Stephen Vincent Strange
Sorcerer Supreme, Master of the Mystic Arts, Stephen Sanders, Captain Universe, Vincent Stevens, Strange
The general public regards Strange as an ordinary occult scholar, if not a charlatan
Place of Birth
Strange Tales #110 (1963)
Strange Tales #115 (1963); Doctor Strange #169 (1968); Doctor Strange #45 (1992)
Black, white at temples
After high school, Strange entered pre-med at a New York college. Later, home on vacation for his nineteenth birthday, Strange went swimming with Donna, who suffered a cramp and drowned. Finding her body after a desperate search, Strange felt a sense of personal failure that eroded his medical idealism. After earning his medical degree in record time, he entered a five-year residency at New York Hospital, where his rapid success made him arrogant. When his mother Beverly died near the end of his residency, a bereaved Strange grew distant from his work. His talent was unaffected, though, and he became a wealthy, celebrated neurosurgeon before he turned thirty. His egotism made him cold and callous, interested only in high fees. He saved the life of injured United Nations translator, Madeleine Revell; following a romance and proposal, she left him due to his increasingly materialist nature. Two years after Beverly's death, her husband Eugene fell ill; unable to face another family death, Stephen refused to visit his deathbed. A few days later, an outraged Victor berated Stephen for his apparent lack of grief, then rushed from Strange's apartment into the path of an oncoming car. Blaming himself, Strange placed Victor's body in cold storage, half-hoping that future breakthroughs could revive him.
Circa 1963, Strange was in a car accident that severely damaged the nerves in his hands, ending his surgical career. Too vain to accept positions as a consultant or assistant, Strange sought a cure and pursued every available treatment, legitimate or not, soon depleting his fortune; in months he was reduced to a derelict, performing shady medical procedures that barely paid his bar tabs. After hearing rumors of the mystical Ancient One, a desperate Strange pawned his last possessions for a ticket to the East and found the Ancient One's Tibetan palace. At first annoyed when the Ancient One refused to cure him, Strange was later astonished to see the sorcerer attacked by mystic forces. Upon learning that the Ancient One was Earth's magical defender and that the attack on him came from his pupil Mordo, Strange tried to warn him, but Mordo mystically prevented Strange from doing so. For the sake of the Ancient One and the world, Strange acted unselfishly for the first time in years, vowing to learn magic himself so he could counter Mordo and his ilk. He offered himself as a disciple to the Ancient One, who accepted, having known of Mordo's treachery all along. The Ancient One spent years instructing Strange in the art of sorcery, teaching him how to tap the innate mystic powers of both himself and the world around him, as well as how to invoke the power of awesome entities, or Principalities, who resided in their own realms, most notably the three benign beings known as the Vishanti. A few years after Strange's arrival, Mordo left to seek greater power, and would often clash with Strange in the future. Strange's guilt over his earlier mistakes weighed heavily upon him over the years, and not all of his early recollections can be trusted.Lord Julian Phyffe and Sir Clive Bentley of Great Britain; Cardinal Alfeo Spinosa and Count Carezzi of Italy; Omar Karindu, Rama Kaliph, and Turhan Barim of the Middle East; Wai Chee Yee and Sen-Yu of Asia; and Aleister Kane, Kenneth Ward, and Frank Brukner of America. Other immortal adventurers, such as Immortalis and Terror, Inc., regarded his ascent with skepticism. Strange also found allies among more earthly heroes, aiding the adventurer Black Fox in at least two adventures. No later than the 1970s, Strange returned to America, becoming a mystic consultant in New York's Greenwich Village. He was joined by Wong, the descendant of a line that had served the Ancient One for centuries, who became his servant and friend. Strange's earliest foes included the demonic Bottle Imp; a nightmarish manifestation of the entity KhLΘg; and the demon Nightmare, who preyed upon humanity's dreams and became one of Strange's bitterest enemies. Developing a mysterious reputation like the Ancient One before him, Strange became an occasional consultant to local and even federal authorities.
While the Fantastic Four's debut heralded an upsurge of superhuman activity in recent years, Strange remained aloof from New York's many super heroes at first. The powerful Asgardian god Loki later tricked Strange into covertly attacking Loki's heroic foster brother, Thor; however, Strange soon pierced the deception and united with Thor to drive off Loki. Soon afterward, a clash with Mordo led Strange to encounter the young Spider-Man, who helped Strange rescue several people from a mystic dimension and convinced him to remove their memory of the traumatic experience, even though this caused them to forget Spider-Man's heroism as well. Impressed by Spider-Man's bravery and altruism, Strange came to regard him as a friend, and the two unlikely allies have teamed up many times over the years.
Strange soon faced the Dreaded Dormammu, ruler of the Dark Dimension and one of the Ancient One's oldest foes. Sensing the Ancient One's declining power, Dormammu plotted anew to invade the Earth dimension and challenged Strange to a mystic duel in the Dark Dimension. While there, Strange was approached by Clea, a novice mystic and daughter of Dormammu's sister Umar, although few knew her parentage at the time. Clea sought to prevent the duel, fearful that her home dimension would be devastated by the Mindless Ones if its ruler fell, but Strange would not yield. Although Dormammu vastly out powered Strange, their duel drained his energies enough to weaken the barrier which contained the Mindless Ones. Strange, unwilling to endanger the Dark Dimension's denizens, lent Dormammu enough power to restore the barrier. Enraged by his own weakness, Dormammu felt honor-bound to spare Strange, who bargained with him to spare both the Earth dimension and Clea, whom he found very attractive; however, Dormammu swore vengeance and became one of Strange's most implacable enemies.
Shortly after this, Strange openly joined several super heroes in battling the powerful mutate Sundown. He became a special consultant to prominent super-teams like the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and the Avengers. Months after attending the wedding of Reed and Sue Richards, Strange was reunited with Clea, who returned his love and came to live with him in New York. Later, following an extradimensional ordeal, he was forced to change his appearance in order to cross the barrier to Earth; he altered his traditional attire and added a full-face mask, perhaps in imitation of his super-hero allies. Upon his return, Strange retained this appearance to preserve his anonymity but later carelessly revealed his real name to a crowd while fighting Nightmare. Eternity, the universal embodiment whom Strange was aiding at the time, altered all documents and memories on Earth, changing the name of "Stephen Strange" to "Stephen Sanders" to allow Strange a private persona once more.Undying Ones, a vastly powerful demon race led by the Nameless One, who had once dominated Earth. During these struggles, Strange manipulated Namor the Sub-Mariner and the monstrous Hulk into aiding him. With the Undying Ones defeated, Strange seemingly believed that the Earth dimension was sealed from mystic incursion, and, troubled by his arrogant exploitation of Namor and Hulk, he abandoned his mystic duties and became a medical consultant, performing the selfless duties he had once thought beneath him.
Weeks later, Strange returned to action when Baron Mordo tried to kill him. Aided by the Ancient One, Strange reclaimed his sorcerer role and defeated Mordo, while the Ancient One, for reasons of his own, reversed Eternity's spell, restoring the name "Stephen Strange" to the world's records and memories. When the Nameless One returned shortly thereafter, Strange resumed his non-masked attire and again recruited Namor and the Hulk to fight alongside him. The three heroes later fought other threats and were soon joined by the alien Silver Surfer. This quartet formed the core of the heroic Defenders team, becoming friends despite their differences.
Strange soon clashed with powerful demon servants of Shuma-Gorath, a vast extradimensional entity who had menaced Earth thousands of years ago and now sought to return via the mind of the Ancient One himself. At his mentor's prompting, Strange slew the Ancient One, preventing Shuma-Gorath's passage. The Ancient One's physical death made him one with Eternity, and Strange became Sorcerer Supreme, guardian of the entire universe. Heavily burdened by his new responsibilities and seeking the solace of family, Strange tried and failed to revive his brother Victor using spells from the Book of the Vishanti, not realizing he was reading the Vampiric Verses, imbuing Victor with the potential for resurrection as a vampire.
Strange continued to share adventures with the Defenders, and over the months the informal team's ranks expanded to include the Asgardian Valkyrie, the winged millionaire Nighthawk, the happy-go-lucky Hellcat, and others. Strange's time with the team forced him to face more non-mystical foes, such as the mutant Magneto, the alien Nebulon the Celestial Man, the subversive Sons of the Serpent and the bizarre masterminds called the Headmen. Strange's sanctuary often served as Defenders headquarters, and their camaraderie, plus the love of Clea, gave Strange a welcome change from his customary solitude.
Manipulated by the trans-temporal sorcerers called the Creators, the Ancient One's spirit offered Strange a chance to become one with the universe, but Strange refused and was stripped of the title and power of Sorcerer Supreme. Shortly afterward, Strange battled the Creators, thwarting their reality-reshaping plans by defeating their ally, the cosmic In-Betweener. With their deception revealed, the Ancient One restored Strange's former status. Although Strange's adventure took mere days from his perspective, weeks apparently passed on Earth; who, if anyone, held the post of Sorcerer Supreme during these weeks is unrevealed.
Months later, Strange and the three other senior Defenders parted ways after a cosmic hoax by the mysterious alien Tribunals convinced them their alliance was destined to cause cosmic tragedy. Next allied with a band of vampires hunters against Dracula, Strange cast the Montesi Formula spell taken from the ancient magic tome the Darkhold. This spell destroyed virtually all vampires within the Earth dimension; however, unknown to Strange, the spell's energy washed over the forgotten Victor Strange, where its power combined unpredictably with Strange's earlier spell.
Meanwhile, Clea had returned to the Dark Dimension to lead the rebellion against its current ruler, Umar, whom she soon learned was her mother. Strange helped Clea ascend to her home universe's throne, but, bound by their respective responsibilities, the couple regretfully separated. Strange next found those very responsibilities challenged by the evil extraterrestrial Urthona, who coveted the role of Sorcerer Supreme. A desperate Strange destroyed his own collection of mystic artifacts and tomes to deny Urthona their power; unknown to Strange, his collection was in fact rescued by Agamotto, one of three Principalities who formed the Vishanti.
With the removal of Strange's artifacts, various occult threats that had been repelled by their power over the millennia broke free, leaving Strange to face them with reduced power. Accompanied by the extradimensional novice mystic Rintrah, Strange encountered the Ancient One's old rival Kaluu, who offered to teach him life-draining black magic as a defense against the returning forces; Strange reluctantly accepted. Strange's black magic ventures culminated in a rematch with Shuma-Gorath, which ended with the demon seemingly destroyed and Strange little better-off, but Strange eventually recovered and returned home. Shortly thereafter, he visited the Dark Dimension and married Clea, who came to live with him on Earth, ruling her kingdom from afar. Strange took Rintrah as his new apprentice, and a surreal encounter with Agamotto restored his seemingly lost artifacts and tomes.
Strange faced a far more unexpected part of his past when his brother Victor revived as the first of a new breed of vampire. Victor fell under the sway of sorceress Marie LaVeau, who sought to blackmail Strange into reciting the Vampiric Verses, nullifying the effects of the Montesi Formula. Strange instead banished the Vampiric Verses page from the Earth dimension, but Marie LaVeau used Victor as a template to duplicate the spell, making it possible for long-destroyed vampires to reappear. Unable to undo this threat, Strange and Clea were next drawn into a war between Dormammu and Umar for rule of the Dark Dimension; ultimately Umar reclaimed the throne, leaving Clea in exile with Strange. Strange next allied himself with several super heroes against the mad Titan Thanos, who used the near-omnipotent Infinity Gauntlet to eradicate half of the universe's population before Earth's heroes defeated him and reversed the effect.
As Clea sought allies to regain the Dark Dimension, Strange formed alliances of his own by manipulating the formation of the Midnight Sons, a loose-knit group of supernatural heroes, including those who had helped him invoke the Montesi Formula, destined to confront ancient evils. During Clea's absence, he briefly tutored the young sorcerer Augustyne Phyffe, who ultimately chose to abandon sorcery. After sharing leadership of Earth's heroes against the Magus during the Infinity War, Strange teamed with Namor, the Hulk, and the Silver Surfer to battle Shanzar, the invading Sorcerer Supreme of another dimension (by now, Strange had long since discovered the Tribunals' hoax and knew it was safe for the senior Defenders to reunite).
