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The World's Finest Presents

Hand of Fate

Episode #29 - The Hand of Fate
Original Airdate - October 11th, 1997.

A dormant spirit released from an ancient artifact, invades a petty thief, creating a monster named Karkull. Superman must gain the assistance of Doctor Fate to battle this monster.

Media by Bird Boy
Review by Barry Allen
Written by Hilary J. Bader and Stan Berkowitz
Directed by Dan Riba
Music by Shirley Walker
Animation by Koko Enterprise Co., LTD., Dong Yang Animation Co., LTD.

Tim Daly as Superman/Clark Kent
Dana Delany as Lois Lane
Ted Levine as Karkull
David Kaufman as Jimmy Olsen
Joanna Cassidy as Maggie Sawyer
Joseph Bologna as Dan Turpin
Jennifer Lien as Inza
George Del Hoyo as Dr. Fate
Cree Summer as Psychic Girl
Ed Gilbert as University Guard
Dorian Harewood as Ron Troupe

Screen Grabs


Plot: ***˝
Animation: *****
Overall, (not an average): *****

If any of you are fans of comics from the Golden Age then this should be right up there on your list of favorite episodes. I think that long-standing fans of Doctor Fate will agree with me when I say that this adaptation of the character was really the best possible adaptation that could have been accomplished in twenty-minute episode in which he was just a guest star.

WHAT WORKED: To start things off on a lower-order, almost trivial, level, Dr. Fate's costume has always been cool, if not timeless and classic. I couldn't imagine how the creators would recreate a costume that was already so perfect, but they did. Some of the elements of the original costume are more dated and look more bulky by comparison (the colar on the cape, for example); the creators here streamlined everything but remained respectful for the original work done on the character.

The plot of the episode was just as deep as this sort of episode could have possibly been. This was not any epic telling of the origins of Kent & Inza Nelon, or how Kent came to be involved with Nabu and the Lords of Order. This story was just a brief introduction to the characters and briefly showed us the role that magic plays within this animated DC Universe. All cries that the episode was too simple and too far-fetched should be ignored; I believe that this was one of the stories that was MEANT to be exactly what it was.

Kent and Inza themselves were well-portrayed. Their voices were well-cast, I felt, and (even though Kent has never been that aloof and cold before,) it wasn't so contrary to the character that I was offended by it. One can see why that choice was made—Kent had to illustrate the stark contrast between himself and Superman. While mildly predictable and too convenient, this did showcase Superman's inspirational air very well: Superman inspired a retired hero out of retirement.

WHAT DIDN'T WORK: At first, I wanted to say that I liked the invocation of Ian Karkull's surname, but the near-complete reworking of Karkull's actual character, appearance, and motives. Then, I sat down and thought about it. Ian Karkull was a scientist who discovered a legendary city in the Sahara desert and who found a jewel that could turn him into a shadow. Although I can appreciate the need to set up a long-standing, ancient villain for Fate in this introduction episode—it lends to the understanding that Fate has been battling these forces for years upon years—there was no need to call it Karkull. Even Wotan might have been a better choice as Fate's long-standing adversary; Kulak would have been better still.

While this show's title is admittedly "Superman," they could have given Kent and Inza and little more exploration. I'm not asking for an origin (that would be too bulky to be contained in one episode,) but I would've liked to play more on their characters and the state of their marriage and how the Helm of Nabu has apparently been affecting Kent's thoughts, even when he is not wearing it.

— — —

Even with my minor gripes, HAND OF FATE was still one of the better episodes that the series had to offer. I'd love to see Fate brought onto JUSTICE LEAGUE for a few guest spots, if those incompetent fools are capable of handling him.

DORIS: My real name's Doris, but my friends call me Rain Song.
TURPIN: Okay, Tink. Back to Neverland.

FATE: Superman. You and I are alike, you know. We're masters of our destiny. Don't waste your life in endless battle as I did. Not when the universe beckons.
SUPERMAN: You're wrong, Fate. We're nothing alike.

FATE: You've just sent him to his grave.
INZA: What do you care?

SUPERMAN: What made you change your mind?
FATE: You.
SUPERMAN: Something I said?
FATE: Something you did. You went back. You didn't stand a chance, but you went back. Till then, I thought it was the forces of evil that never give up. I was wrong.
SUPERMAN: Your helmet.
FATE: I'll be needing it.

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