WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Doctor Strange #13 by Mark Waid, Barry Kitson, Scott Koblish, Scott Hanna, Brian Reber and Cory Petit, in stores now.
Doctor Strange has endured a very exhausting last few months in the Marvel Universe. He found himself indebted to beings who basically loan magic to his reality, and even had to contend with a doppelgänger who threw his world into utter disarray.
However, Strange's most taxing challenge is unfolding in the Mystical Realm at present, linking past connections he never thought he'd see again. Sadly, as all these threads intersect, plunging the Master of the Mystic Arts into yet another drama where he's searching for last-resort solutions to save Earth, Strange realizes the only way to protect his home is by betraying his vow as an Avenger and becoming the lackey of Galactus.
Recently, Strange met Zoloz, an alien mystic whose home of Zaraxia was recently targeted by Galactus. Since Infinity Wars, after the debacle involving Adam Warlock, Ultron and the Silver Surfer for the Soul Stone, Galactus has reverted to his villainous ways, endlessly hungering for planets.
Zoloz ends up stealing powerful spells from Strange's library and goes on the offensive before Galactus can reach his people. In an ill-advised move, Zoloz banishes Galactus to the Mystical Realm, where he hopes he'll feed on whatever derelict magical worlds exist there. But as Strange warns him, Galactus will offset the balance of reality as a creature of science and technology simply cannot exist in an arena that's governed solely by the rules of magic.
Strange is left with no choice but to power up with new weapons and pierce the veil between realms to stop the devourer. Apart from wanting to maintain the fabric of reality, Strange anticipates magic evolving Galactus into something worse than his current form. Alas, the most famous Sorcerer Supreme Marvel's ever had just doesn't have enough power to accomplish this mission, and he's left weary, allying with his ex-wife, Clea, and Dormammu's sister, Umar.
They make it clear alliances must be formed for the greater good: Stopping Galactus from consuming the mystical corners they all roam. Strange, though, pulls a wildcard in their confrontation with the giant, and it's a bargain-style discussion fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe would enjoy.
Just as he bargained with Dormammu to protect Earth in the 2016 movie from Scott Derrickson, Strange strikes a deal as Galactus no longer has a herald. Silver Surfer was kidnapped by the Zaraxians, so Strange offers Galactus a menu by scouring the realm for worlds abandoned, ready to be made into a meal. Sadly, he knows he's going against his doctor's oath, as he's endangering millions of innocents by just traversing the realm and scouting for his new boss.
Strange has to play along, though, as it's merely a matter of time until he figures out exactly how to combat the titan. That's because, just as he extrapolated, these mystical energies Galactus has fed on so far -- including that of the cosmic villain known as Misan-Ha-Gorath -- are indeed transforming him into a whole new beast.
The clock's ticking, as he admittedly has no idea how to stop the cosmic giant from being warped and literally driven insane by the mystical power he's feeding on. All he knows is he has to go into the belly of the beast to figure it out. He better do so quickly, because unless he helps fully sate the Devourer of Worlds, Earth is surely going to be the next snack.
Doctor Strange #14 goes on sale May 22.