When challenged by the Fallen sorceress Salomé during Zarathos' "Siege of Darkness," Dr. Strange withdrew into the Null-Space dimension to augment his powers gradually. To act as his proxies, he created two doppelgangers, or "Strangers" composed of mystic energy: Vincent Stevens, whom he put to work developing wealth to investigate newer forms of magic, and Strange whom he sent into battle alongside the Midnight Sons. Strange drove off Salomé and helped the Midnight Sons defeat Zarathos and his Fallen followers; following the battle, he was bonded to his colleagues as one of the Sons in the Rite of the Dagger, although most were unsure of his nature and allegiance.
To aid Dr. Strange in an eventual rematch with Salomé, Strange traveled the world to gather earthbound magical items, clashing with Nathaniel Richards (disguised as Doctor Doom), Doctor Druid, Namor the Sub-Mariner and others in the process; singled minded in his search, he had no compunction about allowing or even causing deaths of others in the process. Meanwhile, Salomé, having determined Strange was not Dr. Stranger as she had first supposed, suspected Vincent Stevens of being her enemy in disguise. Although Stevens unlike Strange, had not been created with innate knowledge of his nature, Salomé's underlings absconded with him, pursued by Strange. In her Iraqi citadel, Salomé revealed the Strangers' true nature despite Stevens desperate denials, and although Strange again defeated her, the conflict left both him and Stevens mystically depleted. Strange sought to merge with Stevens to become a whole and more powerful being, but Stevens refused, desperate to maintain his individuality.
Weakening by the day, Strange sought alternate means of stabilizing his form, unsuccessfully attempting mergers with X-Factor's Polaris, and the adventurer Rick Jones; the latter attempt forced Strange to fight Jones' ally the Hulk, possessed by Stevens via new forms of magic he had developed. Shortly afterward, Strange, Modred the Mystic and the Scarlet Witch were abducted by the Clave, a scientific culture from the future seeking knowledge to pit against their enemies, the mystic super-race Kynd. The Clave tortured Strange in their experiments and learned that he was the Kynd's metaphysical ancestor, but Stevens and his fellow prisoners escaped via the intervention of Blade and Man-Thing.
Dr. Strange soon emerged from his extra dimensional sanctuary and sought to reclaim the strangers' mystic energies and consign them to non-existence. Realizing he had no hope of defeating his creator alone. Stevens recruited Strange in a united front, but Strange's realization that his "brother" was manipulating both Dr. Strange and himself broke their bond, resulting in Stevens' apparent destruction and increasing Strange's. need to bond with another or dissolve into nothingness. Realizing his errant creation deserved a chance at life, Dr. Strange sent Strange to the Dark Dimension, where Dr. Strange longtime disciple and lover Clea was leading a rebellion against her uncle, the Dread Dormammu. There Strange merged with Nobel, a dying member of Clea's rebel unit, and the combination created Paradox, an altered, more human version of Strange. As Dr. Strange finally defeated Salomé, Paradox became one of Clea's strongest and most loyal supporters, and he has remained in the Dark Dimension ever since; however, Paradox's status as alleged Progenitor of the Kynd suggests he might one day return to Earth dimension.