One of Doctor Strange’s most peculiar and unusual missions saw Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme struggling to stop a powerful entity from ruining New Years.
Over the years, the Marvel Universe has experienced the most unexpected and creative stories ever. From a battle that spans dimensions to a cosmic force threatening the fabric of reality, there’s no battle too large or small for the heroes to take on. But even still, there are hidden stories in any series that remain more surprising than most. A great example of this can be found within the pages of the many stories involving Doctor Strange.
Strange has always been a character who dwells in the unknown and unexpected. Being one of the few who could anticipate a surprise allowed him to partake in adventures that would rip apart most minds. But one story involving the villain Nightmare, In Dr. Strange #180-182 (by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan), had Strange traveling to the dream realm to save Earth just as the bells rang in the new year. However rather than celebrate the holiday, in classic Doctor Strange fashion, the Sorcerer must find a way to stop Nightmare, who obtained the powers of Eternity. But to do so would include misdirection, careful strategy and the unstoppable Juggernaut.
Nightmare Told Doctor Strange His Plans in a Dream
Before his plan could be enacted, Nightmare had teased that he had big plans at work when he invaded one of Stephen Strange’s dreams. While in the dream, Strange also encountered Eternity, a powerful cosmic entity, representing the fabric of reality itself. At first, his concerns are at the forefront of his mind, but after a date with Clea to ring in the new year, his fear dissipates. That said, it’s clear that his nightmare was a reality where monsters and warriors from all parts of time have come to terrorize reality just as the new year arrived. Aware this was Nightmare’s doing, Strange, is given an hour to get his affairs in order before facing him in a final battle.
This battle nearly destroyed strange but not before he learned that Nightmare had trapped Eternity in a cosmic prison and planned to use its power to bring about a nightmare from time and space to destroy reality. At this point in Strange’s history, he had grown considerably in his powers and took on powerful forces that few could combat. As a result, being nearly helpless would make this threat just as dangerous as Thanos with the Infinity Gauntlet. Nevertheless, Strange had a Hail Mary plan to gain a victory over the concept of nightmares.
Doctor Strange Was Helped by the X-Men Villain Juggernaut
With no way to attack Nightmare, Strange found Juggernaut trapped in the Crimson Dimension and utilized his desire to get back to Earth to help him stop Nightmare. With new cosmic abilities at his disposal, Strange manipulated the situation so that Juggernaut would fight Nightmare and then have the two of them reach an agreement to attack Strange. But as the two used their powers against the Sorcerer, they struck Eternity’s bonds, freeing the powerful entity and ending the conflict in an instant. This final battle was unique because Strange had the foresight to plan such an act without his enemy catching on. However, the unexpected addition of Juggernaut seemed odd at first but ultimately paid off in a big way.
While the battle at hand concluded and the day was saved, as well as the new year, Strange made no effort to try and clean up the damage done to Times Square or the emotional impact on those who witnessed the event. Instead, he returned home to enjoy the rest of his date with Clea, as stopping the threat was the main goal, and cleaning up the mess was never a priority. So, in the end, while New Year’s Day began as a mess for many New Yorkers, it was still a happy ending as Strange was able to avert a larger catastrophe with help from unlikely places.