Doctor Fate


Doctor Fate

The most powerful heroic sorcerer on Earth, Doctor Fate is an agent of the Lords of Order that has fused itself to several champions via a magic helmet, cloak, and amulet.


Aliases: Nabu, Kent Nelson, Inza Nelson, Eric Strauss, Linda Strauss, Jared Stevens, Hector Hall, Kent V. Nelson, Khalid Nassour
First Appearance: MORE FUN COMICS #55, 1940



Harnessing magical powers older than the beginning of human civilization, the being currently known as Doctor Fate has been defending the side of light since the days of ancient Egypt.Originally one of the ancient beings known as the Lords of Order named Nabu, he originally possessed a human host body, with which he became a mystical defender of humanity. As the centuries passed, the powers of Nabu were contained within a golden helmet, and the mortal chosen to wear it was given the name Doctor Fate.


Over the past century, the helm of fate has been wielded by several individuals, starting with archeologist Kent Nelson in the days of World War II. Nelson wore the mantle of Fate for decades, before passing it on to his wife Inza Nelson, and later Eric and Linda Strauss, smuggler Jared Stevens, and ultimately, the son of the Golden Age Hawkman, Hector Hall. After all those different hosts, the helmet ended up in the possession of Kent Nelson’s great grandnephew, also named Kent Nelson. The most recent Doctor Fate was Khalid Nassour, yet another grandnephew of the first Kent Nelson.


Doctor Fates magical prowess is unmatched by almost all other magic users on Earth, depending on who bears the mantle. Having served with teams like the Justice Society and the Justice League, Doctor Fate has been a key player in major events in the DC Universe like the Crisis on Infinite Earths and the Blackest Night. If there is a supernatural power that threatens to engulf the Earth, rest assured that Doctor Fate will be at the ready.



Golden Age

drfate-origin-MoreFunComics#67_P2-v1.jpg Thousands of years ago, the Lord of Order called Nabu placed his mortal host body in suspended animation in ancient Egypt, in order to heal himself from wounds inflicted over many centuries. Inside an ancient tomb, Nabu slept for thousands of years. In 1920, an archeologist named Sven Nelson, along with his son Kent, discovered the ancient tomb in the Valley of Ur. When the tomb was opened, a deadly gas was released that killed Sven Nelson, leaving his son Kent an orphan.


Feeling tremendous guilt over the death of the boy’s father, Nabu took him under his wing, and over the next twenty years, trained the boy in the use of magic. He bequeathed on him his mystical amulet, helmet, and cloak, as well as all the magical knowledge he had, and in 1940 Nelson decided to put his new abilities to use as Doctor Fate. As one of America’s first costumed Super-Heroes, he was a founding member of the Justice Society of America, and later, the wartime All-Star Squadron. 


On his first solo mission, Fate saved a woman named Inza Cramer from the evil sorcerer named Wotan. Not long after, the two were married, and Inza and Kent moved to a mystical tower in Salem, Massachusetts. Due to their vast mystical knowledge, the tower remained hidden and cloaked from mortal eyes, and both Kent and Inza were able to retain their youth for decades.



Silver Age

After the war, Nelson retired from a life of adventuring to focus on archeology, but when the rest of the Justice Society came out of retirement, so did Fate. The JSA teamed up with their successors in the Justice League on several occasions, and eventually Fate even helped form a new Justice League when the previous one dissolved after the events of the Crisis on Infinite Earths. 




Eventually, Kent and Inza Nelson passed away, and Nabu chose a child named Eric Strauss and the successor of Kent Nelson as Fate. He magically transformed Eric into and adult, and on one of his first missions fighting an Agent of Chaos, he was mystically merged with his stepmother Linda Strauss, and the two became a version of Doctor Fate who was independent of Nabu. In order to help train the Strausses as Fate, Nabu resurrected the body of Kent Nelson and inhabited it. When Eric and Linda Strauss died in battle, their souls were reborn in the bodies of their friends Wendy and Eugene Di Bella. Nabu then restored Kent and Inza Nelson to life, and reincarnated himself as Wendy and Eugene’s child.


Much like the Strausses before them, Kent and Inza now merged into one being to become Doctor Fate, but after a brief time, the strain proved too much for Kent, and Inza became Doctor Fate completely on her own. Her solo career as Fate did not last long though, as both Kent and Inza were killed after the so-called Crisis in time called Zero Hour. All that was left of Fate now was his helmet and mystical talismans. Smuggler Jared Stevens melted down the helmet and amulets into a mystical dagger, and went by the name Fate (no Doctor), as he refused the more formal title when Nabu tried to bestow it on him. Instead, this version of Fate became a demon hunter.


Jared Stevens’ career as Fate was equally short lived. Eventually, the powerful wizard Mordru sought to retrieve the artifacts of Nabu, and killed Stevens to get them. When he takes them for himself, they revert to their original forms of a helmet and an amulet. The next to bear the name Doctor Fate was Hector Hall, the son of the original Doctor Fate’s JSA teammate Hawkman. This version of Fate served in the newly revived Justice Society of America for some time, until a mad version of the Spectre, who was attempting to destroy all magic, banished Hall to a mountaintop where he eventually died.


