You’ll all think I’m crazy, but I want a Fate action figure ASAP! That said, I’m aware that this particular 90’s DC character isn’t winning any popularity contests with the fans. But you know what? I like him, so I’m writing about him. (Sticks out tongue in defiance!) Seriously though, if you’ve never actually read his title and base all of your feelings on the misconceptions that Jared Stevens as an embarrassment to the mantle of Doctor Fate, you’re really missing out. I love Dr. Fate too. But there had to be room for both characrers in a comic universe so vast and diverse. Anything can happen in a work of fantasy afterall. Now that I’ve said my peace, I present to you my thoughts on “Fate” issue #0! Enjoy, Unspokenites.
Demons seem to pollute every corner of this place. Ash and brimstone poison the very air. The horrific creatures writhe and slither everywhere. Their sheer numbers make one wonder what’s up and what’s down in this living hell. That’s when Jared Stevens startles awake. He’s seated on a rickety, small plane with two others. The men remark on his health but he dismisses their concern. They are thieves and drug runners. He on the other hand deals in the theft and sale of relics and antiques. (That’s a man with morals right there. At least he doesn’t run drugs. Of course, he did arrange to help these other drug runners in the transport of said drugs…..Oh well. No-one’s perfect.)
One of the men asks if the pilot can be trusted. Jared replies that he trusts him completely. He owes him one. Just then, the subject of their conversation enters the cabin and opens fire on all three of them! The criminals drop, riddled with holes! But Jared dives to find cover! The pilot promises that he wasn’t paid to take Stevens out. If he surrenders, he won’t be harmed. Positive that this is a blatant lie, Jared pulls a knife from his boot and throws it at the traitor’s hand! It hits home and the pilot drops the gun! That’s when one of the others uses his last breath to fling a grenade at their attacker! (A grenade?! Who carries a grenade onto a plane in case of emergencies? A man that thinks ahead, that’s who!) The plane quickly explodes into flames, hurling Jared Stevens through burning shrapnel and the night sky beyond! He crashes down in a forested area, apparently uninjured!
After quickly checking himself for injury, he then makes sure the bag containing the relics he recently stole are likewise unharmed. Seeing that everything’s intact, he sighs in relief. However, this relief doesn’t last long as he’s suddenly aware that he’s not alone. An almost-skeletal, elderly couple walk slowly towards him! (I’d scream like a little girl here! Too many zombie flicks growing up!) In a gravely voice, the man says that they have been on his trail in order to reclaim what is rightfully theirs! Before Jared can say much in his defence, symbols that he recognizes as Egyptian ankhs appear in the man’s eyes as he says that this matter will be better settled at the Tower! Stevens then loses consciousness.
After the trio has mysteriously disappeared, a vehicle drives up. Two suited men emerge and scan the area. They seem annoyed as one comments that they have arrived too late. Their boss will be most unhappy should they not find their prey soon. It’s then that the two shed not only their clothes, but their skin, revealing horrific, demonic forms underneath! The bigger of the two places a clawed hand on the ground. He comments to the other that residual magics have been left behind, magics that can be followed. (Things have really heated up, Unspokenites! We’ve got two naked demons in the mix now! See? Symbifan hooks you up when he tells a story!)
Jared Stevens shakes his head as he tries to regain consciousness. He sees that he is bound by rope and seated in some type of stone room without windows. The elderly couple stands before him. The man speaks. They are known as Kent and Inza Nelson. He states that the items that Jared has in his possession are none other than the helmet, cloak, and amulet of the mystical avenger known as Dr. Fate! He continues that he and his wife used to be merged into one being and that combined, they were in fact this hero! (Can you imagine merging bodies with your significant other? Ugh! The chick flicks you’d have to endure!) It seems that a recent event involving time separated and aged them, casting the artifacts back to the place of their origin, Egypt. That’s where Jared found them and took them, seconds before the rightful owners were to reclaim the powerful artifacts.
The couple then place the helmet between them. Inza looks to Jared and comments how it’s a shame that he doesn’t believe in any of this and uses his talents on petty crime. She could see him being destined for much more. (Forshadowing, or is this old mummy actually hitting on poor Jared? And right in front of her hubby! Talk about a cougar!) Especially with the one who is coming. A dark one known only as Kingdom. Kent and Inza then concentrate, using every bit of their combined willpower to try and become how they once were trying to make Dr. Fate live again! Jared frees himself with his hidden knife. He warns the elderly duo to return the artifacts to him! Thats when the demons burst through the stone wall!
They’re the demons from earlier! They have tracked the three humans to this place and now, they’re out for blood! The demons announce that they are called Bloodstain and Thunderspawn (Do you think you can become a successful doctor or lawyer with a name like Bloodstain? Well…..maybe. Moving on.) And they’re here to kill everyone in this room! The couple attempt to use what’s left of their arcane powers to ward off the demons but alas, they break right through their weakened magical forcefield! Jared tries to attack physically, but is knocked aside as if he were as light as a feather! One of the evil creatures hurls a strange orb at the heroic couple! It states that this object will remove what is left of their already ebbing lifeforces! Unfortunately, it hits its targets!
As the sphere takes the life that’s left within the bodies of Kent and Inza Nelson, Kent stares Jared Stevens straight in the eye with a surprising look of peace upon his face. He says that he is content that his time is over, because his legacy will live on! Then, the two legendary heroes disintegrate in a blinding flash of light! The bigger of the two demons complains that his lust for death has not yet been sated. He grabs Stevens by his arm! The other demon notices that Jared has the amulet of Dr. Fate in that very hand and warns his evil partner not to destroy the relic! But this warning comes too late! The amulet is crushed along with Jared’s arm! The result is an earthshaking explosion! (There’s alot of flashing and explosions in this scene. Readers with sensitive eyes may wish to look away.)
Jared Stevens crawls from the rubble, clutching his utterly ruined arm in anguish. He hears sounds of what must be an epic battle being fought nearby. He curiously investigates. A large humanoid is fighting a man dressed in crimson, his arm wrapped in golden ribbons. He also brandishes a large golden blade. He hears the man call the large being Kingdom. It appears as though this Kingdom is winning. As the man falls, he utters through his pain that though Kingdom has defeated Dr. Fate, he will not fall so easily! That’s when Jared spies this hero’s face…..it’s his own! (Surprise! What? You knew?! Look, just because this comic originally came out in 1994 doesn’t mean that you have the right to be a smarta$$!) Jared awakens. He clears the strange vision from his head and wraps his damaged arm in the mystical cloak. He then grabs Dr. Fate’s helmet and leaves this disastrous scene behind him. He needs time to process all that has transpired and hide from any demons that might still be nearby.
Later, Jared Stevens’ ex-wife, Holly, returns home. Noticing signs of a break-in, she grabs a butcher knife and slowly looks around. The man sitting in the darkness of her living room speaks, scaring her half to death. Then, fright becomes anger as she recognizes the voice. Assuming that her ex-husband is once again in hiding from some illegal activity gone wrong, she demands that he leave immediately. That’s when he takes her by the shoulders with shaky hands and says that he needs to hide somewhere safe and collect himself after all that’s transpired. She then sees him fully as he steps out into the light. A long, red ankh completely covers the right side of his face! Little does she or he know it, but a hero was born this night! It was fate.