Friday, August 24, 2018

Retro Review: Doctor Strangefate #1 (1996)

People are Strange

Written by: Ron Marz
Art by: Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Kevin Nowlan, and Matt Hollingsworth
Cover Price: $1.95
Release Date: April 1, 1996
Publisher: Amalgam Comics

It's such a great thing that Amalgam Comics even existed.  The 90's were known for a lot of things...grunge, flannel, East Coast vs West Coast Rap...and in the middle of it all, DC and Marvel actually got along.  They came together to publish under the Amalgam imprint and combined their biggest characters into some crazy insane comics. This book is one of them.  I have to admit, I'm neither a huge Doctor Fate or Doctor Strange fan, but the minute I saw this issue, it jumped out at me as one of the coolest among the bunch.  Well, now that I've read it, do I still feel the same?  Let's find out...

The issue begins with an opening that will have someone not familiar with the DC vs Marvel book a little bit confused.  Access is running through the sewers and while I hope for some sort of messed up combo of Killer Croc and The Lizard (Killer Lizard!) to attack him, what we get might better...Abominite.  The amalgam of Hellgrammite and Abomination is about to make quick work and then he just...disappears.

It's a crazy opener, but it sets up the rest of the comic and leads directly to the star of the show, Doctor Strangefate.  Before we get any further in the story, we get a badass look at the good Doctor getting dressed and if that sounds boring and/or odd, let me tell you, it kicked major ass!  If I was a cosplayer, I'd be doing cross-stitch on that costume right now.  That's the right terminology, right?

He's not the only one rocking the cool factor, though.  We see his butler and confidant,  Myx (Mxyzptlk/Wong), who may just be cooler than Strangefate himself and then his "Agents"...Skulk (Hulk/Solomon Grundy), Jade Nova (Kyle Rayner/Jade/Nova) and White Witch (Zatanna/Scarlet Witch).  Yes, Ron Marz certainly gets the potential of this kind of book and hits a home run with his cast.  He wants them to retrieve Access and while he doesn't tell them why they run off with extreme prejudice.  At this point, the reader is still in the dark about why Strangefate wants Access, but after seeing what he tells Myx, it's obvious that it's something of utter importance.

Ron Marz doesn't waste time from here on out.  Instead of a long search or even a huge battle, he has Skulk and Jade Nova attack Access just to have him teleport away.  I'm not saying that the fights weren't awesome because Seeing Skulk fight makes me want more from the character and Jade Nova was no slouch either.  I mentioned he teleported away and while he escaped the two agents, he landed right in the arms of the last...the White Witch.  Maybe "in the arms" is a little off because it seems he landed in her groin.  She's sexed up and Ron Marz proves that even a universe hoping character who can teleport out of trouble still has one weakness...Sex!

The White Witch has her man and returns him to Strangefate.  After she leaves very sexually frustrated (I'm available for an evening...just saying), Doctor Strangefate begins a mystical interrogation.  He knows of the multiple universes and is after Access purely for survival sake.  He thinks that Access holds the keys to bringing the old universes back and what would an Amalgam character have to show if that happened.  I'll tell you...Nothing!  Unfortunately, Access does not have the shards he was looking for and let's Access go while he sulks.  Ron Marz then throws a crazy cliffhanger at the reader and while I usually don't spoil comics, this one is almost twenty years old so here goes, Doctor Strangefate is Charles Xavier.  Mind Blown.

Okay, I will tell you that this issue seemed like a pit stop of the DC vs Marvel book.  Nothing really ends up happening and it was...Awesome!  I said it earlier, Ron Marz really gets to the heart of what these books should be...a bunch of cool amalgam characters fighting each other and looking awesome.  Mission accomplished.

While I loved the script, the art by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez was even better.  Every character looked both great and accurate in an amalgam way.  In fact, I can't say that I would want anyone in this comic to look any different.  The highlights were Doctor Strangefate (duh!) and Skulk.  Please, I want Skulk in something now.

Bits and Pieces:

Ron Marz gets to the heart of what this book is all about and runs with it.  We get to see some awesome amalgam characters that I wish lasted for volumes and volumes of issues.  While the story really doesn't go anywhere, the art by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez was great and Ron Marz ends the book with a mind-blowing reveal.  This book not only made me want to read more of the Amalgam books, but also the DC vs Marvel book as well.  If you can get your hands on it, grab it.  You won't be disappointed.



  1. One of my favorite Amalgams! The art knocks it out of the park and that cover is superb!