Doctor Fate is a Lord of Order and a superhero. He comes to life when a living host dons the Helmet of Fate, thus becoming possessed by the denizen soul of Nabu. Because of this, Doctor Fate is often synecdochally referred to as Nabu.
As a Lord of Order, Nabu places order above all else, which often results in morally questionable decisions such as trying to permanently take children as hosts regardless of their lives outside. However, occasionally Nabu will show kindness toward others, such as allowing Zatara and Zatanna one hour a year to speak. It is hinted that part of Fate's disposition is due to sitting on a shelf for decades at a time.
Doctor Fate is always manifested as the current host wearing the same uniform. The uniform consists of a golden helmet that covers the entirety of the host's head, excluding the ears and, occasionally hair, if it should be long enough. Fate wears a long, high collared cape, fastened with two large buttons. Beneath is a blue shirt with a golden oval set in the chest. He also dons a large golden belt with a circle in the center, and deep blue pants with golden boots.
Nabu was once a human and the son of Vandal Savage. After perishing in a battle caused by his father's alliance with the Lord of ChaosKlarion, the Lords of Order recruited Nabu's soul for their cause. Via the Helmet of Fate, Nabu's spirit would be channeled into a human host and become the Lord of Order known as Doctor Fate. Because of this, Nabu had to rely on human hosts to have a presence on the physical plane. While he is in control, the souls of his hosts remained within the Helmet, powerless to influence the outside world.
Nabu gained a new human host when Wally West put on the Helmet in the fight against Klarion. They were evenly matched, but Fate won after he hurt Klarion's familiar Teekl, severing his ties with the mortal plane. Nabu at first refused to relinquish control of Wally's body. Kent Nelson, who had been mortally wounded, and sucked into the Helmet along with Wally when the young hero put it on, convinced Nabu that Wally was not the right suitor to be the next Doctor Fate. He would keep the Lord of Order company until a suitable successor was chosen. The Helmet of Fate would reside in Wally's room in Mount Justice for safekeeping.
Zatanna used the Helmet to fight against Klarion. After she took him down, Nabu refused to give up her body, despite arguments from Kent Nelson. Nabu revealed he released Kent's soul to the afterlife, as he needed a permanent host to keep Klarion at bay. Zatara convinced Nabu to take him as a host instead of his daughter since he was better at magic. Nabu wasn't swayed until Zatara gave his word and Zatanna was released as her father took her place.
Doctor Fate attended the Justice League meeting to consider expanding its membership. During the meeting, Captain Marvel questioned whether Fate should inherit Zatara's seat in the League, because Fate coerced Zatara into letting him use his body. Re-evaluation of his membership was put to a vote, though Nabu justified staying on the League by stating that he joined at Zatara's request so that the others could keep an eye on them.
The moment the trio made it back to the Watchtower, the Team ambushed them with cure-tech. Doctor Fate was tagged straight away, and after taking care of the other two, Zatanna attempted to remove the Helmet. She was electrocuted by the magics that held the helmet in place.
Nabu made an agreement with Zatanna that he would leave Zatara's body every year for one hour, so that they could spend time together. Both father and daughter thought that agreement was not fair enough. Nabu said that they should be grateful that he allowed it at all. As promised Nabu left his host every year just for one hour.
Batgirl presented Fate with recordings of an ancient temple she and other Team members had found in Bialya. Fate translated the hieroglyphics, revealing an ancient ritual to cleanse a scarab. Unable to perform the human ritual himself, Fate began to prepare Zatanna to perform it, but it would take months for her to learn it and make it work in concert with her powers.
Mongul, an alien despot controlling a giant satellite called the Warworld, unleashed an attack on Earth, with Doctor Fate emerging from a portal and creating a giant magic portal to absorb a laser attack. Mongul fired missiles, but Rocket arrived and used a force bubble to protect Fate. Captain Atom, Captain Marvel and Green Beetle emerged from Fate's portal and they kept Mongul occupied until the Team snuck aboard the Warworld.
The Warworld May 26, post-12:35UTC
As Mongul increased his assault on Earth, Doctor Fate conjured an enormous protective shield as the other Leaguers took out as many missiles as they could.
Doctor Fate created a portal that allowed Captain Atom, Nightwing and Green Beetle to board the Warworld, where Nightwing asked Blue Beetle what happened to the rest of the Team. After a briefing, Fate created a portal to allow Green Beetle to take Blue Beetle home.
