Doctor Strange (2015) No. 10 Last Days of Magic Chapter 5
This is a flashback panel and, admittedly, it is a bit confusing. I'm going to try and explain.
This is one of those times when Dr. Strange's magic usage has left him with a lot of pain. Wong is channeling that pain to The Thing in the Cellar. This is a troubling scene.
This is not a one time situation. It been done near constantly over the years.
There is a suggestion here that whatever the 'Thing' is it is not really alive. At least Strange is not sure it is. The argument is a bit weak really. Both Strange and Wong must know that the 'Thing' is sentient. The implication is an eye-opener because what they're essentially doing is torturing this hapless creature. And they did it for years. Whoa.
All in all, this is just a dark pair of panels for me. This is how The Thing in the Cellar was created.
We rejoin Doctor Strange as he confronts both the Lord Imperator and The Thing in the Cellar. Strange scores some early points against his science-based foe.
But it is a short-lived advantage.
It's good to see the Doctor muster a little bit of frivolity in the midst of a fight he's losing. Maybe 'frivolity' is the wrong word; let's just say I admire Stephen for not being totally depressed right now.
Just when it can't get worse, it gets worse.
This is true for both Stephen Strange in the inside of the Sanctum and the sorcerers on the outside. Just as the sorcerers think they have everything contained, Imperakul literally pour out of the sky.
Back in Tibet, in defiance of the Doctor's wishes, Zelma presents herself as shock absorber for Stephen Strange.
The 'Thing' will understandably go for Stephen's jugular. The Doctor knows that, but the Doctor also knows that the thing and himself are the natural foes (prey?) of the Imperator and he tries to broach this with the 'Thing'.
As the Doctor is about to get killed by the Imperator, The Thing in the Cellar interferes.
Certainly not out of concern, but out of a private need - The Thing in the Cellar wants to be the one to make Strange suffer.
This gives Doctor Strange enough time to throw the Ancient One's pulverized bones into the Lord Imperator's face with devastating results.
Uh-oh, it's time for the Doctor to pay the price. Years of pain he threw at the 'Thing' is now coming back to him.
Here it is: the defeat of the Lord Imperator and the Imperakul.
The Doctor is still wracked with years of collected pain. In an explicable twist everybody he's ever helped willingly shares that pain. Somehow the Secret Disciples of Strange reconvene and participate.
So it's punishment time for the Lord Imperator. And what is his punishment? It's going to be a doozy - he's the new Thing in the Cellar. Ho!
My knee jerk reaction is: that's kind of harsh. But then again how many people did this guy torture and kill? Entire magical civilizations gone. But still. You know what? Doctor Strange is not the good guy I thought he is. And that's a good thing - gives him depth, character.
Okay, so this is a victory. But so much magic has been leeched from the world the victory is on the brink of being Pyrrhic. You know what? scratch that. Doctor Strange and his fellow sorcerers should be dead by now but they're not. So yeah, it's a victory.