Have you read it?

What did you think?

17 Responses to “COUNTDOWN TO MYSTERY #2 Is Out”

  1. Starocotes Says:

    As allways my verdict will be in much to late. We have some visitors on the weekend and I guess it will be impolite to sit there and read comics 😉

  2. Bob Kennedy Says:

    I saw it. I like that he has to establish his values before he can control his powers. There’s an unsavory implication that his predecessor reached an accommodation with Negal of Charn, but there are a good 4 or 5 predecessors between Kent and his uncle, not to mention all the Helmet of Fate aspirants, so we don’t know for sure who Negal was talking about.

  3. Brian Spence Says:

    I may be going to my comic book store this weekend, and hopefully I’ll pick up both 1 and 2. They should be waiting for me.

    By the way, what happened to the site?

  4. Stephen Abrams Says:

    I am really liking this series so far. I hope that the sales allow us to see an ongoing sometime soon.

  5. Marc Bryant Says:

    Loved it, looking forward to more. I like this Nelson character a lot, I wish he could run into Nevada at some point.

  6. Steve Gerber Says:

    Bob: It was the original Kent Nelson who first met Negal (in the Doctor Fate origin story). The “accommodation” they reached was Fate ordering Negal to keep out of the world of the living or be destroyed.

    I wasn’t sure how familiar readers were with that story, even though it’s been reprinted many times, so thank you for raising this question. It means I need to do a little more explanation in the last few chapters of this story.

  7. dan Says:

    Enjoyed it. I didn’t realize Negal really had met the original Fate way back when – I just assumed it was a made-up reference, an ‘untold tale’.

    And. . .I have to admit, I’m probably dumb and should’ve realized this sooner, or maybe you mentioned it previously – but is the Kent V. Nelson bit a wink that he’s the 5th (V) Dr. Fate? If I remember correctly there’s the original, then Inza wore the costume a bit, then the guy in the t-shirt, then Hawkman’s son what’s-his-name, so the new one must be the 5th?

  8. Steve Gerber Says:

    Mostly, I just liked the sound of the middle initial “V”. I hope your count is correct, though, because it would be neat if it also happened to signify the fifth Doctor Fate.

  9. dan Says:

    Well crud, I just checked Wikipedia and he’d actually be the 6th – I forgot about the husband and wife team, Eric & Linda Strauss. I think I was out of comic reading then.

  10. Steve Gerber Says:

    In that case, it probably signifies that he’s the fifth Kent Nelson in the family line.

  11. Bgztl (Jack Holt) Says:

    It’s really a toughie. I’m like Catullus : Odi et amo. I hate and I love. (he was writing about the fatal attraction he had for a member of the upper crust, but I mean it a little more generally).

    I feel sort of funny coming on to your web-site and saying it, but both things are definitely there.

    The work is challenging on a lot of levels. And I like that.

    Kent is finding out that all his years as a doctor might have had a darker meaning. Mental illness (or at least some of it) is a demonic scourge not a neurological disorder. Modern-day elfshot? Medieval mummery come to life!!

    But Kent is also coldly rational. He must accept what his senses and the helmet are telling him. Evil walks the world and afflcits the hearts and souls of mankind. They need a doctor to foil their doom — to change their fate.

    You found a great hook to distinguish this Kent Nelson from his predecessor, too. This Kent Nelson will not do as his great-uncle originally did. He does not abandon the wicked to their doom. The new Doctor Fate still struggles, Quixote-like, against the windmills . Even when the helmet gives out, like his great-uncle he fights physically for their souls.

    Character-wise, Doctor Fate is a man of action again. He will use psychological insight, medical knowledge, a mystic helm and a good right cross to conquer the Conqueror Worm. He will fight death, psychoses and the untouchable diseases of man and society.

    Even though he’s prone to self-destruction, like many physicians, he is rising above himself to help others.

    In the process he may save himself.

    That’s a HECK of a story.

    I still have a bugbear about what I call the “stew-pot” Doctor Fate. The only thing holding me back is the man who holds the stew pot. I think he is a hero (see above) in the stripe of my old hero. So I reserve judgment on him.

    I think I can see years of story potential in Dr. Nelson. Kent V. Nelson has always been fighting evil.

    You’ve put out a MAJOR effort here and it’s worth reading. I can’t say that about many comics, whether they feature my favorite hero or not. So, I’m talking the book up in my neck of the woods. I hope others are too.

    Thanks for the hard work on the book.

  12. RAB Says:

    For me it was all good. I did recognize Negal immediately from his original appearance, so in that sense I may be an “ideal reader” and not representative of the comics reading majority.

    The big surprise was that Kent has already started to regain his footing a little, at least in the sense of asserting himself, and made the willing choice to don the helmet again. The past several years of interminably decompressed “writing for the trade” in comics led me to assume, albeit unconsciously, that we wouldn’t be reaching that point until the concluding issue. Let me emphasize, it doesn’t feel rushed at all and I’m impressed at how convincingly the character has been built so that this doesn’t feel like a sudden about face. We met him already having hit bottom, and now it feels natural that he’s ready to change.

