Doctor Fate

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"Kent Nelson" redirects here. For the writer, see Kent Nelson (author).
Doctor Fate
Kent Nelson and Hector Hall from the promotional art for JSA: All-Stars #3 (Sept. 2003) cover, art 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)
Earth 2 #9 (Feb. 2013)
(Khalid Nassour)
Doctor Fate #1 (June 2015)
Created by (Kent, Inza)
Gardner Fox
Howard Sherman
J. M. DeMatteis
Shawn McManus
(Kent V.)
Steve Gerber
James Robinson
Brett Booth
(Khalid Nassour)
Paul Levitz
Sonny Liew
In-story information
Alter ego - Kent Nelson
- Eric & Linda Strauss
- Inza Cramer Nelson
- Jared Stevens
- Hector Hall
- Kent V. Nelson
- Khalid Ben-Hassin
- Khalid Nassour
Team affiliations (Kent)
All-Star Squadron
Justice Society of America
Lords of Order
(Kent, Strauss)
Justice League

Justice Society of America
Sentinels of Magic
(Kent V.)

Justice Society of America
Notable aliases (Kent, Strauss, Inza, Hall, Khalid)
Abilities Mastery of magic

Doctor Fate (also known as Fate) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character has appeared in various incarnations, with Doctor Fate being the name of several different characters in the DC Universe who are a succession of sorcerers. The original version of the character was created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Howard Sherman, and first appeared in More Fun Comics #55 (May 1940).

Publication history[edit]

More Fun Comics #55 (May 1940) introduced the first Doctor Fate in his own self-titled six page strip. After a year with no background, his alter ego and origins were shown in More Fun Comics #67 (May 1941).[1]

Doctor Fate's love interest was known variably as Inza Cramer,[2] Inza Sanders,[3][4] and Inza Carmer,[5][6][7][8] which was amended to Inza Cramer in the Silver Age.[9]

When the Justice Society of America was created for All Star Comics #3 (Winter 1940), 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 - August 1944).

Aside from the annual JSA/JLA team-ups in Justice League of America, DC featured the original Doctor Fate in other stories through the 1960s and 1970s, including a two-issue run with Hourman in Showcase #55-56, two appearances with Superman in World's Finest Comics (#201, Mar. 1971 & #208, Dec. 1971) and DC Comics Presents (#23, July 1980); an appearance 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.

The character featured in a series of back-up stories running in The Flash from #306 (Feb. 1982) to #313 (Sept. 1982) written by Cary Bates and drawn by Keith Giffen, with Pasko taking over as writer in issue #306, (aided by Steve Gerber from #310 to #313).[10] In 1985, DC collected the back-up stories, a retelling of Doctor Fate's origin by Paul Levitz, Joe Staton & Michael Nasser originally published in Secret Origins of Super-Heroes (Jan. 1978) (DC Special Series #10 in the indicia), the Pasko/Simonson story from 1st Issue Special #9, and a Doctor Fate tale from More Fun Comics #56 (June 1940), 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.[11] A Doctor Fate limited series was released soon afterwards, which changed the character's secret identity.[12] DC began a Doctor Fate ongoing series by J.M. DeMatteis and Shawn McManus in winter of 1988.[13] William Messner-Loebs became the series’ writer with issue #25.[14] When the series ended with issue #41,[15] DC replaced the existing Doctor Fate with a new character, Jared Stevens. Stevens was introduced in a self-titled series called Fate, launched in the wake of Zero Hour in 1994.[16] which was cancelled after 23 issues in September 1996. The character then starred in The Book of Fate, which ran from February 1997 to January 1998 for twelve issues as part of DC's "Weirdoverse" imprint.

In 1999, the revival of the Justice Society in JSA allowed the character to be reworked again.[17][18] In addition to appearing in JSA, DC published a self-titled, five-issue limited series in 2003.[19] The character was killed in the Day of Vengeance limited series in 2005 as part of the lead in to the 2005 company-wide event story, Infinite Crisis.[20]

In early 2007, DC published a bi-weekly run of one-shots depicting the search for a new Doctor Fate.[21] These were intended to be followed by a new Doctor Fate ongoing series in April 2007, written by Steve Gerber and illustrated by Paul Gulacy, featuring the new Doctor Fate.[22][23]

However, the series was delayed due to extended production and creative difficulties. Steve Gerber said in an interview for Newsarama that the story intended for the first arc of the Doctor Fate ongoing series had been reworked to serve as the main story for Countdown to Mystery, a dual-feature eight issue mini-series with Eclipso as the second feature.[24][25] 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.[26]

The character then appeared in the Reign in Hell mini-series[27] and in Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #30, featuring in the book until its cancellation with #54 in August 2011.

Following the events of the Flashpoint mini-series in 2011, DC's continuity was rebooted. As part of "The New 52", a new Doctor Fate named Khalid Ben-Hassin was created by writer James Robinson[28] and artist Brett Booth, featuring in the Earth 2 ongoing series from #9 (Feb. 2013) onwards.[29][30]

After the end of the Convergence event, DC began a newer continuity, focusing more on story and diversity along with launching 24 new titles. One of these titles is a new Doctor Fate series from writer Paul Levitz and artist Sonny Liew, headlined by the latest Doctor Fate, Khalid Nassour.[31]

Fictional character biographies[edit]

Kent Nelson[edit]

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

In 1920, archaeologist Sven Nelson and his son Kent go on an expedition to the Valley of Ur. While exploring a temple discovered by his father, Kent opens the tomb of Nabu the Wise and revives him from suspended animation, accidentally releasing a poisonous gas which kills Sven. Nabu takes pity on Kent and teaches him the skills of a sorcerer over the next twenty years before giving him a mystical helmet, amulet & cloak. In 1940, Kent meets Inza Cramer and Wotan in Alexandria, Egypt on his way back to America.[32] After arriving back in the United States, Kent begins a career fighting crime and supernatural evil as the sorcerer and superhero Doctor Fate and sets up a base in a tower in Salem, Massachusetts.[32][33]

Kent helps co-found the Justice Society of America in 1940.[34]

Kent switches to a half helmet in 1941 due to Nabu occasionally possessing him through the helmet.[35][36] Kent becomes a physician in 1942.[37] Kent later enlists in the U.S. Army and serves as a Paratrooper during World War II.[38] He resigns from the JSA in 1944[39] and becomes an archaeologist.[40]

Kent returns to crimefighting when the Justice Society reforms, again using the original helmet.[41] Sometime later, Kent co-founds a new Justice League.[42] Soon after, Kent and Inza pass away from old age when the magic they use to stay young fails.[12] During the Blackest Night event, Kent is briefly resurrected as a member of the Black Lantern Corps.[43]

Eric and Linda Strauss[edit]

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

After Kent's death, Nabu chooses Eric Strauss and his stepmother Linda to be the next Doctor Fate, with Eric and Linda having to merge into one being in order to become Fate.[12] Nabu goes on to possess Kent's corpse in order to personally advise them.[12] The three of them are soon joined by a friendly demon called Petey and lawyer Jack C. Small.[44]

Eric is killed on Apokolips during a battle with Desaad, forcing Linda to become Doctor Fate on her own.[45] Linda is killed soon afterwards by the Lords of Chaos. Eric and Linda's souls are reincarnated in the bodies of Eugene and Wendy DiBellia while Nabu reincarnates in Eugene and Wendy's unborn child.[46]

Inza Nelson[edit]

Kent and Inza, whose souls have been inhabiting a fantasy world within the amulet, are resurrected in younger bodies,[46] but only Inza can become Doctor Fate.[14] As Doctor Fate, Inza becomes more proactive and reckless in the use of her powers, which leads to her temporary separation from Kent.[47]

