In 1928 Kent Nelson was born to Celestine Babcock-Nelson, a spiritualist and Sven Nelson, an archaeologist. Sometime after his birth his mother died of unknown causes.
In 1940 while on an archaeological dig in Mesopotamia Sven Nelson along with then twelve year old Kent Nelson stumbled upon a temple belonging to Nabu. The natives were scared to even enter the temple and avoided it at all costs but that did not scare Sven Nelson for he did not believe in magic (perhaps that was why he was killed). While wandering around the temple Kent stumbled upon a sarcophagus containing the body of Nabu, the wise. Kent decided to pull the lever that would waken Nabu. When Nabu awoke a poisonous gas filled the temple, killing Sven Nelson but leaving Kent unharmed.
Nabu wanted to train Kent as his apprentice but Kent did not want powers or to become Nabu’s apprentice, all he wanted was his father back. Nabu erased all memory of Sven Nelson from Kent’s mind. In the course of one week Nabu transformed Kent into a fully grown man and taught him the mystic arts. The last wish of Nabu was for Kent to unleash all his power on him but Kent could not harm his master for he grown attached to Nabu. Nabu then brought back Kent’s memories’ of his father and Kent attacked Nabu with a fit of rage. During that time Nabu revealed his true origins to Kent, he was really a Lord of Order and he then explained the circumstances of Sven’s death and the never ending battle between Order and Chaos. as a parting gift Nabu entrusted Kent with a golden helmet and amulet and told him that those two things would grant him all the powers that he possesses.
His first adventure as Doctor Fate was when he rescued Inza Cramer from Wotan, an evil sorceress. The two fell in love and soon married. Together they settled in an invisible tower Kent constructed with his powers called The Tower of Fate in Salem, Massachusetts. From this sanctum he embarks out, fighting crime and supernatural evil as the hero, Doctor Fate.
In 1941 Kent would meet The Spectre and together they combined forces to destroy a military gateway to the netherworld. That was Kent’s first encounter with a hero of his time, the two would later go on to serve with one another in the JSA.
In 1941, Doctor Fate becomes one of the founding members of the Justice Society of America. In 1942 he begins to feel the helmet is taking control of him when he wears it and gives it up for a half face version. While operating with this helmet he loses most of his magic abilities (with the exception of his mystic senses, and can cast spell when in areas of power (like his Salem tower or Stonehenge). He is restricted to the powers his body has from Nabu’s magic alterations. Super strength, invulnerability (except for his lungs) and the ability to levitate himself and other objects. Doctor Fate remained active within the group up until the middle of the decade when he withdrew in the year 1945.
By the end of the decade he had withdrawn completely from public activities. During that time he became a physician and in 1963 he would rejoin the JSA. while his teammates Kent and Inza’s aging process had seemed to stop due the powers of fate. By this time he has regained the full helmet of Nabu, and with it his full magic power.
In 1987 Kent founded the JLI- Justice League International along with Black Canary, Earth’s newest Green Lantern Guy Gardner, Batman, Martian Manhunter, Blue Beetle Ted Kord, Captain Marvel, Mister Miracle, and rounding out the team was the new Doctor Light. Shortly after the team also gained Captain Atom and Booster Gold. During his time with the Justice League he helped them stop Gray Man from destroying the world.
By the late 1980’s the war between Chaos and order had been growing. Kent realized it was Yali Kuga, the final age of man. The strain was so enormous on Kent and Inza that it caused them to age rapidly. By later that year the strain was unbearable on Inza so she committed suicide to relieve the strain on her. Her suicide devastated Kent and nearly caused him to commit suicide as well. Nabu however would not allow Kent to die but knew he needed a new Doctor Fate because Kent was unable to accomplish the job in his current state.
Reluctantly Kent agreed to help Nabu in searching out a new protege. Eric Strauss was chosen to become the new Fate, during that time Kent discovered for the time that Fate was meant be a triad of man, woman, and Fate. he was able to break the hold Nabu had over him and allowed Eric and his lover Linda to become the Doctor Fate. Kent was finally allowed to die because Nabu found a new host for himself.
When the JSA re-establishes itself in the modern age of heroes, Doctor Fate is among the members who return. Though he has become increasingly erratic and withdraw from society, he still commits himself protecting the Earth against supernatural threats. As Dr Fate an enemy seeking to put an end to the Lord of Order puts in motion things that will destroy the bond between Kent and his wife Inza. The intent is to ensure that once Kent knows that Fate has caused the loss of his love he will no longer be a willing host to the Lord of Order. Dr Fate realizes in time and saves Inza. During this time that Nelson faces a threat that the power of order alone is not enough to hold the day. Doctor Fate must fuse with his wife so that he has the power of life and love as well. it is discovered later that this was the intended way for Fate to exist. In the merged form the essence of Nabu in the helmet no longer retains total control of the mortal host and is more of a guide.