    I also wasn’t noticing how crisp and economical the dialogue was until we reach Negal’s cutting line “Enter, Doctor Accident” and it made me grin.

    The only thing with which I might quibble — and even then, only if absolutely pressed to find something to criticize — is the page with Swinburne. Not that there was anything wrong with it, but as a “Vegas slice of life” moment, it seemed to be revisiting stuff you’ve already done before. If it turns out he plays a bigger role later in the story to warrant the introduction as a character, I’d happily withdraw even that small complaint.

  13. Steve Gerber Says:

    I’m really appreciating the thought you’re putting into these comments, folks. Don’t be afraid to drop a criticism or two. Treat these threads as if they were one of those late, lamented letters pages we used to have in all the books.

    One quick note, since it’s come up in a couple of contexts already:

    We now know that Dr. Nelson, having hit bottom, would like to rehabilitate himself and is ready to make an effort — but that doesn’t mean he’ll succeed, or that if he does, his progress toward that goal will be easy or consistent. You’ll see what I mean in a couple of issues.

    Oh, and one other quick note:

    The story isn’t saying that demonic entities cause mental illness. The implication was supposed to be that demonic forces prey on minds in torment. The initial torment itself is much more likely to have originated as a result of some accepted medical or psychological cause. I’m not necessarily ruling out the possibility of true demonic possession taking place in a Doctor Fate story, but such a case would be an extremely rare exception.

    Finally (for the moment), thanks to everyone who’s taken a moment to tell friends and Internet groups and forums about the book. If you’re enjoying the series, I hope you’ll continue to spread the word.

  14. Bgztl (Jack Holt) Says:

    The story isn’t saying that demonic entities cause mental illness. The implication was supposed to be that demonic forces prey on minds in torment. The initial torment itself is much more likely to have originated as a result of some accepted medical or psychological cause. I’m not necessarily ruling out the possibility of true demonic possession taking place in a Doctor Fate story, but such a case would be an extremely rare exception.<<

    Thanks. I did miss that, I guess. I thought they were causing the torment and enjoying the anguish they caused.

    Okay. Reboot.

    I now have this image in my head of “psychic snack food” — every distressed human being radiating coronas of spongy snack foods like haloes of cake-like goodness around their heads. Ectoplasmic twinkies that demons eat when they get the munchies!!

    Just think, I can see all of this and I’ve never once taken LSD!!

    Just Hostess snackfoods!!


  15. Bgztl (Jack Holt) Says:

    Well, my wife and kids went to sleep and I re-read the darn thing the THIRD time.

    Great dialogue.

    Should have said that before!!!

  16. TwoBuckTim Says:

    Hello Steve and Folks! I’m a long time lurker and first time poster.

    I have really enjoyed the first two issues of Dr. Fate. I am finding it to be one of those books that gets better with subsequent readings. The first time through, it works as an adventure story and on further inspection it plays out as an expressionistic character study. Little touches like the nod to character actor Keenan Wynn are fun to uncover, while bigger ideas like Kent being caught between worlds that he is both estranged from and perhaps responsible for make him a character that I want to know more about. The connections between the realm of magic and his former life as a psychiatrist are harrowing and make me wonder: Is he really Dr. Fate or Dr. Choice? The idea of a character who is willing to risk war with a supernatural entity over the soul of a man who has betrayed him (not to mention a man who he was willing to beat to a pulp for $40.00) is fascinating and complex.

    At this point, I’m interested in seeing if you are going to develop a supporting cast for this series – I’m a strong believer that deep secondary characters add scale to a title character and fresh eyes from which to view him. However, I can see why Kent needs to be dealing primarily with his own demons at the moment – be they internal, external, past, present and/or extra-dimensional.

    Love the Justiniano art! It provides the right blend of realism, exaggeration and fluidity needed to bring all of these ideas together. And as a big fan of both Plastic Man and The Spectre, I’m really intrigued by the Eclipso backup.

    I have a few questions that are probably obvious to most but I’m just not getting it. Why does the helmet change from full to half mask? Is it a dimensional thing that comes with the cape?

    Also, I am having difficulties characterizing the different “voices” that emanate from the helmet. The grey and black boxes seem to be Kent and the yellow and white ones seem to be the Helmet but I’m not sure about the black and yellow ones. Is “Dr. Fate” a fusion between Neilson and the Helmet? Are they talking to, through or with each other? I’m afraid that I’m not familiar enough with the character to understand if there’s a difference.

    Anyway, Dr. Fate is a great book. Keep ‘em coming, Steve!

  17. wngl Says:

    I’ve got to go back and read my old Dr Fates to catch up on the continuity aspect, but the dialog is spot-on and the situations are like a breath of fresh air at a time when most narrative threads in comics read too much retreads of retreads… to such an extent that there’s no there there anymore.

    But not with Countdown to Mystery: it has something there.

    Any chance you get to consult/work with Grant Morrison in connection with this? When I imagine the possibilities of a Gerber/Morrison thought exchange, my only thought is: “Piano!”