Welcome to Weird Science DC Comics, the DC Comics site for the common man and woman. We're not high falutin, just a bunch of dummies who love comics just like you...we just spend an insane amount of time working on this site for no pay. I told you...dummies! So, sit a spell and read our Reviews, News and Articles and if you are really brave, listen to the Weird Science DC Comics Podcast. We triple dog dare you!
Written By: Paul Levitz Art By: Inaki Miranda, Eva De La Cruz, Saida Temofonte, Breno Tamura, Lee Loughridge Cover Price: $2.99 Release Date: July 27, 2016
*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
While we're all out here being honest with each other, I guess I have to come clean and let you in on a secret. I don't like this series very much at all............ I mean, I like the idea of a young Doctor Fate because I'm a sucker for a young hero story, but all we've gotten out of this series is a whiny fuck, who has really been lacking in the hero category and if you think I'm being harsh, in one of the earlier issues we saw Khalid cause a plane crash and whether it's true or not, I'm saying there were no survivors. To my surprise though, the last issue of this series really got me interested because we saw our young wanna-be hero paired up with his Great Uncle, Kent Nelson, who if you don't know is the original Doctor Fate. The only problem with that was........ I only enjoyed the parts where it had these two together and whenever Khalid had to go off on his own, the book became stale as hell again. Hopefully with Kent's training Khalid will turn into the capable hero we all want him to be, but I'm not about to go and hold my breath on that one, only hope that this character can be salvaged for future use. Let's jump into this issue and see if we're anywhere close in seeing that happen. Let's check it out.
Our issue begins with Kent Nelson verbally slapping Khalid upside the head for allowing a doorway to stay open after he returned from the land of the dead in a previous issue. It's because of this open door that the little monkey djinn monster thing called an afreet was able to come to the land of the living and set New York ablaze. Yeah, Kent could be a little kinder with Khalid instead of making him think that more innocent people were hurt or killed because of his ignorance in the realm of magic, but I guess everyone has their own teaching methods.......... apparently another method Kent is fond of employing is the sink or swim technique because after he opens a door for Khalid to go to the other side, he doesn't really give any guidance except for "make sure the door is locked"....... and I know how dumb I am, I would have been stuck in this other realm forever trying to figure out how to make a mystical combination lock only to find out there was nothing to hitch it to once I did.
The rest of this story plays out pretty much like any other Doctor Fate tale in this series in that Khalid is presented with a problem, whines a bit about not knowing what to do and how nobody is helping him....... which really, in this situation I think he has a right to be a little whiny, but ultimately our hero overcomes and closes the door to Anubis' realm after having a mild fight with some other side underlings...... That's about it, but for some reason in this issue we have two separate stories going on and our second one is all about fighting intolerance and bigotry, which I normally hate because I read comics to escape all the horrible shit that goes on in our day to day world. To my surprise though, I actually found this second story quite touching with Christians and Muslims getting together to pray and protest against the terror attacks that our going on in the world, but no good deed goes unpunished right, because outside there's another group of protesters shouting the stereotypical hate speech nonsense of go back to where you came from.
In the end, our hero surprises me not only for squashing the situation in a non-violent way, but because he became his own man in this issue when Kent suggested that he leave the protesters to the police because it's not a magical issue and Khalid took it upon himself to go against the grain and use his imagination to magically create these protester's ancestors to shame them for their behavior. It's not a huge story and does play that whole topical card that people seem to gravitate towards because they think it elevates the story bigger than it really is, but for what it was and how it presented the character, I really found myself enjoying it.
That's it for this issue of Doctor Fate and while I have no idea why this issue contained two individual stories, I found myself liking both for separate reasons. The first story with Khalid closing the door to the afterlife was your standard story for this series, where you're left wanting more by the end because of how simple everything is wrapped up and how little the character seems to have personally progressed, but this did contain probably the best art that this series has ever seen....... So we've got that going on for us, but sadly....... and not so sadly, when we move on to the second story, the situation finally has some weight that our hero seems to be able to and willing to carry that not only affects him, but what we're all facing in the world today....... Too bad that the guest artist on this section of the book tried to mimic the normal style that this series has because it hasn't worked for me yet in this title and seeing it tried here just makes it worse in my mind. Overall, we have ourselves a very mixed bag issue, but I do find myself caring more about this character since Kent Nelson has become involved and hopefully that continues as this series progresses because I really want to like this character, but it's been really hard.
Bits and Pieces:
Doctor Fate is weird this issue in that we have two separate stories filling the pages of this installment and the problem with that is....... I like both for separate reasons. Yeah, I would have liked a book I could fully get behind, but maybe this is the start of this series correcting itself before it ultimately ends........ somewhere in the next few months....... who knows when though. I just hope that until it does I continue finding things I like about this series because it's been really hard to find anything throughout its run.