Review: Doctor Fate #1
Doctor Fate is one of DC Comics older superheroes, having appeared for the first time in More Fun Comics #55 in 1940. As a recurring character with his own stories or as a member of the Justice Society or the All Star Squadron, the character has generally been a relatively popular one, only perhaps lacking somewhat in the ability to be featured as an A-List superhero. While the character is compelling, there is also a lot of back story that comes with him, between the Lords or Order and Chaos, the increasingly crazy status of Kent Nelson as the helmet became him, and even the gender swap of the character on two occasions to Linda Strauss and Inza Nelson. Every subsequent attempt to reboot the character and to give him or her a chance at popularity has been only mildly successful at best, as the character generally is reworked to fit the comic culture at that particular time.
If that is the case, then this character is being reworked at a time when the comic landscape already has its first Muslim American superhero (Miss Marvel), and now seems to be on the verge of its second. The new Doctor Fate is a young man by the name of Khalid, barely into his 20s but already setting off into a character as a medical doctor as he is on the verge of starting medical school. This would have been fine if he didn’t happen to be in a museum at the exact time as an Egyptian god decided that it was time to flood New York City in retribution for the supposed sins of the world needing to be washed away. It is not an easy path to accepting the helmet, as he first thinks that he is hallucinating but then later realizes that there is something more to what he sees.
The path which Khalid is taking to becoming a superhero is perhaps formulaic, but being formulaic does not mean that it cannot also be fun. Such is the case here as the young hero is hesitant to take on the responsibility, and also is clumsy once he does so. At the same time the writers are careful to give the main character compelling enough supporting characters to rely upon, and thus to automatically give the character a bit more depth. It will be a long road to making this character finally work, but it would seem that all the pieces are here and that the time might finally be right for him.
Story: Paul Levitz and Sonny Liew Art: Lee Loughridge
Story: 8.3 Art: 8.3 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Read