Defenders Spotlight

Defenders Spotlight: Doctor Strange

The Master of the Mystic Arts goes from Sorcerer Supreme to New Avengers before finding his way back to the Defenders

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By Ben Morse

On December 7, the most unorthodox team in history may be our only hope and reality’s last line of defense against insanity. Matt Fraction and Terry Dodson bring together some of the most powerful heroes in the Marvel Universe to face an ancient evil unbound in DEFENDERS #1!

Each day this week, we’ll closely examine one of the Defenders making up this new roster, giving a detailed rundown of their personal history and pointing you to digital comics containing the seminal stories that brought them to their current states.

Before they band together to safeguard existence, get to know the heroes we need more than ever with Defenders Spotlight!

Stephen Strange has experienced the greatest highs and most demoralizing lows life has to offer and persevered nonetheless. He has been Sorcerer Supreme, the mystic protector of our reality, and a man brought low by arrogance and tragedy. While Doctor Strange has traditionally kept close counsel within a small circle of trusted allies, he nonetheless commands the respect of his heroic peers, and for that reason can be called a lynchpin of the Defenders. When the team reunites shortly, Strange will once again play a pivotal role.

A successful surgeon despite his ego and abrasive personality, Doctor Stephen Strange found his career cut short by a horrific car accident that cost him the use of his hands. With medical science unable to cure him, he sought out the legendary Ancient One, a fable practitioner of the mystic arts, who would not fix his injuries, but took him on as a pupil. Learning humility and patience as he worked his way toward becoming an adept sorcerer, Strange saved his mentor from the machinations of his rival, Baron Mordo, and returned to New York City as Doctor Strange, Earth’s newest champion against dark magic and other threats.

Doctor Strange set up shop at his Sanctum Sanctorum in Greenwich Village, taking on the faithful and capable Wong as his confidant and encountering powerful foes like Dormammu and Nightmare. He would also meet Clea, a sorceress from the Dark Dimension with whom he fell in love, as well as powerful cosmic entities such as Eternity and the Living Tribunal. When The Ancient One passed from this plane of existence, Strange inherited his role as our reality’s Sorcerer Supreme.

Though his responsibilities kept him busy and separated from threats encountered by the likes of the Avengers, Doctor Strange would become a founding member of the casual alliance that would become known as the Defenders alongside The Hulk, Namor and The Silver Surfer. Strange would serve on and off with the group as his time allowed, often becoming de facto leader by virtue of his power and experience.

Strange would become clash with powerful mystic entities that had traditionally supported him, such as the Vishanti, causing his power to wax and wane over the years. He briefly assembled an even more loosely-knit rotating team of heroes as the Secret Defenders and became affiliated with the Midnight Sons, a collection of figures such as Ghost Rider who fought supernatural evil. He would continue to offer his powers and often his base of operations when large gatherings of heroes needed to fend off universal threats.

Along the way, Doctor Strange became part of the Illuminati, a group of powerful figures such as Iron Man, Black Bolt and his Defenders teammate Namor who sought to safeguard humanity without their knowledge. When Civil War over the Superhuman Registration Act split the heroic community, Strange initially elected to sit out of the conflict, but would ultimately side with the anti-Registration forces and even join the Avengers supporting that cause following the death of Captain America.

After his reckless actions during World War Hulk once again damaged his hands and unleashed the demonic Zom, Strange surrendered his position as Sorcerer Supreme and chose Doctor Voodoo as his successor. After spending some time trying to realign himself, Strange found himself drawn into a battle between the Avengers and another of his former patrons, Agamotto, that would cost Voodoo his life.

Doctor Strange has since returned to the Avengers and even enlisted a reluctant Wong to oversee their headquarters. However, premonitions have shown he will soon be called upon once more to serve the universe in an even bigger role with a new team of Defenders.

STRANGE TALES #110

The first appearance of Doctor Strange.

STRANGE TALES #115

The origin of Doctor Strange.

STRANGE TALES #126

Strange’s first encounters with Dormammu and Clea!

MARVEL FEATURE #1

Doctor Strange forms the Defenders with Namor and The Hulk.

DOCTOR STRANGE: THE OATH #1

Strange investigates his own attempted murder!

WORLD WAR HULK #3

Powered by the demon Zom, Doctor Strange goes up against The Hulk!

STRANGE (2009) #1

No longer the Sorcerer Supreme, Stephen Strange embarks on a new journey.

Come back tomorrow when the Defenders Spotlight falls on The Silver Surfer, and be sure to grab DEFENDERS #1 on December 7!

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