Real Name: Kent Nelson
Voiced by Oded Fehr
Nelson was born in 1928, the child of Celestine Babcock Nelson, a spiritualist, and Sven
Nelson, an archaeologist, but following her untimely death it soon fell to Sven
Nelson to raise the boy.
As a result, young
feeling compassion for the now-orphaned Kent, Nabu the Wise removed all
knowledge of his father’s death with a wave of his hand and raised the child
as his own, teaching him the ways of sorcery.
Over time, Kent Nelson came to master these magickal skills and, upon
reaching adulthood, Nabu decided that his time was over and requested that his
pupil unleash his full power against his master.
agent of the mystical Lords of Order, it is Kent Nelson’s job to safeguard
this reality from the destructive forces of Chaos, but he possesses reservations
regarding the role that has been thrust upon him.
He resents the fact that he has been a pawn of the Lords of Order since
birth, and this resentment almost led to destruction when he chose not to act
after the demon Karkull was released from his ancient prison; only the
intervention of Superman gave him the drive
to resume his role and imprison the demon once again.
Also, he is wary of the Helmet of Nabu, as it channels the
consciousness of his old mentor into his mind whenever he dons it.
on Dr. Fate (circa 1997): “Kent
Nelson was born to Celestine Babcock Nelson, a spiritual and Sven Nelson, an
gratitude for his release, Nabu would offer to teach the boy unlimited power.
Bruce Timm on Dr. Fate (circa 1998): “I believe we were just tossing ideas around about which heroes we wanted to use [on Superman], and we thought Dr. Fate would look great in the cartoon. We thought it’d be a great episode to go all out on, with Lovecraftian monsters and such, and we loved the way ['The Hand of Fate'] turned out (courtesy of Wizard Magazine).”
Paul Dini on adapting Dr. Fate for "The Hand of Fate" (circa 1997): “In every case we brought in a classic DC character, we've really spent a lot of time rethinking them; not only figuring out a place where they can fit into Superman's or Batman's world, but also make them very true to themselves (courtesy of [website name removed]).”
Dwayne McDuffie on Dr. Fate (circa 2005): “I like our version of him; [he’s] sort of a father figure to lost souls like AMAZO. We’ve used him quite a bit, especially considering how powerful he is (courtesy of ToyFare Magazine).”
Real Name: Inza Cramer-Nelson
Voiced by Jennifer Hale
A powerful sorcerer in her own right, Inza met
Kent Nelson when he first returned to
Dr. Fate Model Design Sheet | Dr. Fate Image #1 | Dr. Fate Image #2 | Dr. Fate Image #3
Dr. Strange Image #1 | Dr. Strange Image #2
From “The Summoning,” Swamp Thing #49
Created by Gardner Fox, who drew upon the weird fiction being published in the pulps of the time (by authors ranging from August Derleth, Clark Aston Smith, and H.P. Lovecraft, among others), Dr. Fate began his adventures in 1940 as a mysterious, awe-inspiring, mystical being; but soon took on more and more superhero aspects, such as a secret identity, a love interest (in Inza Cramer, who would later become his wife), and an established role in the superhero community fighting Nazis with the Justice Society (presumably done so he could better compete in the “mystery men” comics of the time, the same reason why Robin was introduced into Batman). Like many of his Justice League counterparts, Dr. Fate is a character with an iconic visual design—one that most fans identify immediately—but, as one would expect, he has undergone several different costume and identity changes over his published history. For example, shortly after his debut, he temporarily traded his full helmet in for one that stopped at the nose (no doubt an attempt by writers to humanize the character by allowing facial expressions) and, over time, his story was expanded to allow a legacy of Dr. Fates (with prior incarnations before him). In addition, the role of Dr. Fate was temporarily played by Inza, by Eric and Linda Strauss, by Jared Stevens (who, in the 1990s, was little more than a grim-and-gritty, trenchcoat wearing, John Constantine rip-off), and, in the present day, by Hector Hall, who is the son of the Golden Age Hawkman and Hawkgirl. However, for Justice League, they wisely went back to the original Kent Nelson incarnation.
As was the case with Aquaman, Dr. Fate and Inza were characters who, prior to Justice League, made previous appearances on Superman; in their case, the episode "The Hand of Fate," where they teamed up with the Man of Steel against the menace of the demon Karkull. However, as opposed to Aquaman, who underwent a drastic redesign in terms of his appearance, Dr. Fate and Inza remain relatively unchanged from their prior appearance (they do have different voice actors, however, with Oded Fehr replacing George Del Hoyo as Dr. Fate and Jennifer Hale replacing Jennifer Lien as Inza). In addition, the characterization of Dr. Fate has shifted slightly between series, as the Superman episode dealt primarily with Kent Nelson, the man under the golden helmet; but the Justice League episode focuses more on Kent Nelson in his Dr. Fate persona.
Based upon his characterization in the above appearances, viewers are ultimately left with many questions regarding Dr. Fate’s personality; considering that, on Superman, Kent Nelson had temporarily abdicated his costumed identity and, on Justice League, he tried his hardest to sacrifice Solomon Grundy and preferred to fight with the Justice League rather than simply explain the situation. However, as one can glean from the character profile listed above (which is a combination of his Kids’ WB profile [also reprinted above] and his summary from DC Comics' Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe mini-series), Kent Nelson apparently has come to resent his Dr. Fate identity, the Lords of Order, and his role as the protector of this reality. It should come as no surprise, as his relationship with Nabu the Wise has cost him his parents, his life, and—at times—his very identity, as the helm of Dr. Fate is possessed by the spirit of Nabu and, by wearing it, he allows its consciousness entry into Nelson’s mind. In the comics this grew worse over time, which temporarily led to the half-facemask, which reduced his powers but allowed him his autonomy; in later tales he simply gave up, and allowed Nabu to usurp his body. One gets the impression that, on Justice League, Kent Nelson isn’t willing to relinquish his identity, but he also realizes that his services in the war between Order and Chaos are absolutely needed, so he will act as Dr. Fate, but only when his presence is absolutely necessary. In addition, if his characterization in "The Terror Beyond" is any indication, he will attempt to complete a mission as soon as possible. The less time with Nabu in his head, the better; whether that means sacrificing Solomon Grundy to Ichthultu or holding off the Justice League to do so.
characterization is in stark contrast to his comic book incarnation, who was a
full-time superhero and a member of not one, but two superhero teams in his
time: the Justice Society of
Images courtesy of Animated Art at Choice Collectables, the New Batman / Superman Adventures Homepage, The Bruce Timm Gallery, Toon Zone, and The World's Finest. Dr. Strange courtesy of Marvel Comics. Additional information courtesy of Don Markstein's Toonopedia and The Comics Archives.
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