Long before he stepped into the MCU, Doctor Strange took on a minotaur as an apprentice in one of Marvel’s strangest partnerships.
The Strange Academy is a place for the likes of Doctor Strange and his allies to help and guide the future of Marvel’s magic users on their paths. But these aren’t the first of Doctor Strange’s apprentices — with many appearing over the years. One of the most quietly endearing — and tragic — was Rintrah, a friend to Doctor Strange (and a green minotaur) who became a steadfast ally to the Sorcerer Supreme — and sadly paid the ultimate price for his friendship.
Rintrah first appeared in Doctor Strange #80 by Peter Gillis and Chris Warner. A hulking figure from the extra-dimensional plane of R’Vaal, Rintrah at first glance would appear to be one of the monstrous threats who someone like Doctor Strange would confront. A massive green minotaur, Rintrah quickly proved to be a surprisingly soft-hearted friend to the Sorcerer Supreme. Initially tasked with returning the Cloak of Levitation to Strange after it was repaired by his mentor Enitharmon the Weaver, he ended up entangled in a battle against the demonic forces of Urthona, which resulted in Strange, his allies, and Rintrah was forced to allow Doctor Strange to briefly inhabit his body.
Rintrah became a dedicated ally to Doctor Strange, helping fight against Uthona and even joining him for multiple adventures — such as helping Strange regain control of himself after almost being corrupted while fighting Shuma-Gorath. He eventually returned to Earth and became an apprentice of Strange, learning from the powerful sorcerer and being a kind voice of reason for his mentor. He was gifted his own Cloak of Levitation for a time and became a dear friend of Stephen Strange over time. He even helped face off against the likes of Dormammu, throwing himself into harm’s way if it meant helping his mentor and friend. Tragically though, Rintrah’s time on Earth alongside Doctor Strange was ultimately limited.
Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme #51 by Geof Isherwood, Pat Brosseau, and George Roussos featured Rintrah exploring New York City in his mystically designed human disguise, Rintrah was offered a place in a seemingly New Age religion. Investigating, Rintrah was briefly mind-controlled into serving as a lure to Doctor Strange. In reality, it was connected to the dark powers of the corrupted sorceress Calyxis, which unleashed the demonically powered Tartessus. With Rintrah’s help, the creature tried to drag Doctor Strange into her dimension to feed on him. Calyxis was freed from the influence of Tartessus and attempted to help Rintrah to save Strange. Following them into Tartessus’ realm, Rintrah was able to save his master and escape back to Earth.
But to close the portal behind him, Rintrah was forced to physically shatter a magical stone — which had been booby-trapped. The resulting explosion of energy drained Rintrah of almost all his life energy, and for all intents and purposes killed him. Rintrah only nominally survived to the last-minute thinking of Strange. The only way to even nominally protect Rintrah’s emaciate corpse was to place it into a protective shield and leave it another dimension while he searched for a cure — something Strange has never been fully able to accomplish, leaving one of his most dedicated aides in a perpetual state of limbo.
Rintrah was a kind-hearted ally to Doctor Strange and a great indicator of the kind of characters who could come under the teachings of the Sorcerer Supreme. On top of being a visually interesting aid to Doctor Strange who actually had the physical strength so many Doctor Strange-associated characters lack, Rintrah was also a kind soul in an ever-murky realm of magic and demons. Especially with the Sorcerer Supreme seemingly destined to die himself soon, it might be the perfect time for one of his most underrated allies to make a return.
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