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Doctor Strange’s Secret Weakness Just Led To His Gruesome Death

Doctor Strange may be one of the strongest superheroes in the Marvel Universe, but his secret weakness just led to his horrifying demise.

Warning: contains spoilers for Savage Avengers #24!

Marvel’s own Master of the Mystic Arts, Doctor Strange, may be one of the most powerful superheroes in the Marvel Universe – but his secret crippling weakness just led to his horrifying death. Strange’s years of study allows him to cast powerful magic spells that can defeat nearly any terrestrial opponent (and plenty of mystical threats too). But if the method of actually casting those spells comes under attack, there’s little he can do – and in Savage Avengers #24, written by Gerry Duggan with art by Patch Zircher and colors by Java Tartaglia, Doctor Strange meets his untimely death after an enemy exploits this very vulnerability.

In Savage Avengers, the evil sorcerer Kulan Gath has siphoned the energies of the being Shuma-Gorath. A many-tentacled Elder God and classic enemy of Doctor Strange, Shuma-Gorath warned Strange about Gath’s power while the two were in another dimension; Doctor Strange subsequently killed Shuma-Gorath (an act of mercy, since Shuma-Gorath had very little power remaining). But Kulan Gath has already taken possession of nearly all the citizens of New York. A massive battle ensues, (and Doctor Strange even summons the Avengers), but Kulan Gath’s power is just too great. The heroes fight…and they lose.

Related: Doctor Strange Just Caused the Apocalypse in Marvel Comics

Some time later, Kulan Gath has devastated the Earth. Civilization has all but collapsed, heroes have either been killed or imprisoned (including Bruce Banner, chained by the adamantium bones of Wolverine) and Kulan Gath rules a world in ruins. Doctor Strange himself is kept a prisoner for years – mounted on a cross with his hand encased in wood. For all his magic, the Sorcerer Supreme is effectively powerless to defend himself – and when Kulan Gath receives no answer as to the whereabouts of Conan, he burns Doctor Strange alive.

Doctor Strange’s hands famously suffered extensive nerve damage in his origin story. While he can no longer perform delicate surgery, he nevertheless needs his hands in order to cast some of the more powerful spells in his arsenal. Immobilizing Strange’s hands is a tactic that several of his opponents have utilized before – including the Incredible Hulk. In 2007’s World War Hulk, Strange’s hands are mangled to the point where he must merge with Zom – a dark demonic entity – to stand a change. After a fierce battle, Hulk eventually overpowers Doctor Strange’s magic.

This is quite a horrific death for an A-list hero; Strange is forced to watch helplessly as various atrocities are performed in front of him (such as killing the last horse on Earth). Kulan Gath is a truly dark and evil sorcerer if nothing else, and by exploiting Strange’s original weakness, he has no fear of reprisal. Doctor Strange has seen his share of suffering, but Kulan Gath has finally put an end to it.

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