Doctor Fate

Doctor Fate
Doctor Fate
Kent Nelson and Hector Hall from the promotional art for JSA: All-Stars #3 (Sept. 2003) cover, by John Cassaday and Mark Lewis.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance (Kent, Inza)
More Fun Comics #55 (May 1940)
Doctor Fate (vol. 1) #1 (July 1987)
(as Doctor Fate) JSA #3 (Oct. 1999)
(Kent V)
Countdown to Mystery #1 (Nov. 2007)
Created by (Kent, Inza)
Gardner Fox (writer)
Howard Sherman (artist)
J. M. DeMatteis (writer)
Shawn McManus (artist) (Kent V.)
Steve Gerber (writer)
Justiniano (artist)
In-story information
Alter ego - Kent Nelson
- Eric & Linda Strauss
- Inza Cramer Nelson
- Jared Stevens
- Hector Hall
- Kent V. Nelson
Team affiliations (Kent)
All-Star Squadron
Justice Society of America
(Kent, Strauss)
Justice League
Notable aliases (Kent, Strauss, Inza, Hall)
Abilities Manipulation of the magics of Order.

Doctor Fate (also known by the diminutive, Fate) is the name of a succession of fictional sorcerers who appear in books published by DC Comics. The original version was created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Howard Sherman, and first appeared in More Fun Comics #55 (May 1940). In 1940, the character also became a founding member of the Golden Age superhero group the Justice Society of America.[1]

Initially, Doctor Fate was Kent Nelson, the son of archaeologist Sven Nelson who died after Kent opened the tomb of the ancient wizard Nabu. The orphaned boy was trained by Nabu in the arts of magic.[1]

After DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline, several different versions of Doctor Fate were introduced, but were relatively short-lived. Doctor Fate's appearances in other media and comics set outside the continuity of the DC Universe tend to be of the original Golden Age Kent Nelson incarnation.


Publication history

More Fun Comics #55 (May 1940) introduced the first Doctor Fate. After a year with little background, his alter ego Kent Nelson and origins were shown in More Fun Comics #67 (May 1941). At this point, the character was shown to be an archaeologist's son who had discovered the tomb of an ancient wizard named Nabu.

Visually, the character was unusual in that he wore a full face helm in his earliest appearances. His love interest was known variably as Inza Cramer,[2] Inza Sanders,[2] and finally Inza Carmer,[2] which was amended to Inza Cramer in the Silver Age.[3] His enemies included (in order of first appearance) Wotan, Ian Karkull, Nergal,[4] Mr. Who, The Clock, The Octopus, Mad Dog, and various mad scientists, mobsters, and thugs.

When the Justice Society of America was being created for All Star Comics #3, Doctor Fate was one of the characters National Comics used for the joint venture with All-American Publications. He made his last appearance in the book in issue #21 (Summer 1944), virtually simultaneously with the end of his own strip in More Fun Comics #98 (July - Aug. 1944).

In More Fun Comics #72 (Oct. 1941), Doctor Fate's appearance was modified, exchanging the full helmet for a half-helmet so his lower face was exposed. The focus of the strip shifted away from magic to standard superhero action. By the end of 1942, the character had been changed into a medical doctor with fewer mystic elements in the strip. The character's popularity waned faster than many of his contemporaries', and the strip was cancelled before the end of World War II in 1944.

Doctor Fate was revived along with many other Justice Society members in the 1960s through the annual team-ups with the Justice League of America. These stories established that the two teams resided on parallel worlds. Unlike many of his JSA teammates, Doctor Fate did not have an analogue or counterpart among the Justice League.

Aside from the annual team up in Justice League of America, DC featured the original Doctor Fate in other stories through the 1960s and 1970s. These included a two-issue run with Hourman in Showcase #55-56, wherein it was revealed Kent Nelson and Inza Cramer had married since the end of the Golden Age;[3] appearances with Superman in World's Finest Comics (#208, Dec. 1971) and DC Comics Presents (#23, July 1980); with Batman in The Brave and the Bold (#156, Nov. 1979); and a solo story in 1st Issue Special #9 (Dec. 1975), written by Martin Pasko and drawn by Walt Simonson. With this story, Pasko added the concept that the spirit of Nabu resided in the helmet and took control of Nelson whenever the helmet was donned.

