7 Masters of Magic in the Marvel Universe
In honor of Doctor Strange #12, here are more mystic marvels!
Magic. Mystic arts. It’s the stuff that’s kept Doctor Strange in business for nearly 60 years.
What happens when someone (or something) can turn off his awesome powers like the flick of a light switch? Well, that’s exactly what happens in the upcoming DOCTOR STRANGE #12 from writer, Mark Waid, and artist, Barry Kitson, on sale Wednesday, March 6. This creative duo is about to turn Doctor Strange lore on its head after the hero’s momentous 400th issue.
Which raises the question: Who are some of the most powerful mystic beings in the Marvel Universe? Here are a few of our favorite characters who may just pale in comparison to the mysterious mystic manipulator we’ll meet in DOCTOR STRANGE #12.
THE ANCIENT ONE
We’d be remiss if we didn’t give a shout-out to the OG master, the very person who opened Stephen Strange’s arrogant eyes and introduced him to the wonderful – and sometimes dangerous – world of magic. Many, many years before the accident that would lead Strange to Tibet, the Ancient One, then just an unnamed youth, made a choice to combat black magic in all of its forms after seeing his friend Kaluu become seduced by the dark side of mystic power.
The Ancient One became so powerful that he was the first mortal to meet with the Celestial known as Eternity, who gifted him with the Eye of Agamotto and christened him as the Earth’s first Sorcerer Supreme. Don’t act like you’re not impressed. That’s like Moses on the mountaintop-level stuff!
You know a being (or group of beings) is powerful when you’re not even sure of how they exist or operate. Vishanti is made up of three very ancient Mystic entities: Oshtur, Hoggoth, and Agamotto. For untold eons, all three – who may just be one – protected our planet from evil.
In addition, Agamotto may have preceded the Ancient One as the first-ever Sorcerer Supreme on Earth. Referred to as the “All-Seeing,” he can witness multiple dimensions and time streams at once. His physical artifacts, the Eye of Agamotto and the Orb of Agamotto, have been used by Doctor Strange over the years.
Some believe that the Vishanti set up the title of Sorcerer Supreme, which would put them on a on or near the level of that Magic Controller we’ll meet in Issue #12. All in all, the Vishanti are beyond human comprehension, making their abilities greater than the ones any mortal could ever hold.
Doctor Strange’s arch-nemesis Mordo was also a student of the Ancient One until he fell under the spell of Dormammu and began worshipping the heinous ruler of the Dark Dimension. Even after Stephen became a Master of the Mystic Arts, his abilities still did not equal those of Mordo’s. Indeed, Karl Mordo is described as “the only human with greater power than that of Doctor Strange himself” in STRANGE TALES #130.
Hailed as “the most powerful mystic entity of all,” Satannish can grant the wishes of any mortal man. Like Satan, however, he is prone to making deals that doom one’s soul forever. For example, he agreed to make Lord Nekron immortal if Nekron could find a Mystic user to take his place. Needless to say, Nekron failed and was forever Satannish’s bondsman. The demon promised to make Nekron’s eternal punishment a hundred times worse after he attempted to weasel his way out of their agreement. After his face-to-face encounter with Satannish, Strange fought against the Sons of Satannish, a cult devoted to the mystic entity living beneath the streets of New York.
There’s much to be said for an eldritch being that feeds off the fear of others. Evil and manipulative beyond the veil of human comprehension, the Dweller convinced several people to kill themselves after he promised them immortality. Instead of granting this desire, he turned them into monsters known as Shade-Thralls. He also convinced Zoltan Drago to take up the persona of Mister Fear.
The physical embodiment of the fears we experience during sleep, Nightmare—much like the Dweller—also feeds off the despair and fear of the human race. If he so chooses, Nightmare can also trap individuals in eternal nightmares within his home dimension. He is such a nuisance that Doctor Strange makes sure to cast a protective spell on himself every night before going to sleep. In certain cases, Nightmare can warp reality to his will.
A Lovecraftian entity if ever there was one, Shuma-Gorath existed long before there was such an idea as existence. Like the Vishanti, Shuma-Gorath lives just beyond the veil of our feeble understanding, but unlike them, he (she? it?) merely wants to return to Earth and rule over humanity. Eons ago, Shuma ruled over a primeval Earth as one of the “Old Ones,” using the ancestors of humans as his own personal food source.
Comprised of one eye and many tentacles, Shuma-Gorath is always trying to enter our plane of existence with some help from underlings like Nightmare. He nearly succeeded once by using the Ancient One’s mind as a kind of doorway. To prevent the ultra-evil entity from completing its plan, Strange killed his master to save all of mankind.
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