Doctor Strange's Iconic MCU Spell is Redefined by One Fact

Warning: contains spoilers for Sabertooth #4!

Marvel's Doctor Strange uses one spell more than any other, but this signature strategy isn't only limited to him...because everyone in the world can accomplish this feat. The Sorcerer Supreme has mastered the Mystic Arts to the point where he can even summon dangerous demons (like Zom during World War Hulk) without fear or hesitation. But Sabretooth #4 reveals Strange's powers of astral projection are not limited to him, or even other wizards, but can be achieved by every human being.

Doctor Strange used this spell in his first appearance in Strange Tales #110 when communicating with his teacher, the Ancient One (this was before the Ancient One's death) concerning the villain Nightmare. Strange uses the power of astral projection to send the bodies of others to the Astral Plane in addition to his own. This can easily be seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Spider-Man: No Way Home when Strange punches Peter's spirit out of his body. But this power is not limited to the MCU; this is Strange's signature spell in all iterations (next to the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak).

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In Sabretooth #4, written by Victor LaValle with art by Leonard Kirk, the character Third Eye exposits about the magical properties of the Astral Plane. "Anyone can visit the Astral Plane. Most people do at least once: when they're born. A smaller group comes through again as they die." This means the Astral Plane is a dimension accessible not just to magic users such as Doctor Strange and the Scarlet Witch, but all living beings (both humans and non-humans alike). Unfortunately, it appears that moving through the passage is an unconscious act.

This puts Doctor Strange's powers in a whole new light: he isn't accomplishing the extraordinary, but merely focusing and perfecting the ordinary. It is easy to forget that Stephen Strange, for all his God-like abilities and mastery over magic, is only human; while other companions like his wife Clea are not of this world, he most certainly is, and can easily succumb to mortal wounds without magical protection. While numerous other characters understand that Strange has "a gift" for the mystic arts, everyone is technically capable - it simply requires tremendous amount of study, practice, and mental discipline to achieve the same results.

This in no way diminishes Doctor Strange's abilities in the slightest. Rather, it sets him apart even further. If Captain America's strength is considered "peak human" (at least in the comics) and is the best of what humanity has to offer, Strange's mastery of astral projection could be considered the mental version of a "peak human" ability. Doctor Strange's signature ability is actually not his alone - but he does rise above the rest when it comes to the practice.

2022-07-11T17:02:48.000Z

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