Post Flashpoint – Earth Two
”Fate” has recently been mentioned in Earth 2 #3 it is rumored he’s the one behind a gathering of a new generation of heroes, leading Hawkgirl to Jay Garrick’s location. He’s expected to have an appearance in the coming issues or in Earth 2 #0 this year
The original Doctor Fate returns to the DC Universe. He arrives to tell Ted Kord the scarab is magic based not alien or xeno tech based.
Major Story Arcs
During the events of Zero Hour in 1994 Doctor fate was once again made male but under the control of both Kent and Inza Nelson. It was during that time that Kent led the JSA in one final battle up against Extant, a minion of Parallax. The JSA were no match for the power of Extant and were defeated. Extant was able to become a Lord of Order and a Lord of Chaos.
He was able to split Fate into two again and sent the Helmet and Amulet of Fate back to Egypt where they were originally found. As Kent and Inza were too old to retrieve them they hired mercenary Jared Stevens to retrieve them for them. The items rejected the Nelsons because of their rapid aging so Jared Stevens became the new Fate.
Powers and Abilities
The majority of Kent’s powers come from Nabu. The Helmet of Fate grants him vast magical powers but without the helmet, Kent’s powers are limited to his own sorcery. On his own, Kent is an accomplished sorcerer and has some knowledge of the mystic arts but is unable to match the powers of Nabu. His main weakness is that his physical body can be destroyed or stressed.
Powers without Nabu talismans
- Super Strength
- Super speed
- Levitation (of other other objects)
- Invulnerability – he is physically impervious, the only way to harm him is through his lungs as he has to breath.
- Mystical senses – he has a danger sense and slight precognitive ability
- Knowledge of magic – he still has all the knowledge thanks to Nabu’s teachings. Even without his Helm he was able to work powerful magic in places of power like his salem tower. Like the one he used to pull all the poison of Hourman’s miraclo pill dependence out of him.
- Immunity to mortal disease
- Never ages
Powers granted to him by Nabu
- Levitation Flight
- Damage Resistance
- Magnetic Control
- Time Travel
- Memory erasing
- Illusion Casting
- Mystical Bolts
- Enhanced Intellect
- Reality Manipulation
- Invulnerability – His weakness disappears; therefore no one can harm him through his lungs anymore.
Doctor Chaos (Earth-One)
Professor Lewis Lang and his assistant Burt Belker uncover a helmet identical to the one used by Nabu in the Valley of Ur which contains a Lord of Chaos. The Lord of Chaos possesses Burt in order become Doctor Chaos, whose agenda differs from the one of Earth-Two’s Doctor Fate. Doctor Chaos’ costume mirrors Doctor Fate’s, but with an inverted colour scheme. Superboy confronts him and is able to remove the helmet from Belker and send it into space.
Fate (Kingdom Come)
This version of Nabu is similar to his later appearance just before his death, able to channel his consciousness through the Helm and Cloak without the need of a host body. This version of Fate sided with Batman’s group during Kingdom Come, and was amongst the survivors at the end of the story.
Future (Books of Magic)
This Doctor Fate is a corrupt version of the Helmet which appears like a human skull. It would ultimately kill any of its worshippers that wore it. This one no longer cares about the battle between Order and Chaos and believes that there is no meaning in life; only flesh and death. H wanted to kill Doctor Fate and destroy the helm long ago, but the Justice League prevented him.
This version makes a brief appearance in New 52 along with the rest of the JSA. This team hails from Earth-2.
Doctor Strangefate is an amalgam character. He is a combination of Doctor Fate, Doctor Strange, and Professor Xavier. His powers are based upon both Doctors, but Charles Xavier is the man under the helm. Doctor Strangefate is the protector of the Amalgam universe, building up the universe around him from the battle between DC Comics and Marvel Comics, and will literally kill to prevent his universe from collapsing.
In Other Media
DCAU (DC Animated Universe)
Doctor Fate appeared in several of the series connected to the DC Animated Universe, which marked the character’s first appearance in animation.
- Doctor Fate’s first appearance in animation was in the Superman: The Animated Series episode “The Hand of Fate,” where he was voiced by George DelHoyo. In this continuity, Kent is depicted as a retired former superhero who is forced to return to the world of crime-fighting to help Superman battle a demonic threat.
