Friday, March 2, 2012

History of Dr. Fate Pt. 6

Kent V. Nelson
Kent V. Nelson, was the last incarnation of Dr. Fate before the DCnU reboot and Steven Gerber's last work.  Kent V. is the grandnephew of Kent Nelson, the original Dr. Fate.  A former psychologist, who lost everything due to an extra-marital affair gets a chance at redemption when the Helm of Fate chooses him as its next host.  The Helm finds Kent in a garbage bin nursing his wounds after having participated in a "bum fights" type of reality show for the internet where he lost to his opponent.  When he puts on the Helm, Kent sees  the last events of what the helmet had gone through before finding him (the death of Nabu, the Helm being thrown into outer space by Captain Marvel and its travels trying to find the next host).  Also, almost immediately after Kent dawns the helmet, Nergal shows up looking for the new Dr.Fate.  Kent is able to defeat Nergal with guidance from the Helm.  After the experience Kent thinks he imagines the entire thing and dismisses the whole event.

Kent later faces Nergal in the underworld as Nergal has kidnapped one of his homeless acquaintances.  Nergal seeks to strike a bargain and mentions that one of the previous Dr. Fates had struck a similar bargain with him in the past.  This is really cool, because Gerber is tying in 60 years of continuity here going back to the first time Dr. Fate faced Nergal during the Golden Age.  Kent declines the bargain and ends up fighting Nergal, this time defeating him with his fists rather than a spell.  Again, perhaps a nod to the Golden Age of Dr. Fate by Gerber back when Dr. Fate would throw down alot more.

Kent believes he is not worthy of being the next Dr. Fate after a girl who saved his life and is coincidentally named Inza is taken by Nergal but Kent believes to be dead.  Kent gives up the Helm to a girl named Maddy who wants the power and responsibility but learns she is not fated to be the wearer of the Helm.

The conclusion to the story is a bit muddied as Gerber unfortunately, and sadly, passed away from illness before being able to finish the story.  Four of his friends, who are writers as well, put forth four different endings to the story in honor of Gerber's memory.  Needless to say, in the end Dr. Fate triumphs over Nergal in all four endings.

Kent's first appearance as the full Dr. Fate was in the mini-series Reign in Hell.  He was not one of the main characters but had some face time in the comic.  Here we see Kent as the new Dr. Fate trying to learn the ropes of being a hero with very little guidance.  Kent V. Nelson later joins the JSA and becomes a full member of the team as he continues to learn of the Helms powers.     

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