Defending an entire dimension from incursions from other dimensions as well as attacks from other sorcerers from your own dimension can be difficult work to do alone. That’s why the Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Stephen Strange, has always had a group of close allies to help him in his work; from disciples to mentors to fellow heroes, he is almost never truly alone.
Also, for a man who often sees himself as somewhat cut off from the normal superhero world, Doctor Strange has ended up on his fair share of superhero teams, including a number of variations of the Defenders and a few teams of the Avengers. However, not that many of his fellow heroes ever got the chance to get really close to the good Doctor. Few really have period. Here, then, are the 15 greatest allies of Doctor Strange.
15. Daimon Hellstrom
Doctor Strange and Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan, first became intertwined with each other when Strange needed his help on a mission with the Defenders. Hellstrom soon became a recurring member of the Defenders (the way the Defenders worked was that they were not really a team in the typical sense, but more a group of heroes who hung out with each other; different members would show up for different missions) and also fell in love with one of the longstanding members of the Defenders, Patsy “Hellcat” Walker. After their marriage, however, when they retired as adventurers, Hellstrom’s past connection to hell got the best of him and he became a much darker figure.
In the years since, Strange has encountered Hellstrom a number of times, often as allies against whatever big magical problem has shown up, but sometimes as adversaries. Hellstrom tends to have a bit of a Machiavellian streak in him, so you can never fully trust him. Still, as long as his interests align with yours, he’s a strong ally to have on your side.
When Doctor Strange was in character limbo for a while after the cancellation of his original series, he was eventually revealed to be in ACTUAL limbo by a villain. A young woman sacrificed herself to free Strange in an issue of “Incredible Hulk.” Steve Englehart during the 1970s was one of the masters of picking up unresolved plot points from other titles and working them into his books, and that’s what he did in the pages of the “Defenfers,” when he brought that young woman back and transformed her into the superhero, Valkyrie, the second addition to the Defenders’ roster and their first female member.
Valkyrie served the Defenders with pride for many years, becoming one of the “core” members of the group (along with Nighthawk and Hellcat, two of the last heroes cut from this list), as guys like Doctor Strange could never commit themselves to the team 100%. Strange gave Valkyrie her powerful mystical sword, Dragonfang.
13. Iron Man
One of the longest standing teams that Doctor Stange was a part of (albeit retroactively) was the Illuminati, a group of notable superheroes representing different aspects of the superhero world who helped take care of threats from behind the scenes. As the Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange was an obvious member on the team. The hero representing the Avengers’ interests (or perhaps superheroes in general) was Tony Stark, Iron Man. Stark and Strange are an interesting match, as obviously Stark has devoted his life to science, while Strange was also a man of science, before abandoning it for the world of magic.
However, the two heroes end up complimenting each other pretty well, as they’ve worked on a number of projects like the erasure of Spider-Man‘s secret identity, which required both science and magic working in conjunction with each other. Their tenure together in the Illuminati has not always gone smoothly with other heroes, but they appear dedicated to the purpose of their group.
12. Mister Fantastic
Strange is even closer to another member of the Illuminati, Reed Richards, Mister Fantastic of the Fantastic Four. Like Tony, Reed is also a man of science, which sets him apart from Doctor Strange (although, again, they worked on tasks like Spidey’s secret ID that needed both). However, one of the things that makes Strange such a good Sorcerer Supreme is the fact that he has one of the best tactical minds on Earth, and it is that aspect of Strange’s personality that meshes so well with Richards’.
Both men are proficient in being able to look at the big picture and making difficult choices for the greater good. In both cases, such an ability, while technically a good thing, can often lead to them being cut off from the rest of the world as they force themselves to be detached. In an odd way, that ends up bonding them closer together. However, Richards ultimately has his family to always anchor him to the world, while Strange does not have that, which leads to situations like when Strange was willing to work under God Doom during Secret Wars. Strange believed it was for a greater good, even though he knew deep down it was ethically wrong.
11. Silver Surfer
The first superhero to join the Defenders after the original three hero roster, Silver Surfer and Doctor Strange have always had a close relationship, likely due to the fact that, of all the heroes on Earth, Strange could understand the cosmic scope of Surfer’s life better than most. Surfer, in turn, is one of the few beings on Earth who can interact with the demonic worlds within which Strange sometimes ends up fighting. For instance, the famous demon Mephisto actually debuted in the pages of “Silver Surfer” and has been obsessed with Surfer ever since.
