It appears there are two Doctor Fates roaming about (at least according to this issue), but can the characters (and we the fans) be cool with two?
Doctor Fate #15: is it good?
Doctor Fate #15 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? This DC summary reads:
Trapped in the realm of the Efreet, young Khalid Nassour must fight to regain his soul or be lost for all eternity in another dimension, and the only person who can aid him is the previous Doctor Fate, Kent Nelson. But has Nelson returned to help Nassour learn how to wield his powers, or to wrest them from him and keep them for himself. As we learn the startling answer to that question, Nassour’s life hangs in the balance.
Why does this book matter?
We rather enjoyed the last issue, especially since this series ability to capture the very real nature of racism in our country. It also imbued a few cool ideas about magic that made Doctor Fate feel that much more unique.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
You’ll find lots of cool art in this one.
I’m not quite sure what the deal is with that official summary above, because this is an action packed mummy vs Doctor Fate issue. If you like mummies you’re going to love this as Khalid must fight through a hell of a lot of them, save the girl he’s pining for, and experience plenty of moments with the original Doctor Fate. Artist Sonny Liew does a fantastic job with this issue; he renders some cool magical effects (a lot of yellow from colorist Lee Loughridge) and some rather creepy weird mummies with gusto. You can tell Liew had a lot of fun with this issue: there are plenty of epic flying moments, some badass moments (rocks are dangerous kids) and a moment where we’re reminded the elder Doctor Fate is on a whole other level.
Writer Paul Levitz cleverly gets Khalid to be the hero, but feel awkward about it at the same time. Levitz also manages to remind us he’s still just a kid trying to make it in this crazy world; the opening page is a scene we can all relate to as Khalid attempts to flirt.
It can’t be perfect can it?
If you’re looking for more meaningful racial messaging you might want to skip this issue. Characters are asked to leave their homes and an off handed, “Is this an immigration sweep?” is dropped which seems to highlight the character as ignorant since there really is a threat to their lives. Then again, one might argue that attitude is due to the constant pressure of police forces on minorities, but it doesn’t read quite like that.
At one point Khalid comes off as somewhat sexist, or maybe I’m just reading too much into his, “Woman!” statement. He essentially groups all women in a blanket statement because she won’t pick up her phone. The fact that she’s running from mummies makes her right and therefor Khalid comes off as a jerk at best.
That’s a little incessitive Khalid.
Is It Good?
If you like your superhero stories action-packed you can’t go wrong with Doctor Fate! Be warned though, this issue features less focus in regards to its usually strong social themes, though.