In the early 1980s, Roy Thomas incorporated the retcon that Nabu inhabited the helmet into his All-Star Squadron series, set in late 1941, as an explanation for the changes in Doctor Fate's helmet and powers.[5] (In a caption box on the final panel of All-Star Squadron #28's main story (Dec. 1983), Thomas indicated an explanation of how and why Nelson returned to the full helmet and possession by Nabu when the JSA reactivated in the 1960s was forthcoming, but it was never published).

This led to Kent and Inza, combining into one Doctor Fate, featuring in a series of back-up stories running from The Flash #305 (Feb. 1982) to #313 (Sept. 1982). Cary Bates wrote the initial story, with Pasko taking over as writer in issue #306, aided by Steve Gerber from #310 to #313. In 1985 DC collected these back-up stories, as well as a 1978 retelling of Dr. Fate's origin by Paul Levitz, Joe Staton & Michael Netzer (Nasser) originally published in Secret Origins of Super-Heroes (DC Special Series #10, 1978, in the indicia), the aforementioned Pasko/Simonson story from 1st Issue Special #9, and a 1940s Doctor Fate tale from More Fun #56, in a three-issue limited series titled The Immortal Doctor Fate.

Following 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths, Doctor Fate briefly joined the Justice League.[6] Kent Nelson died of old age and the mantle of Doctor Fate was passed to a pair of humans, Eric and Linda Strauss, who merged into one being to become Doctor Fate, similar to Kent and Inza.[7] Based on the success of the limited series, DC continued the story in a separate ongoing series, also titled Doctor Fate, by DeMatteis and Shawn McManus.[8]

After two years, William Messner-Loebs became the writer, and the series and character shifted so that Nelson's wife Inza inherited the Doctor Fate mantle and starred in a year's worth of stories in which she tried to change the world for the better using her powers.[9]

When Messner-Loebs' run ended,[10] DC retired the character, replacing Doctor Fate with "Fate". The new character, Jared Stevens, was introduced in a self-titled series launched in the wake of Zero Hour in 1994.[11] He was a mercenary whose weapons were the transformed helm and amulet of Doctor Fate. Both Fate and its follow up, The Book of Fate were canceled after relatively short runs.[12]

In 1999, during the revival of the Justice Society in JSA, DC allowed the character to be reworked; Jared Stevens was killed[13] and the mantel of Doctor Fate, along with a restored helm and amulet, was passed to a new character, in this case a reincarnated Hector Hall, son of the Golden Age Hawkman and Hawkgirl.[14] In addition to appearing in JSA, DC published a self-titled, five-issue limited series featuring Hall[15] and positioned him as a prominent magical character in various company-wide event stories.

The character was again set up for change during the Day of Vengeance limited series,[16] part of the lead in to the 2005 company wide event story, Infinite Crisis. This included both Hall[17] and Nabu[18] being killed off and Doctor Fate's helmet being sent to find a new wearer.

In early 2007, DC published a bi-weekly run of one-shot comics featuring the helmet passing through the hands of various magical characters. These included Detective Chimp; Ibis the Invincible; Sargon the Sorcerer; Zauriel; and Black Alice.[19][dead link] The one-shots were intended to be followed by a new Doctor Fate ongoing series in February 2007, written by Steve Gerber and illustrated by Paul Gulacy, featuring Kent V. Nelson, Kent Nelson's grandnephew, as the helm's new wearer.[20] However, the series was delayed due to extended production and creative difficulties. Steve Gerber, through an interview with Newsarama, revealed that the story intended for the first arc of the Doctor Fate ongoing series was being reworked to serve as one of the two stories for Countdown to Mystery, a dual-feature eight issue mini-series with Eclipso as the second story.[21][22][dead link] The first issue of Countdown to Mystery, with art by Justiniano and Walden Wong rather than Gulacy, was released in November 2007. Due to Steve Gerber's passing, the seventh issue was written by Adam Beechen using Gerber's notes. The final issue was written by Beechen, Gail Simone, Mark Waid, and Mark Evanier, who each wrote a different ending to the story.[23]

The character then appeared in the Reign in Hell mini-series,[24] and next appeared in Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #30, joining the team and featuring in the book until its cancellation with #54 in August 2011.

