A Fate Worse than Death

Our latest excrescence from the flatulent bowels of the 1990s comes courtesy of mega-publisher DC Comics, featuring a redesign of the immortal warrior for Order, Doctor Fate. He normally looks like this:

But in their infinite wisdom, DC made him look like this instead:

The Doctor Fate helmet is one of the coolest bits of headgear in any comics universe, and yet DC chucked it over the side so they could be more EXTREME. I mean come on, look at the scarring on that face! And the grimace, man, the GRIMACE! You can’t see any of that behind a helmet, my man. Argue with THAT.

I love that he’s only armored on his right shoulder. Because if there’s one vital man-bit you want protected behind a metal shell, it’s your shoulder. By all means leave your junk exposed in the tightest fitting spandex you can find, because come on, clearly those slavering hell-beasts would never be so vile as to kick a Fate in his jewels.

Normally belts are worn to hold up pants, but since the new EXTREME Fate (no longer a doctor, apparently, because doctors are square amirite?!) doesn’t wear pants (because pants are for squares amirite?!), where better to put pouches than on a belt holding up … his nipples? I don’t know, the point here is that pouches are awesome and even when there’s nothing for a belt to hold up, they can hold up pouches, and that’s a good reason to wear a belt on your boobs.

The old Doctor Fate used magic, but that’s not bloody enough so we have to give him a sword because Wolverine has knives and swords are longer than knives so SWORD! Sadly, he is displaying the classic ineptitude of a magic-user when faced with a weapon, and he’s chosen to scabbard it upside down. You’d think after the first few steps when the damn thing kept falling out that he’d flip it over, but that’s not extreme enough.

Also extreme? Mullets. FATE mullets.

You thought the slavering hell beasts were howling in fear, didn’t you? Look again, my friend, because I’m pretty sure they’re laughing at the spandex-clad, shoulder-armored, mullet-wielding sword-dropping scar-faced pansy who can’t help but grimace in embarrassment at how cruel the fashion fates have been.

(All images and characters © DC Comics. Much to their shame.)

About Jeff Hebert

Jeff is a 45 year old city boy who has somehow found himself located in Colorado, fulfilling his lifetime dream of making a living drawing super-heroes all day.

50 Responses to A Fate Worse than Death

  1. The Atomic Punk

    The best part about the 90s? They made the 80s look good.

    I’m all for creative license and am okay with attempts to re-boot… but please tell me someone at DC was put before a firing squad because of this.

  2. By the way, isn’t that first Fate illustration kick-ass? I love the way he gets the general look of a spandex onesie while still making it look like actual clothing.

  3. Gabe Puratekuta

    The glowing red eye also makes him look like a Terminator…

  4. Gabe Puratekuta:
    The glowing red eye also makes him look like a Terminator…

    One glowing eye is a great Nineties era EXTREME character design feature. I first remember seeing it with Longshot, the X-Men character, but it rapidly got out of control.

  5. Good lord. The second one is as awful as the first one is great.

    The whole belt/shoulder armour combo is a marvel; clearly the shoulder piece is only there to hold up the belt.. (otherwise Doctor Fate would spend all his time picking it up from around his ankles), but why does he want to have a belt around his chest anyway? With his Extreme! arms it’ll be really difficult to get at any of the (clearly very important) stuff he’s carrying around in the pouches….

    And what’s with the “sword”, too? Why has he turned up to a hell-hound death match with something of a size that would be better used for making sandwiches? Is Doctor Fate into extreme picnicking? I think we should be told…

  6. the whole point of the halmet was to make him seem EMOTIONLESS!

  7. Actually, this was an entirely different character (althought still tied with Fate and Nabu)…

  8. How did the people at DC manage to look at this and think “yep, when our readers look at this cover, they’re going to see Doctor Fate!”

  9. The Atomic Punk

    Jeff Hebert: By the way, isn’t that first Fate illustration kick-ass? I love the way he gets the general look of a spandex onesie while still making it look like actual clothing.

