A little bit of Helmet, a whole lotta Fate

It turns out that despite its title Helmet of Fate isn't porn. Who knew?

DC's launching a new Dr. Fate monthly and his helmet is zinging around the DC Universe looking for a head to land on. This "event" is a series of one-shots featuring many of the Universe's magic-wielding people as they come in contact with the helmet.

I am a sucker for DC's old-school magic characters. This is one of the reasons I liked Morrison's Zatanna so much. Dr. Fate is among my favorites so I picked up three of the titles:

Sargon The Sorcerer #1 - DC (2007)

Nice work from Steve Niles (writing) and Scott Hampton (arting). There's nothing senses-shattering, here but it's a good story well told. The art and story mesh well. Much like Ibis below, this is an origin story. The original Sargon's grandson takes on the mantle and gets a spiffy new character design for his troubles. A good read with the best final page (in terms of art as well as writing) I have seen in a long time.

Black Alice #1 - DC (2007)

This one has my favorite cover. No, that's not Frazer Irving's work it's Duncan Rouleau's. The character design for Alice is very Klarion-like but she's a goth chick so that works. Alice has the power to steal (or copy) magic from other magicians and use it to her own ends. The Helmet shows up and teaches her a lesson. Good story, good characters and Gail Simone. WooHoo!

Ibis the Invincible - DC (2007)

Ibis was the weakest of the three but it was still enjoyable. The main character is Danny Khalifa, an Egyptian-American teenager who keeps getting the crap kicked out of him by some freelance Homeland Security officers in the form of high-school bullies. It's another origin story but not as well done as Sargon. It was written by Tad Williams whose novels I have enjoyed. The writing's not actually weak, it just comes in third when it's up against the others I bought.

The art by Phil Winslade bothered me at first but once he started drawing Egyptian gods he really kicked ass. If you need a huge, tired, smartass baboon deity in your comic, Winslade's your man!

I'm a hard sell when it comes to origin stories where the protagonist has to learn everything as he goes and he's all "Woah! Yikes! I'm in over my head, dude!" Therefore, I am being harder on thiis than I otherwise would have. Also, I was hoping to learn more about the original Ibis since he's one of the magic guys I haven't seen much.

Last criticism: This story suffers from Too Many Words. Comics are a visual medium. You don't have to literally write everything out. Even Kevin Smith figured that out eventually.

Having said all that, this issue does everything a one-shot should. It tells an interesting, self-contained story and it ties up all of the loose ends.

Plus, big baboon god!

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