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Doctor Fate Reading Order

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Doctor Fate Reading Order

Like with Captain Marvel or Robin, there are multiple superheroes named Doctor Fate. The original version of the character was created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Howard Sherman during the Golden Age of comics era, in the pages of More Fun Comics #55 (May 1940).

Wearing blue-and-yellow tights and a golden helmet, Doctor Fate was operating from a stone tower, windowless and doorless, situated on the outskirts of Salem, Massachusetts–so you know it was about magic. Under the costume, there was Kent Nelson who, while on an archaeological expedition in the Valley of Ur with his father, accidentally awakened Nabu by opening its tomb–and kills his father in the process.

Nabu is a fictionalized version of the Mesopotamian god of the same name, a cosmic being affiliated with the Lords of Order. He takes Kent under his wing, teaching him how to become a sorcerer and fight his enemies, the Lords of Chaos. After two decades, Nabu gave him a mystical helmet, an amulet, and a cloak. Now well-equipped, Kent went back to America and started fighting crimes and supernatural evil–like armies of the undead, the green-skinned Wutan, and other fish creatures and elder gods. Kent also became a founding member of the All-Star Squadron and the Justice Society of America.

By the end of 1944, the adventures of Doctor Fate, solo or with the JSA, stopped. The character reappeared during the Silver Age mostly as a guest star teaming up with other superheroes before coming back with the Justice Society of America on the pages of All-Star Comics for a two-year run. At the beginning of the Bronze Age, Doctor Fate’s origin was revisited and, after a few team-ups, he was back in an ongoing series with the All-Star Squadron, a title that focuses on the adventures of many World War II-era–which led after that to multiple appearances in Infinity, Inc.

Secret Origins #24

As Doctor Fate’s story was at that point mostly connected to the JSA, he took part in the Crisis on Infinite Earths. With the beginning of the Modern Age, Kent’s career as Doctor Fate ended. Nabu, who has taken the identity of Kent Nelson, started guiding Eric and Linda Strauss who became Doctor Fate for a while–Eric was killed and Linda continued as Fate and even briefly became a member of the Justice League International. Eventually, Kent’s wife, Inza, picked up the helmet and decided to follow a different way as she began fighting to help the poor in New York, fighting corruption, social inequalities, and of course Evil forces. It ended in the wake of the Zero Hour event.

Jared Stevens differed from the previous Doctor Fate as he was more of a Demon hunter. This incarnation didn’t work for the readers and the new Fate series was canceled after almost two years. Then, writer Keith Giffen rebooted the character’s origins as part of the DC’s “Weirdoverse” imprint giving Jared a second chance. And then, as the new JSA was launched, Jared was killed and a new Doctor Fate appeared, Hector Hall. He lived some solo adventures but was mostly tied to the JSA, up until his death in the Day of Vengeance limited series in 2005 as part of the lead into the Infinite Crisis.

In 2007, DC decided to revitalize Doctor Fate by introducing a new incarnation, Kent V. Nelson (the grand-nephew of the original Doctor Fate), that was not rooted in the same mythology, out with the Lords of Chaos and Order as they were killed during Infinite Crisis. Writer Steve Gerber who created this version died and other authors wrote a conclusion for his story. The character made a few apparitions after that, but the 2011 New 52 initiative put an end to that era.

Following the events of the Flashpoint mini-series, DC’s continuity was rewritten and a Doctor Fate named Khalid Ben-Hassin was created for the Earth 2 series. This incarnation is considered an alternate. Unlike the DC Rebirth version, Khalid Nassour was introduced in Aquaman: Convergence #2.

Khalid is a medical student born of Egyptian and White American descent. In fact, he was selected by the ancient Egyptian goddess Bastet to become the next Doctor Fate due to his royal pharaoh’s bloodline. He is then granted the famous helmet before being tasked with saving the world from Anubis. He must learn to control his powers guided by, among others, the Lord of Order, Nabu. After a while, his granduncle, Kent Nelson, becomes his tutor. Later, he joined the Justice League Dark.

For now, as the Dawn of DC era only begins, Khalid is still Doctor Fate.

Doctor Fate Reading Order

The Golden Age Doctor Fate

Doctor Fate was introduced in DC’s anthology book More fun Comics #55. His solo adventures from that era have been collected in the (a bit hard to find today) following book:

As a founding member of the Justice Society of America (see reading order for more info), he was active in the pages of All Star Comics #3 through #20.