Doctor Fate joined 39 other heroes of Earth in a briefing in Metropolis. The heroes would use a computer virus provided by Lex Luthor to safely disable the Magnetic Field Disruptors causing the disasters. The heroes were paired off with another into twenty squads: one member would run interference against Beetle-tech Drones guarding the disruptors, allowing the other to get close enough to plant the virus.Doctor Fate was assigned to Mu Squad, and worked alongside Blue Devil.
Within thirty minutes, all squads had succeeded in their mission.
Nabu continued to grant his agreement with Zatanna for every year
Fate arrived in Grant Park to meet Zatanna. He found Artemis instead, who asked him to give Halo a mystic once over. Fate said he sensed an old soul in Halo's young body. Zatanna then arrived, and Fate removed his helmet, allowing Zatara and Zatanna an hour together. After one hour, Zatara put the helmet back on, and Fate left without a word.
Fate and several Leaguers observed an emergency session of the Justice League and affiliated groups on the Watchtower via video call. He was part of the unanimous vote to elect Black Lightning as the League's new leader.
Fate listened as Vandal Savage told the story of his life as Varl'jat and the sinking of Atlantis. Fate asked why Savage told him what he already knew. Savage was trying to convince Fate in intervene in the battle between Child and Klarion, questioning whether Fate could right the greater chaos caused by Child if she went unchecked.
Doctor Fate arrived in the Tower's sitting room after sensing the arrival of Zatanna and her students and demanded they leave. Zatanna refused. Fate told her he knew why she was there and had no intention of helping Klarion. Zatanna explained that she understood his logic, that she had shard it, but that the battle was so destructive that they had to stop it rather than waiting for the outcome. Zatanna wants to have Fate confront Child, allowing her students to strike from the shadows. Fate was dubious about her students' ability, so decided to test them. He teleported them away and summoned portals that allowed he and Zatanna to watch their progress. They watched as each student was confronted with their inner doubts and insecurities. While each student struggled at first, all overcame their issues and re-emerged in the sitting room. Zatanna said they had proved themselves, but it didn't matter to Fate; he still had no intention of intervening. Zatanna continued to argue with Fate. Inside the helmet, Nabu argued with Zatara as well, telling the story of Nabu's death and the creation of Doctor Fate, but Zatara argued he had missed the point of his own story and that Fate needed others to help him, now and in the past. Before Fate could respond to Zatanna, they were interrupted by a doorbell. They watched through one of Fate's portals as Klarion pleaded for help at the front door, only to be confronted by Child and Flaw. Flaw killed Teekl with ease, causing Klarion to leave the mortal plane. Fate, Zatanna and the students looked on in shock.
Child attacked the Tower, easily destroying it. Zatanna cast a spell of protection just in time to prevent Fate, the students or herself from taking any serious harm. Fate attempted to confront Child, but was knocked out by Flaw. After Child and Flaw left, Zatanna ran to Fate, concerned for her father. She was shocked to see the Helmet of Fate was cracked.
Fate awakened and assured Zatanna that Zatara was well enough. Zatanna got Fate to concede that Child needed dealing with and that he might possibly need help. Zatanna urged him to call on the Lords of Order for more power but Fate refused, and created a portal for them to pursue Child.
They emerged in Sydney, to find the city devastated by a volcano at the base to a pillar of fire. Child had been and gone. The group debated staying and helping, but Fate and a suddenly there Stranger argued that they needed to prioritize stopping Child. The Stranger had already summoned others to help the disasters created by Child. Zatanna reluctantly agreed, and the group set off through another portal.
They arrived in Manhattan. Child was already gone, having left a pillar of fire and an area of reversed gravity. Other heroes, and even Wizard to Zatanna's amazement, were helping, so the group moved on.
The group arrived in Agra to find another pillar and a blizzard freezing the city. No one was yet there to help, prompting Traci to want to stay, but Zatanna insisted they stick with the plan and move on in pursuit of Child.
The group arrived at the North Pole, but found no pillar; they had finally caught up with Child. Zatanna and her students pooled all their power into Fate, who unleashed an almighty attack on Child, to no effect. Child summoned a pillar of fire, easily disrupting the heroes' efforts, then trapped Fate in a fist of ice, before leaving. Moments later, a school bus teleported in.
In the helmet, Zatara told Nabu his life story, urging him to pass it on to Zatanna if he did not survive. Nabu reluctantly agreed.
