Last Friday evening, both Paul Levitz and Sonny Liew were on hand at Midtown Comics’ NYC downtown location, promoting the release of their Doctor Fate seven issue run as a trade paper back. The line was long, as both the veteran Levitz, and younger Liew, attracted a new merry band of merged followers.
The newfangled TPB is a refreshing look at DC’s Doctor Fate character, with Thoth’s helmet being taken over by a reluctant Egyptian-America, caught in the middle of a war of gods, and his own inner battles with belief and culture. Khalid Nassir–a medical student on his way to becoming a doctor in more ways than one–juggles family, work, school, and a declining love life. Added to his mess of a life, is the apocalyptic flooding of the Bayshore area, where old forgotten Egyptian gods conspire to cleanse the earth, and usher in a new era sans humans. Chosen by Fate, to take on the unwanted duties of stopping Anubis and his co-conspiratorial Egyptian pantheon, the rookie Khalid must learn quickly to harness his new prophetic powers over nature, while he tries to sort out his more mundane problems.
The book reads more like an indie title, than the normal fare I would expect at DC. Also, as an ex-Brooklynite, the real life settings–which is atypical of DC comics–add a personal emotional element (i.e. the fire scene at Maimonides Hospital, where my daughter was born). Plus, it is extremely well illustrated by Sonny Liew, whose relaxed art explodes into an energetic frenzy when necessary. I didn’t pick up the originals, but after reading the trade, I am rethinking that. Back issues are still readily available, so go buy them before everyone else wises up, and supply dwindles out.
As a bonus, Sonny Liew was also signing his 300 page opus graphic novel: The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye. More on that later (it’s a thick one, and it’s going to take me a few days to work through it). Here’s a sneak peek: