Doctor Fate

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Doctor Fate
Doctor Fate.jpg
Art by Alex Ross
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceKent, 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:
(as Doctor Fate)
Doctor Fate #1 (June 2015)
Created byKent, Inza:
Gardner Fox (writer)
Howard Sherman (artist)
J. M. DeMatteis
Shawn McManus
Kent V.:
Steve Gerber
James Robinson
Brett Booth
Khalid Nassour:
Paul Levitz
Sonny Liew
In-story information
Alter egoKent Nelson
Eric Strauss
Linda Strauss
Inza Cramer Nelson
Jared Stevens
Hector Hall
Kent V. Nelson
Khalid Ben-Hassin
Khalid Nassour
Steel Maxum
Team affiliationsKent:
All-Star Squadron
Justice Society of America
Lords of Order
Justice League Dark
Justice League
Kent, Strauss:
Justice League International

Justice Society of America
Sentinels of Magic
Kent V.:

Justice Society of America
Notable aliasesKent, Strauss, Inza, Hall, Khalid:

Doctor Fate (also known as Fate) is the name of multiple fictional superheroes 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 individuals 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).

The Kent Nelson incarnation of the character has made several appearances in DC-related media, such as the television series Smallville, in which he is portrayed by Brent Stait, and the upcoming DC Extended Universe film Black Adam, in which he will be portrayed by Pierce Brosnan.

Publication history[edit]

More Fun Comics #55 (May 1940) introduced the first Doctor Fate in his own self-titled six page strip. The character was created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Howard Sherman, who produced the first three years of monthly Doctor Fate stories.[1] After a year with no background, his alter ego and origins were shown in More Fun Comics #67 (May 1941).[2]

The Kent Nelson incarnation has appeared in various stories of his own or in Justice Society of America and Justice League comic books.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9]

DC eventually 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,[10] 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 early 2007, DC published a new Doctor Fate comic starring Kent Nelson's grandnephew, written by Steve Gerber and illustrated by Paul Gulacy.[11][12] Due to Steve Gerber's death, 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.[13]

Following the events of the Flashpoint mini-series in 2011, DC's continuity was rebooted. As part of The New 52 initiative, a new Doctor Fate named Khalid Ben-Hassin was created by writer James Robinson[14] and artist Brett Booth. The character was featured in the Earth 2 ongoing series from #9 (Feb. 2013) onwards.[15]

After the conclusion of the Convergence limited series in June 2015, DC launched a new Doctor Fate ongoing series, written by Paul Levitz and drawn by Sonny Liew. The title focused on the newest Doctor Fate, an Egyptian-American medical student named Khalid Nassour.[16] The series ran for 18 issues from June 2015 to November 2016.[17]

Fictional character biographies[edit]

Kent Nelson[edit]

The original Doctor Fate was Kent Nelson who discovered the tomb of the wizard Nabu and was trained by him in the ways of sorcery in order to fight crime and the forces of evil. He was a founding member of the Justice Society of America.[6][7][18][19]

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.[19] Nabu goes on to possess Kent's corpse in order to personally advise them.[19] The three of them are soon joined by a friendly demon called Petey and lawyer Jack C. Small.[20]

Eric is killed on Apokolips during a battle with Desaad, forcing Linda to become Doctor Fate on her own.[21] 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.[22]

Inza Cramer Nelson[edit]

Kent and Inza, whose souls have been inhabiting a fantasy world within the amulet, are resurrected in younger bodies,[22] but only Inza can become Doctor Fate.[23] As Doctor Fate, Inza becomes more proactive and reckless in the use of her powers, which leads to her temporary separation from Kent.[24]

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.[25] Kent reunites with Inza and helps her defeat T'Giian.[26] Inza then discovers her new powers come from the people of Earth rather than the magic of Order and Chaos.[26][27] 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.[28]

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, and cloak. The aged and depowered Nelsons then retire.[29]

Jared Stevens[edit]

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

After retiring, the Nelsons hire smuggler Jared Stevens to recover the helmet, amulet, and 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".[10] During his battles, he teams up with the supernaturally powered team of fugitives Scare Tactics, Etrigan the Demon 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.[4] Jared's equipment reverts to its original forms and returns to the Tower of Fate upon his death.[30]

During the Dark Nights: Death Metal storyline, Jared is among the superheroes that were revived by Batman using a Black Lantern ring.[31]

Hector Hall[edit]

After Jared's murder, the mantle of Doctor Fate, along with a restored helmet, amulet, and cloak, is passed to a reincarnated Hector Hall.[5] The Justice Society is reformed to protect the newly reborn Hector, who is being sought by Mordru so that he can use the boy's body to unlock the magical potential of Doctor Fate's artifacts for his own benefit.[32] 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.[33]

When the Spectre goes on a quest to extinguish magic, he banishes Hector and his wife to a snowy mountain landscape for all eternity, which they are only able to 'escape' by entering the Dream realm, although this essentially kills their bodies and means they can never return to Earth.[34]

Kent V. Nelson[edit]

Doctor Kent V. Nelson, Kent Nelson's grandnephew, becomes the new Doctor Fate in Countdown to Mystery #1 (November 2007).[35]

Khalid Ben-Hassin[edit]

In 2011, DC Comics rebooted the DC universe through "The New 52." On Earth 2, Khalid Ben-Hassin is the grandson of Kent Nelson.[citation needed] He and Kendra Saunders-Munoz are hired by the World Army to find the Tomb of Nabu. When they did, Khalid gained the Helmet of Fate while Kendra grew bird-like wings. When he is not wearing the Helmet of Fate, Khalid acts crazy in front of everyone as he claims that Nabu can still speak to him this way.[36]

