Tuesday, January 3, 2012

DR. STRANGEFATE #1 - April 1996

The Decrees of Fate
Credits: Ron Marz (writer), Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (penciler), Kevin Nowlan (inker), Matt Hollingsworth (colors), Chris Eliopoulos (letters)

Summary: Dr. Strangefate summons his three agents, Skulk, Jade Nova, and White Witch to find Access, who is presently on the run from Abominite in the sewers. After Skulk and Jade Nova fail, White Witch uses her sorcery to bring Access to Dr. Strangefate. Strangefate knows that Access held the keys to the two realities that form the Amalgam Universe, but is unable to force their location from him. Access escapes, leaving Dr. Strangefate fearful for his world’s survival. He removes his helmet to reveal his true identity, Charles Xavier.

Continuity Notes: Dr. Strangefate is an amalgam of Dr. Strange, Dr. Fate, and Professor Xavier, of course. His servant Myx merges Wong with Mister Mxyzptlk. Skulk (Bruce Banner) is the Hulk and Solomon Grundy. Jade Nova (Frankie Rayner) is somehow a combination of the Frankie Raye Nova, the Green Lantern Jade (perhaps married to Kyle Rayner, based on the last name), DC's Fire, and…John Constantine (?), or perhaps the ‘90s Starman, I guess. White Witch (Wanda Zatara) is Scarlet Witch and Zantana. The Abominite is an amalgam of the Abomination and Hellgrammite.

Review: This is the only Amalgam comic I’ve ever read that even tried to tie in with the main Marvel vs. DC storyline that spawned the event. I probably shouldn’t be surprised, given that Ron Marz co-wrote the miniseries, but I was under the impression that the Amalgam one-shots were written as standalone stories that didn’t require any knowledge of the main event. This story assumes you know something about Access and how he’s involved with the merging of two worlds. I don’t. I’m also not sure why this world’s Charles Xavier has taken this particular identity, and why he’s so protective of the Amalgam Universe, assuming that there’s more to his defensiveness than a simple survival instinct.

I do like some of the specific amalgamations Marz has made, particularly the Hulk/Solomon Grundy mash-up, but most of these characters are pretty light on personality, with the exception of White Witch, who has the empowering character trait of severe horniness. (When Strangefate turns her down, she decides his manservant Myx is good enough. Girl power!) The real highlight of the comic is the pairing of Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Kevin Nowlan, making this the nicest looking comic of the entire Amalgam stunt. The facial expressions are perfect, the scenery is beautiful, and the layouts are innovative while remaining easy to follow. Given Garcia-Lopez’s reluctance to ever do Marvel work, I wish he could’ve been assigned a more Marvel-centric title, but I’m certainly not complaining about the interpretations of the characters he’s been asked to draw.


Scott Church said...

The art of this one was amazing but I remember hating the story.

wwk5d said...

I liked the story...I guess since I was following the mini, it made sense, but even if it didn't, it made about as much sense as any of the regular one-shots. But yeah, the art is amazing. JLG should be a much more prominent artist than he is. I loved his earlier Super-man wrok, and his Hulk vs. Batman one-shot still looks great today. What is he doing now?

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