|'Dr. Fate' #4 (October 1987)|
“This week’s “Comic Book of the Week” is “Dr. Fate” #4, which was published by DC Comics in October 1987. This issue was titled “Incarnations” and was the fourth installment in a four-issue limited series.
This issue’s creative team included J.M. De Matteis, writer; Keith Giffen, artist; Dave Hunt, inker; Agustin Mas, letterer; Anthony Tollin, colorist; and Denny O’Neil, editor. Giffen and Hunt were the cover artists, and the issue sold for $1.50 at newsstands.
This 32-page issue begins in Egypt at the pyramids at Giza, where Benjamin Stoner has just arrived dressed as Dr. Fate, complete with his Helmet of Fate, Cloak of Destiny and Amulet of Anubis. There’s more to Stoner though than meets the eye because he’s been possessed by the evil entity, Chaos, who is trying to bring about the end of the world. In Egypt, Stoner/Chaos is confronting Kent Nelson, who served as Dr. Fate for over 40 years; Eric Strauss, who was supposed to be Nelson’s successor as Dr. Fate; and Eric’s stepmother, Linda Strauss.
After an exchange of words, Stoner/Chaos blasts Eric’s mind and body, pretty much frying him on the spot and reducing his spirit to a wisp. Nelson’s still inhabited by the spirit of Nabu, aka “The Descended One,” one of the Lords of Order, and Nelson commands Nabu to save Eric. Thanks to Nelson and Nabu, Eric’s body reforms, and Nelson figures out that the Helmet and Amulet belong not only to Eric – but to Linda as well.
Eric charges Stoner/Chaos, and when Stoner/Chaos tries to blast him this time, it doesn’t work because Linda’s presence is sustaining him. With Nabu’s help, Linda’s transformed into pure energy and merges with Eric. In a brilliant flash, they become Dr. Fate in one body, complete with the Helmet, Cloak and Amulet.
Chaos is completely separated from Stoner now and is shown to be a giant, green monster with no eyes but lots of sharp teeth. When Dr. Fate asks about Stoner, Chaos spits out his dead body, which dissolves into a pool of mist and blood, and Chaos disappears.
From there, the scene shifts to the Tower of Fate in Salem, Mass., where Nelson, Eric and Linda lick their wounds. Eric and Linda are pondering their new role as the combined Dr. Fate and ask for Nelson’s wisdom and guidance. Instead, Nelson tells them that everything they need to know is inside them and dies as the spirit of Nabu departs his body.
Later, we find Eric, Linda and Nabu outside in the snow, standing over a gravestone that reads “KENT NELSON, NO MAN GAVE MORE.” As they’re standing there, Nabu disappears, called home to the realm of the Lords of Order, where he has to answer for the recent events involving Dr. Fate. Nabu argues with his superiors, defends mankind and is eventually sent back to Earth “never to return.” He arrives back on Earth like a bolt of lightning and crashes into the Tower of Fate, destroying it.
The story ends in New York City, where Eric and Linda are back at their apartment home. Suddenly, without warning, a reanimated Nelson stands dark and foreboding in the doorway, and it becomes apparent that Nabu has possessed Nelson’s old body, which had been buried outside the Tower of Fate. Nabu explains that he’s there to help Eric and Linda. He also hopes that they’ll be able to help him too.
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