Warning: SPOILERS for Doctor Strange #10
In the landmark 400th issue of Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme finally discovers the real price of his powerful magic. For decades, Strange has protected the Marvel Universe, but it turns out the sorcerer has seemingly overlooked the price that comes with casting spells.
Marvel's "Fresh Start" initiative relaunched several of Marvel's titles, including Doctor Strange. Written by Mark Waid, the new series sent Doctor Strange on a journey into outer space. Shortly after taking back the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme from Loki, Strange lost all of his magical powers and was desperate to get them back. While traveling in space, Strange found a way to regain his abilities and became even more powerful than ever. Strange returned to Earth, resumed his role as Sorcerer Supreme... and it seemed all had returned to the way it was.
Marvel Comics has reached a milestone with this week's release of Doctor Strange #10, which in legacy numbering is the comic's 400th issue. In Doctor Strange #10, Strange's friends are captured by a mysterious man who admits to being the one who took away Strange's magic. He reminds Strange of the number one rule of magic: that every time he chants the name of a magical entity, he borrows power from it. This means that every time Strange says "By the Flames of the Faltine" or "Wand of Watomb", he uses a fraction of someone else's power. When reminded, Strange understands that anything borrowed must be paid back in some way.
What Strange didn't realize was just how much magical "debt" he had accumulated over the years. Strange is told that his powers were taken away to pay his debts, but this was undone when Strange restored his magical abilities. One entity that he owed a great deal to, the Faltine, was so angry that it demanded the Earth as payment. Strange's friends were used as collateral for Earth, and by the issue's end even Doctor Strange accepts that the Earth has been thrown into a fight it can't possibly win. Strange's archenemy, the dark lord Dormammu is just one of the Faltine, which is a indication of just how much danger the Earth is in right now.
Doctor Strange has just discovered that the cost of magic is even steeper than he once thought, and it will be interesting to see how he plans on paying back his debts. The price of using magic was explored in the Doctor Strange movie, and the events in the comics could allow Doctor Strange 2 to dig even deeper into the price one must pay for casting spells. Especially with so many rumors suggesting the next phase of the MCU will be introducing new, mystical realms of reality itself.
Doctor Strange #10 is on sale now from Marvel Comics.