Fictional character biographies

Kent Nelson/Nabu

Kent Nelson, the young son of American archaeologist Sven Nelson, accompanied his father on an expedition to the Valley of Ur in Mesopotamia in 1920. When Kent opened the tomb of the ancient wizard Nabu, a poison gas was released which ultimately resulted in Sven Nelson's death. Nabu, taking pity on the orphaned Kent, raised him and taught him the skills of a wizard, and then bestowed upon him a mystical helmet, amulet and cloak.[1][4][25]

Cover to More Fun Comics #61 (Nov. 1940). Kent Nelson as Doctor Fate. Art by Howard Sherman.

By 1940, Nelson returned to the United States and resided in an invisible tower in Salem, Massachusetts. From this sanctum he embarked on a career fighting crime and supernatural evil as the hero Doctor Fate. During the early part of this career he met, romanced, and married a woman named Inza Cramer.[1]

In late 1940, Doctor Fate was among the founding members of the Justice Society of America.[26] He remained active with the group through the middle of the decade, resigning in 1944,[27] and going into retirement.[28] When the team came out of retirement to work with the Justice League in the modern era, he returned as well, rejoining his old teammates.[29]

In 1942, Kent switched to a half-helmet when he felt Nabu's personality take control of his body whenever he wore the Helm of Nabu.[5] The change, while stripping him of most of his magical power, left Nelson in full control of his actions and still more than a normal human.[30] During this time, Nelson acquired a medical license and became an intern at the Weatherby Free Clinic.[31] Shortly thereafter, when a supervillain stole the Helm of Nabu, Nelson lost all access to the helm as both it and the thief were cast into an alternate dimension.[32]

Even with the return of the JSA, Doctor Fate's activities were less than public. These included assisting fellow JSA member Hourman against Solomon Grundy and the Psycho-Pirate,[3] and teaming up on various occasions with Superman[33][34] and Batman.[35]

When the Justice Society reformed in the modern age of heroes, Doctor Fate was among the returning members, now using the Helm of Nabu again.[29] Though he had become increasingly erratic and withdrawn from humanity, he was still committed to protecting Earth against supernatural menaces. Kent also became an archaeologist like his father.[3] During this time Nelson also went through a period where, in order to become Doctor Fate, he had to fuse with his wife Inza.[36]

Kent later became the sole wearer of the Helm and joined the re-formed Justice League.[37] The magic Kent used to keep Inza and himself young soon failed. This resulted in the pair aging and passing away in a short span of time.[1]

During the Blackest Night event, Kent was reanimated as a member of the Black Lantern Corps.[38]

Eric and Linda Strauss

Justice League America #31 (Oct. 1989): Linda Strauss as Doctor Fate. Cover Art by Adam Hughes.

With Kent Nelson's passing, Nabu began the search for a new host. This search took him to a young man named Eric Strauss (aged to an adult by Nabu's magic) and his stepmother Linda Strauss.[39] Nabu bound them so that they had to merge to become Doctor Fate, but could live apart when Fate was not needed.[1] He then animated Kent Nelson's corpse to serve them as adviser and instructor.[40] Since the tower Nelson used as a sanctum had apparently been destroyed, the pair operated out of Linda's apartment.[8] Over time they were joined by a small, kind demon they dubbed Petey and a lawyer named Jack C. Small.[41] Petey and Jack provided moral support and managed to assist in some of their battles.

During a battle on Apokolips, Eric was killed, leaving Linda to take over the role of Doctor Fate.[42] Soon, the Lords of Chaos attacked Linda and killed her. The souls of Eric and Linda were then placed in the bodies of Wendy and Eugene DiBellia.[43]

Inza Nelson

Kent and Inza's souls, which had been inhabiting Doctor Fate's amulet, were resurrected in new younger bodies.[43] However, they found that now only Inza was able to become Doctor Fate.[9] Kent's old body was inhabited by another Lord of Order called Shat-Ru, and Kent pretended to be his own grandson.[volume & issue needed] Inza became more confident, proactive and reckless in the use of her powers, which she used to improve the lot of humanity, leading her and Kent to separate for a while.[44]

The Nelsons learned that a Lord of Chaos named T'Giian had taken residence in the Helm of Nabu, providing Inza with magic derived from Chaos instead of Order, and was the reason that Kent and Inza could no longer merge to become Doctor Fate.[45] Kent eventually returned to his wife's side and helped her defeat T'Giian. Inza then learned that she derived her new powers from the magic of Earth, rather than Order or Chaos.[46]

After defeating T'Giian, the Nelsons began merging as the male Doctor Fate again. The Nelsons retained the ability to become independent Doctor Fates if the situation called for it; in these cases, Kent's form would resemble that of the costume he wore when he used the half-helm.[47]

In their last days as Doctor Fate, the Nelsons, along with the rest of the JSA, faced the supervillain Extant during Parallax's attempt to change the history of the universe. Extant, with seeming ease, caused most of the Justice Society to rapidly approach their proper physical ages. He also separated the Nelsons from the helm, amulet, and cloak. The greatly aged and depowered Nelsons returned to Salem and went into retirement.[48]

Jared Stevens

Fate #1 (Nov. 1994) featuring Jared Stevens. Cover art by Anthony Williams and Andy Lanning.

