By Koppy McFad
May 28, 2008 - 05:20
The first story of this issue brings an end to the conflict between Eclipso and the Spectre while the second story has four different endings for Dr. Fate.
This is because the issue is a tribute of sorts to comic scribe Steve Gerber who was taking the new Dr. Fate to some very interesting places just before he passed away, leaving his tale unfinished. So DC Comics had four writers (Gail Simone, Mark Waid, et al) each give their version of how the Dr. Fate miniseries should end.
The Eclipso tale gives a somewhat satisfying conclusion to the character's saga, basically setting up a new status quo for the character in the DC universe. It also establishes the Spectre as having a more important role in the DC universe, beyond punishing serial killers and child molesters. The art in this tale is suitably moody, yet full of action. But what sticks out is the inclusion of such characters like Plastic Man, Creeper and Hawk and Dove who seem to be along just for the ride. They failed to really contribute anything to the story, despite some hints being dropped about their playing a bigger role in its resolution.
The Dr. Fate portion(s) are all well-drawn, all look very nice. Each of the writers pays tribute to Gerber in his or her own way. Some of the stories are funny, some moving, some amusing but what they all have in common is that they all feel rushed. After all, they are all just basically wrapping up a seven-issue storyline in just four or five pages.
Having four different endings to the same story is also very confusing. DC Comics should have at least had a text page explaining what happened to Gerber, telling us why they were using this strange device of four variant endings and why these four writers were chosen. Instead, we get barely one panel saying a nice farewell to Gerber. For people who don't follow what happens in the comic industry, the whole thing would be.... well, a mystery. DC Comics just assumes everyone knows of Gerber's death and that they would figure out why they are giving us these endings. But not everyone checks on the developments in the comics industry on the Internet. Many people may not have even known that Gerber had passed away. DC Comics should have remembered that.
As for the fate of the new Dr. Fate? Well, I think it would be a nice tribute to Steve Gerber if someone would pick up his very original creation and make something special out of him.
Rating: 5 /10