The Silver Age Doctor Fate

With Justice League of America #21, the idea of two different realities was introduced into the DC Universe in order to explain how the heroes of the Justice League (Earth-One) teamed up with their predecessors the Justice Society of America (Earth-Two). This is where we mostly reconnect with Dr. Fate during that period of time. This kind of crossover between the two “Earths” became an annual occurrence. Those stories are collected here:

All-Star Comics #58

During the 1960s and 1970s, Doctor Fate appeared as a guest star for some team-up adventures like in Showcase #55-56 with Hourman (available in Crisis on Multiple Earths: The Team-Ups Volume 1) or in The Flash #236-237 with Jay Garrick and Barry Allen. But Fate made his real comeback in DC’s 1st Issue Special #9 before fighting again as a member of The Justice Society and a mentor for a new “Super Squad” in the pages of All-Star Comics.

In 1985, Crisis on Infinite Earths was the first universe-redefining crossover comic book event ever. The goal was to simplify and unify the DC Universe. The Earth-One/Earth-Two dichotomy was resolved by merging the Multiverse into a single universe. As a consequence, the Golden Age Superman, Batman, Robin, and Wonder Woman ceased to exist… A lot was erased from the continuity. For more information, go to our Crisis on Infinite Earths Reading Order.

In an effort to fix some continuity problems born from the Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC Comics decided to write off the JSA from active continuity. Roy Thomas wrote the one-shot “The Last Days of the Justice Society of America” to do just that. Only Power Girl, the Star-Spangled Kid, the Spectre, and Doctor Fate escaped the cataclysm. Also, Roy Thomas later revised the JSA’s origin to fit in the post-Crisis continuity in Secret Origins vol. 2 #31.

The Modern Age Doctor Fate

After the Crisis, Doctor Fate appeared in two Saga of the Swamp Thing Stories (#49-50 collected in The Saga of the Swamp Thing Book 4), then in the Legends miniseries, the first post-Crisis crossover.

At that time, a new Justice League was born and Doctor Fate was a founding member–the team will soon be known as the Justice League International.

Doctor Fate #1 (1988)

The team behind JLI, J.M DeMatteis and Keith Giffen didn’t keep the character in the team but gave him a solo title, putting an end to Kent’s career as Doctor Fate ended and launching the story of Eric and Linda Strauss.

  • Doctor Fate (miniseries)
    Collects Doctor Fate (1987) #1-4.
  • Doctor Fate (ongoing)
    Collects Doctor Fate (1988) #1-42.

Zero Hour DC Event Comic Reading OrderAnd then came the Zero Hour: A Crisis in Time event (see reading order here). All of reality comes under attack when a mysterious force of entropy begins slowly erasing time itself—making its way from both the past and future toward the present!

After Kent, Eric, Linda, and Inza, we arrived at Jared Stevens.

  • Fate (1994-1996)
    Collects Fate #0-23.
  • The Book of Fate by Keith Giffen, as part of DC’s “Weirdoverse” imprint.

With the relaunch of the JSA title, Jared Stevens was killed, it was Hector Hall’s time to wear the helmet.

JSA #4

Doctor Fate is Dead, but in “The Helmet of Fate,” five characters receive the wizard Nabu’s helmet powers and the persona of “Dr. Fate” after Detective Chimp hurls the helmet into space and lets it land where it will.

But it was Kent V. Nelson, the grand-nephew of the original Doctor Fate, who became the new Doctor Fate in Steve Gerber and Justiniano’s new series.

The New 52 Doctor Fate

During the New 52 era, we follow an alternate version of Doctor Fate named Khalid Ben-Hassin, created by writer James Robinson and artist Brett Booth, in the alternate universe of the Earth-2 series (starting with #9).

The DC You & Rebirth Doctor Fate

Following the conclusion of the Convergence limited series, we entered the DC You era, and a new ongoing Doctor Fate series was launched, written by Paul Levitz and drawn by Sonny Liew. This one introduced the lasted incarnation of the Doctor with the Egyptian-American medical student named Khalid Nassour.

Doctor Fate #15

During the Rebirth era, Khalid Nassour was still Doctor Fate (and Kent Nelson is his mentor) and joined the Justice League Dark.

The Infinite Frontier & Beyond Doctor Fate

Following the event of the Dark Nights: Death Metal event, DC Comics launched the Future State event, three months of a possible future (Fate appeared in Future State: Justice League), before entering the Infinite Frontier era. Khalid Nassour is still Doctor Fate in the Justice League Dark title.

Coming next:

  • The New Golden Age
  • Justice Society of America (2022)

Last Updated on April 10, 2024.


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