Doctor Fate II

Eric and Linda Strauss

Created by J.M. DeMatteis & Keith Giffen

With text originally written by Andrew Bistak

NAME + ALIASES:
Eric and/or Linda Strauss aka Eugene and Wendy DiBella

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Henry and Rebecca Strauss (parents of Eric, deceased) Raina DiBella (daughter)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Justice League International

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Doctor Fate v.1 #1 (July 1987)

+ History

After Kent Nelson, the original Doctor Fate, died, during the Kali Yuga, a new host was chosen for the power of Fate. This was ten-year-old Eric Strauss. Strauss was a precocious introvert, an old soul in a young body as his stepmother, Linda Strauss, described him. Linda had married Eric's elderly father for his money. She quickly learned why Eric's mother had committed suicide; life with the old man was hell. After he died of cancer, Linda became obsessively protective of the boy, who all his life had received visions of the Lords of Order.

Young Eric Strauss and his stepmother and guardian, the widowed Linda Strauss. From Dr. Fate #1 (1987); art by Keith Giffen.

Nabu kidnapped Eric and quickly aged the boy to manhood. But Eric did not benefit from the same training as Kent Nelson's; he was attacked by Typhon, a Lord of Chaos, and abandoned by Nabu. Typhon forced the new Fate back into human form and Eric was found by the police, mentally scarred. Typhon put the boy in Arkham Asylum, under the care of Dr. Benjamin Stoner, an agent of Chaos. (Dr. Fate #1)

Eric and Linda accept their... Fate. From Dr. Fate #4 (1987); art by Keith Giffen.
Eric and Linda entertain neighbor Jack C. Small, along with Petey and Kent/Nabu. From Doctor Fate #2 (1988); art by Shawn McManus and Mark McKenna.
Linda discovers she can form Fate on her own—but with much pain. From Doctor Fate #8 (1989); art by Shawn McManus.
Eric Strauss dies saving Linda, on Apokolips. From Doctor Fate #12 (1989); art by Val Semeiks and Mark Buckingham.
The Phantom Stranger educates Raina and Eugene DiBella. From Doctor Fate #20 (1990); art by Shawn McManus.

Typhon bonded with Dr. Stoner and donned Fate's magical artifacts to become the Anti-Fate. Linda Strauss searched everywhere for her stepson and eventually sought help from Kent Nelson. Eventually Eric escaped from Arkham and found Linda with Kent Nelson. (#2)

Meanwhile, Doctor Fate's friends in the Justice League, along with the Phantom Stranger lost their onslaught on Typhon. They traveled to Giza in Egypt, a focal point of Fate's power. During this time, Kent discovered that the true power of Fate was meant to be a triad: man, woman and Fate. (#3) In Egypt, the Anti-Fate was about to destroy Eric, who had just realized that by joining with Linda, they could defeat Chaos. Nabu tried to prevent this but Kent persuaded him to allow the merge. Eric and Linda became the new Doctor Fate (II) and defeated the Anti-Fate, banishing Typhon once again; Order defeated Chaos. Kent Nelson wanted to join his wife, Inza, in the afterlife and Nabu finally allowed him to die. For Nabu's role in preventing the Kali Yuga, the Lords of Order banished Nabu to Earth, where he took over Kent Nelson's body. With little of his cosmic powers remaining, Nabu vowed to stay and teach Eric and Linda. (#4) NOTES: This mini-series was titled "Dr. Fate," but the regular series that followed was spelled "Doctor Fate." The notation herein treats them as volumes one and two. Also, regardless of whether Eric and Linda both formed Fate, or Linda alone, Cosmic Teams treats both as "Doctor Fate II."

Eric, Linda, and Nabu settled into a residence in New York, consigning the Tower of Fate to the past. For a long time, Linda had an unexplained attachment to Eric. And now that he was an adult, a strange—but mutual—romantic attraction began to take root. Nabu insisted on being called "Kent" and gradually learned how to be human. Although he still retained a small amount of his powers he endangered himself each time he used them. Their first adventure as Fate pitted them against Joachim Hesse, an occultist who unleashed a horde of demons on Earth. Fate banished all except for one which eventually became his companion. This demon occasionally took the form of a dog they named Petey. (Doctor Fate v.2 #1)

