Many characters are going back to their roots in Marvel’s “Legacy,” but two character going somewhere entirely new - Doctor Strange and Loki.
Starting with Doctor Strange #381, writer Donny Cates and artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta will strip the good Doctor of his mantle as Sorcerer Supreme, and pass it on to none other than Loki, the god of mischief.
If you’re imagining Strange won’t take this well, you’d be right, according to Cates. Newsarama spoke to Cates and Walta ahead of Doctor Strange #381’s November 15 release to talk about what leads Loki to take Strange’s mantle, the weirdest, wildest things Walta has had to draw for the infamously surreal superhero, and the one thing that should make every Doctor Strange fan pick up Cates & Walta’s Doctor Strange.
Newsarama: Donny, starting with Doctor Strange #381 you’ll deal a major blow to Stephen Strange and make Loki the Sorcerer Supreme. How does this happen?
Donny Cates: You'll have to read it and find out! How's that for an infuriating answer? [Laughs] I will say this though, the mystery surrounding that particular beat is not something we bleed out for the entire run or anything. It's outrightly stated how it happened in the first issue. This isn't a story about how Loki became the Sorcerer Supreme. It's about why he did it....
Nrama: How is Doctor Strange going to take the news that the god of lies has his old job?
Cates: Not. Well.
For more on this answer...check back in with me after folks read our second issue (#382) to see just how far Stephen is willing to go to get that job of his back...
Nrama: Loki has been a hero, a villain, and both at the same time – what’s his role in this story?
Cates: I'll have to revert back to being infuriating here. Loki's larger role in all of this is a huge part of this story. So, naturally, I can't say another word about it! I will say that it's a joy to write him knowing what I know. It's nice to be able to play with emotions and half-truths and outright lies that obfuscate his true intentions. You never know where you stand with Loki. Which, in a way, makes him the most trustworthy person out there. At least with Loki, you know a game is being played around you.
Or do you? Hmmm...
Nrama: “Legacy” can mean passing on a mantle, like that of the Sorcerer Supreme. How does the idea of “Legacy” play into this Doctor Strange arc?
Cates: For me personally, this story shares so much core DNA with Stephen's origins. In this story, we find a Stephen who was cocky and arrogant about his place in the world. When our story opens, he's quite humbled again. Due to current circumstances, he's been laid low in a profound way. The story then becomes about Stephen slowly climbing his way back to who he knows he should be - and the incredible lengths he will go through to achieve that.
So, to me, that sounds a lot like his origins right? I'm prone to calling this story "Doctor Strange's mid-life crisis" and as much as I'm kidding, it's not far off. Stephen has a very long road to walk in this series. I hope you'll all come along for the journey. It's going to be intense.
Nrama: Gabriel, you’re in the unique position of drawing Loki as the Sorcerer Supreme. What’s your take on how he fills that role? What are you highlighting in Loki here that you might not if he were in a more straightforward villain role?
Gabriel Hernandez Walta: Loki is just an awesome character to draw! He's like the dream of every artist with all those different, changing moods. He can be sad in one panel, almost cute in the next and, suddenly, he can get angry and kill somebody as you turn the page. And I think that being the new Sorcerer Supreme brings another layer to him, as he feels the responsibility of protecting the Earth from all the mystical attacks. Maybe he's tired of being the bad guy all the time - but who knows? He's the God of Mischief, after all.
Nrama: Doctor Strange is known for its wild visuals. Gabriel, without being spoilery, what’s the weirdest or craziest thing Donny has asked you to draw so far?
Walta: The double spread from issue #381, for sure!! You have half goat-half demon winged warriors, big tentacles, mountains made of gigantic bones... what else do you need?
That said, I also have to point out that, at the end of the issue, I had to draw one of the weirdest scenes of all my Marvel gigs, though there's no magic involved (well, maybe a bit...).
Nrama: Agamotto (as in, the Eye of) appeared during Marvel Legacy #1, as well as Loki. We know some of those characters - and that story – will play a role in Marvel’s future. Will we see that come up here?
Cates: And now you've come to the most infuriating part of the interview. [Laughs] Man, if you all only knew what that stuff is setting up... whoo boy... I'm not confirming or denying anything, but I will say this... Marvel fans are about to have a really good year.
Nrama: What magic words can you say to guarantee readers will want to read Doctor Strange in “Legacy"?
Cates What other magic words does anyone need besides "Gabriel Walta and Jordie Bellaire on a Doctor Strange book!!!"? I mean, right? Let's all be real here for a second; I'm the least cool person on this book by a mile. Look, the story is super fun and really insane and surprising and all of that… but... you guys... come on.
Walta and Bellaire on Doctor Strange!