Meanwhile, the Principalities of various mystic realms faced the War of the Seven Spheres, a cataclysmic clash with opposing entities that was expected to last five thousand years. Several of them, including the Vishanti, attempted to enlist allies such as Strange, but Strange refused to abandon his earthly duties and, being no match for the godlike Principalities, renounced the use of their mystic energies. Thus stripped of much of his power, Strange was ill-prepared to face a vastly enhanced Dormammu, who had manipulated Clea's deposal of Umar so that he could again rule the Dark Dimension. Strange recruited the Hulk, the Silver Surfer, and the Ghost Rider (Dan Ketch) to aid him in repelling Dormammu, who retained control of the Dark Dimension despite Strange's victory, and Clea remained there to lead the new resistance. Strange sought out Immortalis in hopes of curing Victor, but was refused due to the temporary nature of the cure. Shortly afterward, Rintrah was seemingly slain destroying a dangerous talisman, and Strange, after placing Rintrah's body in stasis pending potential revival, took as a new apprentice Kyllian Kell, a youth empowered by Celtic Gods. Strange also began periodically gathering informal teams of heroes as "Secret Defenders" to face threats he could not handle alone.Goddess, who sought to remake the universe through her Infinity Crusade. While Strange's physical form served the Goddess, his astral form investigated the actions of Victor Strange, now the costumed hero Khiron, who had become too deadly a vigilante for Strange's liking. Realizing how violent he had become, Khiron took his own life, but Strange had little time to mourn; shortly after breaking free of the Goddess, Strange again faced Urthona, who had enlisted in the War of the Seven Spheres and had thus gained as much power as Strange had lost. Surviving this encounter, Strange tried to rescue Kyllian from a mystic dimension but left him behind when called to join the Midnight Sons against the ancient sorceress Lilith; weeks later, Kyllian returned in the enhanced form of Wildpride, later fighting both Strange and the Midnight Sons. Joining an international coalition of heroes in opposing the techno-magical threat of Mys-Tech's Un-Earth, Strange was one of six beings who stabilized the resulting unraveled reality.
Strange's life was further complicated by Salomé, a winged member of the mysterious Blood race and allegedly the first Earth-born Sorcerer Supreme over 20,000 years ago. With Strange's power still low, Salomé easily reclaimed her title; however, she cared little for humanity and began gathering followers to help her rule the Earth. Desperate for more power, Strange secluded himself in a pocket dimension, from which he dispatched two magical constructs based upon himself: Vincent Stevens, who built a fortune with which to develop so-called technomagick, and a being called Strange, who fought alongside the Midnight Sons and gathered objects of mystic power throughout the world. Unable to spare the energy to lead the Secret Defenders, Dr. Strange abruptly forced this responsibility upon another former student of the Ancient One, Doctor Druid, who served as best he could yet was ultimately unable to maintain the operation.
Dr. Strange had barely finished enhancing his sorcery when Stevens and Strange rebelled against him; in the resulting clash, Stevens was apparently destroyed, and Strange went to the Dark Dimension, where he merged with the rebellion's Nobel as Paradox, working beside Clea. Using elemental magic to defeat Salomé, Dr. Strange assumed a short-lived younger form and briefly adopted a more violent persona to shut down illegal operations engineered by Stevens. However, Dr. Strange's plans were interrupted when the Vishanti once again demanded his service in the War of the Seven Spheres. Unwilling to risk yet another loss of power, Strange complied.
Although Strange spent five thousand years fighting for the Vishanti against the mysterious Trinity of Ashes, he returned to Earth with little sign of physical age, only a few months after he had departed, his memories of the war largely suppressed; again, it is not known if anyone carried out Strange's duties in his absence. Having exhausted his typical powers, Strange sought new ones through the use of unpredictable Catastrophe Magic, which he later supplemented with so-called Chaos Magic; however, Strange later claimed there was no such thing as Chaos Magic, confusing matters considerably. In any event, Strange eventually regained the patronage of the Principalities, his powers restored to their height. Dormammu used the mutant Jonathon White and Strange's ally Topaz against the mage, but Strange drove off his enemy and magically guided another surgeon to save Topaz from Dormammu's attack.
Another sort of status quo returned when the extradimensional techno-mage Yandroth, an old foe of both Strange and the Defenders, unleashed destructive forces upon the Earth. Strange, Namor, Hulk and the Surfer united against Yandroth, but time had made them less compatible. When Yandroth seemingly perished, he used Earth's magical energy to bind the quarrelsome quartet with a spiteful curse that would force them together against all future threats to Earth, regardless of their other concerns. Other Defenders alumni lent their aid in coping with this situation, and Strange, although irritated by Yandroth's curse, was not untouched by the renewed camaraderie of his fellow heroes. However, the curse magnified the anger and egos of the four senior Defenders until they became mentally unstable and, as the Order, sought to end all threats to the Earth by taking control of it. Several other heroes, including Clea, fought them, and the energies unleashed by the battle were harnessed to resurrect Yandroth in a powerful new form. Shocked back to their senses by this development, the four Defenders stopped fighting, which reduced Yandroth to human form. Yandroth was defeated and imprisoned.
Shaken by his misuse of power and position, Strange cut himself off from his super-hero allies, even becoming aloof from his longtime friend Spider-Man. When the idealistic mystic Topaz became Strange's fifth known disciple, he held her at an emotional distance and, when she disobeyed him in the aftermath of a mystic threat, he dismissed her. Although Strange continues to defend the Earth dimension and to assist fellow heroes as needed, his old arrogance has resurfaced, and his ultimate role in recent upheavals within the superhuman community remains to be seen.
Doctor Strange was conscripted by various Principalities and mystical entities, especially the Vishanti, to participate in the War of the Seven Spheres. Strange, fearing his absence would be detrimental for his own dimension, declined, and when his superiors attempted to force him, Strange chants the Emancipation Incantation to free him from any obligation to them, in exchange for their release of any obligation to him:
"Satannish, Watoomb and Raggadorr Ikonn, the Seraphim and Cyttorak Agamotto, Oshtur and Muniporr Hoggoth, the Faltine, Valtorr and Denak! Those whom I named plus other I've omitted whose who threatened my cherished liberty hark to this irrevocable decree: such enslavement will not be permitted your claims on my person I now reject all demands of servitude I must deny for your wisdom and might I've the utmost respect but the price for its use is far too high better the path I walk be mine alone hear now these words: let my fate be my own!”