After the Nelsons' return to Earth, Jared Stevens discovered Doctor Fate's raiments and altered them into a knife, a set of throwing darts, and an armband. He called himself simply "Fate". His sole encounter with the Nelsons resulted in the couple's death and the return of their souls to the amulet.[49]

Jared was killed at the hands of Mordru as part of the latter's attempt to claim the mantle and artifacts of Doctor Fate for himself.[13]

Hector Hall

Panel from JSA #4 (November 1999) featuring Hector Hall as Doctor Fate. Art by Stephen Sadowski and John Kalisz.

Nabu, aware of Mordru's ambitions, had planned ahead to ensure that the helm and the mantle of Doctor Fate would pass to a reincarnated Hector Hall. This plan coincided with the rebirth of the Justice Society, which acted to protect the newly reborn Hector.[50]

Hector's new body was the son of Hank Hall and Dawn Granger, agents of both Chaos and Order once known as Hawk and Dove, which made Hector an agent of balance instead of one side or the other.[51]

Later the Spectre, attempting to expunge evil by extinguishing magic, confronted Hector. This resulted in Hector and his wife's banishment to a snowy mountain landscape, where he would be forced to spend eternity. The two later joined their son in the Dreaming, giving up the mortal world forever.[52]


Nabu confronts Mordru without the use of a host body in a panel from JSA #80 (Feb. 2006). Art by Don Kramer.

Unaware of the reasons behind Hector's disappearance, his teammates in the Justice Society traveled to the Tower of Fate, hoping to use his services to travel to the Fifth Dimension and find Jakeem Thunder. At the Tower they found the raiments of Fate, but not Hector. Sand used the raiments to speak to Nabu.[53] However, Mordru returned and removed the helmet from Sand, causing Nabu to manifest through the raiments without using a host body.[54] After confronting Mordru, the Justice Society offered Nabu membership, but he sensed that a crisis was coming and that his presence would be required elsewhere, and disappeared.[55]

During the last hours of the Ninth Age of Magic, Nabu called together Earth's remaining magicians to deal with the Spectre and the destruction of the Rock of Eternity. Nabu personally confronted and goaded the Spectre, whose anger grew so great that he fatally wounded Nabu.[1] This caused the Presence to take notice and send the Spectre to his new host. As a result of Nabu's impending death, the Ninth Age of Magic ended and the birth of the Tenth Age began.

Before his death, Nabu gave the helmet to Detective Chimp to pass on to the Doctor Fate of the new Age, telling him that the helmet will still have certain abilities, even though Nabu would no longer be contained within it. After Detective Chimp found that the helmet would not fit him, he asked Captain Marvel to throw the helmet randomly into space, allowing the helmet to find its own new owner. After traveling an unknown yet vast distance, the rigors of space warped the helmet to resemble Kent Nelson's alternate, half-face helmet of the 1940s before plummeting back to Earth.[56]


Felix Faust disguised himself as the Helm of Nabu and Nabu within it in an attempt to trick Ralph Dibny into trading his soul for Faust's freedom from Neron by telling Dibny how to resurrect his dead wife, Sue.[57] In his masquerade, Faust killed Tim Trench and fooled the Shadowpact.[58] Dibny discovered Faust, and bound Faust and Neron to the Tower of Fate, resulting in his own death.[57]

Helm of Nabu

Promotional art for Doctor Fate (vol. 4) #1, by Paul Gulacy.

The helmet resurfaced a year after the events of Infinite Crisis, crossing paths with various heroes and resembling the half-helm that Kent Nelson used during the 1940s.

