#2665: Dr. Fate



“Doctor Fate is the master of an ancient type of magic first brought to Earth before the dawn of man. Fate uses this magic to cast spells which allow him to fly, walk through walls, make himself invulnerable, and many other things.”

The heavy Super Friends-inspiration of Kenner’s Super Powers line, coupled with it being released right around the end of the bronze age, meant that the line’s heroic component was largely focused on the Justice League of America.  The League’s predecessors, the Justice Society of America, weren’t quite so fortunate when it came to the line-up.  There were, of course, a few overlapping members between the two, but just one single proper JSA member, Kent Nelson, better known as Dr. Fate!


Dr. Fate was released in 1985, as part of the second series of Super Powers.  He was the first and only JSA member added to the line, and would have remained so, even had the line continued past 1986.  Why exactly he was chosen for the line when there were no other plans for any other JSA-ers is anyone’s guess.  I guess they just thought he had a cool visual?  They weren’t wrong.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  His sculpt was all-new, and a pretty solid recreation of the classic Fate design.  He’s a touch stockier than Fate was usually depicted, but that was generally in keeping with the line’s style.  This is just Dr. Fate after a really good work-out, perhaps?  And he’s clearly not had time to let out his suit, which is why it’s so tight, clearly.  Whatever the case, the costume design is proper classic Fate through and through, and the helmet in particular is really cleanly rendered, and properly striking.  Like others in the line, the cape is a cloth piece.  It’s kinda hokey, but there’s a certain charm about it.  The paint work on the figure is clean, bright, and bold.  The paint on my particular figure has seen some slightly better days, but it’s not too bad overall, especially for a figure of its age.  Fate included no accessories, but he followed the line’s tradition of giving the figures “super powers,” in his case “Power Action Magic Spell Cast,” which raises the arms upward when his legs are squeezed.  A slightly weaker feature compared to others in the line, but generally not bad.


In my review of Hawkman last week, I noted that he was one of my earliest Super Powers.  Dr. Fate is right there beside him, because he came to me on that same Christmas morning in ’00.  As Hawkman’s *sort of* a JSA figure, they were a pretty decent pair, all things considered, and no doubt contributed to my early love of the JSA and their adventures (though, it’s worth noting that he wasn’t even my first Dr. Fate figure; that honor went to the DCD figure, released earlier that same year).  The figure’s another winner for the line, apart from his lack of compatriots, but I’d rather have just him than not at all.

#2077: Doctor Fate



Doctor Fate arises when the Lord of Order known as Nabu bestows his sorcerous knowledge, as well as a magical helmet, amulet and mantle, to a human host in order to battle the forces of chaos. Once a human dons the garb of Doctor Fate, Nabu’s personality assumes control of the human host. Doctor Fate, in his many incarnations, has long served in the Justice Society of America as one of its most powerful members.”

Amongst it’s focus on some of the more oddball teams from the DC Universe, DC Universe Classics also did pretty well by the Justice Society of America, DC’s first super-team.  In the 20 Series at retail (and a few fill-ins from the subscription service), we got the whole founding line-up (well, minus Earth-2 versions of Superman and Wonder Woman), as well as a few figures from the team’s modern-day incarnation.  In some cases, they would pull double duty, giving us classic and modern incarnations hand-in-hand, as was the case with today’s figure, Doctor Fate.