In addition, both men are used to the idea of sacrificing their own personal interests for the sake of helping others, as Surfer gave up his life on his homeworld to serve Galactus and therefore save his planet, while Strange had to give up a normal life to serve as Sorcerer Supreme. This connection came in handy in “Infinity Gauntlet,” when Strange had to talk Surfer out of feeling that his life has been meaningless. Strange was able to relate to him well enough to break through Surfer’s psychological shields. The heroes have served on a number of variations of Defenders teams over the years.
One of the oddest friendships that Doctor Strange has had over the years is with the jade giant known as the Hulk. You wouldn’t think that a man whose intellect led to him becoming the master of the mystical arts would have much in common with a simpleton like the Hulk, and yet, they did end up having a very charming friendship. Strange always seemed to bring out the innocent side of the Hulk, as opposed to the rampaging aspect of his personality.
They were so connected that the Hulk was always able to see Doctor Strange, even while in his astral form. That might have been a statement about the Hulk’s pure mind, but they also seemed to have a legitimate mental connection, where Hulk could call Strange to his side while in distress. It was generally Strange’s friendship with the Hulk that kept ol’ lettuce lips in line with the Defenders for as long as he did; a remarkable achievement indeed.
Alongside the Hulk and Doctor Strange, Namor was a founding member of the Defenders. While all three men were considered loners, Namor was one of those “loners” who always seems to be called to others even as he insists that he isn’t interested in working with others (the Invaders, the Defenders, the Avengers, the Illuminati, the X-Men, this “loner” sure loves to join teams). A lot of this comes from Namor’s arrogance, which typically causes others to bristle against him. This is likely an area where Doctor Strange was able to relate to Namor, as before Strange became a master of the mystic arts, he was an arrogant surgeon.
Thus, since Strange knew that there was something else underneath his own prickly personality, he likely is more willing to look past Namor’s gruff exterior. As a result, the two managed to form one of the deepest friendships Namor has ever had.
8. Scarlet Witch
One of the interesting changes in comics over the years is how the character Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch, only began doing magic a decade or so after she was created, even though “Witch” is literally part of her superhero name. After working with Agatha Harkness and becoming a student of magic, she naturally (or supernaturally) began to have more connections with Doctor Strange. Strange even once offered to make her his disciple! Of course, he was already close to the Scarlet Witch as he actually delivered her two children.
The good Doctor got more involved in Wanda’s life when she was driven insane by her powers during the “Avengers Disassembled” storyline. He stepped in to stop her from causing more destruction. However, Magneto then took her, which led to Wanda creating an altered reality with her powers where mutants were the dominant group on Earth. When a number of heroes broke free to fight the changed world, a frustrated Wanda decided to just eliminate mutants, period. Doctor Strange luckily was present at this event and was able to save a few hundred mutants from losing their powers. After she dealt with her mental issues, Wanda has doubled down on her magical studies. She and Strange are now very close allies, especially as the world of magic was recently decimated, much in the same way that mutants once were.
7. Brother Voodoo
Jericho Drumm, the hero known as Brother Voodoo, had long been an ally of Doctor Strange, as Voodoo was the strongest practitioner of voodoo magic on Earth and he used those skills to fight the good fight for many years. He and Strange teamed up on a number of occasions. Their relationship changed dramatically, however, when Doctor Strange was stripped of his title of the Sorcerer Supreme. Strange was frantically trying to see who would take his place, while hoping that Dormammu was not able to get his agent, Parker Robbins (the supervillain known as the Hood), into the role. It turned out that Drumm got the nod and became Doctor Voodoo, Sorcerer Supreme.
Strange helped to advise Voodoo in his new role, but ultimately, Voodoo ended up sacrificing himself to stop a plot by Agamotto himself (the magical being who provided the Eye of the Agamotto to Sorcerer Supremes). However, he was later resurrected in an attempt to stop an “inverted” Scarlet Witch during the crossover event “Axis,” where good guys and bad guys had their personalities switched. Back to being Brother Voodoo, Drumm continues to be one of Strange’s strongest allies, especially with the reduced amount of magic out there after recent events.
6. Sara Wolfe
One of Doctor Strange’s most underrated supporting cast members is Sara Wolfe. An old friend of Stephen Strange, she began to work for him as his social and business secretary (quickly re-titled business manager). Sara basically served as the point of view character in the “Doctor Strange” titles, a normal person who could react to the crazy things that went on around her. She also began a brief romantic relationship with Wong. Over time, it appeared as though Sara would take on more of an active magical role in Strange’s life, but instead, Strange chose Rintrah, which temporarily devastated Sara.
Sara continued as Strange’s business manager for well over 100 issues of three different “Doctor Strange” comic book series. Eventually, during a story when Strange essentially left two different aspects of himself behind to run things while he recuperated from an attack by the villainous Salome, Sara just stopped working for him. Surprisingly, she has not been killed off yet, which tends to be what happens to old supporting cast members of comics.
