Occult Origins

Vain, egotistic surgeon Stephen Strange lost the use of his hands in a horrific auto accident caused by his own recklessness. In turn, he lost his fortune through a series of costly, complicated and experimental surgeries and therapies in an attempt to save his livelihood. In the end, destitute and desperate, he sought a cure far off the beaten path of modern medicine.

In Nepal, after being saved from muggers by the powerful sorcerer Mordo, Strange met the person who had taught Mordo—Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme, the Ancient One, who held many mysteries of the Old World, including the potential to heal Strange’s hands. The Ancient One refused to guide Strange through the process until he relinquished his selfishness and opened his mind to a higher truth. Having done so, the doctor began to learn of the Multiverse and the ancient science of magic, as well as forbidden knowledge the Ancient One was not inclined to share.

Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange) talking with the Ancient One

Tools of the Trade

A Master of the Mystic Arts, Doctor Strange has phenomenally powerful magical abilities that enable him to skillfully conjure myriad spells. Strange has been able to use his spells to bind opponents and create complex shields and barriers, among many other uses for both defense and attack. Strange is also adept at astral projection, sending his astral self away from his body and allowing him to observe events without the knowledge of those present.

Strange discovers that certain artifacts can bolster magical spells and extend their benefits. At the New York Sanctum, he is adopted by the Cloak of Levitation, a seemingly sentient cape that not only protects him, but also fights for him. The doctor also makes use of Sling Rings to create portals to cross great distances and to enter other realms.

Arguably, the Eye of Agamotto provides the greatest source of power to Strange. In truth the Infinity Stone known as the Time Stone, the Eye possesses the incalculable ability to control time itself. With it, Strange can alter time around objects, locations or other beings, moving forward and backward through their existence. It can also be used to trap enemies in time loops, as well as giving Strange the ability to look forward into potential futures.

Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange) using the Time Stone

The Gentle Art of Making Enemies

Strange accelerates his mystical learning by mastering the use of his astral form, but as he dips deeper into magic, he encounters Kaecilius, a former student of the Ancient One and a disciple of Dormammu, a powerful entity from the Dark Dimension. Though still a relative novice, Strange opposes Kaecilius and his followers when they reveal their plans to bring Dormammu to Earth for utter destruction. At this same time, Strange also learns of Earth’s magical hierarchy, including a trio of Sanctums placed around the globe and overseen by Masters to protect the planet from magical threats.

Later, Thanos and his mission to acquire all six Infinity Stones poses a direct threat to Strange and the Time Stone in his possession, putting Strange into conflict with Thanos’ followers Ebony Maw and Cull Obsidian as well.

Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange) and Iron Man (Tony Stark) fighting the Children of Thanos

Seeking Aid

In his struggle with Kaecilius and Dormammu, Strange finds himself aided by Mordo, another accomplished student of the Ancient One, and Wong, a Master who watched over the Ancient One’s library in Nepal. Mordo proves himself a staunch ally until he witnesses his teacher’s use of magic she herself had forbidden and loses faith in her guidance. After Strange’s defeat of Dormammu, Wong travels with him to a Sanctum in New York City to stand at his side for the uncertain times ahead.

The Ancient One falls due to the treachery of Kaecilius, and though she wielded dark magic to further the cause of good, she dies urging Stephen Strange to continue his magical studies and become a champion for Earth.

Doctor Christine Palmer and Strange once dated, and she offers him assistance and comfort in the wake of his accident, only to be rejected by him at his darkest point. He does care for and trust her, as later, Strange seeks her medical expertise when he himself—and later the Ancient One—are injured during his battles. He also reveals his magical abilities to her and apologizes for how he’d once acted.

Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange) fighting Thanos on Titan

Some dueling egos aside, in the stand against Thanos, Strange finds support and help in Tony Stark AKA Iron Man, Bruce Banner, and Peter Parker AKA Spider-Man. Strange also fights alongside Guardians of the Galaxy members Star-Lord, Drax, Mantis, and their enemy turned ally, Nebula.

Strange Tales

Following his months of training at the Ancient One’s compound in Nepal, Strange entered into a series of skirmishes with Kaecilius, Dormammu’s agent on Earth, and his followers. This included an invasion of the New York Sanctum, where Strange witnessed the death of that Sanctum’s guardian at Kaecilius’ hands. During the fight that followed, Strange would be saved by the Cloak of Levitation, but was badly wounded by Kaecilius’ follower, Lucian.

