In this week’s Doctor Strange #382, Stephen Strange loses an ally but recruits a new one in the fight against Loki – someone with strong ties to Loki’s past. And let’s just say writer Donny Cates and artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta aren’t afraid of a little controversy.
Spoilers ahead for Doctor Strange #382.
Doctor Strange #382 opens up with Strange climbing a mountain, saying he’s on his way to speak to someone he promised never to contact again.
Flashing back, we see Strange and his talking dog Bats at Strange’s veterinary clinic, where Bats tells Strange that Loki is seeking 'The Exile of Shingsoon,' a rumored spell that would essentially act as a killswitch to magic in the Marvel Universe, shutting it off entirely. Bats calls Zelma Loki’s “girlfriend,” and Strange gets angry.
Over at the Sanctum Sanctorum, Loki is trying everything in his power to break through Strange’s chained doors - even riddling them with bullets from Skurge’s machine guns - because he believes the Exile of Shingsoon lies behind them. At the same time, Strange and Bats are approaching the Sanctorum, as Strange reveals to Bats that the spell does indeed exist. But it’s not behind the door - it’s hidden inside Zelma. As Strange gives this explanation, he sees Loki and Zelma kiss, making him fear Loki will find the Exile of Shangsoon.
Strange confronts them, and after an argument with Zelma, Loki chases him off. But in the process, he uses a containment spell to pick up Bats - scaring the dog so much he has a heart attack and dies in Strange’s arms.
Flashing forward to Strange climbing the mountain, he vows to stop Loki from finding the Exile of Shingsoon, leading him to his present visit to the top of the mountain, where he finds a man watering a garden in a strange, suburban house nestled in the snow.
Strange and the still unidentified man exchange somewhat heated words. The man admonishes Strange for coming there - revealing that the location is actually inside his own mind - but Strange says the man is cured, and he needs his help.
Somewhat reluctantly, the man agrees. Strange touches his forehead and weaves some magic, and it’s revealed that the man is none other than Robert Reynolds - who promptly turns into his alter ego, the Sentry.
The Sentry's history with Loki dates back to 2010’s Siege event, in which his dark alter ego the Void nearly killed the Avengers (and did kill Ares). The Sentry did end up killing Loki (by dismemberment), whcih lead to his resurrection as a younger hero. After the rallied Avengers finally defeated Sentry/Void, Thor cremated the one-time Marvel hero in the sun.
In Rick Remender's Uncanny Avengers, the villainous Apocalypse Twins pulled his still-intact body from the sun and resurrected him as one of their Horsemen. He eventually betrayed the Apocalypse Twins and retreated to the far reaches of the universe, saying he had been trapped in the sun so long that the Void had fled his body.
The story continues in Doctor Strange #383, due out on shelves December 20.