This does explain a lot of things about me, including why certain characters still hold a special place for me despite their, shall we say, questionable origins? Maybe I'm the weird one, but I like Doomsday and Bane, thankyouverymuch. So this entry is a tribute to another such character who I enjoy despite all eveidence (and potentially, good taste) to the contrary.
The 90s were a strange time. With Image first hitting the scene, mega macho mystery men with giant arsenals and super-sexed vamps with impossible anatomy were all the rage. Marvel bought into this whole hog (witness: Thor With A Gun), and eventually DC got into the act, as well, revamping and updating their roster of characters to make them hipper, younger, and (ostensibly) edgier. One such revamp was Jared Stevens, AKA Fate.
Introduced during "Zero Hour," an event which as a DC neophyte made absolutely no sense but remained extremely awesome nonetheless, Fate wasn't your usual mumbo-jumbo spewing mystic. No, a former mercenary (ever notice that comic book universes are teeming with mercenaries?), he got down and dirty with demons and monsters, and had the foresight to melt down the Helmet of Nabu and turn it into a giant, golden blade and some ankh-shaped throwing daggers. He was very "kewl" and "gnarly" and all other sorts of words like that. And for someone like me, who was so naive in the ways of DC, reading about a new character -- one whom I had the first appearance of, and knew everything about -- was very appealing to my 14 year old self.
The result was a series which was pretty much straight action with a magical twist to it. It might seem bone-headed in retrospect, to take a character like Dr. Fate and morph him into a Big Knife weilding mercenary with a mullet and ink. But at the time, it was my favorite DC title. It was different, at least to a 14 year old, from all of the seemingly anonymous Image or mutant books out there, and with Jared being a newbie and outsider, it allowed the reader to gain insight as well. I always thought a team-up of the classic, spell casting Dr. Fate with the gruff, harsh Fate would make for interesting reading.
"Fate" was not a very successful title, and certainly never mentioned in the same breath as it's fellow "ZH" title "Starman." In the end, Fate was given two shots at solo stardom before fading away, eventually getting himself killed in the first issue of the relaunched "JSA." After that, he would pop up from time to time inside Fate's amulet with the other former weilders. But for a while, there was a time when the main magical character in the DCU didn't just wave his hands at you and spout gibberish.
No, there was a time when he would mess you up.
This is Fate, and he is a character I like.