While Doctor Strange has committed his life to magic, he destroyed the rules of it with just one sentence–at least, fans’ perception of those rules.
Despite the fact that Doctor Strange is the master of the mystic arts in the Marvel Universe and therefore regularly does the impossible through seemingly unexplained means, he completely destroys the preconceived rules of magic in just one sentence–rules that he’s had to abide by since he became a sorcerer, and he does so simply by explaining it.
Dr. Stephen Strange was a neurosurgeon before he suffered a severe car accident that utterly destroyed the function of his hands. Since no amount of surgery could help him, Strange sought other forms of medicine and healing until he came across the mystic arts. Strange learned from the Ancient One, and given his inherent brilliance, he learned quickly. It wasn’t long after he began his studies as a sorcerer that Stephen earned his title as the Sorcerer Supreme, and the rest is history–but with one catch. As it turns out, throughout all of that training and all of his subsequent missions as the heroic Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange wasn’t using magic at all, nor was anyone else in the Marvel Universe–well, sort of.
In What If? Avengers Disassembled by Jeff Parker and Aaron Lopresti, fans are given a look at an alternate reality within the vast multiverse, one that–like all What If? stories–stems from the prime timeline of Earth-616. In this What If? story, the question is asked: what if the Scarlet Witch hadn’t acted alone? This, of course, is in reference to the widely popular and horribly tragic Avengers: Disassembled storyline in which Scarlet Witch orchestrated a number of attacks against the Avengers (which resulted in the death of Scott Lang’s Ant-Man) after losing her mind following the ‘deaths’ of her children years earlier. In this What If? tale, Scarlet Witch wasn’t acting alone and instead had the backing of perhaps the greatest tactician in the Marvel Universe: Captain America. With Cap’s help, Scarlet Witch’s despicable efforts are much more effectively executed and impactful. However, before the Avengers realize the truth, they believe Scarlet Witch is acting alone just as she had in the original storyline–leading them to seek help from Doctor Strange in order to combat her magic.
Doctor Strange Reveals there is No Difference Between Magic & Science
Beast and Captain Marvel–who effectively took the lead in stopping Scarlet Witch–sought the help of Doctor Strange, who happily agreed to offer his assistance after the two heroes rescued him from the clutches of a demon. While Doctor Strange was casting their desired spell, Beast and Captain Marvel start talking about how powerful Wanda is with chaos magic–at which point Doctor Strange says that, essentially, there’s no such thing as chaos magic, or any magic for that matter. Doctor Strange reveals that what is referred to as ‘magic’ is simply the usage of ancient symbology that shortcuts the laws of the natural world, and that uttering an incantation is no different from working out a mathematical formula.
When fans think of magic, they assuredly think of spells and mysticism that can instantly do the impossible and can’t be explained–but this issue shows Doctor Strange flipping that misconception on its head. Apparently, magic just does what science hasn’t been able to explain yet–implying that, given enough time, there will be no difference between spells and technology. So, when the Avengers went to Doctor Strange to seek help in taking down Scarlet Witch (and Captain America), they got a bit more than they bargained for in terms of mind-blowing information on the secrets of the mystic arts, as Doctor Strange completely destroyed the preconceived notions of Marvel’s magic in just one sentence.
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