The Marvel Universe is so rich that it’s impossible for you to know absolutely everything about it. So, maybe you didn’t know that there is an alternate reality in which Stephen Strange never became the Sorcerer Supreme. It is indeed another superhero, a prominent member of the Avengers team, who occupies this role in his place.
The Endless Possibilities of the Multiverse and Alternate Realities
As if the Marvel universe was not rich and complex enough to understand like that, the writers regularly have fun revealing parallel universes and other alternate realities. A very practical way to extend its lore and its universe, but also to justify all the inconsistencies and to overcome the lack of inspiration. If the MCU is currently developing this concept with the multiverse at the heart of its Phase IV, comics have been doing it for decades.
This is particularly the case of What If…? which, before becoming an animated series available on Disney+, was a long-running comic book series. Their principle? Imagining well-known characters from the Marvel Universe in alternate realities. In issue #113, titled What If… Tony Stark Became the Master of the Mystic Arts? (What if… Tony Stark had become the Master of the Mystical Arts?), released in 1998, we discover a Tony Stark who never became Iron Man, but the Sorcerer Supreme. The height of irony: he was the one driving the car during the accident in which Stephen Strange seriously injured his hands. He then becomes… Tony’s butler.
The incredible mix between Iron Man and Doctor Strange
Feeling guilty for Strange’s accident, Tony Stark decides to take him to see The Elder in Tibet, hoping to fix the situation. But it is finally indeed him who becomes the disciple of this one. After a few months of training by his side (much less than Doctor Strange in his own reality), he had acquired enough mastery of mystical powers to defeat the powerful wizard Mordo, becoming at the same time the Sorcerer Supreme on Earth. Through the use of artifacts such as the Levitation Cloak and the Eye of Agamotto, he becomes ever more powerful.
But its great peculiarity, in What If…Tony Stark Became the Master of the Mystic Arts?, is thathe combines these mystical powers with elements of advanced technologies typical of Iron Man: armor, bionic vision… Making it even more fearsome than classic Doctor Strange. Stephen, he, no longer acted as butler to Stark. Tired of this situation, he betrays him and sides with the terrible interdimensional entity Dormammu. The latter gives him back the use of his hands, but Stephen Strange understands Dormammu’s bad intentions and switches again to the good side of the force.
He then becomes the Iron Sorcerer (Sorcerer in Armor), a sort of second version of the Sorcerer Supreme. Thereafter, the latter will manage to defeat the entity and will continue to ensure its role in its reality, while Stephen Strange chooses to remain in the Dark Dimension, alongside Dormammu’s niece, with whom he seems to be fooling around.