    Yes, it most definitely does. The blue and gold is a solid look. And, of course, the iconic helmet. Didn’t anyone learn anything from “New Coke?”

  10. Jeff Hebert: One glowing eye is a great Nineties era EXTREME character design feature. I first remember seeing it with Longshot, the X-Men character, but it rapidly got out of control.

    You’re clearly forgetting Cable’s glowing eye plus the scarring around it.

  11. I wonder if he uses magic to dye that red streak into his hair, or if he has to spend an hour or so every month carefully applying his Hot Topic hair dye. And clearly the “belt” is there to hide his nipples from poking through whatever flimsy material his outfit is made out of. It’s a shame he didn’t have the foresight to do the same for his crotch… Now what I want to know is what one of the most powerful sorcerers in the universe keeps in his nipple-pouch. It’s got to be something he wouldn’t normally be able to emulate with his world-crushing powers, otherwise why would he feel the need to keep it in his nipple-pouch? My guess is mullet wax, but that’s just speculation.

  12. Nipple-pouch.

  13. DiCicatriz

    If it’s any consolation his only recent appearance after not having been seen for years was to show up in JSA, having been stabbed in the back with his own dagger and promptly dying without explanation.

  14. Did anyone else notice that the scabbard is not only upside down but backwards. Removing the sword the way it’s drawn would have the blade turned away from your enemies unless your anatomy allows bizarre Liefeld-esc twist and turns.

    Don’t forget the uber-Xtreme Ankh knives on the nipple-belt. Ancient symbols of life always make the best death weapons.

  15. Jeff Hebert:
    By the way, isn’t that first Fate illustration kick-ass? I love the way he gets the general look of a spandex onesie while still making it look like actual clothing.

    I was thinking the exact same thing. Wicked awesome.

  16. McKnight57: You’re clearly forgetting Cable’s glowing eye plus the scarring around it.

    Longshot preceded Cable by years, though. I mean, I doubt anybody who lived through the 90s could forget Cable (no matter how much they tried) but he wasn’t the first with the single glowy eye.

  17. Forget the nipple-pouch. The upside-down scabbard really did it for me.

  18. If anyone’s interested, here’s the article on the character. Basically Dr. Fate’s successor, though not really, but sort of. The ankh-daggers and sword/dagger are the melted down remains of the helmet. If that’s not the perfect symbol of the Extreme Nineties, I don’t know what is.

  19. The Atomic Punk

    Jeff Hebert: If anyone’s interested, here’s the article on the character. Basically Dr. Fate’s successor, though not really, but sort of. The ankh-daggers and sword/dagger are the melted down remains of the helmet. If that’s not the perfect symbol of the Extreme Nineties, I don’t know what is.

    Wow, it just keeps getting worse.

  20. Sword’s not long enough. Unless that’s supposed to be a knife, then that’s about the size you need. Also, you know what would be more “EXTREME!!!1!”? A gun the approximate size of an Everglades ‘gator. Ow, I think a bit of my soul just died making that joke.

    Otherwise, this d-bag has all the hallmarks of a ’90s creation. Fugly mullet, check. Pouches, check. Single shoulder-pad/armor, check. (By-the-by, it’s on the wrong shoulder. The only reason for armoring one shoulder is to protect your sword-arm when facing it toward your enemy when fencing. As dumb as Shatterstar looked in the ’90s, this was surprisingly the one element that Liefeld got right.) Stupid grimace, check. (bonus points if it’s the only facial expression he ever has, and/or if he has more teeth than the human mouth can even hold). Flowing bit of uselessness (usually hair or ribbons) that do nothing practical, but in real life, would get caught on everything, check. Glowing eye, check. This guy is go for instant derision and hatred.

  21. It’s funny how the 90s (which I still hold out to be the best decade but im starting to question) can take a very strait forward character and turn him into…into…well THAT!!

