Comics
Published July 6, 2022

Strange Academy: First Term Study Guide

Prepare for the 'Strange Academy' finale with this recap of the students' magical journey so far.

The end of the school year is a magical time, especially for the students of STRANGE ACADEMY. Throughout their first semester, the students of Doctor Strange’s school have learned to master the mystic arts while fighting, falling in love, and taking on some of Marvel’s most dangerous magical threats.

But since THE DEATH OF DOCTOR STRANGE, the school that bears the late Sorcerer Supreme’s name has been rocked by dark revelations and a student revolt. Before Skottie Young and Humberto RamosSTRANGE ACADEMY #18 rings the final bell on the school’s first year, let’s take a look back at how the academy has shaped the next generation of mystical heroes. 

What Is Strange Academy?

Doctor Strange and Doctor Voodoo founded Strange Academy to teach young magic users how to deal with the ever-growing number of mystical threats facing the Marvel Universe. In addition to its several human students, the school also draws students from Asgard, Weirdworld, Limbo, Jotunheim, the Dark Dimension, and many of Marvel’s other realms. To keep the school and its students (relatively) safe, Strange and Voodoo based the academy in New Orleans, a city brimming with magical energy where the more unusual members of its student body don’t necessarily stand out in a crowd. 

Strange Academy’s first class includes powerful, but inexperienced young magicians like Emily Bright, who was born with the ability to tap into immense mystical energy. Several students have links to major villains, like Doyle, the son of the Dark Dimension’s Dormammu, and Dessy, the demonic daughter of Limbo’s S’ym. The Enchantress’ twin sons, the trouble-making Iric and the nerdy Alvi, also attend the school, alongside the gentle Frost Giant Gus. While the friendly half-fairy Shaylee Moonpeddle comes from Otherworld, the silent, crystalline Toth hails from the swamps of Weirdworld. Strange Academy’s other major human students include the zombie Zoe Laveau; a nahual named Germán Aguilar, who projects animal spirits; and Calvin Morse, who wields a sentient, magical jacket. 

Beyond Strange and Voodoo, the school is staffed by Zelma Stanton, Strange’s one-time apprentice and keeper of arcane items, and the Mindful One, an enhanced member of the Mindless Ones. Several other mystical heroes rotate through the school as guest instructors, including the Ancient One, Scarlet Witch, Wong, Magik, Nico Minoru, Hellstrom, Shaman, Man-Thing, and Dead Girl

In Strange Academy’s early days, the students started honing their magical skills and got a first-hand look at the ups and downs of the mystic arts. While Emily successfully opened her magic-seeing third eye and befriended a talking Catbeast in Weirdworld, Doyle visited with a fortune teller who left him haunted by visions of his potentially destructive future.

The Hollow

After a game of interdimensional tag, the Strange Academy kids became targets of the Hollow, a swamp-dwelling group of tree-like wizards who wanted to feed on the students’ mystical power. Before Strange and Voodoo rescued the kids, the Hollow killed Doyle by absorbing too much of his power in a fight that also left Emily’s body imbued with a lethal amount of magic energy. 

To keep the magic from tearing Emily’s body apart, Doctor Strange pleaded with Hoggoth, a benevolent tiger god who had already taken the mystical toll that made magic relatively easy for Strange Academy’s students to use. Despite the strain, the god healed Emily as part of his deal with Strange to prepare the kids for an upcoming mystical threat. After Emily woke up, she kissed Doyle’s forehead and inadvertently revived him with her energy. Following his resurrection, Doyle gave Emily the Ring of Dread, a piece of himself that could keep the magic in Emily’s body under control.

Misery at the Strange Academy

As they studied under teachers like Agatha Harkness, Strange Academy’s inaugural class began exploring the Marvel Universe with field trips to Asgard and the cosmos. In Asgard, Iric quietly visited the Enchantress in prison, wanting to spare Alvi from seeing their mother incarcerated. 

While most of the Strange Academy students are friends, several of the young magicians started pairing off with each other. After Toth and Shaylee started dating, Zoe and Dessy shared a mutual attraction. Doyle even had a real first kiss with Emily, though he still worried about his potential future.

However, Strange Academy was rocked by another death when Toth was found completely shattered late one night. After Howard the Duck was called in to investigate, the culprit was revealed to be Mister Misery, the cursed living embodiment of Strange’s pain and suffering. After taking the form of Calvin’s jacket, Misery possessed Calvin and attacked Toth before targeting Strange Academy’s other students. However, Calvin’s classmates quickly overwhelmed Misery by feeding him their teenage angst and other negative emotions, and Dessy consumed the weakened villain. Toth was quickly revived with help from Catbeast, who was really a disgraced Weirdworld wizard named Ogeode.

Gaslamp

Following Doctor Strange’s death, Doctor Voodoo briefly shut down Strange Academy and limited the students’ use of magic due to the toll the school took on Hoggoth. But without Strange’s protection, some villains became bolder and started targeting the school’s students directly. Emily befriended the Imperator, a magic-hating villain who was held in the Sanctum Sanctorum’s basement and encouraged her rebellious side.

While discussing her family’s mystical history, Zoe revealed she had been corrupted by the dark magic of a wish-peddler called Gaslamp. Despite Zoe’s warnings, Calvin turned to Gaslamp after his jacket’s destruction. After being empowered by some of Gaslamp’s dark magic, Calvin grew more aggressive and began selling wishes to other Strange Academy students for the dark magician. Thanks to a tip from Zoe, Voodoo eventually caught Calvin, expelled him from Strange Academy, and confronted Gaslamp.

Meanwhile, Doyle jumped into the future as part of a lesson on time travel. While there, the young Dormammu saw Strange Academy’s students as two factions of adults battling each other, with Iric and Emily fighting him together as a couple. Haunted by these prophetic visions, Doyle almost left the school – much to Emily’s dismay – until Voodoo convinced him to stay. However, Doyle and Emily’s budding romance was shattered when she stood him up to comfort Calvin. 

While Calvin joined Gaslamp, a dejected Doyle attacked Iric and his classmates, saying that he finally accepted his villainous destiny. Emily responded by launching into a tirade about feeling condescended to and manipulated by Strange Academy’s teachers, especially as students like Calvin and Doyle were ensnared by self-fulfilling prophecies. With her impassioned speech, Emily rallied most of her classmates to her cause sand caused a mass walkout at the school.

As the forces of darkness surround them, the students of Strange Academy face an uncertain future as their first school year ends in STRANGE ACADEMY #18. With some of the school’s brightest stars either teetering on the edge of villainy or revolting against their teachers, the last moments before summer break could change Strange Academy forever.

STRANGE ACADEMY #18 goes on sale this Wednesday, July 6.

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