Reprinted from DC Special Series #10 "This Immortal Destiny"
The Secret Origin of Doctor Fate excerpted from the diary of Inza Nelson
Issue opens with a red-headed Inza Nelson writing into her diary at a desk, pondering whether anyone in the world of men would trade their existence for a chance at greatness like her husband did and whether that trade would be brave or foolish.
She is waiting for her husband, Kent Nelson, to return home from another battle for Order, while hinting that Kent doesn't understand Order because only Fate understands that concept and when in the helmet, Kent and Fate seem to be two different personas.
Inza flashes back to the beginning, when Kent was 12 years old and exploring with his archaeologist father, Sven Nelson. Specifically while exploring the ruins of Sumeria Kent stumbled on the tomb of Nabu, a powerful mage. Opening the tomb dispersed a gas used to keep Nabu asleep; the gas was poisonous to Sven, killing him in seconds. Awakened from suspended animation by Kent's intrusion, Nabu attempted to make amends by stripping the grief from Kent's mind, replacing it with the knowledge of magic.
Inza says that, since that day, Kent has been more than a man--someone seemingly without a normal man's "cares, weakness and aging." She breaks into tears, pleading for a human man to grow old with.
More flashbacks of Nabu training Kent until finally giving him one final command--to turn his power on Nabu himself. Doing so tears apart the human form of Nabu to reveal the core energy ("...to look upon a god"). That energy claimed to be an exiled Lord of Order who had assumed the guise of a human to better work with mankind. Nabu is part of a constant battle between Order and Chaos in the multiverse. Nabu, in his human form, had battled through five millennia (three of which were mostly constant fighting) and his wounds were still unhealed. He needed a new host--Kent Nelson.
Thanks to Nabu's magic, Kent had aged years in a short period of time and was now a young man. Using symbols from Kent's own mind, Nabu formed a golden helm and medallion which when donned would join Kent the man with Nabu the Lord of Order to become Doctor Fate.
Reprinted from More Fun #56 "Search for Wotan's Soul"
The issue then reprints a golden age Doctor Fate tale by Gardner Fox where Fate fights Wotan the wizard. Doctor Fate and his then accomplice Inza travel to the river Styx under the cover of a dark cloud. They need to search the land of the dead to find Wotan's soul as proof that he really died when Fate threw him from a tall building.
The boatman of the Styx at first denies ferry to the living couple, until Doctor Fate exclaims "I Am Fate! I Go Where I Will!" The boatman responds "Enter the board, Doctor Fate, who can go anywhere he will!"
Across the river, Fate and Inza stand before large gates made of iron. Fate says this is the first of seven gates in the regions of dead souls. Inza knows this and says that the seven gates are made up of iron, copper, silver, gold, and alabaster (an unknown gray metal). We are shown the couple enter through the final gates, these of emerald which lead to the "gods of old". Inside they climb the stair of judgment to meet Wisdom who rules this world.
At the top, they speak into a blinding light, asking if Wisdom has seen the soul of Wotan. Wisdom claims that Wotan's soul is not there and shows Wotan in the land of the living. Doctor Fate and Inza run back toward the real world, quickly finding themselves outside again. An earthquake rattles Inza and Fate discerns that the quake was the work of Wotan who has figured out how to increase the "electric and magnetic flow between the poles" in an attempt to destroy Earth.
Fate communes with the ancients and as a result a great eagle appears to lead them to Wotan's lair. Doctor Fate rips away the outer walls and roof of Wotan's house, leaving them face-to-face. Wotan goes to pull the lever to start the destruction of the world but finds it powerless; Fate had used his powers to control Wotan's machine. Doctor Fate uses his fists to pound Wotan to unconsciousness and chains him to a rock. In suspended animation, miles under the ground.
Reprinted from First Issue Special #9 "The Mummy That Time Forgot"
The third story in this issue starts with the crystal Orb of Nabu shining across the world, something Doctor Fate says "portends the struggle I have dreaded all my life!"
The orb directs Fate to the Boston Museum of Egyptology where he finds the recently broken bodies of two men and then is confronted by a mummy embodied by the spirit of Khalis, a servant of Anubis. Regardless of the fear Doctor Fate professed earlier, here he exclaims "...you flatter yourself, evil one, if you think Doctor Fate might fear one such as you!"
Unfortunately for Fate, Khalis is siphoning the power from the Doctor, using it to power himself. Khalis says that his power comes from the amulet that Fate wears, the Amulet of Nabu, which he steals and runs away with.
Doctor Fate calls upon Ka, the Lord of the Ethereal Plane to join his mind with that of Khalis but is too weak. Fate returns back to his tower and enlists Inza's help to heal his human wounds. While tending to Kent, she complains about being nothing more than a nurse to Doctor Fate's human face and how her husband is not Doctor Fate. She says she is a prisoner in the tower.
Kent spends countless hours pouring over scrolls and books looking for references to Khalis. In 2030 BC, on the river Nile, a mad priest named Khalis spread the word of coming deaths at the hands of the god Anubis. As a reward for his devotion, Khalis was given the Amulet of Anubis.
Khalis used the amulet to enslave legions to build temples for Anubis until confronted by the human form of Nabu. Defeated, Khalis is set upon by the now-freed slaves who mummify and entomb him. Anubis curses Khalis with "life-in-death" until he has recovered the stolen amulet.
Doctor Fate now knows that the Amulet of Nabu is really the Amulet of Anubis.
Away from the action, Inza feels guilty for her early rant and decides to go to the museum to see if she can dig up some clues about Khalis. Doctor Fate finds Khalis and fights him with his fists while conserving his mystical energies for a single blow. During the fight he calls upon Tezcatlipoca, the god of trickery, for help disorienting Khalis. In one strike, Doctor Fate summons the light from all of Boston and directs it against Khalis who is not destroyed but escapes in defeat.
Inza finds a tablet that contains Khalis's magical name and also apologizes for her earlier anti-Fate rant. In response, the Doctor replies "You've been a great help, Mrs. Nelson!"
After returning the light to Boston's night, the city is found transformed by the addition of a sphinx and a pyramid. Awakened by Khalis's pleas, Anubis is angry and threatens Khalis for his petulance. Anubis taunts Khalis by saying that he might consider his cause if he destroys Doctor Fate.
Using the seal that Inza found, Fate speaks the spell written on it which summons Amon-Ra the sun god to help destroy Khalis, who crumbles to dust. The spell was "hetepkheti tefnakhte! Amon-Ra menteptah!"
Inza finds Doctor Fate on the side of the road, spent and wounded. He says ""we did it...we: you and me" to which Inza responds "AND Dr. Fate".