Finding itself without a host once again, Nabu manifests within the helmet without the need of a host body. Realizing he will soon finally depart this plane of existence, Nabu asks Captain Marvel to throw the helmet into space, hoping it finds a new and worthy bearer. When it crashes down back to Earth, it lands in a dumpster, and is found by none other than Dr. Kent V. Nelson, the original Kent Nelson’s grandnephew. Interestingly, Kent V. Nelson meets a woman also named Inza, with whom he becomes romantically involved, just like his famous relative did, and follows in his footsteps by joining the Justice Society of America. 



The New 52                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

When the DC Universe timeline was reimagined after the events of 2011's FLASHPOINT, the mantle of Doctor Fate was passed on to an Egyptian-American medical student named Khalid Nassour, who was bestowed the helmet of Fate by the goddess Bastet. It turned out that Nassour’s mother was the niece of Kent Nelson, also making him Nelson’s grandnephew. If and when Kent Nelson was ever Doctor Fate in this new timeline has yet to be revealed.


Powers and Abilities

Doctor Fate is one of the most powerful sorcerers on Earth, and is matched by almost no one in the art of casting spells. Among his innate mystical abilities, Fate has super strength, the ability to fly, mental powers like telekinesis and telepathy, and he can summon lightning and fire at will. His spells manifest as ancient Egyptian symbols, usually an ankh.


Fate can travel through dimensions, turn invisible, and summon force fields to protect himself from harm. He’s used magic to time travel, and invisibility, necromancy, teleportation, phasing and astral projection are also among his many abilities. Fate’s biggest weakness is that once a spell has been cast against him, by the rules of magic he cannot make a counter spell.



Essential Storylines and History



"The Origin of Doctor Fate" (MORE FUN COMICS #67, 1941)

In Doctor Fate’s first appearance, we get no backstory on the character, as was often typical of the newly minted super-heroes of the era. In fact, Fate’s early JSA appearances in All-Star Comics suggested he wasn’t even human at all. It wasn’t until a year into his adventures that we received the full story of Doctor Fate’s origin, and it was revealed that he was archeologist Kent Nelson underneath the helmet of the magical mystery man.




“Crisis On Earth One!” (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #21, 1962)

drfate-essential2-meetingthejusticeleague-JusticeleagueofAmerica_#21_Cover-v1.jpg After many years of retirement, Doctor Fate and the rest of the Justice Society returned, when they discovered the super team known as Justice League of America. The JLA lived on the parallel world designated Earth-1, while Fate and his JSA compatriots lived on Earth-2. Once the two teams met for the first time to solve a crime, they crossed dimensions frequently for annual meetings. Doctor Fate was semi-active during all this time.




"Cycles" (DOCTOR FATE #1-4, 1987)

drfate-essential3-twoisbetterthanone-JDF_01_C1-v1.jpg After the multiverse altering Crisis on Infinite Earths, Earths 1 and 2 were merged into one. All of Fate’s adventures were now said to have no taken place on this new, composite Earth. During the late ‘80s, Fate returned to active duty, and helped form what would become the Justice League International. Not long after, Kent and Inza Nelson would die, and the mantle of Doctor Fate would pass to Eric and Linda Strauss, before passing back to a resurrected Inza Nelson. All of these iterations of Doctor Fate would serve with the Justice League International on a limited basis. 




“Justice Be Done” (JSA #1-4, 1999)

drfate-essential4-alegacyofjustice-JSA_#4_Cover-1-v1.jpg After a brief stint in the grim and gritty ‘90s, where smuggler Jared Stevens was the knife wielding, helmetless Fate, the classic helmet and cape of Doctor Fate returned in the son of the Golden Age Hawkman, Hector Hall. The classic iteration of Fate was reborn, and along with him, an all-new Justice Society of America. 


This JSA was made up mostly of the sons and daughters of the original members, and Hector Hall served with the team for some time. Unfortunately, his time with the Justice Society ended in tragedy, as he and his wife Lyta, the former super heroine Fury, were killed. Together, they joined the son Daniel, also known as the Sandman, in the world of the Dreaming.




“The Blood Price” (DOCTOR FATE #1-7, 2015)

drfate-essential5-new52-DF_Cv1_ds-v1.jpg Following the events of 2011's FLASHPOINT, in the New 52, there was no Golden Age of heroes, so there was no Doctor Fate in the 1940s, and presumably, no one for Kent Nelson to pass his mantle to. In this new universe, the helmet of Fate, which still once belonged to the Nabu in this timeline, was granted to Egyptian-American medical student Khalid Nassour by the goddess Bastet (who just also happened to be his pet cat). 


While not making him as wildly powerful as previous Doctor Fates in other realities, Nassour could still fly, control wind and rain, and fire magical bolts of energy. After the events of 2016's DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH #1, it was revealed that there may in fact been a Justice Society in Earth’s past after all, and Khalid Nassour was in fact the grandnephew of Kent Nelson.











Team Affiliations

• Justice Society of America

• All-Star Squadron

• Justice League International

• Sentinels of Magic

Appearances in Other Media


Main Character Appearances


Live Action:

• Smallville



• Superman: The Animated Series

• Justice League

• Justice League Unlimited

• Batman: The Brave and the Bold

• Young Justice

• Justice League Action


Guest Appearances/Cameos



• DC Nation Shorts



Video Games

• DC Universe Online

• DC Legends

• LEGO Batman 

• LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham

• Injustice: Gods Among Us

• Injustice 2