It first returned again to the possession of Detective Chimp, who found he could now wear the altered helmet. After acting as Doctor Fate for a short time, he decided he did not have the temperament to wear the helmet and sent it on its way.[59]

Next, the helmet came into the possession of Ibis the Invincible, and attracted the attention of the dark god Set. Set defeated Ibis, forcing the hero to retreat into hibernation as a mummy to heal. Ibis' last act was to choose his replacement. The new Ibis confronted Set, retrieved the helmet and then sent it on.[60]

As it traveled from place to place, the helmet was interrupted by the spirit of Sargon the Sorcerer, who diverted it in an effort to protect his grandson, David. David bestowed something of himself into the helmet before returning it to its journey.[61]

Black Alice was the next recipient, who unsuccessfully tried to make the helmet obey her. When the helmet started to indiscriminately punish everyone who wronged her, including her loved ones, she realised the helmet would fulfill her desires, but destroy her life in the process. Black Alice then relinquished it.[62]

The helmet crossed paths with the angel Zauriel, who also passed it along after removing it from the tyrant of another solar system.[63]

Ultimately, the helmet fell to Doctor Kent V. Nelson, grandnephew of the original Kent Nelson, who became the new Doctor Fate.[1]

Kent V. Nelson

Promotional artwork for Countdown to Mystery #1 (Nov. 2007), featuring Kent V. Nelson as Doctor Fate. Art by Justiniano.

Doctor Kent V. Nelson, divorced and out of work, is beaten up by a former patient for a Bumfights knockoff and is thrown in a dumpster, his pay stolen. The Helm of Nabu has fallen into the dumpster, and Nelson uses it to cover his wounds, as it has started to rain. The helmet reveals its entire history to him, and despite his attempts to pawn it, the helmet returns to him.[64]

Nelson learns spells gradually and uses the helmet's powers for gambling. He meets a woman named Maddy, who runs an occult bookstore, where he goes into an intense inter-dimensional meditation exploring the pains of his psyche. He drags her along into his vision. After this incident, Kent uses magic in the real world to fly, but sinking into self-pity and depression after forgetting both his daughter's birthday and the magic word for flying, he falls into a large, nearby fountain and nearly drowns until he is saved by an intrepid young comic writer named Inza Fox — stunning Nelson, whose aunt also had the unusual given name. Inza is completely liquefied while Nelson is taking a shower - the doing of Negal, a demon Kent thwarted in the beginning of his adventure (and a demon his uncle showed to his aunt after telling her Dr. Fate's origin).[4] After the death of Inza, Kent seems all but certain to retreat further into alcoholism.[65]

Despairing, Nelson decides he has had enough of this mystical interference in his life, and gives the helmet to Maddy. He is immediately captured by Negal. On her first attempt at using the helmet Maddy is also brought to despair by Negal's sidekick, Ymp, and brought to him alongside the captured Nelson and the remains of Inza.[66]

Four potential endings to the story were written by different writers following Steve Gerber's death.

  • In the first, by Adam Beechen, Maddy is inspired by Kent's efforts to overcome his self-absorption to distract Negal with an image of Inza's character Killhead. This gives enough time for an elf with a gun to shoot Negal. The elf then departs, as a quacking voice invites him to share a beer with the "big guy", "Thunny", "Megs" and "Bev" before the big guy has to "head upstairs". Nelson and Inza recover, and Maddy gives him back the helmet. As they return to Vegas, Nelson says that whatever happened, it took all three of them, and that the helmet still has a lot to teach them.
  • In the second, by Mark Evanier, Nelson sees his life flashing before his eyes, as Negal gloats that he will now destroy Dr. Fate forever. Nelson seizes on the happy moments in his life, and claims that killing him never achieved anything, and he should know. He tells Negal that Dr. Fate is an ideal, and has returned before. Since Nelson is no longer consumed by self-pity, Negal (lord of the self-despised) is powerless and returns them all to where he left them, claiming that he will return. With Inza back in her apartment and Maddy back at the bookshop, Nelson returns to the casino, reflecting that every journey must end, through chance or fate.
  • In the third, by Mark Waid, Maddy tries to wake Nelson, but cannot. In his dream, Nelson has a conversation with one of his patients, Mr. Mardillo, who is drawn to resemble Steve Gerber (and who appeared in issue #1 complaining to Nelson that an oxygen tank was no good for meeting women), and the scene takes the form of a text piece, a common device in Gerber's work. Mordillo explains fate is the hand you are dealt, but destiny is the way you play it. Negal hates fate because, as a demon, he has no way of changing his destiny. Mardillo points out that Nelson seems resigned to the same thing, and talks him through his problems. As in the previous story, Nelson's newfound hope gives him power against Negal and, although he acknowledges his depression will return, for the moment he is able to use the helmet to free himself and the others, briefly gaining the original Dr. Fate's costume while doing so. Back in Vegas, he is astonished to find a note from Mardillo in his pocket, but is unable to read the handwriting.
  • In the final piece, by Gail Simone, Maddy is "tripping" on the power in the helmet and unable to use it effectively. Upon seeing Kent awaken, she gives him the helmet. Finding Inza is now a living statue, he asks her if she wants to live and, when she says yes, points out to Negal that she still has hope, and is therefore beating him. Using his psychiatric skills, he diagnoses Negal's obsession with causing and feeding on misery as indicating an addictive personality with narcissistic tendencies. Acknowledging his own faults, he adds that he is still good at his job, and offers to help Negal. The final panel shows Kent flying across Vegas, with Inza and Maddy in tow, reflecting on how well Negal's therapy is going and that he may be falling in love with Inza.[67][68]

