DC Archives month continues with the first volume of the Golden Age Doctor Fate Archives. Actually, it's the only volume, because it contains the entire Golden Age run of Doctor Fate's adventures, from More Fun Comics #55 - 98.
This volume opens with Fate's debut from More Fun Comics #55, "The Menace of Wotan." Wotan is about to embark on a campaign of world domination, and Inza Kramer has been searching for information on him on behalf of Doctor Fate. Wotan hypnotizes some random yutz into trying to kill her, and it's Doctor Fate to the rescue. Fate then tracks down Wotan, and battle commences, ending with Fate knocking out Wotan and throwing him out the window of a very tall building. This story sets up the tone and some of the basics of the series, although certain details are fuzzy.
We get more of the same in the following story, "The Book of Thoth" (More Fun Comics #58), which Doctor Fate learns has been stolen from its long-lost hiding place. The thief, who is never named (although he has a snazzy costume) is using knowledge gleaned from the book to cause widespread destruction and hypnotize people into giving him all of their money. Although the story feels like a retread of the previous one, I like the artwork and visuals in this story.
Skipping a few stories, not only do we get a rare glimpse of Doctor Fate fighting Nazis in "The Man Who Changed Faces" (More Fun Comics #85), but this is the issue in which Kent Nelson (Doctor Fate's alter-ego) decides to become an actual medical doctor. Inza, inspired by his example, decided to become a nurse. While this comes completely out of nowhere, I have to admit it's an interesting decision, and I like Nelson's pride in the lives he saves as a doctor. I just wish there had been some better build-up.
Jumping WAY ahead some more, "Forgotten Magic!" (More Fun Comics #96) had the potential to be an interesting story, as Doctor Fate is forced to go without his powers for 24 hours (the in-story explanation is that Nabu must lose his powers for a time because of a transgression he refuses to reveal, and Fate must therefore lose his powers as well). Unfortunately, the setup comes completely out of nowhere, more akin to your internet connection suddenly being out for a bit due to technical issues rather than something more dramatic - a test of character, a promise, something like that. Nabu (whose name is never used in the story and who looks nothing like he did previously) just pops in and says "Hey, um, just as a heads up, you're gonna be losing your powers for 24 hours. Have fun with that and try not to die." Bonus headdesk points for Fate sleeping in full costume (including his helmet), thinking the warning from Nabu was a bad dream from something he ate last night, and jumping out of the window of his tower because he thinks it was all just a dream...only to find out it wasn't. I am not making any of that up. Here, see for yourself.