After the Illuminati discuss the Sentry, all the Illuminati members, except for the handicapped Professor Xavier, arrive on the scene to help him, joined by their teammates and allies, but the arrival of the Void forces them into fierce combat. Doctor Strange, attempting to shield Reed Richards, the Sentry and Emma Frost from harm, casts a protective spell in the form of a huge, red dome-shaped barrier to help impede the Void, and the strength of his defensive enchantment is augmented by the force field of the Invisible Woman and an energy shield from Iron Man, sufficient, if but barely, to stop the Void from destroying the heroes while it was being attacked by the combined forces of the X-Men, the Avengers, the Inhumans, the Fantastic Four, and the Atlanteans. Strange also worked with Richards and Reynolds to wipe the memory of the Sentry from everyone’s minds.
House of M Doctor Strange used the Eye of Agamotto to present the Scarlet Witch with a memory so terrible she collapsed from it, and ended the chaos she was inadvertently causing during the events of Avengers Disassembled; the frail Wanda was taken by her father Magneto, to the mutant island nation of Genosha for many months. After a desperate and grieving Magneto enlists the aid of his old friend and enemy, Professor Charles Xavier, to help his mentally unstable daughter, the Scarlet Witch, Xavier in turn summons his fellow Illuminati and long-time friend Doctor Strange, but even their combined efforts were not enough to help her. Strange tells the Avengers and the X-Men he has done all he can for her, and he does not believe anything in the mystic arts can help her, but he is still researching for a way to heal and free Wanda. Though Strange does not offer his own opinion when the gathered heroes at Avengers Tower discuss Wanda’s fate, he claims that together, he, Xavier and Emma Frost can shield the heroes from Wanda’s power and goes with the Avengers and X-Men to Genosha, tracking down Wanda to an old building after Xavier vanishes, but was unable to negate or disrupt her reality-warp in time or even to preserve his own memories. Strange is a psychologist in this reality (a surprising desire of the heart, unless Strange is not one of Wanda’s friends) who attends to Robert Reynolds, who claims of the presence of a dark shadow within his mind (the Void). The position of Sorcerer Supreme is in the hands of another, more sinister man, one who serves as a powerful enemy of Ms. Marvel, by the name of Warren Traveler, armed with the Eye of Watoomb, a man whose magical abilities were extremely high, yet threatened to drive him insane; even Strange was overwhelmed by his powers.
After Emma Frost and Layla Miller join forces to unlock his memories, Strange goes with the heroes to Genosha, able to connect with magic once more (though it is unclear to what precise extent, due to the office of Sorcerer Supreme already held; thus, the Vishanti and other Principalities cannot supply the same amount of vast power and authority to two people, as much of Strange’s former power was from the position of Sorcerer Supreme), but apparently powerless to himself restore reality and reverse Wanda’s spell. In his astral form, he finds and reaches out to a presently-sane Wanda playing with her created children. Strange discovers that Pietro was the one who was truly responsible for the House of M, and telepathically informs Emma of this. A level Emma, having failed to find Xavier’s body with the help of Cloak, tells Strange to ask Wanda where Xavier was, but, against Strange's pleas that now would not be a suitable time for his presence, Hawkeye shoots Wanda in the back with an arrow, angrily blaming her for his death and the House of M while saying he had deeply cared for her.
After this, and the second death of Clint Barton, inflicted by the unharmed Witch herself, through her children as power conduits, albeit accidentally, a shaken and alarmed Doctor Strange tells her to put the world back, and Wanda flies outside to resurrect her slain brother and confront Magneto himself. Strange cautions the remaining heroes not to attack her while in such an unstable state, and quickly tries to counter Wanda’s spell of No More Mutants with his own spell-casting while assisted by Emma Frost, but is sadly able to only shield several hundred mutants out of millions formerly.
Strange explains to the confused Avengers that only those his magic and Emma’s telepathy were able to protect retained their memories, while others forgot of the entire event. Spider-Man demands Strange uses his magic to take his memories of the illusory reality from his mind, but Strange refuses, saying that is not how the magics work. A troubled Strange claims that, as his job was to prevent something exactly like the House of M and its aftermath, he has "failed completely," one of the various factors that would eventually lead to his loss of his role.
Strange was unable to break the successfully wrought spell or even find Wanda with his powers afterward, and, after the joining of the New Avengers, explains to Beast, who was searching desperately for a way to reverse Decimation, that her magic has affected the Multiverse (and all of magic) itself, and even a mere attempt on reversing it could wipe them all from existence by imploding reality itself. Shortly after this confrontation, Strange is met with far more pressing issues that even the shocking consequences of the House of M…
Civil War It is revealed that Doctor Strange has been a member of the Illuminati, a secret alliance of several prominent superheroes, since just after the Kree-Skrull War. In the final known meeting of the group, Strange vehemently opposes the proposed Superhuman Registration Act, and informs Iron Man and Mister Fantastic that they are never to call on him again. Some time later, Wong tells Hank Pym and the Wasp that Strange has no intention of supporting the Act and is in seclusion in the Arctic. The government declares Dr. Strange exempt from registration. He is then seen in the North Pole, fasting and meditating. Uatu speaks briefly with the meditating Doctor Strange on the eve of the final battle between the two sides of the war. He asks Doctor Strange why he doesn't use his immense power to end the conflict with a whisper or a gesture. Strange answers that a Sorcerer Supreme cannot take sides in this matter, especially since there is no clear right or wrong, but he will pray for an outcome that will benefit mankind and spill the least amount of blood. Uatu reflects that this is much like his own situation, as an ancient Watcher of the Sol System. Strange expresses regret on his lack of involvement in the Civil War after joining the New Avengers and finding new love.
Doctor Strange also refrains from participating in the Annihilation War raging on as the Civil War continued, and instead chooses to continue to meditate in a solitary sanctuary in the Arctic, which he did nonstop for forty days, apparently meaning no major mystical threat took place requiring his participation. Strange does not aid his friend Silver Surfer or Galactus (both of whom have enlisted his assistance in the past on cosmic matters), Nova, the Kree and Skrull Empires, and others from battling against the Annihilation Wave, despite his personal power levels on a scale rivaling their own and nothing to occupy his own time, despite the probable consequences of Eternity falling to Death and his responsibility to all the cosmos upon his plane of existence, not merely Earth; Strange has clashed against beings of such class as the Beyonder, Death and the In-Betweener in the past.