Kent later helps a group of magic-using heroes escape from Hell[69] and helps the Justice Society fight of a supervillain attack, joining the team soon afterwards.[70] Kent's magic saves Mister Terrific's life after his stabbing by Kid Karnevil.[71] Kent remains a member of the JSA after the team was split into two and is briefly possessed by Mordru before leaving Earth to hone his spellcasting abilities.[72] Kent later returns and helps the team take down Scythe in Monument Point.[73]

Powers and abilities

All versions of Doctor Fate use the Helm of Nabu[25] (which allows Nabu's spirit to possess or advise the wearer),[25] the Amulet of Anubis[74] (which contains a pocket dimension that houses the souls of previous Doctor Fates),[75] and the Cloak of Destiny.[25] Kent Nelson gave up the Helm for a time when he felt Nabu's spirit take control of him, forcing him to switch to a half-face helmet.[5] The loss of the Helm (and Nabu) left Kent without most of his powers, except for his flight, super-strength, and invulnerability.[1]

The various Doctor Fates are sorcerers with a wide variety of powers, such as flight,[2] invulnerability,[2] super-strength,[2] fire blasts,[2][76] lightning blasts,[2][76][77][78][79][80] telekinesis,[2] minor spell-casting,[2] telepathy,[2] energy blasts,[2] and creating solid objects.[78][80] However, the various Doctor Fates are unable to counteract spells that have already been cast and in effect.[80]

Other versions


Doctor Chaos (Earth-One)

Doctor Chaos. Art by Kurt Schaffenberger

In New Adventures of Superboy #25 (Jan. 1982), Professor Lewis Lang and his assistant Burt Belker discovered a helmet in the Valley of Ur identical to the one given to Kent Nelson by Nabu on Earth-Two. This helmet contained a Lord of Chaos, which went on to possess Burt and turn him into Doctor Chaos, whose agenda differed from the Earth-Two Doctor Fate's. Doctor Chaos' costume mirrors Doctor Fate's, with an inverted color scheme. Superboy confronts him and is able to remove the helmet from Belker and jettison it into space. There have been no further appearances of the helmet.


Future (Books of Magic)

In the fourth book of the Books of Magic limited series by Neil Gaiman,[81] Mister E shows a future version of the Helm to Timothy Hunter which resembles a human skull. It would ultimately kill any of its worshipers that wears it. It no longer cares about the war between Order and Chaos and believes that there is no meaning in life; just flesh and death. Mister E says he wanted to kill Doctor Fate and destroy the helmet long ago, but the Justice League prevented him. In the first book, Hunter and the Phantom Stranger observe Kent Nelson, though Nelson is not aware of their presence.


The final issue of 52 revealed the existence of a new Multiverse, consisting of fifty-two identical realities. Among the parallel realities shown is one designated Earth-2. As a result of Mister Mind "eating" aspects of this reality, it takes on visual aspects similar to the pre-Crisis Earth-Two, such as the Justice Society of America being this world's premier superteam. The names of the characters and the team are not mentioned in the panel in which they appear, but the Doctor Fate that is shown is visually similar to the Nelson and Strauss versions of the character.[82]

Based on comments by Grant Morrison, this alternate universe is not the pre-Crisis Earth-Two.[83]

This version of Doctor Fate (based upon the Kent Nelson version of the character) later appeared in Justice Society of America Annual #1. Doctor Fate, along with the Spectre, suspected something awry with Power Girl's mysterious reappearance.[84]


In Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1, the heroes pass through Earth-20 briefly. While there, they are seen by Doc Fate, a hero described by writer Grant Morrison as 'a cross between Doctor Fate and Doc Savage'. Doc Fate is based in a windowless Manhattan skyscraper and is the leader of the Society of Super-Heroes, a group of 'pulp'-style mystery men consisting of Immortal Man, the Mighty Atom, Lady Blackhawk, the Green Lantern, and the Bat-Man.[85]

Earth-22 (Kingdom Come)

The Kingdom Come limited series featured a version of Nabu, similar to his later appearance before his death, who was able to channel his consciousness through the helm and cloak without the need for a host body. This version of Fate sided with Batman's group during the series, and was amongst the survivors at the end of the story.

Doctor Strangefate

Doctor Strangefate is a sorcerer from the Amalgam Comics universe; he is an amalgamation of Doctor Fate and Marvel Comics's Doctor Strange & Charles Xavier.[86]


In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, Doctor Fate (Kent Nelson), works as a fortune teller in Haley's Circus. Kent tells his co-worker, trapeze artist Boston Brand, of his vision of the acrobat Dick Grayson's death.[87] Haley's Circus is then attacked by the Amazons looking to steal the Helm of Nabu. However, Kent is impaled and killed by an Amazon before the circus workers manage to escape with the Helm with the help of Resistance member Vertigo.[88] Dick escapes the Amazons' slaughter of the circus workers with Boston's help and meets up with the Resistance, using the Helm as the new Doctor Fate.[89]


Both the character and the comics of the same name have received recognition, including:

  • 1963 Alley Award for Strip Favored for Revival
  • 1965 Alley Award for Best Revived Hero

In other media


  • The Kent Nelson version of Doctor Fate appears in Superman: The Animated Series episode "The Hand of Fate" voiced by George Del Hoyo while his wife Inza is voiced by Jennifer Lien. Superman seeks Fate's help when a supernatural threat named Karkull (whom Fate has defeated previously) seizes the Daily Planet. Fate, depicted as middle-aged, refuses to get involved because he is tired of the eternal struggle between "good" and "evil". Superman's insistence on returning to fight on his own, despite his success being unlikely, inspires Fate to join the "good fight" again.
  • Doctor Fate (along with his wife Inza) appears in the Justice League episode "The Terror Beyond" voiced by Oded Fehr while Inza is voiced by Jennifer Hale. Dr. Fate and Aquaman help Solomon Grundy escape from the authorities so they can enact an age-old spell to save this dimension from an invasion by the Old Ones, creatures based on the writings of H. P. Lovecraft.[90] They are stopped by the League and end up fighting the Old Ones leader Ichthultu (a variant of Cthulhu) in their own dimension.
  • Oded Fehr and Jennifer Hale reprised their roles as Dr. Fate and Inza in Justice League Unlimited. Fate maintains a loose relationship with his fellow superheroes (lack of prior communication being the reason for the struggles between him and the League in "Terror"), including joining the expanded League. However, he maintains his own team within the League, consisting of himself, Aquaman and Ivo's android Amazo (whom Doctor Fate prevented the Green Lantern Corps from vanquishing as seen in "The Return").
  • Doctor Fate appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "The Eyes of Despero!" played by Greg Ellis. He teams up with Batman to stop Wotan from robbing the Library of Infinity. Prior to the mission, Batman gave Doctor Fate boxing lessons to defend himself should he lose his powers. This comes in handy when Wotan removes Doctor Fate's helmet and ends up getting knocked out by Doctor Fate. In "The Fate of Equinox," Doctor Fate investigates universal disturbances caused by Equinox and helps Batman defeat him by absorbing the powers of other heroes and passing them on to Batman, later assisting in the final fight. A younger version of Doctor Fate also appears in a small cameo role in "The Siege of Starro" Pt. 1 where he is shown battling Per Degaton alongside the JSA in the 1940s. In this appearance, Fate is shown sporting his short-lived half-helmet.
  • Brent Stait as Doctor Fate on Smallville.
    Actor Brent Stait played Kent Nelson/Doctor Fate in the Smallville double episode, "Absolute Justice" on February 5, 2010.[91] This was the first live action appearance of the character. In the episode, he was a member of the JSA who can teleport others, see the past and the future and see the "fate" of individuals except of his own. However he claimed that he saw too much and that the knowledge drove him insane. After the group disbanded due to the actions of the government agency Checkmate, Kent spent his time "scrounging around the streets, looking for the secrets of the universe in trash cans" carrying the Helmet of Nabu in a bag. Years later, after several members of the JSA were targeted and killed by Icicle, he was brought back to their old headquarters by their leader, Carter Hall, who convinced him to don the Helmet one more time and become Doctor Fate. He later revealed to Clark that his destiny is far more important than any, revealing that he will lead the new generation of heroes as Hawkman did his. After searching for Icicle with John Jones, Fate was able to sympathize with the Martian for he too had a family. Fate managed to restore John's powers just moments before he was killed by Icicle. His helmet was stolen by Icicle but the JSA managed to retrieve it, waiting for a successor. Actress Erica Carroll played Inza. The Helmet of Nabu reappears in season 10 when Chloe Sullivan uses it in order to track down the whereabouts of the missing Oliver Queen.[92]
  • Kent Nelson appears in the Young Justice episode "Denial" voiced by Edward Asner while Nabu was voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson. He is described by Red Tornado as being 106-years old and a founding member of the JSA. In the episode, Kent is kidnapped by Klarion the Witch Boy and Abra Kadabra (both of whom seek to steal the Helm of Nabu). While using the helmet's powers to protect himself, Kent tells Wally to believe in magic before he passes away. After Nelson's death, and faced with Klarion, Wally West briefly dons the helmet and becomes Dr. Fate, his consciousness watching from inside the helmet with Kent's, while Nabu possesses his body to defeat Klarion, and helps his friends defeat Abra Kadabra. Though Kent initially states that he wishes to ascend to Heaven in order to be with his deceased wife Inza, he ultimately chooses to remain inside the helmet until Wally can find a worthy successor host for Nabu. Also in the episode, as an in-joke, Aqualad refers to Dr. Fate as "Earth's Socerer Supreme", a title traditionally attributed to Marvel Comics's resident sorcerer, Doctor Strange. In the episode "Revelation", Aqualad puts on the Helmet of Fate as a last resort to defeat the Injustice League. Nabu then battles Wotan, Dr. Fate's traditional archenemy, before the arrival of the Justice League puts an end to the battle once and for all. Though Wally fears that Nabu will force him to be his host forever, Aqualad is released shortly thereafter, crediting Kent Nelson with convincing Nabu to let him go (just as he did for Wally in "Denial").