The banner image we chose for Topaz served two purposes. One, it shows just how convoluted her background was in the Marvel Universe; and two, we wanted to feel a little nostalgia about the era of Marvel Comics where they would use elaborate footnotes like the above. Topaz was initially mostly a “Werewolf by Night” character, as her empathic abilities helped to control Jack Russell’s transformation into a werewolf, but she really did bounce around the Marvel mystical world. It’s no surprise, then, that she ended up in “Doctor Strange,” where he helped restore the missing piece of her soul that she lost in a battle with Mephisto.
She would serve as his disciple for a number of years, until leaving Strange during a period where he had been forced to use the dark arts again after going away from that type of magic for years (she did come back to help him one last time). She then quit magic for a while before joining up with fellow magic users Satana and Jennifer Kale as the Three Witches. One of the oddest things about Topaz is that she has changed her look over the years from a blonde white woman to a dark haired Indian woman. Odd, perhaps, but far from the weirdest thing to ever happen in a “Doctor Strange” book.
At the end of his 1980s ongoing series, Doctor Strange was in bad shape. An alien sorcerer had taken all of his magical artifacts and was about to turn our dimension into a new Dark Dimension. Strange’s body had been badly injured in an earlier battle, so he needed to possess someone else’s form for the final battle. Luckily, a demon-looking being from another dimension, Rintrah, showed up with Doctor Strange’s Cloak of Levitation, which he and his master had agreed to fix for Strange. Rintrah agreed to let Strange possess his body and they went off to confront the evil alien sorcerer and saved the day.
Rintrah went on a number of other adventures with Strange before finally asking if he could become Strange’s official apprentice. Strange agreed and Rintrah served Strange faithfully for a number of years, mostly working as comic relief in the book, as he was this monstrous-looking being who was actually quite a reserved and studious creature.
3. Ancient One
The Sorcerer Supreme for many years, the Ancient One played a very interesting role in most “Doctor Strange” stories. Obviously, he is an important part of Doctor Strange’s history, as he was the one who saw the hero within the arrogant surgeon, who was looking for a mystic to heal his injured hands after “Western” medicine had failed him. However, after Strange actively became a magical hero, the Ancient One’s role in Strange’s stories was a bit of an odd one.
You see, Steve Ditko and Stan Lee mostly seemed to use the Ancient One in three ways, none of which are all that engaging for a character. One, he would show up to save the day at the last second like a walking Deus Ex Machina. Two, he would be attacked/held hostage and Strange would need to save him. Three, he would show up to give Strange a new magical artifact. Therefore, when Steve Englehart killed him off during his run on “Doctor Strange,” it really did open up a lot more stories to be told, as Strange no longer had the safety net of the Ancient One always around to catch him if he fell.
Clea is one of the most interesting love interests of the Marvel Silver Age. Introduced when Doctor Strange first traveled to the realm of the Dread Dormammu, we did not even learn Clea’s name for a number of issues, let alone the fact that she was actually the niece of Dormammu (that information took a number of years to be revealed). However, she was still an intriguing character as she was a lot more willful than most Marvel love interests of the time.
Eventually, she came to Earth to become Doctor Strange’s first disciple, as well as his lover. It was here that Clea and Strange’s relationship really stood out, as it was very much a normal adult relationship, right down to the fact that they regularly shared a bed together; something that was still somewhat shocking for the early 1970s. Their relationship was surprisingly steady, lasting roughly 10 years. For the past couple of decades, Clea has been the head of the Dark Dimension most of the time, with that role serving as the main reason that she and Stephen cannot be together.
Wong is a fascinating example of how the changing social mores affect characters. When Wong was first introduced, the cliche of the Asian servant referring to his boss as his “master” was so pervasive that it likely did not stand out to readers at all that Wong would do the same thing. Over time, of course, their relationship has been adjusted so that they are now no longer servant and master, but friends and allies.
Wong essentially runs Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum when Strange is not at the house, and he serves as the custodian for all the crazy magical stuff that Strange has at the Sanctum. Wong is also an excellent fighter, which obviously comes in handy on the not-so-rare occasions when the Sanctum is attacked. Most recently, it was revealed that Wong’s service to Strange went even further than Strange himself knew, as Wong had organized a group of magic adepts to absorb magical damage done to Strange over the years, so that Strange would not be hurt as much by magical attacks. That practice is now over with, but Wong continues to aid Strange in his practice of magic, even as their setup has changed dramatically following the Empirikul’s destruction of much of Doctor Strange’s magical arsenal.
Who is your favorite Doctor Strange ally? Let us know in the comments section!
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