Doctor Fate was part of Series 8 of DC Universe Classics, the ill-fated Giganta Series.  There were two versions of the figure in play; the main one was the classic Doctor Fate, but there was also a variant based on the third Doctor Fate, Hector Hall.  That’s the one I’m looking at today.  He was actually the rarer of the two, as this was one of the 70/30 variant splits.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  Both versions of Fate were built on the mid-sized male body, the line’s most common choice when it came to base body.  He had a new head, forearms, hands, and calves (all shared with the standard release) as well as an add-on piece for his cape/collar combo.  Oddly, this collar piece gives him the illusion of the opposite problem that plagued most of the line: his shoulders kind of get a little lost.  The new parts are all very solid.  The helmet is a good recreation (even if I miss being able to see his eyes the way you could on the DCD figures), and the hands are nice and expressive.  I also dig the ornate detailing on the collar, something that’s very important for this incarnation of the character.  Perhaps the weirdest aspect of this figure is the paint.  There has long been some back and forth over whether Fate should be yellow or gold.  The Super Powers figure was all yellow (as was the standard release from this line, being a Super Powers homage and all), the first DCD figure had gold for the helmet and amulet and yellow for everything else, and the second DCD figure was all gold.  This figure doesn’t seem to want to commit to anything, so we get a weird mix.  I can get behind gold for the helmet and collar (though I wish it had a yellower finish to it), but the boots and trunks don’t seem to work.  On the flip side, the boots and trunks would be fine if at the very least the gloves were also gold.  It’s the arbitrary mix that really gets me.  Why would they do that?  You know, aside from the obvious “because they’re Mattel.”  Fate was originally packed with a magical effect piece, as well as part of the Giganta CnC, but my figure is without either of those.


Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: this assortment was really badly distributed, so I never found them at retail.  Fate was one of two notable missing members from my DCUC JSA (though the New Frontier figure did okay as a stand-in), until a rather nice DCUC collection was traded in at All Time.  While I would have preferred classic Fate, Modern’s close enough that I was content.  The gold/yellow thing is definitely a glaring issue on an otherwise fairly nice figure, but I’m overall pretty happy just to finally have a DCUC Fate.

#0937: Doctor Fate




Over the weekend, it was announced that artist Darwyn Cooke had passed away. While Mr. Cooke may not necessarily have been a household name, his body of work was nothing short of amazing, and his death is a huge loss to the comics community. Cooke spent most of his career working for DC Comics. A lot of his work was used for promotional purposes, but he did have a few prominent runs, as well as several one-shots and miniseries. Perhaps his greatest work was his Elseworlds project DC’s New Frontier, a love letter to late Golden Age and early Silver Age stories from the company. It was successful enough to get an animated adaptation through Warner Brothers, and even got a two series line of figures from DC Direct. In honor of Darwyn Cooke’s legacy, I’ll be looking at my personal favorite figure from that line, Doctor Fate.


DrFate2Doctor Fate was part of the second series of New Frontier figures from DC Direct. His inclusion in the series was a bit of a shock, since the character doesn’t really have a very prominent role in the comic. Of course, neither did Series 1’s Black Hawk, so perhaps DCD just wanted to have one oddball choice per series. It’s also possible that the figure was requested by Cooke, as is known to happen with lines based on one specific artist’s work. Whatever the case, I don’t think anyone complained about his inclusion in the line. Doctor Fate is about 6 ½ inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation. That’s not a whole lot of movement, but it wasn’t bad for a DCD figure of the time. He’s not going to be getting into any major action poses, but the arms and head offer a pretty good range of possibilities. The figure is, obviously, based on Cooke’s illustrations of Doctor Fate from the comics. He’s not far removed from the classic Doctor Fate; in place of the usual flared gloves, he has a pair of wrist bands. It preserves all the classic Fate styling a, while still adding a nice flair of originality to the design. While some of the other figures in this line exhibited a little bit of difficulty translating Cooke’s style into three dimensions, Doctor Fate’s sculpt does a pretty fantastic job. Something about his general design just really DrFate3brings out the best of Cooke’s work, and results in a really sharp looking figure. The hands have unique posing (I especially love the right hand) and the cape has some of the best flow I’ve seen in a sculpted cape, but the best part of the sculpt is the head. The helmet is a separate piece, though it’s not removable (well, not intentionally, anyway). The use of a separate piece allows for a fully sculpted set of eyes to be visible beneath the helmet, which adds an incredible amount of depth to the figure. Even without there being a whole head below the helmet, the appearance is there. Doctor Fate’s paint work is pretty strong. The colors are well chosen, and nicely match up with the color palette of the books. The application is nice and clean. There isn’t much accent work, but that feels true to the comics. Doctor Fate’s only accessory was a display stand, which was the same stand included with all the New Frontier figures.