Khalid Nassour[edit]

In June 2015, a new Doctor Fate series was launched, starring the Earth-0 incarnation of the character, an Egyptian-American medical student named Khalid Nassour.[16] Khalid receives the helmet from a statue of Bastet which turned out to be his cat.[37] It is later revealed that Khalid's mother is Kent Nelson's niece, making Khalid Kent's grandnephew.[38]

In Justice League Dark, it is revealed that Khalid was imprisoned by Nabu (who has taken over as Doctor Fate) within a magical vase. When the vase is accidentally broken when the Justice League Dark arrive at the Tower of Fate, Khalid is temporarily freed and tries to warn them that Nabu is helping release the Otherkind but is trapped back in the vase.[39] After the events of the Witching Hour, the vase containing Khalid is brought to the JLD's headquarters where Man-Bat uses magic to free Khalid from it and learns of Nabu and the Lords of Order's plans involving the Otherkind.[40]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Doctor Fate possesses various powers due to Nabu's training,[6] such as spellcasting,[5][41][42] flight,[6] superhuman strength,[7] invulnerability,[43] telekinesis,[6][44] telepathy,[42][45] pyrokinesis,[7][46] and lightning manipulation,[41][44] teleportation,[47][48] healing,[49][50] force fields,[49][51] ice manipulation,[3] immateriality,[52][53] and the ability to travel between parallel Earths.[54][55][56]

However, Fate is unable to counteract spells that have already been cast and are in effect,[57][58] but is able to cancel elemental spells cast by weaker magicians.[55] Fate is also weak to gas attacks and a lack of oxygen, and can also be overpowered and knocked unconscious.[59] Fate's magic manifests in the shape of Egyptian hieroglyphs, such as an ankh.[60] Fate's powers have been described as "the true conversion of energy into matter, and matter into energy".[7]


Doctor Fate had enemies of his own:

  • Anti-Fate - A psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum who got possessed by Typhon of the Lords of Chaos.[61]
  • Anubis - The God of Death who blinded Khalid Nassour.[62]
  • Black Alice - A woman who can temporarily borrow magic from anyone.[63]
  • Blaze - A demon and daughter of Shazam who once fought Jared Stevens.[64]
  • Clock - A round-headed crime lord with a moustache that is shaped like clock hands.[65]
  • Curse - An ancient evil that was trapped in a helmet by Nabu who destroyed his physical body and possesses whoever dons the helmet.[66]
  • Demons Three - Three demon brothers.[67]
  • Gray Man - An agent of the Lords of Chaos.[68]
  • Ian Karkull - A scientist who gained the power of sorcery and a shadow form.[69]
  • Joachim Hesse - An occultist.[70]
  • Khalis - The mummy of an ancient priest who was mummified and buried alive by Nabu.[71]
  • Kingdom - A demonic entity who controlled the Dreadlands.[72]
  • Kulak - A priest from Brztal who previously fought Spectre.[73]
  • Mister Who - A crippled criminal mastermind with one working eye who created Solution Z which grants him the abilities of shapeshifting, size-shifting, invisibility, limb regeneration, phasing, and an amphibious nature.[74] He later appeared as a member of the Monster Society of Evil[75] and a member of Alexander Luthor Jr.'s Secret Society of Super Villains.[76]
  • Mordru - A powerful wizard.[77]
  • Negal - The ruler of the underworld realm of Charn.[78]
  • Octopus - A criminal who establishes a "carnival of crime" to lure wealthy people to his apparently harmless carnival.[79]
  • Psycho-Pirate - A psychic vampire who controls things with his Medusa Mask.[80]
  • Wotan - A sorcerer.[7]
  • Ymp - An imp who works for Negal.[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 and 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]

Earth-22 (Kingdom Come)[edit]

The Kingdom Come universe features a version of Nabu who is able to channel his consciousness through the helmet and cloak without the need for a host body. This version of Fate sides with Batman's group and is among the survivors at the end of the final battle.[85]

Doctor Strangefate[edit]

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

In other media[edit]



Brent Stait as Doctor Fate on Smallville.




The Kent Nelson incarnation of Doctor Fate is set to appear in the upcoming live-action DC Extended Universe film Black Adam, portrayed by Pierce Brosnan.[94][95]


Video games[edit]

Lego games[edit]

Injustice series[edit]


  • Several Doctor Fate action figures have been released, with most of them based on the Kent Nelson version of the character.
    • The first Doctor Fate figure was released in 1985 as part of the second wave of Kenner's Super Powers Collection.
    • DC Direct released another figure in 2000 as part of the Mystics, Mages and Magicians collection.
    • A third figure was released with the Justice League Unlimited series (2004–2006) as a single figure and as part of three-pack collections.
    • DC Direct released a fourth figure in December 2007 as part of its second wave of DC: The New Frontier action figures.
    • Two Doctor Fate figures were released in April 2009 as part of the DC Universe Classics toyline: a Classic Kent Nelson version with regular yellow armor, and a "Chase" variant Modern Hector Hall version with gold accent armor and helm.
    • The Batman: The Brave and the Bold toyline included a "Dr. Fate versus Wotan" two-pack set released in December 2009.
  • At the 2004 San Diego Comic-Con International, DC Direct announced a full-size replica of Doctor Fate's helmet and amulet for release in 2005. The helmet was displayed with upcoming items during the February 2007 Toy Fair, but is still not available for purchase.


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External links[edit]