Following the Civil War, Doctor Strange joins the renegade team New Avengers, and houses the team in his Sanctum Sanctorum under the guise of a Starbucks under construction, as well as aiding the team on their first missions, being key to their continued success at avoiding loss, such as disabling the Mighty Avengers with mental illusions, teleporting them away from Elektra to the Silver Samurai while in Japan, freeing Maya from the Hand's dark magic and defeating the ninjas, saving their Ultron-virus infected plane, casting a series of spells helping to calm the panicking symbiote-infected people to return to their homes, and enabling the New Avengers to best the Hood, at least temporarily. Nonetheless, Strange's powers, as he later reveals, have been weakened considerably, by both the events of World War Hulk and his use of Zom's uncontrollable dark magic.
Strange is still consulted by other superheroes even after the Civil War, such as when Hank McCoy sought him for aid concerning Decimation and Wanda's spell (to which he replied he cannot break it without destroying all reality, and that Wanda's magic has permeated perhaps billions of other realities and alternate dimensions), and when Spider-Man came to seek his magical expertise in healing Aunt May, to which he tried to help Peter Parker by using the Hands of Death to send him around the entire world to consult others, but says to Peter that even his magic cannot help May now, or at least he is unable to use it to help her. However, pro-Registration heroes are not allowed to see him, such as Iron Man.
Dr. Strange was among the members of the Illuminati who, alarmed at the continuing destruction caused by the Hulk, agreed to exile the Hulk into space, despite Namor's fury that Strange, having "known him the longest" consent to such an unprecedented plan; Strange tells Namor that he merely seeks to aid the Hulk, having failed to cure Bruce Banner, despite all his magic. When the Hulk returned to Earth seeking vengeance, in World War Hulk, Strange flies to outer space in his astral form and declines Iron Man's request to use magic to again banish the Hulk, arguing the Hulk would simply return again, insteading offering Iron Man the aid of the New Avengers to evacuate and help defend New York, which Stark gladly accepts.
Doctor Strange, after astral-projecting himself to the “entire superhuman community,” and conscripting all those who were not already summoned, such as Spider-Man and She-Hulk, to the defense of New York, remains in his Sanctum Sactorum, observing the battle of the Hulk against the Ghost Rider while establishing contact with Reed Richards, telling him that it would be possible for the Ghost Rider to defeat the Hulk, explaining that the Rider’s power was “boundless” and “godlike,” and also informing him when Johnny Rider lost control of the Ghost Rider, for the Rider only defended the innocent, which none of the Iluminati were.
Strange continues to remain in his mansion several miles away from the battlescene with Iron Fist, Ronin and Echo, while the other New Avengers aid the Mighty Avengers and other heroes, such as She-Hulk and Doc Samson, with evacuation. Strange tells his friends that the Hulk was “never a killer,” despite some doubt from the others, and, despite Echo’s suggestion of quickly ending the World War Hulk by permanently removing the Hulk, destroying his life, Strange refuses, asking her coldly, “And lose my soul forever, Echo?” in response. Strange next casts a spell to seek the person who could both defeat and redeem the Hulk, apparently meaning Bruce Banner himself, and enters the Hulk’s mind when Rick Jones stirred enough emotion and memory, combined with the vicious attack of General Ross, to create an opening for Strange’s astral form. Within the mind of the Hulk, Strange sees the inside of Banner’s mind, and attempts to calm and reason with him, reminding them of their history and friendship, as well as insisting the bomb was not planted by the Illuminati. Just as the Hulk reverts to his Bruce Banner form, and a sympathetic Strange presents himself in a physical form, he turns back and crushes Strange’s hands. Strange’s illusions and protective spells on the Sanctum Sanctorum are quickly broken by Hiroim the Shadow Priest, and is unable to sustain his new, flawed defense spells for long, unable to access resources in his mansion to heal them sufficiently in the time he had, though he and Wong, through the use of a magical handcuff-like object, tried to do so, or at least alleviate his suffering and stop the flow of blood.
When in a confrontation with Hulk, Strange's hands were crushed, thereby limiting his magic abilities. Strange invoked the power of Zom to battle the Hulk, drinking Zom's soul to become a semi-demonic version of himself, and defeats Hiroim, the Shadow Priest.
Strange chants the incantation: In the name of the Eternal, By the Rings of Raggadorr, Though his spirit be infernal, Zom must live once more. And may he who dies...die well.
However, the unfamiliar use of such vast dark magic weakened his control over his new powers, which caused Strange to almost kill civilians. The shaken Strange is overpowered by the Hulk, implanted with an Obedience Disk, and is forced to first fight a giant, tentacled monster, then battle the other Illuminati members. The Sentry arrives in time to save the Illuminati, and Strange is freed, though his mind, body and soul were all evidently scarred by this incident.
Secret Invasion: The Infiltration Later, the Illuminati inadvertently precipitated a secret infiltration of Earth by the shapeshifting, alien Skrull race by attacking the homeworld after delivering a warning not to endanger their planet again, leading to their capture, experimentation and analysis, which enabled the Skrulls to perform enough reverse biological engineering and cloning to gather the resources required to launch the covert invasion.
Doctor Strange, saying that his powers are no longer sufficient to magically bring the New Avengers to Japan, instead teleports the seven of them on board a Rand Corporate Jet owned by Iron Fist to retrieve Maya Lopez. The New Avengers, after succeeding in doing so, are teleported by Strange to the Silver Samurai, and are found yet again by the Hand and Elektra. Strange's astral form frees Maya, who in turns slays Elektra, revealing her to be a Skrull. On the ride home, Strange is silent and pensive, not participating in the discussion of the Skrull and the invasion, even though he was among those who started it. Strange only gives in to agitation when the plane begins to fall, and casts a spell (Vistanti Lununani Steenani) and it is unclear what precise effect is has, though it is evident it has failed to stop the plane from crashing. Strange is knocked out cold, but eventually returns to the Sanctum Sanctorum with the Avengers.