Doctor Fate, along with the rest of Series 2 of New Frontier, was a Christmas gift from my parents. Amusingly enough, though he’s my favorite figure from the set, he was the one figure in the Series I wasn’t sure I wanted. I’m happy to say I was wrong, and he’s remained not only my favorite New Frontier figure, but also my favorite version of Doctor Fate (which isn’t as simple a task as you might think).

#0141: Power Girl & Doctor Fate



So, I know in my review of Thor and Absorbing Man I said that it was the last of my “New” Minimate reviews for a while.  I’m not deviating from this.  However, I have lots of old Minimates.  And I have a randomized list from which I draw the order of my reviews.  And I dare not deviate from the list.  So, I’m gonna be totally up font here:  There’s a lot of Minimate reviews on the horizon.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s jump to what I’m looking at today.  This is my third look at the tragically short DC Minimates.  I was a big fan of these guys, and they are actually the line that officially got me hooked on Minimates in general.  But, they were one of the few Minimates lines to be outsourced, being handled by DC Direct instead of Diamond.  DC decided to pull the plug and then they were gone.  Today’s focus is two of the slightly more obscure characters in the line, though they were both a bit higher profile at the time: Power Girl and Doctor Fate.


These two figures were part of the 2nd series of DC Minimates.


First, it’s a character that was really big for a few years there, but seems to have fallen back into the background, Power Girl.  Power Girl is present here in her look from the early 2000s, when she was a prominent member of the Justice Society and was at the height of her popularity.  She doesn’t look too different from her earliest incarnation, but her costume does noticeably have the seams that were very present at that time.  She’s built on the typical Minimate body, so she stands about 2 ½ inches tall and features 14 points of articulation.  She has 4 sculpted add-ons: hair, gloves, and a torso/cape combo.  All of these were new to the figure, though the gloves were shared with two other figures in the wave.  The hair is well done, and really looks like her hair at the time.  The torso is…odd.  Power Girl is commonly depicted as having large…assets, which is difficult to show on a block figure.  So they gave her a sculpted torso piece, I guess to make her torso larger.  It doesn’t really work the way they were hoping, and she just ends up looking too bulky.  The painted details are all pretty good and everything is cleanly applied.  The figure included no accessories.


Next, it’s Doctor Fate, who is a guy who does stuff with magic.  And is a doctor, I guess.  Maybe he has a doctorate in magic?  I know the original Fate was a doctor of archeology, but this is the third version of the character, and I don’t believe he had any legit claims to “doctor-hood.”  Anyway, as I mentioned, this is the third version of the character, which is the version that was running around at about the time this figure was released.  The figure is built on the standard body, so he’s got the usual stats.  Fate’s got 4 sculpted add-ons: Helmet, cape, and gloves.  The gloves are shared with Power Girl, but the helmet and cape are unique to this figure.  They both look really cool, and help to make this figure one of my favorites in the line.  The paint detailing is really sharp on this figure, with lots of really bold lines that really help with that “comic book” feel.  Fate includes a spare hairpiece, so he can be displayed without his helmet.


Like with all of the DC Minimates, I picked this set up from my local comic book store when it was released.  This is an interesting set because it includes Power Girl, one of the few DC Minimates I don’t really think is all that, and Doctor Fate, one of my absolute favorites in the line and one of my favorite Minimates in general.  What a dilemma!

*By the way, you’ll notice that this review doesn’t feature separate shots of each minimate with it’s different looks to accomany it’s personal reveiw block like my recent round of Minimates did.  To keep up with the daily posting schedule, most of my shots of figures that I use in reviews were taken months or even a year ago.  Initially, I had planned on shooting all of my Minimates in the sets they were released in, so there were no solo shots.  Recently, given the structure of  my reviews, I’ve found that I actually prefer having the solo shots, so I’ve started taking them.  But, I don’t really have the time to go back and retake all of the Minimates photos, so the older stuff will just have the group photos.  Sorry everybody!