The Nelsons learn T'Giian, a Lord of Chaos, has possessed the helmet. This provides Inza with magic derived from Chaos instead of Order, which is why Kent and Inza can't merge to become Doctor Fate.[48] Kent reunites with Inza and helps her defeat T'Giian.[49] Inza then discovers her new powers come from people of Earth rather than the magic of Order and Chaos.[49][50] The Nelsons start merging as the male Doctor Fate again, but the two of them can become separate Doctor Fates if needed. When operating as separate Doctor Fates, Inza wears the helmet and Kent's original costume while Kent wears the half helmet and costume he used in the late 1940s.[51]

Sometime later, the Nelsons and the JSA face the supervillain Extant during Parallax's attempt to change the history of the universe. Extant uses his time manipulation powers to rapidly age Kent and Inza to their proper physical ages. Extant also scatters the helmet, amulet & cloak. The aged and depowered Nelsons then retire.[52]

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

Jared Stevens[edit]

After retiring, the Nelsons hire smuggler Jared Stevens to recover the helmet, amulet & cloak from an Egyptian tomb. When the Nelsons try to collect the artifacts, they are murdered by two demons. During the battle, Jared attempts to use the amulet as a weapon, which then explodes and imbues him with various magical abilities and a red ankh-shaped scar over his right eye. Jared's injuries force him to use the cloak as a wrap for his right arm and to melt the helmet into a set of ankh-shaped darts and a dagger for use as weapons. After defeating the demons, Jared is contacted by Nabu, who attempts to make Jared the new Doctor Fate. Jared refuses and escapes, becoming a demon hunter using the alias "Fate".[16] During his battles, he teams up with the supernaturally powered team of fugitives Scare Tactics, the demon Etrigan and other forces to combat threats from the realm of Gemworld.[citation needed]

Jared is later murdered by Mordru, who attempts to kill all the agents of Chaos and Order and claim Fate’s artifacts for himself.[17] Jared's equipment reverts to its original forms and returns to the Tower of Fate upon his death.[53]

Hector Hall[edit]

Main article: Hector Hall

After Jared's murder, the mantle of Doctor Fate, along with a restored helmet, amulet & cloak, is passed to a reincarnated Hector Hall.[18] The Justice Society is reformed to protect the newly reborn Hector.[54] Hector's new body is the biological son of Hawk and Dove, who are agents of Chaos and Order respectively, which makes Hector an agent of balance instead of one side or the other.[55]

When the Spectre goes on a quest to extinguish magic, he banishes Hector and his wife to a snowy mountain landscape for all eternity.[56]

Kent V. Nelson[edit]

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

When the JSA looks for Hector, they find the helmet, amulet & cloak. Sand dons the helmet to speak with Nabu.[57] At the same moment, Mordru appears and removes the helmet from Sand, allowing Nabu to manifest through the helmet without needing a host body.[58] Nabu defeats Mordru and the JSA offers him membership, which Nabu declines.[59] Sensing his demise, Nabu gives the helmet to Detective Chimp to pass on to a new wearer, telling him it would still have certain abilities without Nabu's spirit inside. Nabu is then killed by the Spectre.[60]

When Detective Chimp finds the helmet will not fit him, he asks Captain Marvel to throw the helmet into space, allowing the helmet to find its new owner. As it travels across the universe, the helmet warps itself to resemble Kent Nelson's half helmet from the 1940s and falls back to Earth.[60]

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

The helmet later crosses paths again with Detective Chimp,[61] Ibis the Invincible,[62] Sargon the Sorcerer,[63] Black Alice,[64] and Zauriel[65] before it reaches Doctor Kent V. Nelson, Kent Nelson's grandnephew, who becomes the new Doctor Fate after finding the helmet in a dumpster.[66] When Nelson first wears the helmet, it reverts to its original form and clothes him in a new version of Doctor Fate's original costume.[66]

