To Defeat Loki, Donny Cates Teams Doctor Strange with... The Sentry?

The Sentry is a character that has quite a bit of history attached to him. Will that be part of your story?

Yes, we'll be dealing with a lot of it. Bringing the Sentry back is not something you do lightly. There's a lot of facets there from when he was introduced, to Siege, to when he was brought back by Apocalypse. All these things are all very dense and they all play a big role. So the character's history is not something we're going to drive by. We'll be exploring all of that in the months to come.

One of the things that I've seen people say about our Doctor Strange run so far was that, weirdly, there's not a lot of big Ditko-style crazy magic realms and elements. I think when a lot of people saw the announcement of the book, they were expecting a big sorcerer duel between Loki and Stephen and a lot of fantastical things.

I hope that when people saw that last page of issue #382 and they see the place that Stephen is in both physically and emotionally they realize that stuff is coming in a big, bad way. When you guys see what Gabriel Walta has done on issues #383-385 it's unreal. I would be shocked if he didn't earn awards for the things that he pulled off in #384. It's incredible.

EXCLUSIVE: Art from Doctor Strange #384 by Gabriel Hernandez Walta and Jordie Bellaire

Issue #382 also revealed more about the centerpiece of the conflict between Loki and Doctor Strange; a spell called The Exile of Singhsoon. We know this is a spell that allows the caster to seize control of all magical power in the world. Can you talk about Loki's reason for seeking it out?

I can't turn all my cards over yet, but I will say I find Loki to be one of, if not the, most interesting characters at Marvel as far as how layered he is. He's no longer a mustache twirling bad guy. He has motivations of his own that surprise me. He was resurrected after the Sentry killed him, which is not something I'm unaware of by the way. That's why there's that line where Stephen says, “I may have over reacted a little bit.” [Laughs] Because it is a massively disproportionate reaction and something that could scare the shit out of Loki, obviously.

Loki is really interesting now because when he was resurrected by Thor and brought back as a child he really was a new character with new objectives and motivations. He's a character that genuinely does want to do better than his previous self, but ultimately what does “do better” mean? Does it mean be a better person? Or a better bad guy? And he's a really interesting character because he's seemingly genuine, but no one believes him. So you kind of fall into a false sense of security.

RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Doctor Strange’s Marvel Legacy Origin Revealed

The new take on this character that Kieron [Gillen] developed is that he lulls you into a false sense of security where you as the reader believe Loki. So sometimes what ends up happening now is he ends up lying to you, and betraying you the reader. He becomes much more personal as opposed to this grand bad guy who has all these schemes about superheroes and stuff. So you fall into that same trap that Thor and everyone else has fallen into of forgiving, trusting, and being betrayed over, and over again. To me, that's who Loki is.

On a slightly personal note sometimes it can be hard to tie yourself into these big Marvel characters. And Loki is a character that is so big and has such a grand history not only in comics, but since Nordic times. So when I was researching this book I tried to find my entry point into these characters.

With Loki it took me a lot longer to find my entry, but I eventually found it. It's that he is a younger brother. I am as well. He's kind of the black sheep of his family and for a long time I was as well. My brother is older and is very accomplished. He's blue eyed and has blonde hair. He's the perfect guy, and my hero. I look up to him to a lot. That's where Loki is, and every time he tries to do better people just assume he's up to no good. So Loki lashes back out in these ways of, “If you expect me to be the bad guy, then I will be. Let me show you how bad I can be.” To me, a lot of that is him lashing out because of the shadow of Thor that he lives under.

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