We were treated to the return of Steppenwolf and Fury last time we visited Earth 2, but this issue is all about the Wonders and their lives following the battle against Grundy. Going back two issues, Green Lantern and Hawkgirl were not on the best of terms after Kendra speared a picture of Alan and his boyfriend, Sam, with a crossbow bolt. Flash and The Atom went unseen, but all that changes this issue.
Right off the bat, we’re introduced to a character I’ve been looking forward to seeing since he was first mentioned way, way back in issue 2, Khalid Ben-Hassin, better known as Doctor Fate! Khalid and Kendra are at what seems to be their base of operations in a New Orleans shack. We learn about Doctor Fate’s nature in the opening pages of Kendra and Khalid’s conversation: it is still Nabu’s helmet, and Khalid was chosen by Nabu to take up the mantle of Doctor Fate. There is an interesting dynamic between Khalid and Nabu; it appears that Khalid can take the helmet on or off whenever he wants, but he claims to lose bits of his sanity every time he puts the helmet on.
I like this incarnation of Doctor Fate compared to some of the others than I’m used to seeing. I was not a fan of the Young Justice version of Nabu, who basically just used people for their bodies and dominated them to the point where Nabu’s vessel was basically pushed into the subconscious. It also seems different from the Justice League version, who never took off his helmet and it was unclear whether or not Nabu was in control or was merely helping his vessel. This Doctor Fate seems to be a helper and guide, more of a boost and less of a parasite, but the strength of his will and knowledge seems to be a lot to manage.
This issue isn’t all about Doctor Fate and Hawkgirl, we see what Flash has been up to since the battle with Grundy. He is back in Michigan on personal business, but I won’t go into detail here on what happens.
Where last issue had very little story throughout, “The Tower of Fate: Prologue” suffers from the same problem. I get that we’re still introducing new characters and that this is a prologue to a longer arc, but the story doesn’t advance at all until the last two or three pages of the book. The coloring of the artwork is consistently bright and kinetic; even when Kendra and Khalid are in their shack, the colors still seem brighter and louder than you would imagine. The scenes at Jay’s house also feature fantastic coloring, but I still am turned-off by how Jay is drawn when he’s in super-speed. There are a few panels that are a little crowded with speech bubbles, but it isn’t noticeable enough to draw away from the overall reading experience.
- So Kendra can just fire rocket launchers in their base? I don’t buy that for one second. She has a giant rocket launcher and just sort of throws Khalid ear plugs, as if that’s supposed to numb the force of a rocket launcher being fired five feet away. Not only should that base have been completely obliterated, but Hawkgirl and Khalid should have suffered serious trauma. Oh, and the rocket launcher target wearing a shirt that had a Green Lantern symbol on it felt heavy-handed. Also, where did they get that Green Lantern shirt? In whatever amount of time since the Wonders fought Grundy have people already started making clothing based on the heroes? Or did Khalid or Kendra make it and then put it on the dummy? Either way, it seemed like a very inconvenient thing to do especially when you were just going to blow it up anyway. *deep, healing breath*
- When Khalid teleported to Lansing to follow Jay – which was pretty funny to see a babbling Khalid wandering behind Jay – why didn’t he teleport Kendra too? Did she have something better to do?
- I was genuinely concerned when Sandman took Jay’s mom hostage, seeing as how Barry Allen’s mother was killed.
- Sandman got taken down way too easily. You have The Atom and a host of Sandmen with you, and somehow Khalid manages to sneak in all the chaos and hit Dodds with a branch, which immediately renders him useless. Give the Sandman some credit, guys.
- I was wrong that the next villain would be Steppenwolf, Jay and Khalid will have to do battle with Wotan after being transported to Nabu’s realm.
Favorite Quote: “I don’t need your help to do the right thing, Nabu.” – Khalid Ben-Hassin
- You’re a fan of Doctor Fate.
- You’ve been waiting for Earth 2 to get to the next arc.
The story still doesn’t advance much, but there’s enough action and exposition to keep me interested going forward. Hopefully the speed picks up, because there’s a lot of potential going forward into The Tower of Fate.