During this time, the Lords of Order wanted to end the universe prematurely and chose the vampire Andrew Bennet to carry out this task. If Bennet succeeded, the Lords of Order would release him from his curse. (#2) Fate and Nabu opposed the Lords' plan and struck an uneasy alliance with Typhon to prevent this. In India, Bennet was to play a flute that would cause Mahapralaya, the all-embracing Sleep of Brahma, the end the universe. During their uneasy alliance, Typhon haunted Eric's mind so that he could not think straight as Doctor Fate. As a result, Linda took control of the transformation and became the first female Doctor Fate. (#4) They were unable to stop Bennett from playing the flute, and the universe blinked out of existence. (#5) But with Fate's intervention, this was quickly reversed and Typhon was banished back to the realm of Chaos. (#6) NOTE: When Linda took control of Fate, it usually involved Eric in the matrix as well. Regardless of whether both or one of them were Doctor Fate, Cosmic Teams treats both incarnations as "Doctor Fate II."

Eric became dreadfully ill from his transformations into Doctor Fate. In desperation, Nabu urged Linda to form Fate by herself—which was possible but very painful. She would also not be as powerful. Linda teamed with Deadman and a mystic called Indra to again defeat Joaquim Hesse again. (#8)

From Apokolips, Darkseid took note of the new Doctor Fate on Earth and summoned the Lords of Order and Chaos, and saying they would both gain if Fate were destroyed. (#10) Darkseid went to Earth and Eric was forced to make the painful solo transformation into Fate, but Darkseid transported Eric to Apokolips. Linda was simultaneously able to become Fate, and found him there. (#11) To save Linda's life, Eric took a spear to the chest and he died in her arms. (#12)

Linda located Eric's soul en route to the afterlife, but he wished to stay. Their mysterious guide revealed that they were true soul mates: it was their destiny to share millions of lives together as brothers, sisters, lovers and enemies. (#13)

Joined the Justice League (Justice League America #31)

Nabu's was kidnapped by his longtime enemy, Wotan, and Linda asked for help from the Justice League in getting him back. They tracked them to a temple in India, where Wotan planned to meet the Avatar of God. Unexpectedly, Wotan succeeded in his quest and emerged a reformed man. (#14-15)

Eric never fully moved on to the afterlife and learned that his soul was eternal. When Eugene DiBella became brain dead following a car crash, Eric's soul entered Gene's body. (#17) Eugene had a wife named Wendy and a daughter Raina, who could see magical beings. When the Lords of Chaos brought back Benjamin Stoner as the Anti-Fate, the entire Fate team returned to the Tower of Fate (where the Helmet and Amulet had returned). (#19) When Linda tried to reclaim the talismans, she was rejected. (#20)

Nabu made a plan for the return of the true Doctor Fate—Kent and Inza Nelson, who resided inside the Amulet of Anubis. (#21) The Nelsons enjoyed their "afterlife"; they had even had a son named Kent. Ultimately they were persuaded to return to the real world when they realized they'd have a chance to start over and make their dream life happen on Earth. Linda died from wounds inflicted during the battle with the Anti-Fate, and her soul entered the recently-deceased Wendy DiBella. Thus, the souls of Eric and Linda were reunited within the DiBellas. Nabu, again given the choice between humanity and being an immortal Lord of Order, chose humanity and entered Wendy's unborn child. (#24) Inza Nelson became the new Doctor Fate.

Eric and Linda had no involvement with the Justice Society, as that team was trapped in Limbo during their time as Fate.

Post-Fate

Eugene and his daughter Raina DiBella played a large part in the final issues of Fate. (Fate #19-22) That series was removed from DC continuity.

+ Powers

Eric and Linda mystically merged with each other to form the being called Doctor Fate. Doctor Fate II was still one of the most powerful mystic beings on Earth but their power was not equal to the original Doctor Fate. They also had the ability to sense other beings of magical powers and origins.

Doctor Fate II never achieved the full power of the previous incarnation. When Eric and Linda were in human form, they were vulnerable. Because of the sudden aging of Eric, he soon became sick and could not control the powers of Fate.

» SEE ALSO: Doctor Fate I: Powers

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:

  • Books of Magic v.1 #2
  • Fate #19–22
  • Invasion #1
  • Justice League America #31-32 , 40
  • Justice League Europe #7-8, 10
  • Millennium #3, 5-7
  • The Spectre v.2 #11, 23

» SERIES:

  • Dr. Fate v.1, 4-issue limited series (1987)
  • Doctor Fate v.2, 24 issues (1988–91)