Friday, December 28, 2012

THE BOOK OF FATE #9 - October 1997

Swiss Cheese
Credits: Keith Giffen (plot and pencils), Alan Grant (script), Bill Reinhold (inker), Gaspar (letterer), Mike Danza (colorist)

Summary: The avatars of the Four Horsemen appear at a conference in Switzerland, as Dr. Occult meets with Fate and Vera. Fate dismisses his advice, but later submits to Vera’s request to do more research on the Horsemen. He steps away to go to the bathroom, and discovers that he’s now in the bathroom of a Swiss hotel. He’s soon captured by the authorities and taken to another bathroom. He opens the door and is teleported yet again.

Production Note: Ron Wagner was apparently misidentified as the penciler in the original credits. Alan Grant is also credited as only "Grant," leading me to wonder if the editor forgot that Steven Grant was also doing work for DC at the time.

Review: This issue -- exciting bathroom teleportation! It’s another issue of Fate derisively dismissing any help that’s offered him on supernatural affairs, only to find himself in over his head in a mystical adventure. I’ve noticed that the letters page is running more and more letters from readers annoyed by the lead character, and the editorial response is always along the lines of “Jared never believed in magic before, so it’s going to take some time for him to figure this stuff out!” Nine issues in and this has already gotten extremely old. He doesn’t come across as a rational skeptic, just an obnoxious man-child that rarely has any sarcastic or cynical observations that are actually funny.

Even if the main character is a disappointment, the book could still be saved with some imaginative storylines. Instead, we’ve gotten three issues in a row of the Four Horsemen making vague plans to do…something. To Giffen’s credit, the avatars he’s created for the Horsemen are potentially interesting (a Senator who crusades for peace, a Mother Teresa analogue, a billionaire philanthropist, and a mystery man on a cell phone), but all of their scenes have been fairly redundant so far. The saving grace for this title is usually the art, but Ron Wagner is absent this month. (Looking at, apparently the previous issue was his last.) The art’s taken an abrupt swerve into ‘90s Giffen territory (almost Trencher-esque, but not as abrasive), and it’s not nearly as attractive as the earlier issues.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Trencher...a comic that even if you didn't buy, you somehow ended up owning.

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