Marvel Premiere #12-14
Issue(s): Marvel Premiere #12, Marvel Premiere #13, Marvel Premiere #14
...travel backwards in time with Cagliostro...
...a sorcerer who has mastered time travel, specifically "how to change the past without endangering one's present existence". The need for that contingency brings to mind Marvel's semi-official (and yet to be invented) time travel policy, i.e., traveling in time always creates an alternate timeline so that any changes made don't affect the 'real' world. It seems Cagliostro has a way of circumventing that rule.
Dr. Strange gets involved when Lila, a "gypsy queen" hypnotizes Dr. Strange into stealing back the Book of Cagliostro from Baron Mordo, who had taken it from her and was using it to alter the past to gain superiority over Strange. This requires him to fight a gargoyle.
As he travels back in time he absorbs more and more magical ability. Magic is described as something finite, so that if Cagliostro has more power, other mystics (Strange, Mordo, and mystics of whatever period they are in, such as Merlin, have less). Strange and Mordo serve as Cagliostro's good and bad shoulder-angels...
...trying to convince him to either spare or destroy mankind as they travel further and further back in time. In pre-historic times, Sise-Neg battles Shuma-Gorath's past self...
...putting the tentacled-one to sleep for millennia until he wakes up to bother Dr. Strange and the Ancient One in the previous arc. In the end, Cagliostro, at the dawn of creation, essentially becomes God, but decides to re-create the universe exactly as it was the first time.
I've come to understand this was mind-blowing to some readers at the time; i've read many people speak of the story fondly. I'm probably just too jaded to appreciate them properly; they just feel kind of messy and random to me.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP has placed this between Defenders #14-15 and before Dr. Strange's appearance in Marvel Team-Up #21.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Dr. Strange: A Separate Reality TPB
Larry Hama later admitted he was one of the Crusty Bunkers who worked on this story.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 27, 2014 6:32 PM
My absolute favourite Dr.Strange story ever!
Englehart stated that editorial wanted him to over-write this story, saying it was an alternate universe, because they were afraid Christians would be angry.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | April 28, 2014 8:41 PM
Klaus Janson stated in Amazing Heroes #155 that he did backgrounds for Dick Giordano as his assistant on Dick's Dr. Strange issues.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 10, 2015 12:23 AM
Sise-Neg is awful spelled backwards.
Posted by: Wanyas the Self-Proclaimed | March 7, 2015 11:42 AM
It should be emphasized that the "Cagliostro" who appears in this storyline is actually a disguised Sise-Neg who is a sorcerer from an alternate 31st Century Future Earth. There's even a bit of dialogue in which the imposter mentions how the real Cagliostro is away from Paris battling Dracula at this time.
Posted by: Don Campbell | April 23, 2016 10:56 PM
Lilia Calderu the gypsy queen also appears in Mystic Arcana: Scarlet Witch.
Posted by: Steven | July 4, 2017 8:05 PM
Added Lilia Calderu as a Character Appearing. Thanks.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 20, 2017 2:41 PM
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