DC Teases Return of Doctor Fate

In the latest issue of Justice League Dark, the series hinted that Doctor Fate would return -- perhaps to do battle with the Justice League on behalf of Nabu, the spirit that gives him power. Khalid Nassour, the young inheritor of Kent Nelson's Doctor Fate helmet who was introduced during the DC You initiative immediately preceding DC's universe-tweaking "Rebirth" relaunch, appeared in the issue to explain that the reason Nabu had turned against the Justice League was that he had been traumatized by the events of Dark Nights: Metal, the crossover series that established a deep mythology for Nth metal, one of the subtances that Fate's helmet and other artifacts is made from.

Nabu, seeing the potential for the world to be consumed by the destruction of the Source Wall and the coming of the Otherkind, has an ambitious and kind of insane plan to destroy magic in the DC Universe more or less altogether. That, obviously, doesn't sit so well with a team of magic-based heroes who would find themselves in the crosshairs of such a plan.

Per the story, Nabu has sealed off Kent Nelson's consciousness, and used the power of Fate to bring the Otherkind in to help do his dirty work. Khalid thinks that it's Fate himself who presents a bigger threat even than the invaders, since he could tip the scales of the battle one way or the other. His plan? To take on the helmet himself and steer Fate's powers toward the side of the angels.

It's hard to say whether this Fate is directly linked to the one who appeared alongside the rest of the revived Justice Society of America in the final pages of Doomsday Clock or not. While traditionally there has been just one Doctor Fate, there have been a number of hosts who have used the powers in a number of realities. The nature of the newly-revitalized infinite multiverse means that it could be something entirely unrelated, or it could be that was Nelson, and that the delays to Doomsday Clock mean that story happened well before this one.

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You can check out Justice League Dark #18 now, and go back all the way to #9 for backstory on how the Helmet of Fate has been influencing the events of the series along the way.

Originally introduced in 1940, Doctor Fate has become one of the most powerful magical beings in the DC Universe, but cracking the code to making him connect with readers has been a big harder, and there have been several attempts at relaunching or reimagining the character since the events of "Crisis on Infinite Earths" in the '80s.