WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Doctor Strange #17, from Mark Waid, Barry Kitson, Scott Koblish, Brian Reber and VC's Cory Petit, on sale now.
When Doctor Strange revealed there was only one way to save the universe in Avengers: Infinity War, fans were shocked to see it required sacrificing half of all life, including his own, with Thanos' snap being one step towards an unthinkable salvation. In Avengers: Endgame, he eventually returned to fend off the Mad Titan, and as he hinted before, it was all to pave the way for Tony Stark to snap the villain away for good. This completed the journey Strange began when he gave the Time Stone to Thanos.
Now, while Strange didn't get hands on and fix things per se, his actions didn't just help Iron Man, they also created a domino effect for Hulk to snap the deceased back to life mere moments before Stark's sacrifice. However, in Doctor Strange #17, the Sorcerer Supreme finally gets a chance to perform his own snap to restore all of existence, although it comes with a surgical twist that's right up his alley.
Strange has been battling Chaos Galactus, a being of cosmic energy and magic, who even consumed Dormammu with ease. This entity's the most powerful devourer the Marvel Universe has ever seen, and as a result Strange formed a huge alliance of heroes and villains to stop him. However, the sneaky Doctor tricked his legion into being eaten by Galactus, as Strange wanted their energies to be consumed so they'd overload the villain.
Using his eldritch energies in the form a mace, Strange then struck Galactus, hoping he'd explode and everyone would be spat back out. Sadly, the behemoth implodes and all of reality is devoured, which leaves Strange at the Singularity -- the moment of creation -- facing judgement from the Living Tribunal and Eternity. He realizes he was spared by Mephisto teleporting him to Hell and then to this cosmic meeting to protect their mysterious deal, all so Strange could restore reality. And so, Strange bargains for one shot at redemption and is eventually granted unlimited power whereby he applies everything he learned from his time as a surgeon. That's right, he's operating on reality and re-knitting that which was destroyed.
Basically, Strange's mace crashing into Galactus was a lethal snap, and now he gets to snap things back to the way they were. He has the unabashed abilities of a god, making the Infinity Gauntlet seem like a mere toy, although Strange has to recreate history, meaning as much as he copies the good deeds, several bad events and villains have to be created once more. It's a bittersweet experience as he has to remake his own tragic past, not to mention the likes of Dormammu, Doom and so many other vile experiences without any changes.
Eventually, he accomplishes his objective, but it pains him, as he also relives his failed relationship with Clea. To complete this cosmic surgery, however, Strange has to adjust one thing, and that's concerning Zoloz, the person who put Galactus on his recent path. Zoloz, a cosmic sorcerer, was trying to stop him from eating his planet, but Strange tells him the only way this could happen is if he becomes his herald like Silver Surfer.
Zoloz accepts the job, recognizing Galactus is immortal and inevitable, and with fate mended, everything restarts so that no one remembers anything. Chaos Galactus didn't happen and folks remain in blissful ignorance. In that sense, this is actually better than the snaps in Endgame, because everyone there remembered how people died and came back, living with the horror and PTSD. Here, Strange literally turns back the hands of the clock, somewhat similar to his own solo movie in 2016, and preserves existence with the precision and skill that comes natural to him, and keeps everything a secret.
Doctor Strange #19 goes on sale Aug. 28.