Fish-Flavored Baseball Bat

It's a John Cleese reference.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Countdown to Mystery

I have to say, I like the way DC handled the conclusion of Steve Gerber's Doctor Fate. In the past, any attempts to resolve Gerber's unfinished stories (the "Elf with a Gun" subplot, the explanation of Omega the Unknown) have been terrible offering four different conclusions, DC is acknowledging that the only definitive conclusion would be Gerber's own, which will forever be unknowable. Rather than commit to an ending that might not fit Gerber's vision and setting it in stone as THE ending, they offer a variety of possibilities for our consideration.

Of the four, I found Adam Beechen's the least effective...I'm sure he meant well by bringing in the Elf-with-a-Gun as a deus ex machina and name-dropping Gerber's other creations, but the effect is that he "paid tribute" to the writer by betraying his story, and that's no tribute at all.

Mark Evanier's conclusion, with its "ideas can never die" speechmaking and Negal's abrupt departure, was both a disappointing resolution and too "conventional" to capture the spirit of Gerber. (It pains me to say that, as I usually love Evanier's work, but this just fell flat.)

Mark Waid fared better with his offering, which mimicked Gerber's occasional experiments in form (the text-and-image page) but did so at a point which suited the story. I also appreciate that Waid resisted the urge to name the patient/vision after Steve Gerber...even the anagrammatic "Everbest" would have been too blatant, and would have drawn me right out of the story. It's possible that the name "Mardillo" has some inside significance...but it didn't distract me as an obvious in-joke would have.

Gail Simone's ending was the most satisfying for me...the references to Gerber's other creations were not nearly as jarring as they were in Beechen's tale (perhaps because they were a passing mention in delirium, rather than the be-all, end-all of the story), and more importantly, the resolution of Fate's dilemma not only came across as true to Gerber's spirit (I can see Gerber coming up with the idea of the demon becoming the doctor's patient), but was a satisfying conclusion in its own right. Another highlight which struck me as truly "Gerberesque"...unlike the other writers, Simone didn't restore Inza to humanity...Inza just makes the best of her new existence. And that, to me, seems like a development Steve Gerber would have approved.



Post a Comment

<< Home