dr. Fate (as evidenced by the fact that I started this blog) but I have to admit that the character works so much better in these one-shot stories. It seems like every one-shot story written for Dr. Fate are just so beautifully written . I hope that one day we get a really well written on going Dr. Fate series. I think the work the writers of the JSA did with Kent V. Nelson was great, as well as Martin Pasko's stuff in the past. I loved everything about this story, well done Mr. Straczynski!