The DC Universe is full of many heroes who use magic to save the day, but one of the most powerful (and boasting a very extensive and versatile history in the comics) is Doctor Fate. This sorcerer with a doctorate is about to make his debut in the DC movies with former James Bond star Pierce Brosnan playing the role. To learn all about the character before you become introduced to Doctor Fate in Black Adam (set for July 29, 2022), take a look at these essential facts ripped from the pages of DC Comics.
Doctor Fate Is A Founding Member Of The Justice Society
Created by legendary comic book writer Gardner Fox and illustrator Howard Sherman, Doctor Fate made his official debut in April 1940 in Issue #55 of More Fun Comics - an anthology of fantasy stories that also saw the birth of several other classic DC Comics character of the Golden Age, such as the Spectre. Said mystical being was the first other superhero whom Doctor Fate fought alongside before both of them became founding members of the Justice Society of America at the behest of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
This group of costumed vigilantes - which actually predates the Justice League - is making its big screen debut in Black Adam with Aldis Hodge playing Hawkman and Noah Centineo as Atom Smasher, to name a few. However, Pierce Brosnan’s Doctor Fate is more than likely the most powerful of the bunch.
Doctor Fate Possesses A Wide Range Of Magical Abilities
Where do we begin when talking about what Doctor Fate is capable of? As one of the most powerful magic users in DC Comics, his list of powers (which were originally depicted as having a more scientific origin before they were reimagined as more traditional sorcery) outweighs Superman by a wide margin. His magical abilities range from sensory (detecting the presence of magic or one’s moral aura), to psychokinetic (he can control magnetism, time, matter, or people’s thoughts), and far, far beyond, too.
Doctor Fate is an expert of various other spells that allow him to perform astral projection, turn invisible, phase through solid objects, heal instantly, teleport, create flame, and travel to various dimensions throughout the DC Multiverse. In addition to having strengths that are more common among superheroes (such as flight), he is even prone to weaknesses that are common among average mortals (he is vulnerable to various gases and oxygen deprivation could leave him paralyzed). Without magic, however, he can still kick ass with Jujitsu, help those in poor health with his medical expertise, and speak various languages.
Doctor Fate Was Taught His Magical Skills By His Ancient Mentor, Nabu
It should be understood that Doctor Fate (whose real name is Kent Nelson, by the way) was not born with all of these abilities. They were something he had to be taught - an education that began in the early 1920s when he and his father - a fellow archaeologist named Sven - were on a dig in Mesopotamia, where the young man came across a temple he decided to explore. There, he found a sarcophagus containing the remains of Nabu the Wise, whom Kent ended up freeing from years of suspended animation with just the pull of a lever.
Unfortunately, soon after, Kent would find that his father had been killed by a poison gas released inside the tomb. Nabu, out of gratitude for his earlier deed and empathy for his loss, offered to teach Kent “the secrets of the universe.” This is how he developed his mastery of the mystic arts and his famous superhero uniform, as well.
Each Article Of Doctor Fate’s Uniform Has A Special Significance
It should also be noted that Doctor Fate’s costume is not meant to just conceal his identity or help him appear intimidating. The uniform consists of three special garments which serve as the main source (or special enhancement) of his powers.
Granting Doctor Fate the full extent of his magical abilities is the Helmet of Fate, which is also known as the Helmet of Nabu in reference to the name of its creator and the fact that it keeps the wearer spiritually linked to him. The Amulet of Anubis holds the key to Kent Nelson’s psychokinetic abilities and dimensional travel, but can also be used as a sort portable prison for captured souls. The Cloak of Destiny makes the wearer super strong, invulnerable, and (unsurprisingly) allows them them to fly.
Doctor Fate Is Also One Of The Lords Of Order
In addition to being an essential member of the Justice Society of America, Doctor Fate has also fought alongside the Justice League and his undead self held a position in the Black Lantern Corps. There is another group that he is not only more important to, but the group itself is, just about, the most important group of powerful beings the DC Universe has ever seen. They are called the Lords of Order.
This is an organization of mystical, god-like beings who are responsible for maintaining order in the universe from enemies such as the Lords of Chaos - essentially the Injustice League to their Justice League, if you will. Kent Nelson is known as a “primary agent” of the Lords of Order, as are some other people who have been known to wear the Doctor Fate moniker.
Kent Nelson Is Only The First Doctor Fate
It is pretty typical in any comic book universe for a certain superhero alias to be passed down to more than one individual and Doctor Fate is certainly no exception. The history of Ken Nelson’s heirs boasts an especially unique line-up, however - such as Eric and Linda Strauss, who were a married couple who merged into one being to become the superhero. Succeeding them was Enza Nelson, who is also Kent’s wife.
Jared Stevens was hired to retrieve the Doctor Fate’s artifacts before Nabu made him a hero known simply as “Fate,” who wore the Cloak of Destiny around his arms as gauze, has a strange tattoo around his eye from when the Amulet of Anubis blew up in his face, and melted down the Helmet of Fate into a dagger and throwing stars. The next two successors were descendants of fellow JSA members Hawkman and Hawkgirl (their son Hector Hall) and Kent Nelson (his grandnephew, Kent V. Nelson) before Khalid Ben-Hassin took over during the New 52 era. The current Doctor Fate has been young Khalid Kent Nassour since 2011.
Despite the many ways they differ, if there was ever a time you confused Doctor Fate with the Marvel movies' Doctor Strange, I would not blame you. In fact, the sorcerers were combined into one character named Doctor Strangefate, who was created as part of a line of DC character and Marvel character mash-ups called the Amalgam Comics, which also had a Batman/Wolverine combo known as Dark Claw. Now, this is a franchise of superhero movies I would love to see… whenever Hell freezes over, probably.
Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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