  • Doctor Fate later shows up as a member of the JSA in the opening credits of the Justice League: The New Frontier animated film.

Video games


Justice League Unlimited action figure by Mattel.
  • To date, six versions of Doctor Fate have been made available in action figure form, with all versions being the Kent Nelson incarnation of Doctor Fate.
    • The first Doctor Fate toy was released in 1985 under the second wave of Kenner's Super Powers Collection. The Super Powers Collection version also included a mini-comic book. In the book, Doctor Fate was forced to fight Superman and the Martian Manhunter who had fallen under control of Darkseid and were sent by him to collect Doctor Fate's artifacts.
    • DC Direct released the second version in 2000 as part of the Mystics, Mages and Magicians collection.
    • The third was released with the Justice League Unlimited series several times as a single figure and as part of three-pack collections. Also, Minimates has released a two-pack featuring Doctor Fate and Power Girl.
    • DC Direct released the fourth version in December 2007 with its second wave of DC: The New Frontier action figures.
    • DC Universe Classics released two Doctor Fate toys in Series 8 - Giganta series,[93] Classic Kent Nelson version, with regular yellow armor, and a "Chase" variant Modern Hector Hall version, with gold accent armor and helm. This series was released April 2009.
    • A "Dr. Fate versus Wotan" two-pack set was released in December 2009 as part of the Batman: The Brave and the Bold toyline.
  • DC Direct announced at the 2004 San Diego Comic-Con International that it would release a full-size replica helmet and amulet in 2005.[94] By May 2006, DC Vice President for Design and DC Direct Creative Georg Brewer reported that "in order to fulfill the creative goals for the piece and keep it affordable, we had to pull it to work through some production issues".[95][dead link] In September 2006, the DC website wrote that DC Direct "hope(s) to have this great replica ready in 2007",[96][dead link] and the helmet was displayed with upcoming items during the February 2007 Toy Fair.[97] Currently (Spring 2011), the replica is still not yet available for purchase.


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