Doctor Fate V

Created by Steve Gerber and Justiniano

Dr. Kent V. Nelson

Marissa (wife), Laryn (daughter), Kent Nelson (great uncle, deceased)

Justice Society of America

Countdown to Mystery #1 (Nov. 2007)


  • Countdown to Mystery, 8-issue limited series (2007)
  • Helmet of Fate, 5 one-shots (2007)
  • Justice Society of America vol. 3 #30-51


Kent V. Nelson. From Justice Society of America vol. 3 #33 (2010); art by Matt Sturges.

Before the Helmet of Fate would settle into its next permanent host, it went through an epic journey through space and time, and passing through the hands of other mystics.

It was sent into space by Captain Marvel in Day of Vengeance: Infinite Crisis Special (2006).

The Helmet of Fate

The Helmet of Fate returned to Earth having traveled across the universe and bounced off the ege of space/time, through realms beyond human understanding. In this journey it absorbed new information and power, and shed its old powers—including the pocket universe that used to lay within. The first being to find it was the Detective Chimp, who was called to solve a metahuman murder mystery. Just then, the Helmet of Fate fell right in front of him and he put it on. Immediately he was privy to limitless knowledge. He donned his own Doctor Fate outfit and helped the police track the killer (the Trickster). At the conclusion, the Chimp decided to give up the Helmet because his nature conflicted with its own—it would drive him mad. He retained some of its knowledge for a few days and went on to solve dozens of crimes. The Helmet now also possessed something of the Detective Chimp's nature and knowledge. (Helmet of Fate: Detective Chimp #1)

It came to the attention of Ibis and Taia, who fought to keep the Helmet from Set. They failed but put a protective spell on it, and then reached out to 17-year-old Danny Kasim Khalifa to help them. Ibis gave Danny his Ibistick to guide him to their patron, Thoth. With Thoth's help, Danny retrieved the Helmet from Set and sent it with a spell that would ensure neither gods nor evil men could wear it. (Helmet of Fate: Ibis the Invincible)

David Sargent, grandson of Sargon the Sorceror, was next to encounter the Helmet. Sargent had no interest in magic and fell prey to men seeking to steal his grandfather's Ruby of Life. When the Helmet of Fate appeared to David, it revealed that the men were demons. The spirit of Sargon reached out to David and bound the Ruby to him. (Helmet of Fate: Sargon the Sorceror #1)

The Helmet of Fate next appeared to the young mystic Black Alice. The Helmet resisted her dark nature, but her own power was the ability to "steal" the powers of other mystics, and so she was able to use the Helmet. Alice quickly realized that to fulfill her desires, she would eventually destroy everything, so she released the Helm. (Helmet of Fate: Black Alice #1)

It next appeared in space, where Zauriel had been called to the planet Alstair. There queen Hyathis was threatened by Okeontis, who had acquired the Helmet of Fate. With Zauriel's help, they destroyed Okeontis and the Helmet entered another spatial warp. (Helmet of Fate: Zauriel #1)

Countdown to Mystery

The Helm of Fate found its new permanent host in Las Vegas. Kent V. Nelson had been a successful psychiatrist. This Kent Nelson was the grandnephew of the original Dr. Fate. When Kent V. cheated on his wife, Marissa, with a student at a seminar, Marissa left him and took their daughter, Laryn. Kent's own life began a downward spiral. And when one of his patients became homicidal killer after following Nelson's prescription, Kent was sued for malpractice, lost, and became homeless. When Kent picked up the helmet, he sensed its history and he was immediately confronted by Negal of Charn for destroying one of his 'creatures.' (Countdown to Mystery #1) NOTE: The familial connection to the original Kent Nelson is surprising because the original Doctor Fate was always represented as an only child. Kent V. would have to be the grandson of the elder Kent's brother.