After fighting off the demon Nergal, Kent uses the helmet’s magic for gambling. He later meets Maddy, an occult bookstore owner, and Inza Fox, a comic book writer, who is later killed after turning into water. When Kent turns to alcohol to cope with Inza's death, he gives the helmet to Maddy. The two are captured by Nergal, but escape when Kent overcomes his depression, restoring Inza to life in the process.[66]

Kent helps a group of magic-using heroes escape from Hell[67] and joins the Justice Society.[68] Kent remains with the team after it splits into two groups. He is briefly possessed by Mordru before leaving Earth to hone his spellcasting abilities.[69] Kent later returns to help the team with various problems.[70][71]

Khalid Ben-Hassin[edit]

The Earth-2 incarnation of Doctor Fate is an Egyptian man named Khalid Ben-Hassin. Khalid accompanies archaeologist Kendra Saunders while she is exploring a pyramid in Egypt and discovers the Helm of Nabu, but is reluctant to wear it due to Nabu's spirit affecting his thoughts and sanity.[72] After teaming up with other "Wonders" (superpowered heroes), Khalid fights the villain Wotan and discovers the Tower of Fate, Nabu's extradimensional base of operations, and assumes the identity of Dr. Fate.[citation needed] Khalid becomes traumatized and psychologically damaged after he is mercilessly attacked by a brainwashed Superman.[citation needed]

Khalid Nassour[edit]

In June 2015, a Doctor Fate series was launched, starring the Earth-0 incarnation of the character, an Egyptian-American med student named Khalid Nassour.[31]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Doctor Fate possesses various magical powers such as spellcasting,[18][73][74] flight,[32] super-strength,[75] invulnerability,[76] telekinesis,[32][77] telepathy,[74][78] fire manipulation[75][79] and lightning manipulation.[73][77] However, Fate is unable to counteract spells that have already been cast and in effect.[80] Fate's magic manifests in the shape of Egyptian hieroglyphs such as an ankh.[81]

Other versions[edit]


Doctor Chaos (Earth-1)[edit]

Doctor Chaos. Art by Kurt Schaffenberger

In the Earth-1 universe, Professor Lewis Lang and his assistant Burt Belker discover a helmet in the Valley of Ur in Mesopotamia that is identical to the helmet on Earth-2 except for its blue color. This helmet contains a Lord of Chaos that possesses Burt and turns him into the sorcerer Doctor Chaos, whose costume is identical to Doctor Fate's except for a reversed color scheme. Superboy confronts Doctor Chaos and removes the helmet from Burt, jettisoning it into space.[82]


Books of Magic[edit]

While Timothy Hunter is being guided through the world of magic by the Phantom Stranger, the two of them observe Kent, though he is unaware of their presence.[83] Sometime later, Mister E shows Hunter a future version of the helmet that resembles a human skull and kills any of its worshippers who wear it. The helmet has given up on life itself and the war between Order & Chaos. Mister E revealed that in the past, he attempted to kill Doctor Fate and destroy the helmet but was stopped by the Justice League.[84]


After Mister Mind "eats" aspects of the fifty-two identical realities that make up the new Multiverse, one of them, designated Earth-2, takes on visual aspects similar to the pre-Crisis Earth-Two, such as the Justice Society of America being this world's premier superteam.[85][86]

This version of Doctor Fate (based upon the Kent Nelson version of the character) along with the Spectre, suspects something awry with Power Girl's mysterious reappearance.[87]

Earth-22 (Kingdom Come)[edit]

The Kingdom Come universe features a version of Nabu who is able to channel his consciousness through the helmet & cloak without the need for a host body. This version of Fate sides with Batman's group and is amongst the survivors at the end of the final battle.[88]

Doctor Strangefate[edit]

Doctor Strangefate is a sorcerer from the Amalgam Comics universe; he is an amalgamation of Doctor Fate and Marvel Comics's Doctor Strange and Charles Xavier.[89]


