I’m letting some Doctor Fate ideas roll around in the back of my head tonight, so I thought I might use the front of my head to post a few thoughts on the series — finally. First, let me take a moment to review what I’ve said in interviews, on various bulletin boards, and in reply to comments on this blog…
* The star of the new DOCTOR FATE series is an entirely new character.
* His other identity is Kent V. Nelson, and his grand-uncle was the original Doctor Fate.
* While the new character has that tie to his forebear, the connection won’t be emphasized in the new series.
* Readers will be able to understand and enjoy the new DOCTOR FATE #1 even if they have *no* prior knowledge of *any* version of the character. I’m avoiding any attempt at “retconning” for exactly that reason. Doctor Fate’s prior continuity is so over-complicated and confusing — second only to Hawkman’s, in my opinion — that I honestly don’t believe new readers should have to contend with it. At the same time, I’m emphatically *not* on a mission to contradict or erase earlier continuity. My intent is to respect the past by raising the subject as little as possible.
* The new Doctor Fate wears both the half-face and full-face versions of the familiar golden helmet. In fact, they’re two configurations of the same helmet. The helmet no longer contains any pocket universes, and it’s no longer the abode of Nabu, the lord of order. (Nabu died in DAY OF VENGEANCE: INFINITE CRISIS SPECIAL #1. His passing was the event that marked the end of the Ninth Age of Magic and the beginning of the Tenth, to which our new Fate belongs.) Also, the helmet no longer confers instant knowledge and power upon the wearer. The new kid will have to *learn* how to use it, and sorcery in general.
* The new Doctor Fate is no longer grounded in Egyptian mythology. In fact, he’s not confined by the mythology of *any* culture. What I hope to do over time is construct an entirely new and original system of magic for this series. In earlier versions of Fate, his powers and weaknesses were never clearly defined. He seemed able to hocus-pocus-dippity-do himself out of almost any situation with some handy-dandy-cotton-candy theretofore unmentioned spell that just *happened* to fit the occasion. That’s going to change. As this new series develops, Fate will acquire an arsenal of specific spells and charms that will behave the same way each time they’re used. No more nondescript rays from the hands! It’s my intent that Fate’s spells be as distinguishable from one another as x-ray vision is from a batarang.
* The art team on the new book will be Justiniano and Walden Wong. Paul Gulacy, who was originally slated to draw the book — and who did indeed provide the very striking first-issue cover — had to leave the project due to a scheduling conflict.
Okay, that took more than a moment.
And I’m not even sure I hit all the major points.
It’s a start, anyway.
If you have questions, please include them in a comment on this post. I’ll try to answer as many as I can next time.