Kent struggled to access his magic while defending himself from Negal, but managed to dispatch the demon. He pawned the demon's axe and rented an apartment where he could also perform maintenance duties. In sleep, Negal summoned him to Charn and explained an arrangement he'd had with one of the former Doctor Fates. Supposedly, Fate sent "defeated souls" to Negal and he desired to continue this arrangement. Kent refused and instead freed the soul in question. (#2)

Kent used his magic to win at gambling and sought help from Mystic Tower Books, run by a woman named Inza Fox (she was also the comic book creator of "Killhead"). Inza could sense that Kent was special and gave him a spell to draw both of them inside Kent's mind. Inza observed that Kent's aura was healthier for the presence of magic, and that the helmet allowed him to perform magic that most mystics could only dream about. (#3)

Still, Kent turned to drink and Inza was there to look after him. When Negal kidnapped Inza, (#4) he returned to her shop for a way to find her. Her assistant, Maddy showed him An Occult History of World War II, by Thomas Bails. (#5) Nelson discovered that he does not possess the Amulet of Anubis. Kent gave the helmet to Maddy, (#6) who thus fell prey to Ymp, an emmissary of Negal. She and Kent were abducted to Hell and learned that Negal intended to destroy anyone who might possibly be Doctor Fate. (#7)

At this point, the story of Kent V. Nelson suffers a twist. The writer, Steve Gerber, died unexpectedly before finishing the story, so his friends pitched in to help. Four writers each wrote their own conclusions to Countdown to Mystery…

  1. By Adam Beechen: Maddy takes control of Fate, frees Inza and Kent, and a rogue demon kills Negal. Maddy returns the helmet to Kent.
  2. By Mark Evanier: Kent rallies and flees hell, rescuing the women as well.
  3. By Mark Waid: Maddy frees Kent, who uses psychiatry to analyze himself, then Negal. He leaves with the women.
  4. By Gail Simone: Kent offers to Negal help with mental therapy, which the demon accepts. After leaving hell Inza isn't 100% normal and Maddy researches magic to help her. (#8)

The result of these endings was more or less the same. The character of Inza was not used again after this. It's unknown whether she was also related to Inza Cramer Nelson.

Justice Society of America

The existence of a new Doctor Fate triggered one of his predecessor's artifacts, the Prophesy Sphere, which distorted reality at the Justice Society headquarters and gave its members visions from their lives. until ?? destroyed the Sphere. (JSA 80-Page Giant #1)

Somehow the Flash located the new Doctor Fate, and Kent was recruited to join the JSA. (Justice Society of America vol. 3 #30) The changes in the laws of magic had also freed the evil mage Mordru from the Lords of Chaos, and he possessed Doctor Fate just as the JSA was setting up a new headquarters. The team's mystical alarms sensed Mordru and they quickly forced him out. (#34) Mister Terrific and Fate freed the other JSAers from Mordru's mystical prisons then combined those dimensions to imprison Mordru. (#35)

Kent left the JSA briefly on an unexplained personal mission, (#36) and returned after falling prey to dark mystical energies. He attacked the JSA along with Obsidian. (#41) Dr. Mid-Nite freed Kent from these shadow forces by simply removing his helmet. (#42)

Doctor Fate returned to the JSA and was instrumental in saving the life of his teammate, Lightning. While her body was comatose, he sequestered her soul in another dimension. (#47) This journey was so arduous that it left his face with a great burn scar in the shape of an ankh. (#50) When the JSA added a new member with healing powers, Ri, Fate proceeded with restoring Lightning's soul to her body. Kent convinced Jennifer to return to the real world, and once her soul returned, Ri healed her body. (#51)

Doctor Fate V was still a member of the JSA when the DC Universe was rebooted by the "New 52" initiative, in late 2011.

In the New 52 universe, a new Doctor Fate (Khalid Ben-Hassin) resides on Earth 2.


Writer Marc Guggenheim on Doctor Fate: "He's a big gun. That's how I've been referring to him in the book. From a tactical, action-oriented perspective, it's good to have a guy that has access to his power set. But I'd have to say, long-term, my goal for Doctor Fate is to flesh out the character a little bit more and make him more of a three-dimensional character. I think the problem with mystic/magic oriented characters is that they stop being real people and they become just a set of mystical powers that makes them an impenetrable mystery. It's something you can't dive into and do the very first issue, but long-term I'd like to see Nelson transform into as three-dimensional a character as, say, Mister Terrific is, or Alan or Jay or Ted."


» SEE: Doctor Fate I: Powers