Kent Nelson (Doctor Fate)

doctorfatefilmcasualgamer‘s list keeps bringing us into the magic side of the DC Universe, and we meet this time Doctor Fate, the Sorcerer Supreme of DC. As for now, Fate only appeared in Smallville, portrayed by Brent Stait. He was an old member of the Justice Society of America, but when the team was forced to disband he had to separate from the Helm of Nabu, the mystic artifact that gave him his powers…and the separation brought him to madness. Kent Nelson became a crazy tramp mumbling with himself (actually with Nabu, who still was talking into his head), until Carter Hall finds him and calls him back to duty, as the old members of the JSA have been killed one after the other by a mysterious killer. Nelson becomes Doctor Fate again, just in time to teach a thing or two to the new heroes of the Justice League, before being killed in turn by the murderer, Icicle. Now, let’s see together who the original magician is in the comics.

Kent nelson was born at the beginning of the XX Century, the son of archaeologist Sven Nelson and of his wife, the spiritualist Celestine Babcock. Kent’s mother died of unknown causes when he was still very young, and the boy grew up with his father, soon making Sven’s passion his own. Growing up, Kent became a junior archaeologist, and despite being just twelve years old, he often accompanied his dad around the world in lost cities and remote locations. Once, during an expedition in Mesopotamia, in the Valley of Ur, the Nelsons discovered a buried pyramid. From the local population, too afraid to approach the temple, they learnt that it was the tomb of Nabu, an ancient and powerful sorcerer: Sven, who didn’t believe in magic and superstition, insisted to explore the temple, and father and son entered. While exploring the pyramid, young Kent found a sarcophagus containing the body of Nabu, perfectly conserved; besides it there was a stange mechanism, with instructions on how to bring the sorcerer doctorfatecomics1back to life. Curious and skeptic on the curse promised by the locals, Sven activated the lever…releasing a mysterious gas that brought Nabu back to life indeed, but that proved to be poisonous for Sven, who died on the spot. Kent, on the opposite, was left unharmed. Moved by pity, Nabu used his magic to remove the grief from the boy, and offered him to become his mentor and master, so that he would have been able to learn the secrets of the mystic arts (actually, removing the grief from the boy was fundamental for Nabu to make Kent Nelson his apprentice/host, since the boy didn’t want cosmic powers, but only his father back…). In the following years, Nabu taught Kent many secrets of the mystic world, and trained him in the use of magic, until the boy was ready to succeed to him: as a last test, Kent had to defeat Nabu, and to assure that the young man would have hit him, the sorcerer gave him back the memories of his father. Nelson felt all the rage he had been denied and hit his master, destroying his physical body…and allowing him to imbue a cloak, a helmet and a hamulet with his spirit, thus guiding his disciple for the future. Kent Nelson was finally ready.

Completing Kent’s training, Nobu revealed to him that he was part of the Lords of Order, a group of mystic warriors who eternally battled the Lords of Chaos: once he had taken the helmet and cloak, Kent Nelson had rightfully become one of the Lords of Order, Doctor Fate, a magician bent on protecting Earth from supernatural (and sometimes natural) threats, especially from the Lords of Chaos. Mystic forces called Doctor Fate back to his birth land, the United States, but first he answered another call from nearby in AlexandriaEgypt: an agent of the Lords of Chaos, the sorcerer Wotan, wanted to attack the newborn agent of order now that he was still inexperienced, and he used a pawn, Thomas Frawley, to study him and to test his strengths. In Alexandria Kent had met a college student, Inza Cramer, who he had fallen in love with, and Frawley attacked her in order to force the sorcerer to use his powers. Doctor Fate defeated Frawley without much as an effort, thus starting a long-lasting enmity with Wotan, but also a long-lasting relationship with Inza, who soon doctorfatecomics2became his wife. Together they came back to the States, in Massachussets, where Fate used his powers to create a house/headquarters, an invisible tower built on a magically rich terrain, near Salem; from the Tower of Fate, the Doctor monitored the entire world, ready to intervene anytime the Lords of Chaos made a move, or anytime some unnatural force threatened existence. During one of his first missions, in 1941, Fate intervened to close a portal to a demonic dimension that gave access to our realm to monstrous beings: in this occasion, he teamed up with The Spectre, another mystical hero. The cooperation worked out pretty well, and Doctor Fate met him again soon after, that same year, to prevent an assassination attempt against President Roosevelt. In this occasion, not only Doctor Fate and the Spectre, but also other heroes helped: The Flash, Sandman, Hawkman, Hourman, Green Lantern and The Atom were there also, and proved that together they formed quite a formidable team. Under Roosevelt’s direct request, together the heroes founded the Justice Society of America, a team aimed to defend freedom and justice, and to face threats that none of the heroes alone could face. Now, Doctor Fate could serve the Lords of Order better than any of his predecessors.

Kent Nelson is a brave and selfless man, a serious protector bent on saving the entire reality from threats that most of the time conceal their very existence. He’s guided by the spirit of Nabu, but their relationship is pretty difficult, with the ancient sorcerer often despising the mortal’s “weaknesses” (namely his humanity), and the hero holding quite a grudge against his mentor for manipulating most of his life in order to turn him into his disciple. As Doctor Fate, he’s one of the most powerful and accomplished sorcerer in the world, with his powers and his mystical artifacts granting him a variety of abilities: flight, time and space manipulation, matter creation, transmutation, hypnosis, healing, self-sustainance, pyrokinesis, energy emission and manipulation, telepathy, resurrection, phasing, teleportation, invisibility, clairvoyance, and many more; even without the Helm of Nabu, that gives to him most of his abilities, Doctor Fate possesses flight, telekinesis, superhuman strength, immortality and invulnerability, and he regains all the emotions that the Helm suppresses. Divided between divine powers that allow him to protect the world, but that erase his humanity, and a personal life he still wants to live, Doctor Fate is one of the most powerful heroes on Earth, an invincible sorcerer who carries within himself the strength and the wisdom of millennia.

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8 Comments

  1. […] Kent Nelson (Doctor Fate) […]

  2. […] Kent Nelson (Doctor Fate) […]

  3. […] and Shade became tired of being a villain; in the following decade, he even teamed up with Dr. Fate to destroy a magic cult, the Wise Fools, who attempted to recreate the same ritual that had given […]

  4. […] we know he’s been released at some point, but his ultimate fate remains undisclosed, albeit Doctor Fate riddles “The Atom is split”, thus hinting he might have died in the following years. […]

  5. […] see her before all the other coming from Lucy W.‘s list): Inza Nelson, the wife of Dr. Fate. Inza only had one live action appearance in Smallville, and we only see her during a flashback as […]

  6. […] the New Gods from both Apokolips and New Genesis, Captain Marvel and the Rock of Eternity, Doctor Fate and the other mystics, Superman and the Justice League of America and many other forces […]

  7. […] respective nemesis. Icicle himself managed to trick Hourman, but he was eventually stopped by Dr. Fate. In the meanwhile, Flash from Earth-Two and Flash from Earth-One were captured, but freed from […]

  8. […] He challenges both the JSA and the newly formed JLA thanks to a major power-up coming from Dr. Fate‘s helmet, which he steals, but he’s eventually defeated…and apparently killed by […]


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