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Quote1 No! Can't divert my attention now! Must refocus my concentration... hold the realms steady... for anything were to cause me to falter now... Spider-Man would surely die! Quote2
-- Doctor Strange

Appearing in "The Politics of Magic"

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Synopsis for "The Politics of Magic"

For over a millennia -- a millennia that occurred in the course of a nano-second -- Doctor Strange was involved in a great mystical battle called the War of the Seven Spheres. It was a battle of various mystical entities, and he fought on the side of the Vishanti. Now the war is over, and the magic is free, and Doctor Strange now rests in his Sanctum Sanctorum in New York City.[Continuity 1] As he meditates, the Eye of Agamotto suddenly opens and Stephen is stricken with pain. Both he and the mystical artifact have detected the source of great power. Hearing his master cry out, Wong enters the Doctor's library to see what is the matter. Stephen explains to Wong that he has detected a fissure in reality, a rift that is even now growing bigger. Using the Eye of Agamotto, Strange tracks the source to the Aleister Building, home to the Technomancer Corporation. This rift is causing denizens of the Dark Dimensions to cross over into New York. As he heads for the building, Doctor Strange fears that if he does not stop the cause of this crisis, it could very well consume this entire dimension.

Arriving in the general vicinity, Doctor Strange finds Spider-Man, who has been drawn to the Alester Building by some unknown force. Explaining the presence, the wall-crawler explains even though he doesn't know what is pulling him in that direction, he has a feeling that it is a force for good. Detecting that something is amiss, Doctor Strange uses his mystical abilities to remove an illusion that is hiding the fact that, whatever the danger is, it has been transforming the Alister Building and that the dark forces will soon begin affecting all reality. Inside the building, Maegis Senreich and Master Om are now prisoners of the other-dimensional being known as Buel and his Gremlyns, who have used the Technomancer Corporation's Babylon Portal to cross over to this dimension. Buel is disappointed that neither man knows who he is and decide to entertain them with his origins. Buel explains that he was a simple nobleman in his home dimension but soon grew bored with his life and became obsessed with gaining great power. He soon immersed himself in the art of magic. It is through these dark studies that he completed a ritual of self-sacrifice to transform himself into his current form. When the ruling class of his world learned of his twisted perversions, he was banished to another dimension. There he ruled over his Gremlyn horde waiting for the moment where he could escape his eternal prison and get his revenge. He then shows the two frightened magicians his ability to control the flesh by warping their forms. However, he stops short of permanently disfiguring them as this is merely a distraction from his quest for power.

Meanwhile, Billy Walters answers a knock at his door and is surprised to see his boss, J. Jonah Jameson has come to pay him a visit. With the Daily Bugle having been purchased by Norman Osborn, Jonah is concerned and needs the help of a good reporter for a very dangerous assignment.[Continuity 2] Hearing this, Billy tells Jonah that he can be counted on to do whatever is needed. Back at the Technomancer Corporation, Doctor Strange finishes his mystical scan of the building and is horrified to discover that they have the 'Sphere of 'Sara-'Kath. Spider-Man is eager to recover the mystical artifact, but Strange cautions that it won't be easy. He explains that the Technomancer Corporation has been working to combine magic with technology to create a dimensional portal. This was unsuccessful until they brought the 'Sphere to the building, which was the mystical source needed to succeed in this endeavor. Unfortunately, those responsible were unable to control the power of the 'Sphere, leading to the current crisis. Although Strange can create a spell to hold back the effects of this reality warp, he will have to remain outside, leaving Spider-Man to venture into the building alone.

As Doctor Strange begins to cast his spell, Spider-Man once again feels a strange presence compelling him to enter the building, making him once again wonder what is compelling him forward. While in Forrest Hills, Mary Jane's Aunt Anna has agreed to babysit Hope Hibbert, the deaf girl who lives next door, while her mother Ellen got to work as a police officer. Ellen reminds Anna that Hope needs to study her sign-language, something the girl is stubborn about. However, when Anna demonstrates that she wants to learn how to speak in sign language as well, it inspires Hope to continue her studies. While in Manhattan, Spider-Man begins to grow restless when suddenly, Doctor Strange's spell is complete and the wall-crawler is teleported into the building. He is surprised to see the astral form of Doctor Strange is with him. Although the Doctor has to remain physically outside the building to contain the dark magic, his spiritual self has come to lend Spider-Man assistance. Sensing the location of the 'Sphere, Doctor Strange leads Spider-Man through a doorway which should take them to the artifact. However, once they enter the door, they find themselves transported to another dimension filled with demonic creatures. They manage to fight past these monsters and through another doorway. This time they are transported to a frozen realm and attacked by giant creatures that Strange identifies as Snow-Snakes. Fighting past these creatures, the wall-crawler and Strange manage to get through yet another portal.

This brings them before Buel and his prisoners, but when Spider-Man tries to web up the evil sorcerer, his Gremlyns come to the defense of their master. Realizing that Spider-Man is speaking to a presence he can't see, Buel realizes that the wall-crawler is being assisted by a sorcerer and teleports away. Outside, Doctor Strange begins to feel the strain of maintaining his spell but refuses to give up as Spider-Man's life depends on it. However, as he focuses on the spell, Doctor Strange is unaware that a Buel has summoned one of his minions to deal with the sorcerer supreme. Inside the building, Spider-Man is concerned when Strange's astral form suddenly disappears. With Strange dealt with, Buel returns to deal with his intruder once and for all.

Notes

Continuity Notes

  1. For all the details regarding the War of the Seven Spheres -- or rather the lack thereof since the entire ordeal happens off-panel-- see Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #80.
  2. At the time of this story, the Daily Bugle had been suffering from financial difficulties since Amazing Spider-Man #416. Norman Osborn had just recently purchased the Bugle in The Spectacular Spider-Man #249.

Chronology Notes

A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:

  1. Buel Next

See Also

Footnotes



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