- Doctor Fate returns in the two-part Justice League episode “The Terror Beyond,” this time voiced by Oded Fehr. Here, he teams up with Aquaman and Solomon Grundy to prevent the return of an extradimensional entity known as Icthultu.
- Oded Fehr reprised his role in the sequel series, Justice League Unlimited, where Doctor Fate is now depicted as a member of the expanded Justice League roster. Fate is featured most prominently in the episodes “Wake the Dead,” “The Great Brain Robbery” and “The Return.”
Batman: The Brave and The Bold
Doctor Fate appears in several episodes of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, voiced by Greg Ellis. Despite having a relatively youthful appearance, he is also seen in flashbacks as a member of the JSA during World War 2, suggesting that he is much older than he looks. Fate first appears in the teaser segment for “The Eyes of Despero!” where he teams up with Batman to battle Wotan. He takes on a much larger role in “The Fate of Equinox!” where he helps Batman take on the titular villain. Doctor Fate returns in “Crisis: 22,300 Miles Above Earth!” where he and his JSA comrades head to the Justice League Satellite for a party hosted by the Justice League International.
Kent Nelson appears in Young Justice, voiced by Ed Asner. This version of the character is an elderly former member of the Justice Society of America from the 1940s, and has long since retired from being an active superhero. He first appears in the episode “Denial,” where he is kidnapped by Abra Kadabra and Klarion the Witch Boy so that they can steal the Helmet of Nabu. He is rescued by Kid Flash and Artemis, but dies after being blasted by Klarion. Despite this, his soul remains inside the helmet until a suitable replacement host for Nabu can be found. In “Revelation,” Aqualad dons the helmet during the fight against the Injustice League, and later mentions that Kent’s spirit was able to persuade Nabu to let him go. In “Misplaced,” Zatanna uses the helmet during the fight against Klarion, but this time, Nabu refuses to relinquish her. When Kent objects to this and tries to persuade Nabu to let the girl go, he is expelled from the helmet and sent into the afterlife, where he is finally reunited with Inza.
Justice League Action
Doctor Fate appears in the Justice League Action episode “Trick or Threat,” voiced by Erica Luttrell. He, John Constantine, Batman and Zatanna are turned into children by Klarion, who seeks to steal Fate’s helmet.
- Doctor Fate has a cameo appearance in the opening scene of Justice League: The New Frontier, where he and his teammates are forced to retire after the government disbands the Justice Society of America.
- Doctor Fate appears in Justice Society: World War II, voiced by Keith Ferguson.
He appears in the two-part Smallville episode “Absolute Justice,” portrayed by Brent Stait. He is a former member of the JSA who suffers from bouts of schizophrenia due to the loss of his wife Inza and his prolonged exposure to the Helmet of Nabu. He is later killed by Icicle after restoring the powers of John Jones, leaving the Helmet of Nabu in the hands of the Justice League. Later in the series, Chloe Sullivan uses it to find a kidnapped Oliver Queen.
In the pilot episode of Stargirl, Doctor Fate is one of the numerous JSA members who is killed after the team is ambushed and attacked by the Injustice Society. His helmet was subsequently left in the memorial Stripesy made in the JSA Brownstone.
Black Adam (2022)
Doctor Fate will appear in the upcoming Black Adam movie, portrayed by former James Bond star Pierce Brosnan. Kent will be a member of the JSA alongside Hawkman, Atom Smasher and Cyclone.
- Doctor Fate appears as a DLC character in DC Universe Online.
- Doctor Fate appears as a playable character in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.
- Doctor Fate appears as a summonable character in Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure.
- Doctor Fate appears as a playable character in the Injustice 2 fighting game, voiced by David Sobolov.
- Doctor Fate appears as a playable character in Lego DC Super Villains.
- Doctor Fate was featured in Kenner’s DC Super Powers Collection action figure line.
- DC Direct produced a Doctor Fate action figure.
- Doctor Fate was featured in the HeroClix figure game.
- Doctor Fate was featured in Mattel’s action figure line for Justice League Unlimited.
- Doctor Fate was featured in Diamond Select’s Minimates line as part of a two-pack with Power Girl.
- Doctor Fate was featured in Mattel’s DC Universe Classics line.
- Doctor Fate was featured in Mattel’s Batman: The Brave and the Bold line.
- Doctor Fate was featured in Mezco’s One:12 Collective line.
- Doctor Fate was featured in the DC Multiverse line from McFarlane Toys.