Appearing in "The Heart of Darkness"
- Secret Defenders (First appearance)
- Wong (Cameo)
Synopsis for "The Heart of Darkness"
Doctor Strange recruits a new group of Secret Defenders consisting of Ghost Rider, Hulk, and Silver Surfer to shore up his loss of power and fight Dormammu. The heroes readily agree, and once they arrive in the dark dimension they are immediately confronted by a host of Mindless Ones. Strange is able to sever Dormammu's influence over the creatures, however they find their path barred by the towering G'uranthic Guardian. While Hulk dispatches their new foe, Strange sends Silver Surfer in search of Clea, who is Dormammu's prisoner, while he and Ghost Rider merge their essences (and therefore their mystic abilities) in order to confront Dormammu. Strange allows Ghost Rider's essence to inhabit his physical body so that his astral self can directly battle Dormammu's soul.
The Silver Surfer successfully rescues Clea and the human inhabitants of the Dark Dimension. Doctor Strange begins to lose his battle against Dormammu's soul. However, at the last instant he uses the Eye of Agamotto to show the soul it's own true ugliness. This combined with a united physical front by the other Defenders and Clea cause Dormammu to fall. Although he vows to return, the villain agrees to relinquish his ambitions on earth for the moment. Strange and Ghost Rider re-inhabit their respective bodies, and Strange tries to convince Clea to come to earth with him. However, she declines stating that her help is needed in rebuilding human civilization in dark dimension. As the heroes return to earth, Strange experiences a fainting spell, and the Silver Surfer agrees to return Ghost Rider and Hulk home so that Strange doesn't have to further tax himself.
Doctor Strange enjoys a brief rest. However, he awakens to find religious extremists gathered outside the Sanctum Sanctorum, protesting the existence of a sorcerer living among them.
- Secret Defenders next appear in Fantastic Four #374
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