In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, Kent Nelson works as a fortune teller in Haley's Circus. Kent tells his co-worker, trapeze artist Boston Brand, of his vision of Dick Grayson's death.[90] The circus is then attacked by Amazons who are looking to steal the helmet. Kent is impaled and killed by an Amazon before the circus workers escape with the help of Resistance member Vertigo.[91] With Boston's help, Dick escapes the Amazons' slaughter of the other circus workers and meets up with the Resistance, using the helmet as the new Doctor Fate.[92]

The New 52[edit]


An alternate version of Doctor Fate, known as Doc Fate, is shown to exist on the pulp fiction-influenced world of Earth-20.[93][94] Doc Fate is an African-American gunslinger and occultist named Kent Nelson who is based in a windowless Manhattan skyscraper. Doc Fate leads a team of adventurers known as the Society of Super-Heroes, which consists of the Immortal Man, the Mighty Atom, Lady Blackhawk and the Green Lantern.[95]

In other media[edit]


  • DC animated universe:
  • Doctor Fate appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episodes "The Eyes of Despero!", "The Fate of Equinox", and "Crisis: 22,300 Miles Above Earth", voiced by Greg Ellis.[citation needed] A younger version of Doctor Fate also appears in a small cameo role in "The Siege of Starro" Part 1.
    • The Earth of this Doctor Fate is Earth-23 within the DC Multiverse.[note 2]
  • Brent Stait as Doctor Fate on Smallville.
    Actor Brent Stait played Kent Nelson/Doctor Fate in the Smallville two-part episode "Absolute Justice", with Erica Carroll as Inza Nelson.[96] The Helmet of Nabu reappeared in the season 10 episode "Lazarus".[97]
  • Doctor Fate appears in the Young Justice animated series.[98] He first appears in the episode "Denial", with Kent Nelson voiced by Edward Asner and Nabu voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson. He subsequently appears in the episodes "Revelation", "Misplaced", and "Agendas". Unlike the comics, Nabu is much more possessive of his host, going so far as to refuse to remove the helmet. Notably, Dr. Fate's helmet is transferred four times during the series: first to Wally West in "Denial", then Aqualad in "Revelation". In both instances, the spirit of Kent Nelson convinced Nabu to release the host. However in "Misplaced", after Zatanna dons the helmet to defeat Klarion the Witch Boy, Nabu refuses to release her due to the belief that the world needs Fate to protect against Chaos until Zatara offers to become Nabu's next host, which allows for Zatanna's release.
    • The Earth of this Doctor Fate is Earth-16 within the DC Multiverse.[99]
  • Doctor Fate appears in Mad episodes 22 and 46, voiced by Kevin Shinick.[citation needed]
  • Doctor Fate will appear in a series of animated shorts as part of the DC Nation block on Cartoon Network.[100]
  • Doctor Fate's helmet made a brief appearance in the pilot episode of Constantine.[101]


Video games[edit]

  • Doctor Fate appears in the DC Universe Online online game.[citation needed] In the DLC "Hand of Fate", Doctor Fate and Felix Faust became playable avatars in PVP Legends. The DLC also added new multiplayer missions, called Operations, which involve Fate and Faust leading teams of player heroes and villains.
  • Doctor Fate makes a cameo appearance in Injustice: Gods Among Us.[citation needed] His costume appears in The Hall of Justice. He also appears as a support card in the IOS App. Doctor Fate is mentioned in Zatanna's ending where he and Zatanna combined their magic to create the Tower of Fate which served as a stronghold to the Regime's enemies as Superman is vulnerable to magic.


Justice League Unlimited action figure by Mattel.
  • Several Doctor Fate action figures have been released, with most of them based on the Kent Nelson version of the character.
  • At the 2004 San Diego Comic-Con International, DC Direct announced a full-size replica of Doctor Fate's helmet and amulet in 2005.[102] The helmet was displayed with upcoming items during the February 2007 Toy Fair,[103] but is still not available for purchase.


  1. ^ DC Nation column #89 (Nov. 28, 2007)
  2. ^ Shown in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Deep Cover for Batman!".


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