  22. Didn’t he melt down Dr. Fate’s helmet to make the sword, or am I thinking of an old WWF Undertaker story line? This was another attempt by DC to copy Marvel, who earlier that year had replaced Dr. Strange with the far more EXTREME Strange (who was later renamed Paradox.) DC of course had to up the ante. I guess no one told DC you never go “full EXTREME.”

  23. Crap in the hat…

  24. Myro:
    As dumb as Shatterstar looked in the ’90s, this was surprisingly the one element that Liefeld got right.

    I can assure you it was just pure luck that he put it on the correct shoulder. I bet you can’t find two pannels in a row where Shatterstar has the sword in the same hand.

  25. OOOOOH, I was just looking at more covers, and it looks like DC finished him off the the ultimate EXTREME accessary, a trenchcoat!!! Well played, DC. Well played indeed.

  26. Dan: I can assure you it was just pure luck that he put it on the correct shoulder. I bet you can’t find two pannels in a row where Shatterstar has the sword in the same hand.

    You’re likely right, Dan. At least, likely enough that I wouldn’t want to bet actual money that you’re wrong. But I still think it’s funny to say, “Hey, what’s your problem? Even Liefeld got this one right.”

  27. MScat:
    It’s funny how the 90s (which I still hold out to be the best decade but im starting to question) can take a very strait forward character and turn him into…into…well THAT!!

    I was also fond of the 90s, but I generally avoided the EXTREMEness so this scene has been repressed in my memories.

  28. What I don’t understand is that mullets are an 80s hairstyle. Why in the hell did it get carried over into 90s comics?

    Generally speaking 90s fashion is 10 times better than the 80s but somehow the comic industry was swept up in a weird mutation of 80s sensibilities that helped define the EXTREME 90s look. When I see this stuff I keep thinking it came from the 80s. My brain has a hard time accepting the reality.

  29. dblade:
    What I don’t understand is that mullets are an 80s hairstyle. Why in the hell did it get carried over into 90s comics?

    Generally speaking 90s fashion is 10 times better than the 80s but somehow the comic industry was swept up in a weird mutation of 80s sensibilities that helped define the EXTREME 90s look. When I see this stuff I keep thinking it came from the 80s. My brain has a hard time accepting the reality.

    Mullets were rampant in the early 90′s. I was in high school then, and trust me, they were still going strong. Hell, hockey and pro wrestling alone were pretty much nothing but mullets.

  30. Probably true, but whenever I saw one I thought they were just poor slubs stuck in the 80s. It probably took longer to shake loose from the high schools. I started college in 88 and by the time the 90s rolled around the True Mullet was already dead in the halls of higher education (at least in my perception).

  31. On a side note, the show Glee shows the high school hockey team still having mullets.

    Did I just admit I watch Glee?

  32. dblade: Did I just admit I watch Glee?

    We don’t shame or judge here, dblade. Let it all out.

    On another note, I can’t believe I didn’t mention the prehensile bandana wrap Fate is sporting. Also a staple of the Liefeld-inspired era.

    P.S. I was kidding about the non-judging. Weirdo.

    P.P.S. I was kidding about kidding. You’re not weird just because you watch “Glee”. Well, not JUST because you watch “Glee”, I should say.

  33. thejay: Forget the nipple-pouch. The upside-down scabbard really did it for me.

    The Paul Sr handlebar mustache and the red streak in his hair did it for me. Makes me think a Hell’s Angels’ Biker molested a skunk.

  34. Lordgrimm01

    The first Fate is probably 2000′s version (Hector Hall) and not Kent Nelson (who is the first…unless DC decides to retcon someone before him)….I remember when they would Number them

  35. Billy Ray Cyrus became a star in the 90s and kept the mullets alive for the next six or seven years depending on where you lived. I live in the south so mullets are STILL around.

