After the successful release of Doctor Strange, news of a sequel was assured but never made official, so everyone was relieved when the sequel was officially announced at this year's San Diego Comic-Con. The announcement of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness came with the reveal that the Disney+ series WandaVision would lead into the events of the Doctor Strange sequel, further connecting the various projects.
All we really know about the upcoming film is that Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch will appear in the film, there will be madness, and we will see the Marvel Multiverse. So today we are going to take a look at a few comics that could help prepare fans for their upcoming trip into the Multiverse of Madness.
10 THE SHUMA-GORATH SAGA
Examing the title of the Doctor Strange sequel seems to reference a classic H.P. Lovecraft work, In The Mountains of Madness. Strange has dealt with a number of Lovecraft-inspired creatures and themes like Old Gods and Ancient Ones that could feature into the sequel.
Shuma-Gorath is the most obvious choice, as not only was his creation inspired by the monstrous Old Gods of Lovecraftian lore, but he exists as a threat to the entire multiverse. The character of Shuma-Gorath is not really overused like other villains, making it easy to catch up on the likeliest threat we'll see in the sequel.
9 DON'T PAY THE FERRYMAN/STRANGE TALES
While "The Shuma-Gorath Saga" properly introduces the Many-Angled One best, it's Peter B. Gillis' storyline collected across two different volumes that may fit best into the MCU at this time. "Don't Pay the Ferryman" sees Doctor Strange forced to destroy important artifacts of magic, leaving his universe in peril. Sound familiar?
The climax of Gillis' story occurred in a Strange Tales anthology after the cancellation of the ongoing Doctor Strange volume and features Strange battling the Fear Lords as he makes his way to once again battle the Multiversal threat of Shuma-Gorath.
8 AVENGERS/DOCTOR STRANGE: RISE OF THE DARKHOLD
The general belief among fans is that Scarlet Witch's role in both WandaVision and Multiverse of Madness will be that of an incredibly powerful but potentially unstable hero. This is something we've seen before in the comics due to her incredible powers, but Wanda's dark turn is not always because of her own actions.
Scarlet Witch has frequently been a pawn of the mystical being Chthon, who is connected to a powerful tome known as the Darkhold. While we've seen the Darkhold explored on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Chthon and his book could be the force that brings Wanda and Doctor Strange together for the film.
7 AVENGERS: VISION AND SCARLET WITCH - A YEAR IN THE LIFE
Strange has been involved with Wanda's life for years, which makes sense when we consider the magical twist her mutant powers have always had. Of course, it was in the Vision and Scarlet Witch mini-series that brought Stephen Strange into the story as a Doctor instead of the Sorceror Supreme.
Following the marriage of Wanda and the Vision, Wanda uses her abilities to become pregnant, and Doctor Strange is on hand to deliver the two children, William and Thomas. Unfortunately, it was revealed that those children were actually mystically stolen souls that belonged to Mephisto, opening up a whole new can of worms and leading to Wanda's further destabilization.
6 HOUSE OF M
One of the most anticipated storylines that fans have been waiting to see on the big screen is House of M, though there have been a number of hurdles to its adaptation, at least, until recently. The storyline teams the X-Men with the Avengers as they decide what to do with Wanda following her heel turn in the Avengers: Disassembled storyline.
Wanda uses her abilities to create an alternate reality known as the House of M, where the heroes all experience different lives with a mutant ruling class. The Multiverse of Madness title could be more literal than originally thought if Doctor Strange is forced to explore Wanda's broken psyche as she creates alternate realities like the House of M.
5 THE MONTESI FORMULA
What's interesting about Doctor Strange is how many different areas of the Marvel Universe he can operate in. Whether it's getting involved in the big superhero events or exploring the dark supernatural corners of the 616, Doctor Strange doesn't seem out of place. So when Strange faced off against Dracula, Lord of the Vampires, it worked perfectly.
Not only does "The Montesi Formula" retroactively attempt to explain the origins of vampirism in the Marvel Universe, but it also features Blade, who was also revealed to be heading to the MCU in an upcoming phase. The storyline also features Scarlet Witch, if we needed more reasons to bone up on this classic before the sequel hits theaters.
4 DOCTOR STRANGE & DOCTOR DOOM: TRIUMPH AND TORMENT
Fans have been waiting to see how the MCU will introduce the long-awaited heroes like the X-Men of the Fantastic Four, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness might offer an outside-the-box way to begin introducing some of those characters.
While Doctor Doom is usually an enemy of Reed Richards and the Fantastic Four, he is also a very talented sorcerer, which often brings him into conflict with Doctor Strange. Triumph and Torment features the two sorcerers working together to free Doom's mother from Hell and could open up the door to introduce the rest of the FF to the MCU.
3 SECRET WARS
Strange has worked with Doom more recently in another event storyline set within the Marvel Multiverse, though Secret Wars might be better described as the end of the Marvel Multiverse. Following a series of incursions between alternate realities, Doctor Doom works with Doctor Strange to use a galactic power to save the remnants of the universes.
Doom creates Battleworld, and the various heroes of the multiverse are folded into Doom's new reality with him as a god, and Doctor Strange as his Sheriff and closest confidante. If Strange is truly exploring a Multiverse of Madness, it doesn't get more messed up than Battleworld. Plus, it might be the easiest way to introduce a ton of new alternate reality characters to the MCU.
2 MARVEL ZOMBIES
If Multiverse of Madness is a reference to some of the darker alternate realities that exist within the Marvel Multiverse, there are a number of interesting realities we could see brought to the big screen. One of those realities we already got a visual taste of in Spider-Man: Far From Home.
The Marvel Zombies universe features a world that has been taken over by the zombie plague, with the superheroes and villains all dealing with their own zombification. The series became a fan-favorite that spawned a number of sequels and spin-offs, and fans have been dying to see the Marvel Zombies in the MCU, even if zombified Tony Stark was hard to handle.
When discussing dark alternate realities, it doesn't get darker than Warren Ellis' Ruins, which featured painted artwork by Terese and Cliff Nielsen, and Chris Moeller. Serving as a dark mirror of Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross' Marvels, Ruins follows an alternate reality Daily Bugle reporter Phil Sheldon as he examines a world where "everything that can go wrong will go wrong."
Instead of miraculous accidents that resulted in powers, the majority of the characters seen in Ellis' dystopian Earth are left horribly mutated or damaged by the events that created heroes in the mainstream universe. Ruins might be a little too dark for the MCU's exploration of the Multiverse, but it would inject a dose of horrifying realism to the MCU that would certainly have people talking at the water cooler.
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