The disturbed Iron Man, having received the Skrull corpse from Veranke, summons the other five Illuminati members to discuss the threat. In astral form, Strange is the first to arrive, asking Stark whose body it is that is before them, while expressing his initial reluctance to attend and his surprise at Stark calling them back togther says, "curiosity...got the best of me." When asked how the New Avengers were by Iron Man, a cool Strange informs Stark he is not to have the "Why are you doing this?" kind of conversation with Stark, to which the latter replies he does not care for "any of that" any more. Strange after giving his congratulations to Professor X for his healed legs, explains to the Illuminati that the New Avengers had found the Skrull impersonating Elektra in Japan, and Spider-Man's senses, Wolverine's mutant power, and his own magic was unable to detect it. When the Illuminati were caught by surprise when the Black Bolt at the meeting was a Skrull, Doctor Strange's astral form withstood the massive explosion unscathed and conjures a magical binding spell (Cytorrak's Crimson Bands) on it, only for the Skrull, possessing mystical powers of its own, to break free of it and temporarily dispel Strange's astral form. Strange returns in a physical form and Iron Man tells Xavier to have Strange teleport them four out of there; Strange does so and a small nuclear bomb is detonated to destroy the two other Super-Skrulls attacking. The five Illuminati members then go each his own separate way, realizing that they have lost far more than just a world: they have lost each other's trust, and their ability to trust; the Illuminati is essentially no more.
Before the invasion was fully underway, Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum had been invaded by the crime syndicate of the supervillain the Hood, prompting Strange to use of darker magic than normal; this lapse prompts him to temporarily depart this plane to heal himself and to reflect on his worthiness to be Earth's Sorcerer Supreme. In the Prologue to the New Avenger issues following this disastrous event, it is revealed that Strange had lost both his mastery of the Mystic Arts and the Sanctum Sanctorum: "The attack at the Sanctum Sanctorum was fierce, and though the Avengers won the day, they did so at the cost of Doctor Strange, who lost both his mastery of the mystic arts and his home."
A Skrull scientist describes to Veranke that Doctor Strange is “one of the masters of this dimension’s mystic arts,” and at the relatively early stage of the invasion, before House of M, Veranke tells the other disguised Skrulls that they are to “start at the top of the list, taking them out one at a time,” and names Strange the first of the “bigger guns,” along with Doctor Doom, Namor, the Scarlet Witch, and Hercules. However, after M-Day, and after the reemergence of the Sentry, the Skrull Jarvis tells his fellow Skrulls, “The humans are doing our work for us. Thor is gone. The Witch is gone. Doctor Strange will buckle…” Another Skrull cuts in, “You’re wrong about Strange,” but the Skrull Jarvis says, “You’ll see. He’s an arrogant magician who could be pushed to any--” in response, causing a third Skrull to claim, “He’s a practiced sorcerer--” Jarvis merely says, “You’ll see,” concluding their Strange discussion and beginning their Sentry one. While Veranke was disguised as Spider-Woman, she did not seem to take any special interest in Strange, nor did she appear to attempt to do harm to him. The Skrulls either fail to replace Strange, or they believe Strange will collapse himself or is an insufficient threat, even though he was one of those whom struck their empire years ago. The Skrull Jarvis was indeed correct in his prediction of Strange falling. When Strange was studied by the Skrulls, the scientists were confounded by his mystical abilities, instead calling in the priests from their Vovco Islands, yet were able to contain him in an energy field after stripping him of his Cloak and Eye. Though Strange was unable to sufficiently cloak the Illuminati ship, he was able to, after reclaiming his artifacts, perform a short spell that kept Iron Man's heart valves pumping until they returned. Strange then casts The Images of Ikonn and succeeds in fooling the Skrull armada (with the aid of Professor X's psychic powers) that Galactus was attacking.
The Hood and his syndicate of criminals assail the Sanctum Sanctorum, tearing through Strange's illusions and defense spells, as well as shooting Strange himself. Wong manages to force the Hood away, and Strange summons Zom's dark magic in one ferocious mystical conflagration to defeat all his friends and enemies. Wong uses a reversal spell to undo the recent defense spell, and the Avengers feel major agony. Strange tells the Avengers, “Our struggles of late. I have had to call upon darker forces than I would normally use….Forces I thought I could control, but I can’t. It was arrogance. The same arrogance that led me down the path I’m on in the first place. My hands are useless again. And I tried to disguise it. All these years, and I have learned nothing. There’s—I’ve had no time to deal with what I’ve done, and the forces are overpowering me. I wanted to help you, my friends. I wanted so much to help my old friend Bruce Banner. But I failed. And I have failed at my task as Sorcerer Supreme of this dimension. I—I don’t think I can help you anymore. I need to atone for what I have done. I need to relearn all that I have lost. And put back magics which I had no business using in the first place. I can’t help you anymore. You need to leave here. We all do. I’m so sorry, my friends.” With a final word of, "Peesananbnaoo," Strange departed for parts unknown, having lost everything that meant to him, and having fallen from power and grace as the Master of the Mystic Arts.
After Strange lost both his magic and home due to his use of destructive and uncontrollable dark power, Danny Rand brings the New Avengers to their new headquarters, and, as he explains their new situation, he says, "Doctor Strange is out walking the Earth like Caine in Kung Fu...so we have no magic or hocus-pocus...".
Sebastian Druid, the grandson of the skilled but late mystic Doctor Druid comes to Greenwich Village to seek the aid and guidance of Doctor Strange over his newfound abilities and the book his grandfather left him, but Daisy Johnson, under the orders of Nick Fury, confronts and recruits him instead to combat the Skrull invasion. The Sanctum Sanctorum is clearly designated as "the former home" of Doctor Strange in this issue.
Doctor Strange returns to Greenwich Village once more to combat a stampede from the Dream Realm, though he himself admits he is in no shape to do battle with the beasts unleashed, his hands still broken and his mystical energies at an all-time low. Daimon Hellstrom uses hellfire to destroy Nightmare’s beasts, and greets Strange, saying he looks like hell. Strange tells Daimon that he hears of Kyle Richmond’s New Defenders team, and states he is not interested, claiming he is "destined for a decidedly solitary existence" and that he should not have returned. Upon Daimon’s insistence that it was Strange who founded the Defenders in the first place, Strange questions this, saying that, "I’ve often wondered if I was following a true path with my participation in that collective. Despite my best intentions, it never quite gelled. However…" Strange senses the Son of Satan’s destiny is intertwined with that of Nighthawk’s, saying he sees a cracked mirror image when he looks at Daimon.
