The ’90s saw companies try to breathe new life into their storylines. As a result, many characters saw change, including Dr. Fate.
Most fans know Dr. Fate as a powerful sorcerer fighting for the Lords of Order to ensure that there is balance between calm and chaos in the DC Universe. The most known characters to adopt the mantle are Kent Nelson and Khalid Nassour, who don the Helmet of Fate and come under the control of Nabu, gaining mystical powers as a result. However, there is one version of Dr. Fate that is quite different from what fans are accustomed to in regards to the heroic mantle.
The 1990s were a formative time for comic books. Publishers sought to breathe new life into their storylines in order to attract a new generation of readers. As a result, many characters saw significant changes to their classic incarnations, with a new generation of heroes continuing their legacy. Companies even went as far as to kill off their characters to attract mainstream attention. Dr. Fate was no different as a part of the narrative shifts underway. Jared Stevens debuted in Fate #0 in 1994 (by John Francis Moore and Anthony Williams) and was a significant departure from previous versions of Dr. Fate.
After retiring from being Dr. Fate, Kent Nelson hires smuggler Jared Stevens to recover the Cloak of Destiny, Amulet of Anubis, and Helmet of Nabu from an Egyptian tomb. After retrieving the artifacts, he meets Kent and his wife Inza to return the lost relics. In a shocking attack, the Kents are killed by demons who want Fate’s power for themselves. In an attempt to protect himself, Jared tries to make use of the amulet, but t explodes in his hands. The explosion damages his right arm but also grants him the mystical powers of Dr. Fate and a tattoo over his eye. He tears up the cloak to bandage it around his arm, finding that its magical properties restore his arm to normal.
After blacking out and waking up elsewhere, Jared is contacted by Nabu, who tries to convince him to become the new Dr. Fate; but he rejects the offer. He melts down the Helmet of Fate, using the metal to make a dagger and Ankh-shaped throwing stars, instead choosing to become a demon hunter under the name Fate. During his time as Fate, Jared is seen teaming up with dark heroes like Etrigan the Demon and even developing a close bond with JSA member Alan Scott. He was depicted as extremely brash and was quick to pick a fight, though he was still willing to do what was right to protect the world. Fate often fought against demons who disguised themselves as humans, with his powers allowing him to see through their facades.
Jared is eventually murdered by the wizard Modru, who was on a mission to kill the Lords of Order and Chaos to claim Fate’s artifacts for himself. In his dying breath, he warns the JSA of the impending dangers. The artifacts later revert to their original form, reappearing in the Tower of Fate, waiting to be collected. Ultimately, Jared’s time as Fate was a short-lived attempt to modernize a classic character.
The attempt was unsuccessful, with most fans not remembering the character’s existence. He has long remained dormant, though he recently reappeared in Dark Nights: Death Metal, being one of the heroes revived by a Black Lantern Ring. With Kent Nelson and the JSA appearing in the upcoming Black Adam movie, do not expect to see this version of the character on the big screen any time soon. Overall, Jared Steven’s time as Dr. Fate goes to show that not every hero needs a modern iteration.