Friday, August 30, 2019

Dr. Fate #5 (1989) Review


Writer: J.M. DeMatteis
Penciller: Shawn McManus
Inker: Mark McKenna
Letterer: John Costanza
Colorist: Lovern Kindzierski
Cover Price: $1.25
Release Date: March 7th, 1989

Review by Joey Casco of

To read the other reviews of this arc, check out the "The Night of Brahma" label. 

Kent Nelson is dead but Nabu inhabits Kent's corpse to mentor the new Dr. Fate, Eric Strauss, who was a 10 year old boy aged up to an adult by Nabu. But the catch is that Eric must merge with his stepmother Linda in order to become Fate. Joined by a shapeshifting demon named Petey and a lawyer named Jack Small (who has had his body taken over by a Lord of Chaos named Typhon), they must all stop the Lords of Order from bringing about the end of the world. And to do that they must find Order's chosen champion, a vampire named Andrew Bennett, who is trying to bring about the end of the world so he can finally die.

So there was something I didn't catch in the previous issue. Andrew had actually been in London but was gone by the time our Fate team arrived there. It must have been a layover because the castle he was in with the Holy Grail at the end of the issue was actually in a fictional eastern European country called Eustania. With that settled, our heroes think he's still in London.

In order to escape a PTSD induced flashback of what Typhon had previsously done to Eric, Linda had to take over as Dr. Fate and she's clearly more effective at the job because, honestly, Eric sucks at this and Linda doesn't take any crap.

Uh, well, it's funny you should ask that...

That's another one of the Lords of Chaos, who they have to cooperate with for now just to save the world from the Lords of Order.

It's here that a Linda controlled Dr. Fate gets all Eric-like and attacks Typhon, and it does seem out of place. Or maybe not, because Linda and Eric are just always angry.

She beats him up enough that he finally just exits Jack's body... but it doesn't take him long to come right back.

With all this craziness going on, Linda takes a stand.

And it becomes quite clear that this is a temporary arrangement between our Fate team and the Lords of Chaos.

Kent finally realizes that Dr. Fate now has a female figure (took you long enough) and he convinces a bellhop that they're a rock band and pays him off to ignore the damage done to their hotel room.

They learn that Andrew Bennett is in India so, instead of traveling by plane, they travel by Dr. Fate. But Andrew isn't in India! So why are they going there? Oh, we'll find out!

Andrew is given the Holy Grail from it's protector, Azzarene, and he refuses to drink from it.

He asks Azzarene how he could feel such love and give such loyalty for a myth, and it's then that Azzarene reveals himself to be a fellow vampire and he tells his story. He was a crook and a murderer in Jerusalem, and one night he was met by a group of lepers who would turn him into a vampire.

As he described the pains of transition and the horrors of being a vampire, Andrew continually responds with "I know". And then Azzarene tells how he was called to Jesus on the cross.

Moved by Azzarene's story but convincing himself that he's doing this for the Lords of Order, Andrew drinks from the grail and... nothing.

And then he just disappears! He's gone! And he reappears in a temple in India with a statue holding a flute! As our Fate team travels to India it's explained that Bennett has unknowingly been purifying himself so he could play Krishna's flute and bring about the Mahapralaya (the Sleep of Brahma), and they must stop him before he can do so.

Could the Holy Grail from Christianity transport you to a flute from Hinduism? YUP!

Andrew plays the flute and the world fades to black.

Bits and Pieces

Even with all of the conflicts and drama that are involved in our group of magical heroes and the Lords of Chaos, it's really all fun and games and humor until we get to Andrew and Azzarene. Then the book takes it to the next level with a deep dive into horror and mythology. Maintaining focus while successfully balancing all of those things is what makes this run so damn good. This is another excellent issue in a stellar run.


No comments:

Post a Comment