The Halls of Fate, Part Two
(Now with 30% more ranting!)
In the first chapter of our story, Doctor Fate was reincarnated as someone several of the older JSA members knew well. In this chapter, we get a quest, a resurrection, and some nice, old fashioned WTF. Forty pages spread out over JSA #8-#46.
Alan Scott's son, Todd, who's been both the hero and the villain as Obsidian, has decidedly gone off the deep end. After allying with, and betraying, Ian Karkull in order to bring the Shadowlands to Earth, he's imprisoned several JSAers inside their own minds, sending their bodies to fight and capture their comrades. In the process of this, he's tormenting his "minions" with their worst fears and memories, and in doing so, we find out that Hector's not as well-adjusted about this reincarnation thing as he first appeared.
After Alan rallies to put down his son (though not for good, since Todd's still nuts and escapes to the Shadowlands), the next villain up to the plate is the time-warping Extant, who is Hank Hall, former Hawk, driven criminally insane by the death of his second partner and love of his life, Dawn Granger. In the middle of combat, several of the crew are killed by Extant. Or so it looked at first.
The ladies have a point, and this'll end up being a big mistake, but not for the reasons they're thinking. Anyway, off Hector goes.
Oh, yeah, that bodes well.
In any case, the plan doesn't go quite as planned (when do they ever?) and Extant escapes, only for Atom Smasher to chase him down and kill him by screwing with Extant's powers so that he takes the place of AS's mother when she died in a terrorist plane bombing.
And then the JSA split up. Six remain behind, but Hippolyta goes home, Hourman goes to find himself, Starman takes off, and Hector?
He reappears four episodes later, having found out something very interesting (and squicky, if you were paying attention to the last post) about that comatose woman in Vancouver.
D: (That middle panel really doesn't help with the creep factor.)
While Hector is busy trying to find a way to wake her, his cousin...niece... something, Kendra, is finding out disturbing news of her own. Namely, that she's dead. Or, rather, Kendra Saunders' soul is dead, from a several-years-old suicide attempt. While Kendra's consciousness and memories are still intact, which is why she didn't notice anything other than odd blackouts, the soul currently inhabiting her body is that of her great aunt, Shiera.
(Have I mentioned that this entire family is really fucked up yet? Because you're gonna be hearing it a lot in this post.)
The reason why this is important, not just creepy, is that a small cluster of Thanagarians are looking to save what's left of their people, and to do that, they need Shiera. Why?
For a resurrection, and a reunion, of course. And who's getting brought back?
Or not, because there's still a war to fight. Oh, and Kendra to deal with, because she's pretty freaked at this whole resurrection thing, especially when Carter's kind of convinced she's Shiera and is happy to pick up where they left off. And even after the war's over and she's gotten him to accept her as Not!Shiera, they still end up kind of getting together eventually after some obvious rocky bits (Oh, my God, what's with this family?).
Anyway, when all's said and done and the JSA are back on Earth, Hector goes back to his quest to fix what Mordru screwed up. The spellbreaking attempts via magic don't go so well, even with doctors like Mid-Nite assisting.
Eventually, Hector figures that Mordru's not the only one who's been keeping secrets (and we get probably the scariest Hectorface any artist has ever done).
Dude. Might want to do something about your eyes, there. ::ahem:: Meanwhile, Johnny Thunder has returned! Only it's not really Johnny Thunder, it's the Ultra-Humanite in his body. After tricking the current owner of the Thunderbolt into giving the genie back, the Ultra-Humanite rewrites the world, mind-controlling all but a small handful of capes. Two of those not enslaved are Wildcat and Doctor Fate, the former because he keeps resisting, and the latter because the Ultra-Humanite wants the artifacts, and Hector hid them. Hector's role in this arc is pretty tiny, but there's one page from it I wanna post, just because it made me laugh.
So, ultimately, the Ultra-Humanite is defeated (and the Crimson Avenger kills him after Sand prevents Icicle from doing so), but at the cost of Johnny's life. As a way of sort of "preserving" him, though, the Thunderbolt merges its soul with his, creating Johnny Thunderbolt as a new/old partner for Jakeem, the kid with the genie's leash. And Hector vanishes again to his quest to save Lyta, and isn't seen again for another six issues. Now, this next bit looks long, but it's really only three pages an issue, so...
(I could fill a few paragraphs on how this page pisses me off, but since I already have a rant reserved for writing, I'll just say "Ass shot splash page of a moments-before-comatose woman who woke up to some nutbar reincarnated as her kid. Classy.")
In any case, we're about to find out just how much a certain sorcerer's been fucking things up behind the scenes.
While this has been going on, Kobra's on trial for multiple things, including that plane explosion I talked about earlier in the post. While the JSA's handling crowd control, a man in the crowd pulls a suicide bombing, and doesn't take out the crowd only because Power Girl yanked him into the air. This prompts Kobra to inform the court that his followers are scattered throughout the crowd and the courtroom, and they all have implanted bombs tied to a detonator inside himself. If he's convicted, he'll activate it and take everyone out with him. Much to the ire of some costumes present (notably, Black Adam), he's allowed to walk about the same time that Doctor Fate shows up.
And just like last time, he starts laying waste to the present capes.
Meanwhile, Dove gives us some exposition as to what the hell is going on.
(Y'know, even for an embodiment of order, she's disturbingly calm about this whole "gave birth in a coma" thing.)
And there we have it, the parentage of the reincarnation of Hector Hall. And you know what the writers do with this? Absolutely jack shit. While I can understand him still considering Carter his father in the ethereal sense, Hector and Dawn never acknowledge each other as family, even in the physical sense. Period. She sticks around to help with a couple of battles, then fluffs off to find the new Hawk after only one page of dialogue with Hector that amounts to nothing but meaningless small talk, and this whole coma pregnancy reincarnation thing is, as far as I know, never mentioned again. It's a stupid, stupid waste of potentially interesting story, as far as I'm concerned, and as I'll bring up in the next post, just one of the many potentials about this Fate incarnation that got wasted.
And speaking of the next post, tune in for psychic interventions, magical battles, and an ancient Egyptian wizard being a massive asshole about whether free will's a necessity or not.