  36. MScat:
    Billy Ray Cyrus became a star in the 90s and kept the mullets alive for the next six or seven years depending on where you lived. I live in the south so mullets are STILL around.

    And he looked like a reject from the 80s. Heck, I saw ladies with bee hives in the 80s and I never would say the style was truly alive.

    My point is the Mullet peaked in the 80s and anything after seemed to be holding on to this glorious past. Maybe its just my personal experience but anytime I saw a mullet in the 90s I immediately thought “throwback”. Hence my dismay of its inclusion in 90s comic books.

    Side note: The Beastie Boys apparently coined the phrase “mullet head” to describe the hairstyle. According to wikipedia.

  37. Cape-Jacker

    Did anyone notice that Voldemort actually did something right for once?! He killed this obscenity. Right down at the bottom of his Wikipedia page, he, “warned…that both he and Wesley Dodds had been murdered by “The Dark Lord.”” Go Riddle!
    In case you haven’t noticed, major Potter fan!

  38. given that Fate’s powers come from his helmet and his amulet and his cape… and that this guy has none of them (though i assume he rides a motorbike so doesn’t need flight)

    extreme Strange just looks badass

  39. Frevoli:
    given that Fate’s powers come from his helmet and his amulet and his cape… and that this guy has none of them (though i assume he rides a motorbike so doesn’t need flight)

    so apparently the amulet exploded (giving him the eye makeup) and the cape is the banage on his arm

    also says that shes an archelogist… yeah, looks like it

  40. X-stacy: Longshot preceded Cable by years, though.I mean, I doubt anybody who lived through the 90s could forget Cable (no matter how much they tried) but he wasn’t the first with the single glowy eye.

    True, but is the one big-time recurring character with it. I fully realize I’m going to lose this battle but he’s the first one that popped into my mind.

  41. thejay:
    Forget the nipple-pouch. The upside-down scabbard really did it for me.

    Actually that sort of configuration is pretty common. A lot of soldiers find that drawing a knife is easier and more natural when it’s positioned at the shoulder like this.

  42. metaphorically, Fate could seem impartial or savage and cruel, and the nipple belt would be an absence of potential protection for loins–because Fate engenders [produces] death, hopelessness . . . but metaphors aren’t so much cool.

  43. spidercow2012

    No argument on the lamosity of Extreme Fate, but Jeff, don’t you have any issue with Dr. Fate’s belt in the first picture? His PANTS are holding up his BELT!

  44. darkvatican

    The “extreme” Fate makes me sad. So sad… Dr. Fate has always been one of the simplest and coolest costume designs, even including his half-helmet days. I never knew previously that DC had openly flirted with such a horrid re-design for the character.

  45. spidercow2012:
    No argument on the lamosity of Extreme Fate, but Jeff, don’t you have any issue with Dr. Fate’s belt in the first picture? His PANTS are holding up his BELT!

    True … and I do have a thing about silly belts. But this one looks COOL!

  46. What I can’t figure out is his form with the sword. Why is he holding that way? It looks like a gladiator saying, “we who are about to die salute you!”
    … perhaps he’s holding it the right way then.

  47. I’m just glad a lot of the iconic designs have returned. Fate was definitely one that never needed fixing. Ditto with Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, etc.

  48. Aeternus606

    My least favourite peice about the new “Fate”, (if he even deserves to be called that), is the pink onesie. Its too low around the neck pretty much saying, “Slice me here!”. The boots are also a big turn-off. Purple with pink?! I think not. Its like people who wear black suits with brown shoes….makes gag just thinking about it. Old Fate is cool and new Fate just blows donkey parts. WHAT WERE ARTISTS THINKING THEN AND WHAT ARE THEY THINKING NOWADAYS??? Rediculous

  49. Why do they have to take an awesome character and mess him up like that!

  50. Xavierking5

    Guys, it’s obvious what happened. His right arm died so they mummified it… And then gave it armour… To protect it… Because it’s dead.