Doctor Strange, after losing his title of Sorcerer Supreme, appears once again in the Dark Reign of Earth.
Strange is said by Brian Michael Bendis to have fallen from grace as Sorcerer Supreme from a long while ago, from his early invocation of dark magic (from the soul-stealing Dormammu or Satannish), the limited participation in the Civil War resulting in heavy costs to all of Earth's society in some way, his imbibing of Zom's essence, the maiming of a priest, his failure to prevent the House of M or Decimation, his morally dubious display of mystic ability by implanting disturbing psychic illusions of the worst fears of the Mighty Avengers into their minds, the use of power to cause the ninjas to cry for their mothers, the failure to detect the Captain America impostor, the inability to teleport the New Avengers to Japan, the inability to help prevent the World War Hulk, the failure of his Spell of Tatarshi to detect Veranke, the incapability of helping Danny Rand with the Iron Fist, the failure to detect the Skrull invasion, the vulnerability that the Elektra Skrull exploited to stab and nearly kill him, the inability to stop the Rand Corporate Jet from crashing and knocking them all out cold or to utilize the Cloak of Levitation to escape, the incapability to defeat the three Skrulls despite the assistance of the other four Illuminati members, and lastly the use of Zom's dark magic to defeat all the New Avengers and criminals in one ferocious blast.
Doctor Strange is still unavailable to confront the universal threat of the destructive Elder God Chthon, and, in his place, Loki, in the guise of Wanda Maximoff, projects her astral form to gather a motley crew of "Mighty Avengers."
Doctor Strange appears once more, with his Eye of Agamotto, along with the other five Illuminati, gazing at a projected image of the globe while floating, with Reed Richards having , in desperation reassembled the secret organization in an effort to fix that which has been broken. The reality-bending machine of Reed Richards, which he has dubbed the Bridge, has been tampered with by H.A.M.M.E.R. agents and now the other three members of the Fantastic Four are stuck in another time period.
From the issues of Hulk #10-11, a Doctor Strange from an earlier time period appears (wearing the dark masked costume he had worn long ago to conceal his identity, during the period just prior to the first known gathering of the anti-team the Defenders) with the other three original Defenders to engage his longtime rival Mordo, allied with Terrax, Tiger Shark and Red Hulk. It is revealed that two of the Elders of the Universe, the Grandmaster and the Collector have made a bet involving the teams of the original Defenders, for the Grandmaster, clashing with the newly formed team of Offenders, for the Collector. Strange must work together with his allies to fend off the sinister foursome if he is to the save the life of the woman he loves at the exact moment when he lost her.
Rand also asked the gathered New Avengers prior to their battle with the Hood, which had been planned to be a trap, where Doctor Strange was. Luke, mirroring Danny’s own words last time the New Avengers discussed the sorcerer, claimed that, “He’s out walking the Earth like Caine in Kung Fu." The Hood and his army also taunted the Avengers, saying this time there is no Doctor Strange to enable them to prevail.
Strange, wearing black clothing without his Eye of Agamotto or the Cloak of Levitation, contacts Wiccan, after observing him stop a thief being pursued by the police, attempting to find out if he is the one destined to be the next Sorcerer Supreme, mentioning that he had previously met with Jennifer Kale, only to find that she was not the one, and expressing his hopes that Victor von Doom will not be the one who will ascend to the position, despite the growing likelihood. Strange says he has fallen from grace from abusing his mastery of the mystic arts and the Marvel Universe's balance is too fragile for him to pretend otherwise, saying their dimension requires a pure guardian. Doctor Strange offers to make Wiccan his apprentice, with Clea still occupied in the Dark Dimension and having possibly exceeded even him. After sighting the Hood's demonic form approaching where they were, Strange confronts Parker, urging Wiccan to leave as the two confront, the Hood on the orders of the Dread Dormammu to slay Strange, thus claiming Strange's former role of Sorcerer Supreme, and having found him through Strange's evoking of his occult abilities, Dormammu having told the Hood the dark powers he has bestowed upon him are capable of locating Strange if Strange utilizes his magic, having retained some control of it despite his losses. Shortly after speaking with Billy, Strange is attacked by the Hood, and teleports outside the New Avengers' doorstep, magically wounded and pleading for help.
The Avengers race to help the fallen Doctor Strange battle the forces of the Dark Dimension as they make their earthly power play, with the entire Marvel Universe hanging in the balance, with the Hood, on Dormammu's commands, desperate to destroy Strange to claim his much-desired office of Sorcerer Supreme.
In New Avengers #53, Doctor Strange and the eight New Avengers continue their struggle against Dormammu and the Hood as the battle for the new Sorcerer Supreme continues, with a healed Strange, having regained his original costume, including the Eye of Agamotto and the Cloak of Levitation, trying to protect them as they fight a battle that "will shape the future of the Marvel Universe for years to come."
The new Sorcerer Supreme has been chosen, having passed the initiative. In the Dark Reign, despite Strange's former use of devastating demonic magic of Zom, the mystic appears to have sufficiently healed and cleansed his soul and heart to continue wielding the Eye of Agamotto, which can only be worn by such a person.
Dr. Strange is the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth's Universe, with the greatly extended lifespan befitting his station. Described as "the greatest and most learned magician on Earth," he has unparalleled mastery of the mystic arts, which he uses to defend this reality from otherworldly threats. His primary magical patrons are a group of entities known as "the Vishanti", a trinity of godly beings composed of Agamotto, Hoggoth and Oshtur. He has, on rare occasions, called upon the power of the demon Dormammu, an arch-nemesis; Strange more frequently did so before he realized Dormammu's true dark nature in the earlier issues.
