Wednesday, December 26, 2012

THE BOOK OF FATE #8 - September 1997

Better Off Dead
Credits: Keith Giffen (writer), Ron Wagner (penciler), Bill Reinhold (inker), Gaspar (letterer), Mike Danza (colorist)

Summary: Vera snaps out of her spell as a process server knocks on the door. He assures Vera that Jared isn’t dead and revives him. He then hands him a summons for Sentinel’s lawsuit and leaves. Later, Dr. Occult greets Jared in an alley, giving him his card and inviting him to talk. Inside the Conclave Monolith, a mystery woman is informed of Dr. Occult’s actions. Meanwhile, personifications of the Apocalypse continue to appear, killing innocent people.

We Get Letters: Every letter printed in the letters page is negative this issue. Most of them are from established readers that are upset that the new Fate’s continuity makes no sense (as opposed to the entire storylines that make no sense). The editors respond that giving Fate a new origin was necessary in order to sell the importance of the “final” Order vs. Chaos war (which honestly makes no sense to me). They also assure the fans that DC would never change Alan Scott’s origin…“He is, after all, the original Green Lantern!”

Review: Giffen advances the main storyline incrementally, as Fate’s death in the previous issue is dismissed quickly so that the focus can return to the Apocalypse characters and Sentinel’s lawsuit. And Dr. Occult appears, which may or not mean something to someone familiar with obscure DC continuity. This is followed by another vague scene, which has an unnamed blonde woman from the Conclave question if Dr. Occult is planning to train Fate in the mystic arts. Maybe this shouldn’t bother me, but it’s annoying to see character after character appear with no explanation. I have no idea if I’m supposed to know who they are, or if they’re intentional mysteries. If Mystery Blonde Lady is an established character, would it kill Giffen to have one of her female servants identify her by name?

I’ll give Giffen the benefit of the doubt and assume that the Apocalypse subplot pages are intentional mysteries, but even these scenes are a drag on the book. Almost a third of the issue is consumed with pages of possessed women turning people into dried out corpses. There’s no discernible advancement of the plot, and the scenes feel needlessly padded. Bring back the rats, please.

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