Strange transported himself to Metro-General Hospital, where he enlisted Christine Palmer to operate on him while he simultaneously battled Lucian in the Astral Plane—and revealed his Astral Projection and newfound magical abilities to Christine in the process. In the wake of this, Strange felt regret at having had to kill Lucian to survive their battle, while learning from the Ancient One that he was the New York Sanctum’s new Master.

Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange) and the Ancient One

In the midst of this, Strange confronted the Ancient One over his discovery of her secret use of the Dark Dimension’s essence to prolong her life, something Mordo refused to believe until the Ancient One herself confirmed it when the trio battled Kaecilius in the Mirror Dimension.

When the Ancient One was mortally wounded during another clash with Kaecilius, Strange—though unable to operate himself due to his injured hands—assisted Christine Palmer and Doctor Nicodemus West in their attempts to save her, but she succumbed to her injuries. Before the Ancient One died, she spoke to Strange in the Astral Plane, telling him she saw infinite possibilities for his future and that while he could heal his hands and return to his life as a surgeon, he had the potential for so much more.

Armed with the Eye of Agamotto, the Cloak of Levitation, and his ever-growing mystical knowledge and abilities, Strange, alongside Mordo and Wong, attempted to stop Kaecilius from destroying the Hong Kong Sanctum, using the Eye of Agamotto to reverse time when Kaecilius was successful.

Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange) and Wong

With Kaecilius’ own formidable power allowing him to continually subvert Strange’s attempts to stop him, Strange took the fight directly to Dormammu. Confronting the powerful entity in his own Dark Dimension, the doctor enacted a clever ploy using the Eye’s time-twisting powers to trap Dormammu and himself in a time loop. This forced Dormammu to retreat and abandon his schemes to annex Earth into his dimensional holdings, and take Kaecilius and his followers with him in the process. However, Mordo, disillusioned by what he learned about the Ancient One before she died, left to walk his own path.

Back in the New York Sanctum he was now Master of, Strange, aided by Wong, set about learning all he could to contribute to his new-found position as Earth’s Master of the Mystic Arts. This included keeping track of otherworldly visitors to the planet and, if possible, their purpose there. This mission brought him into contact with Thor and his brother Loki when they sought their father Odin on Earth, a quest to which Strange was able to impart some assistance, sending them to their father’s side.

Later, Doctor Strange enlisted the help of Tony Stark after the Hulk crashed into the New York Sanctum. Having transformed back into Bruce Banner, he informed Doctor Strange of the dreaded tyrant Thanos’ accelerated drive to collect all six Infinity Stones—including the Time Stone housed within the Eye of Agamotto. Strange and Stark both took an immediate dislike to each other, but when Thanos’ lackeys arrived in the city, the two men, joined by Wong and Spider-Man, fought side-by-side to block the aliens’ march of destruction. Despite their strong opposition, Strange was captured and removed to the aliens’ spaceship, though both Iron Man and Spider-Man were able to sneak onto the ship before it left Earth’s atmosphere.

Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange) and Spider-Man (Peter Parker)

Strange’s own protective spells kept the Eye from being seized and opened, leading Thanos’ follower Ebony Maw to torture Stephen to get him to lift the spell. Rescued by Iron Man and Spider-Man from Maw’s clutches, Strange traveled with his new allies to Thanos’ home world of Titan, warning Stark that he would not hesitate to sacrifice Stark or Parker if it meant protecting the Time Stone. On Titan, the trio met several members of the Guardians of the Galaxy and the combined group drafted a plan to waylay Thanos upon his arrival. In addition, the doctor used the Time Stone to look at many millions of possible outcomes to their conflict with Thanos, but only a single one showed them achieving victory.

When Thanos arrived, the group’s attempt to get the Infinity Gauntlet off of his hand failed, and Thanos, possessing four of the six Infinity Stones, put up strong resistance to Strange’s magic.

Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange) fighting Thanos on Titan

When Iron Man was beaten in battle by Thanos and about to be killed, Strange stopped him, sacrificing the Eye of Agamotto to the alien warlord to save Stark’s life, despite Stark’s protests. With the Time Stone in his possession, Thanos left Titan to travel to Earth and secure the last remaining Infinity Stone he sought. His success in the endeavor was soon evident to the heroes still on Titan when many of them—along with half of all life throughout the universe—began to crumble into dust. As Doctor Strange felt himself begin to disintegrate away into nothingness, he comforted Tony Stark about the sacrifice he’d made, explaining that there was “no other way.”