Thursday, December 23, 2010

Best of "What If...?": #23

Volume 1 #40 (1983)
What if Dr Strange had never become Master of the Mystic Arts?

CoverWritten by Peter Gillis
Drawn by Butch Guice

Prior to the debut of modern superheroes, our planet had but one great protector: the legendary Ancient One. For years, this wizened mage groomed a man named Mordo to succeed him as Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme. One day, however, a more promising pupil named Stephen Strange arrived on the Ancient One’s doorstep.

Despite his efforts to the contrary, Mordo shortly found his inheritance snatched away from him. But if he had proved himself worthy to the Ancient One sooner, Mordo might have secured his place such that none could have unseated him.

In a universe not so different from our own, Mordo accomplishes this and more, in time growing so confident that he decides to hunt the Ancient One’s most powerful nemesis: the dread Dormammu. Aware that he shall never surmount the Lord of Chaos in a battle of mystical might, Mordo defeats Dormammu by a trick.

“Begone, wretch! You have earned your world’s freedom-- but also my undying hatred! BEWARE!”

Although Dormammu promises never again to invade Earth’s dimension, he places no limits on the pawns that he might deploy in order to exact revenge. One such unwitting ally just so happens to be Stephen Strange…

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