Centered around the mystical Doctor Fate, Pride’s Fate reminds us what this series is capable of. Due to the numerous subplots focusing on all the different characters, individual character focus became less of a priority in favor of plot advancement. While it is understandable as to why the writers chose to this direction, it is arguable that fan favorites such as Doctor Fate’s lack of presence was a missed opportunity – one that is thankfully rectified with this book.
Khalid and Nabu’s relationship has always been one of the most fascinating elements of the Earth 2 series. When Khalid starts to lose confidence that he has the power to sustain the battle against the Apokoliptian creatures, Nabu asserts his strength by claiming that he is “destined for greater battles than this” and proudly says “this fight is beneath you. We have the power to face Apokolips itself”! After which, he takes control and opens a portal to Apokolips leaving the Flash and Hawkgirl to fend off the alien creatures. The writers use of the ensuing battle with Apokolips to allow Nabu to take center stage not only paved the way for them to showcase Nabu’s personality but gives us a more of Apokolips. Nabu has, thus far, just been portrayed as a powerful presence in the shadows and has never really truly developed as an individual character but rather one tied to Khalid. Hence, a Nabu-focused arc set in Apokolips is the perfect platform to achieve this while maintaining the ominous presence of the overarching war.
Upon reaching the treasure room of Apokolips, Fate encounters Arcanis, a loyal servant of Darkseid, which ultimately sets the stage for Nabu’s downfall. Being an all-powerful wizard who has been revered as a God by men has made this protector inevitably conceited. When Arcanis offers up a once might warlock now seemingly devoid of freewill, Nabu did not hesitate to abandon Khalid for this beast assuming that he could fully take control of it which to no one’s surprise, doesn’t work out as planned. Thrall, being born of Apokolips, was able to overpower Nabu’s will and take control of Doctor Fate. While this might seem simple and rather rushed story, it serves as a reminder as to why pride is regarded as one of the seven deadly sins and that power can corrupt the noblest of people. It is not something that we have not heard before but in this age where humans tend to take lose sight of noble principles, Pride’s Fate serves as a simple yet effective warning for this new generation.
Having been betrayed by Nabu, Khalid himself has to undergo his own journey against pride but from a very different dimension. Khalid gave up his sanity for Nabu’s power because he knew that it was the only way to save the world – he probably lost all his friends and family due to the insanity caused by the Helmet of Fate. Being abandoned by Nabu after all he has giving up, it is easy to understand why he would choose not to save him. However, Khalid’s journey shows that humans are capable of letting go of their ego in times of crisis. Likewise, Nabu’s plea to Khalid is a sign of him swallowing his pride albeit to an arguably lesser extent. The way Pride’s Fate is written really embodies how being proud affects both parties and addresses the different scenarios that could follow. Even though the moral of the story is no doubt compelling, the story suffers from a rushed pace probably due to the series coming to a close in the next book. Given the impact that pride can have on one’s personality, it would have been nice to see a longer arc to establish this – much like how they did it with Alan Scott at the beginning of the series.
Covering their bases, Pride’s Fate touched on the Atlantean side of war. Keeping with the theme of the book, this sub-plot runs parallel to Khalid’s journey as Marella overcomes her pride and hatred for humanity to join the battle against Apokolips. Even though Marella has been less than a supporting character throughout the series with very minimal scenes, one thing that was clearly established is her love for her people and her anger at the humans for imprisoning her. Pride’s Fate manages to recapture all that emotion while giving her and Atlantis a plausible reason to confront Apokolips despite her initial hesitance – for the sake of her people. Granted that her minor arc is less impactful that Doctor Fate’s, it does address her reasoning for entering the war. Sometimes we must do things we don’t want to go for the greater good.
Pride’s Fate returns the series to the standard that Robinson had set during his run at the start of the series. Delivering character-focused stories and maintaining a strong overarching theme, Pride’s Fate is an amazing addition to an already fantastic series.