Paging Doctor Fate: Meet DC’s Sorcerer Superhero

The newest Black Adam trailer has hyped us all up for the movie’s upcoming launch, but it surely’s additionally raised some query. For instance, why is James Bond carrying a cape and helmet? (What can I say, generally you go from a Goldeneye to a golden dome.)

For those that don’t know, Pierce Brosnan might be taking part in the spellcasting superhero Doctor Fate. He may not have the identify recognition that Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman have, however Doctor Fate is well one of the highly effective heroes within the DC Universe. To get us prepared for his huge display screen debut in Black Adam, let’s get to know the Justice Society’s resident sorcerer.

There have been a number of totally different incarnations of Doctor Fate over time, however let’s concentrate on Kent Nelson, since he’s the unique and the model we’ll be seeing in Black Adam. Some of Kent’s magic skills stem from his time learning beneath the cosmic being Nabu, whereas some have been augmented by his magic artifacts. For instance, the Amulet of Anubis holds plenty of energy—it may possibly entice souls and it harbors its personal pocket dimension. The Helmet of Fate can grant its wearer cosmic consciousness and improve their magical skills, however donning it comes with a worth—you must share your physique with Nabu (extra on that association later). 

Now, earlier than we go any additional, I do know what a few of you’re pondering. A sorcerer superhero with a cloak, an amulet and a physician moniker? Well, earlier than you rush to judgement, you need to know that Doctor Fate predates that marvelous but unusual superhero by over twenty years. In reality, Doctor Fate first appeared in 1940, predating lots of DC’s most iconic heroes and villains. Consider him an elder statesman throughout the DC Universe.

Doctor Fate first appeared in More Fun Comics #55, in a narrative which additionally launched his love curiosity, Inza Cramer. Doctor Fate’s debut journey was written by Gardner Fox and illustrated by Howard Sherman. Chances are you’re aware of Fox, but when not, he was the co-creator of the Flash, Hawkman, Batgirl, the Justice Society, the Justice League and lots of different DC pillars.

Fate’s introductory story doesn’t reveal his actual identify and he’s by no means pictured with out his helmet. In it, he takes on the evil sorcerer Wotan in a battle that ends with Doctor Fate tossing Wotan out of a high-rise widow. Golden Age heroes didn’t fiddle. Fate additionally transforms himself and Inza into wind so they may journey between places sooner. That’s proper, Superman flies by the air—Doctor Fate turns into the air itself.

Shortly after his first look, Doctor Fate would change into a founding member of the Justice Society of America in All-Star Comics #3. During the group’s first assembly, Johnny Thunder would ask about Fate’s background and get an uncommon reply. “As you know, I am not human,” Fate explains. “I never was a child. I had no youth. The elder gods created me just as I am now and placed me here on Earth to fight evil sorcery.” However, as was frequent on the time, this could be contradicted and forgotten rapidly. Maybe Fate was simply hazing his new teammate?

After a yr of pulp-style adventures, Doctor Fate’s origin and actual identify had been revealed in More Fun Comics #67 (reprinted in 1971’s Justice League of America #95). As a baby, Kent Nelson traveled to Egypt together with his father, hoping to find proof that aliens constructed the pyramids. While looking out by an historic temple, Kent awakens a strong being often known as Nabu. Kent and Nabu quickly uncover that the elder Nelson has been killed by the temple’s toxic gasoline. In response, Nabu affords to take the orphan beneath his wing, instructing him all the pieces he is aware of about magic. After Kent reaches maturity, he’s given the Helmet of Fate and different particular clothes. He then units out into the world because the superhero Doctor Fate.

After studying this, you would possibly assume that Nabu feels like a swell man, but it surely seems More Fun Comics #67 wasn’t telling the entire story.  Later retellings would reveal that Nabu used the Helmet of Fate to own Kent’s physique. 1st Issue Special #9 revealed that Nabu had emotionally manipulated Kent as a baby, magically erasing the grief from his father’s loss of life so he might commit his full focus to his sorcery research.

Even worse, DC Special Series #10 revealed that Nabu hadn’t been forthcoming about his first assembly with Kent. It seems that Nabu had engineered the occasions that lured father and son to the temple and had Kent’s father killed in order that his son might change into Nabu’s subsequent host.

As a results of Nabu’s affect, now proven to be extra malevolent than Kent realized, Doctor Fate would generally change into a unique individual when he wore the Helmet of Fate. This difficult his relationship with Inza Cramer, who later turned his spouse.

Kent Nelson largely operates out of the Tower of Fate, a sprawling construction in Salem, Massachusetts. Thanks to a magic enchantment, no one can enter or go away the tower besides Kent and Inza Cramer. Like many long-existing superheroes, Kent Nelson has been killed and resurrected a number of occasions. His most up-to-date loss of life occurred in 2020’s Justice League Dark #27 after a confrontation with the Upside-Down Man. Others have taken on the Doctor Fate mantle over time, together with Kent’s spouse Inza and his great-nephew Khalid Nassour.

While Black Adam might be Doctor Fate’s huge display screen debut, it received’t be the primary time he has appeared in stay motion. Brent Stait portrayed Doctor Fate within the 2010 Smallville episode “Absolute Justice.” The episode additionally featured different members of the Justice Society, who teamed up with a younger Clark Kent. Doctor Fate was killed by Icicle, however the Helmet of Fate would proceed for use by different characters all through the sequence.

Speaking of the JSA, whereas Doctor Fate doesn’t immediately seem within the Stargirl tv sequence, he’s seen a number of occasions in pictures that depict the unique Justice Society. Like his JSA teammates, Doctor Fate was killed through the occasions of the pilot episode’s opening flashback. Animated variations of Doctor Fate have additionally appeared in varied sequence, together with Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League Unlimited and Young Justice.

As you’ll be able to see, Doctor Fate is a good individual to have in your facet. The query is, does he have what it takes to beat Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam? Even if the Rock’s model of the character is extra of an antihero than an outright villain, it’s clear that he’ll very a lot be butting heads with the Justice Society. What occurs when sorcery clashes with power, stamina and stubbornness? We’ll discover out when Black Adam hits theaters, however let’s hope that helmet does its job!

Black Adam, that includes Pierce Brosnan as Doctor Fate, hits theaters Friday, October 21. For all the newest information, options and trailers from the movie, go to our official Black Adam hub.

Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, motion pictures and comics for, is an everyday contributor to the Couch Club and writes our month-to-month Batman column, “Gotham Gazette.” Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.


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