As Iron Man reflects on the shocking death of Doctor Strange, he recalls his own suspicions during the Illuminati’s very first meeting.
WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for The Death of Doctor Strange: Avengers #1, on sale now from Marvel Comics.
From the comic book Marvel Universe to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Iron Man is very much the lynchpin of the superhero community, through Tony Stark’s reputation as one of the universe’s smartest individuals, his own solo superhero career and his long-running membership on the Avengers. Despite this, Stark has certainly shown himself capable of holding deep secrets and being a hard man to impress and earn trust from, going as far as to create his own clandestine superhero team behind his friends and teammates back with a powerful ensemble dubbed the Illuminati. And in the wake of Doctor Strange’s shocking death, Stark recalls that the Sorcerer Supreme was the Illuminati member he actually trusted the least upon first meeting.
The death of Doctor Strange has effectively shaken Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to their core, with the secrets that Stephen Strange kept and the chaos unleashed upon his demise visibly shaking each of the Avengers. This includes Stark, whose inner demons roar back to the forefront of his mind, with the Armored Avenger barely able to keep them at bay as he contemplates the cataclysmic implications of Strange’s death and its impact on the Marvel Universe. And having just witnessed the end of Strange, Stark thinks back on one of his very first interactions with the Master of the Mystic Arts in The Death of Doctor Strange: Avengers #1 by Alex Paknadel, Ryan Bodenheim, Rachelle Rosenberg and VC’s Cory Petit.
Years ago, when the Illuminati first convened in secret inside of a Wakandan castle, Iron Man had taken Doctor Strange aside from the rest of the group to explicitly tell the Sorcerer Supreme how much he didn’t trust him. As a man of science, the magical trickery that Strange constantly employs, defying the natural order of how Stark knows the world, is something he can’t quite wrap his head around or understand, fueling this distrust and resentment, even as the two heroes secretly join forces to proactively deal with the greater threats in the Marvel Universe. And while Strange pointed out that Stark serves on a team with a literal, mythological guide, Iron Man still had his vocal reservations about the Master of Mystic Arts.
Of course, since that tense conversation all those years ago, Tony Stark and Stephen Strange have formed their own long-lasting friendship, sometimes too annoyingly close for Strange’s comfort. From Stark excitedly proclaiming himself and Strange as “awesome Facial Hair Bros” to their various team-ups over the years, Stark and Strange have evidently set aside their differences to form one of the more surprising friendships that the Marvel Universe’s superhero community has to offer.
In a rare quiet amount amidst all the mayhem caused by Doctor Strange’s death, Stark processes his grief over the loss of his friend by recalling that, at the beginning, the two men were very much not friends at all but came together working towards a common good. Relations between the two heroes improved immeasurably since that secret meeting in Wakanda but all the magical chaos that Stark feared Strange was capable of has seemingly come to pass upon the Sorcerer Supreme’s passing. And as the Marvel heroes scramble to contain the chaos and track down the culprit behind the magical murder, there is perhaps no one Iron Man would trust more than the late, great Doctor Strange himself to save the day.
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