Klarion, who had possessed the school bus to anchor himself to the mortal plane, attracted the attention of the heroes, as Fate freed himself. Zatanna got Fate to, reluctantly, agree to help Klarion, and the group boarded the bus.
As the bus flew through time and space, following a map provided by Fate, Klarion insisted he needed a new familiar before they could do anything else.
They arrived at the Old Salem Animal Shelter. Zatanna and her students brought out several cats to Klarion, but he eventually chose a stray from off the street as his new familiar, allowing him to take human form once more. Fate, Klarion, Zatanna and her students left to fight Child.
Fate, Zatanna, Klarion and the Sentinels emerged at the ruins of the Tower of Fate. Zatanna immediately cast a glamour to make her and her students invisible, before Fate conjured a summoning circle. Child and Flaw appeared, and soon attacked Fate and Klarion, who initially had no trouble deflecting her attacks. Child used Fate and Klarion's attacks to power a pillar of fire, but Mary drew power from it, distracting Child. This left her open to an attack from Khalid, but she easily overcame it and revealed Zatanna and the students, before knocking them down with an energy blast.
Suddenly Child's pillar went out; she had lost the backing of the other Chaos Lords. She was still a great threat, however, and summoned fire rain, which Zatanna blocked with a magic shield. Child summoned tendrils of energy which she used to ensnare Fate. Meanwhile, Traci noticed Flaw's flaw and targeted it, destroying him and banishing Child from the mortal plane. Klarion quickly departed, and the others all congratulated Traci. Fate admitted the students had impressed him, and Zatanna agreed they had showed great potential.
Zatanna finished explaining her plan to have rotating hosts for Doctor Fate to Khalid and Traci, before turning to talk to Mary. Mary was very upset not to be included in the plan, viewing it as a punishment. Zatanna explained that Mary was too drawn to power and thought too much like Nabu. Fate was drawn to the argument, forcing Zatanna to explain her proposal to him: Fate would have rotating hosts; Traci, Khalid, Zatara and herself would each wear the helmet for one week before passing it on to the next host. Fate was open to the idea, but Mary was furious. Zatanna offered to work with her more, but Mary demanded to be sent home, which Fate did. Afterward, Nabu agreed to the proposal, but Zatara did not. He removed the helmet so Zatara could argue, but Zatanna convinced him that she was no longer the little girl he had tried to save, and that she could bear the burden. Khalid and Traci agreed to the plan. Khalid took the helmet and became Doctor Fate, allowing Zatanna and Zatara time together.
The group went back to the bus. After Zatanna cast a spell to see what the bus had been through, Fate sent it back. Eager to begin rebuilding the Tower, Fate left with a farewell to Zatanna.
Later, in the helmet, Nabu and Khalid listened as the Stranger explained how he and Savage had convinced the Lords of Chaos to stop backing Child, and that Zatanna's idea to have multiple hosts for Fate had started the situation.
Following Project Thrinos's failure, Doctor Fate, hosted by Thirteen, visited Vandal Savage. Fate told Savage he should not have been surprised that the Lords of Order did not allow his agent to use Arion's crown. Savage declared them fools, insisting he would have brought order to three-fourths of the world. Fate observed that the Book of Chaos which Savage had opened on Atlantis was now closed, and left, leaving behind an enraged Savage.
After threatening Nabu with no peace, he agreed to help find Conner's spirit and gathered a number of other powerful magic users around the bell of the Tower of Fate. They attempted a ritual to find Superboy's spirit, but failed. Inside the helmet, Nabu suggested Conner might be at peace, but Zatanna wondered if their failure meant that Conner was not dead at all.
Nabu has no physical form, thus requiring a host in order to inhabit the reality of Earth. His magical connection to the Helmet of Fate allows him to completely possess the body of those that don said helmet. Once in control, he can utilize many mystical abilities including:
Fate's magic usually manifests in the shape of a yellow ankh.
Nabu exists inside of the helmet of Fate. Without a host body, he cannot manifest as Fate and cannot affect the physical world. His power is also dependent on the host. As stated by Klarion when Nabu possessed Wally, Fate was weak because Wally had no affinity with or belief in magic. If Doctor Fate is injured when in battle, his host will also feel pain. Zatara also offered himself to Fate by stating that his magic was at its peak and his body fully developed on which Nabu agreed and chose Zatara over Zatanna. Since human host bodies cannot last forever, they will eventually need a replacement.