Strange holds an M.D. in neurosurgery, although his ability to perform such delicate tasks has been compromised due to his accident. He is also an accomplished martial artist, learning martial arts as part of his training to be a mystic, able to dodge a kung fu chop by Mantis, something "only three others have ever done", and possesses considerable strategic skills, which he has employed as leader of the Defenders, all of which, combined with his level of intellect rivaling that of Reed Richards, Tony Stark, and the other great minds of the Marvel Universe and surpassing even those of amazingly gifted intelligence such as Peter Parker, makes Strange a most formidable being indeed.
Dr. Strange's powers are all mystical but take several forms. Main manifestations include:
Doctor Strange's powers typically come from one of three divine sources: The Vishanti (a trinity formed of Hoggoth, Oshtur, and Agamotto), the Octessence (a group of eight beings, consisting of Balthakk, Cyttorak, Farallah, Ikonn, Krakkan, Raggadorr, Valtorr, and Watoomb) and other beings who owe him a debt (this includes Satannish and even Dormammu). However, certain abilties of his stem from more obscure sources, such as the Faltine, the Seraphim, Cinnibus, Sheol, Ikthalon, Denak, Cyndriarr, Munnopor, Morpheus, Dyzakk, the Olympian deities (such as Poseidon and Hades) and others.
In the Marvel canon, virtually any human is capable of learning and harnessing magic — considered simply another form of energy within continuity — through training; however, each person has a different potential.
Dr. Strange is functionally immortal, having the immortallity conferred upon him by the Ancient One after Strange assumed the title of Sorcerer Supreme.Template:Fact He does not age nor succumb to medical diseases, though he can be killed. His physical appearance is usually a man in his 40's even though he is chronologically in his 80's. He also survived five thousand years in the War of Seven Spheres but his memory of this period has magically faded so it may not count towards his chronological age.
Doctor Strange has certain weaknesses, however, exploitable by adversaries and opponents: It has been said Strange's power is weaker against strictly science-based opponents, though this is illogical, as many times it has been stated magic is superior to science in the Marvel Universe. Strange also depends on spoken incantations, mystical gesturing, and his arcane artifacts in his duties; likely these can be counted as weaknesses, as Strange was incapacitated various times by being gagged and bound, preventing him from uttering arcane invocations or performing mystic gestures. Another weakness is that Strange, despite all his spells and magical training, is only "human physically." Hence, if not taking proper care or defense, Strange can be overpowered by mere blows, energy attacks, or gas.
The mansion where Dr. Strange lives, his Sanctum Sanctorum, is located at 177A Bleecker Street, Greenwich Village, New York City, New York, which in this universe was the actual address of the apartment building in which the series writer at that time actually lived. Strange has imbued the mansion with several spells (mostly protective, some proactive, other based upon concealment and disguise). In the comic, "Steven Sanders" was shown reading a telegram addressed to him there.
Strange's own power is often amplified by the numerous magical artifacts that are in his possession or by artifacts that he uses in the course of his adventures. The three artifacts he carries with him at all times are the Eye of Agamotto, the Cloak of Levitation, and the yellow sash tied around his waist.
He owns countless other artifacts he can bring out in times of need. Among them include:
As a result of being a member of the Illuminati, he has also come into possession of the "Soul" Gem of the Infinity Gauntlet, though he has sworn not to ever use it or to reveal its location. Strange also once kept the Book of the Darkhold in his library of the Sanctum Sanctorum, but it has since been removed. Strange was also in possession of the virtually indestructible sword Dragonfang, carved from the tusk of an extradimensional dragon and fell into the possession of the Ancient One, who in turn passed it down to his disciple, Dr. Strange. Dr. Strange then passed it onto Valkyrie; during the events of Ragnarok, she fell in battle and the sword got picked up by Lady Sif, lover of Thor, though Sif, too, eventually fell before Asgard's demise.
A desperate Strange was forced to use a spell to destroy all his magical artifacts to prevent the wicked Urthona from obtaining them, even his Eye and Orb of Agamotto. However, it is later revealed that Agamotto himself had teleported the artifacts to his own realm, and Strange later retrieved them from him, months later.
Dr. Strange shrunk his talismans and hid them behind the Eye of Agamotto. He restored them to their size when he was forced to confront the Infinity Gauntlet God-made Adam Warlock. The Scrolls of Watoomb were really useful to cancel the effects of the Gem of Space, the Winds of Watoomb recalled reading the Scrolls enabled Strange, Pip and Gamora to cover a distance of light-years in few seconds. Shortly later, Strange had to use all the talismans to increase his own powers and match, even if only for a few moments, the power of Adam Warlock. After the fight, Strange went back home and put the scrolls and the other talismans in their right place in his room. 
Finally, his Sanctum Sanctorum, due to the magic imbued within it, can be thought of as an artifact itself. The Sanctum consistently has a circular window with three swooping lines; this design has stayed with the building despite the window's destruction on many occasions. The design is actually the Seal of the Vishanti found in the window of Dr. Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum; it protects the Sanctorum from most supernatural invaders, also called "Window of the Worlds," or the Anomaly Rue. This seal has failed in barring out Hiroim the Shadow Priest, and the Hood's army when both attacked the Sanctum Sanctorum, though possibly a factor in this was Strange's own broken hands and misuse of dark magic, damaging his ability to maintain even the enchantments of the Sanctum Sanctorum.
Dr. Strange often conjures specific magical effects for specific purposes. Among them are:
Template:Cleanup In the Marvel canon, there are no clearly defined limits of what Dr. Strange can or cannot do. The stories themselves contradict one another: Dr. Strange is shown easily altering memories, or having complete mastery over time by either stopping it all together and rewinding it or traveling into the past in one story, then stating that his magic cannot do so in another instance. In some appearances he can stand against something as powerful as the Infinity Gauntlet, and in others he appears defenseless against simple physical attack by another person. Strange's ability to project energy surpasses that of even Uatu and roughly rivals that of the Silver Surfer.
Some writers have ignored canonical evidence that Dr. Strange has enchantments that shield his body from physical harm, and that he virtually does not age and can not die unless under his own terms (having made a deal with the omnipotent being Eternity which grants Stephen life as long as he wishes it so), with his predecessor as Sorcerer Supreme, the Ancient One, having lived several centuries.
Dr. Strange is often used as a deus ex machina to stop, prevent or undo many world-altering events that occur in other characters' comic books. Examples include: