Category Archives: doctor fate

Absolute Justice

Last night the CW aired one of the most anticipated episodes of “Smallville” ever, and it represents a turning point in the TV series. While it may be what many fans have been waiting for, the episode, “Absolute Justice,” might also be where “Smallville” finally jumps the shark.

The episode’s story has Clark, Chloe and Oliver (where is our Green Arrow spin-off already?) helping to solve the case of an assassin hunting down the forgotten and disbanded members of the Justice Society of America. It’s an Easter egg filled geekfest, and I’ll be the first to admit to a geekgasm while watching, but I wonder what regular viewers of “Smallville” thought of it. This was a solid break from the usual soap opera aspects of the show and full frontal dive into comic book land.

Yes, it was great seeing Doctor Fate in the flesh (although a taller actor would have been better) as well as seeing Stargirl, Sandman, Icicle, Star-Spangled Kid, Amanda Waller (yeah, Pam Grier!) and Hawkman come to live action life. That said I had problems with the rules to Fate’s helmet being reworked for TV. But the good far outweighed any quibbles.

We got to see Superman’s red cape (that series star Tom Welling has sworn he’ll never wear), and got two hours of spandex superhero action. We also got to see J’Onn J’Onzz not only back but repowered, green and almost in costume. And did I mention superhero action? Heck, the Stargirl/Icicle battle lasted longer than last season’s clash with Doomsday. But with this introduction of the spandex set to “Smallville” continuity, the game has changed, and there’s no going back now.

The show has gone from freak-of-the-week to an “X-Files” wannabe to a “90210” wannabe to what “Heroes” should be – but this, this just might be what makes the series jump the shark. Spandex and superpowers are conceits that comic book fans just accept, but the visual reality of said may be too much for television audiences. Time will tell.

As for me, even if this is the last season, all I have to say is bring on the superheroes!

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Steve Gerber 1947-2008

Steve Gerber passed away yesterday. This is truly a sad sad time for the comics industry as one of its great innovators has died.

Gerber was probably best known for co-creating Howard the Duck, a character despite attempted butchery for the silver screen by George Lucas, was one of the most original concepts in decades. My first exposure to Howard was an issue of his series where an armored Howard became ‘Iron Duck’ and battled a seriously demented baddie named Dr. Bong who would club himself in his bell-shaped helmet with a bong-shaped to make loud headache-causing booms. Then I cam across Stephen King’s “The Stand,” where King described the reluctant hero as ridiculous and reason comics had gone to hell. It wasn’t until later I realized what a brilliant, subtle and hilarious satire on our world Howard the Duck really was. Gerber was/is a genius.

Steve Gerber wrote many comics and characters over the years, including for Marvel Comics – Man-Thing, Omega the Unknown, Simon Garth the Zombie, Shanna the She-Devil, Son of Satan, Daredevil, Iron Man, She-Hulk, Hawkeye, the Guardians of the Galaxy and the rock band Kiss.

Far and above, for me at least, was his work on the Defenders, Marvel’s premiere non-team. His run on that title was among the wildest, off-the-wall and coolest I’ve ever read in any comic. Gerber made the Defenders different, he made them demented, he made them cool. Among his concepts for the title were the additions of Luke Cage and the Red Guardian, the unbelievable Headmen, Korvac, Valkyrie’s husband Jack Norris and the infamous Elf with a Gun. These were some of the most fun comics to read, ever.

Steve Gerber also did work for the independents with Destroyer Duck, Exiles and Stewart the Rat. His DC Comics work includes the amazing revival of Mister Miracle with late artist Marshall Rogers, and also work on Doctor Fate as a back-up in The Flash.

He also worked extensively in animation, winning an Emmy for his work on “The New Batman/Superman Adventures,” and was also involved in other eries like “Dungeons & Dragons,” “Transformers,” “GI Joe” and “Thundarr the Barbarian.”

Gerber recently returned to DC to work on the new Doctor Fate mini-series in Countdown to Mystery. It’s probably one of the finest things on the shelves right now. He passed while in the process of writing this one. He will be missed. By me. By many. Rest in peace, man.