Donny Cates and Nick Spencer set Las Vegas alight!

When Doctor Stephen Strange magically rebuilds Las Vegas from the debris it crumbled to during Secret Empire, he makes a big mistake. A demonic, Earth-threatening mistake.

On February 21, Mephisto comes to the City of Sin as writers Donny Cates and Nick Spencer join artist Rod Reis to challenge the master of mysticism in DOCTOR STRANGE: DAMNATION #1! This four-part limited series sees Strange team-up with heroes from across the Marvel Universe in an attempt to extinguish Mephisto’s blaze.

We spoke with Cates about igniting the flame.

Marvel.com: Donny, what causes Mephisto’s door to open when Strange raises Las Vegas?

Donny Cates: That’s something we’ll be exploring as we go along. But obviously, Mephisto is the sort to have plans on top of plans. It gets lonely down in Hell, and the poor guy has plenty of time to scheme! As the story unravels, we’ll see more and more of just what the demon has planned. If I was a betting man, I’d say it’s not good, though!

Marvel.com: Vegas has a reputation for being a sinful place—is that what inspires Mephisto’s takeover?

Donny Cates: One of the best bits of the series to me is this idea that, in Mephisto’s opinion, Las Vegas has always been his city. He’s not taking it over; he’s taking it back!

Doctor Strange: Damnation #1

Marvel.com: How will Doctor Strange go about confronting this villain?

Donny Cates: Poorly. [Laughs] Strange is out to prove himself in this series. After the devastating conclusion to Jason Aaron’s series, and the fallout from a certain God of Lies turning his world upside down, Stephen has had a rough year. So here we find Stephen trying to get back on the world’s stage and be a hero again. But when it all goes south on him, he just might not be up for the challenge…

Marvel.com: Does Strange possess the power necessary to defeat this embodiment of evil?

Donny Cates: Stephen’s powers have been on the fritz since the Empirkul came and killed the magic. Obviously, he’s still very powerful, but like I said, he’s still getting his head back into the game. He’s still a bit shaky. There’s also this whole idea of magic having a price, and when you do something as big as resurrecting an entire city…well, you’re going to have to pay for that. One way or another…

Marvel.com: In THANOS, we’ve seen your love of writing dark characters—so how’s it been working with a bad guy like Mephisto?

Donny Cates: Mephisto is such a blast to write—he lives in the unique little zone where he’s one of the only bad guys who are just completely fine with being evil. There are no grey areas with the devil, man! He’s evil and he loves being evil. So you get to write him as really any version you want as you move through the story. Mephisto is a character that can turn from playful and dramatic, to cruel and hardcore without skipping a beat. And with a setting like Las Vegas…well, he’s quite the showman!

Read Donny Cates, Nick Spencer, and Rod Reis’ DOCTOR STRANGE: DAMNATION #1 on February 21!

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Check out new characters and pre-order the upcoming releases now!

Hasbro is turning heads with the relaunch of Mighty Muggs this month, bringing a new spin to collectible figures. These head-spinning heroes and villains pack a mighty punch, letting fans of all ages experience a different side (or sides) of their favorite characters.

The first of the new Marvel Mighty Muggs — which feature a push-and-turn mechanism that lets fans change the figure’s facial expression by pushing down on the head — are now available for pre-order, with several additional characters having just been added.

Here at Marvel.com, we have your first look at three newly-revealed figures — Black Panther, Doctor Strange and Rocket Raccoon — which will all be part of Wave 2 of the new Marvel Mighty Muggs, available in February. Check out the gallery at the top of the page to see how all three appear in their packaging, along with photos of each of their distinct faces.

The upcoming return of Mighty Muggs (which also include new Star Wars-based characters) can be pre-ordered now at major retailers.

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Donny Cates weighs the similarities between Stephen Strange and Loki!

Ceding the title of Sorcerer Supreme to Loki never factored into Stephen Strange’s plans. But plans—like Sorcerers Supreme—change.

In response to the situation, issue #383 of DOCTOR STRANGE saw the enchanter travel to his rival’s home realm of Asgard, where he communed with the World Tree to gain strength and prepare for the journey ahead. And on January 17, writer Donny Cates and artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta continue to escalate this swelling magical storm in DOCTOR STRANGE #384!

We caught up with Cates for his insight into where Strange stands ahead of the new issue.

Marvel.com: Stephen has bound a powerful spell, “the Exile of Singhsoon,” to the souls of the people he cares about. What might he eventually use it for?

Donny Cates: Stephen talks about the Exile of Singhsoon as the kind of “break in case of emergency” spell. It’s supposed to be just for the Sorcerer Supreme, and it’s something that Stephen just hates—he doesn’t think that anyone should have that much power. And he doesn’t believe in himself enough to be able to use it.

So yeah, he’s been hiding it in the souls of people he loves. He’s confident that he could get it out if he absolutely had to, but it’s an incredibly difficult thing to. He did this because the risk of pulling it out could potentially rip someone’s soul and kill them—or at least kill their eternal soul. If push came to shove, I tend to believe that Stephen would use it if he could guarantee that he could extract it out without hurting those people. But the problem here is that Stephen doesn’t believe that Loki can do it, and doesn’t believe that the God of Mischief will have the same gentle hand that he would. He actually calls it a surgical procedure.

Stephen kind of sees Loki as this bull in a china shop, which, if you read the series, isn’t an entirely founded fear. Loki hasn’t done anything wrong outright. It’s really a failing within Stephen to see that Loki might not be what he thinks. So you find Stephen having what could be, in my personal opinion, an overreaction.

Marvel.com: In issue #381, Loki shows Jane Foster that the Frost Giants have plans to invade Earthand says he’s trying to stop them. So Stephen assumes that Loki wants access to the Exile of Singhsoon for his own selfish ends, but maybe he actually has nobler intentions?

Donny Cates: If you’re Stephen Strange, you only have history to go on. And with Loki, history’s really not on his side when it comes to trust. I mean, he’s the God of Lies! So I think Stephen has good reason in his own heart to not believe that Loki has the greatest of intentions with this thing. But, so far, Loki hasn’t given us—the audience—any reason to think that his motives are anything but pure.

But that’s the great thing about this Loki: after Kieron Gillen brought him back from the dead, he gave him a blank slate. He can kind of trick you, the audience, into trusting him as well—he’s not this mustache-twirling bad guy anymore. But we won’t know until we know!

He surprises me, too. Sometimes, I’ll be writing Loki and then, in bed that night, I’ll realize, “Oh wait, he was lying!” He was lying to me on the page, right to my face!

Marvel.com: Stephen also has something hidden in a locked room in the Sanctum Santorum. Without giving too much away…could he potentially use it against Loki?

Donny Cates: Come on! You put a big, secret room in the middle of a story about sorcerers and gods fighting each other—it’s a big deal!

Marvel.com: And Sentry has come into play too. Can you give us any hints about how he might join in?

Donny Coates: I don’t think it’s that weird that, of all the people in the Marvel Universe, Strange knows where The Sentry is; he’s Doctor Strange, he knows everything. And when you bring a character like that into this story specifically…The Sentry and The Void killed Loki last time. So that’s something that I know and something that Stephen knows. When you want to find something that can scare the crap out of a god, well, The Sentry’s a pretty good candidate.

Marvel.com: It seems like Stephen has started weaving together a bit of a sneaky plan in the same way Loki would…

Donny Cates: Yeah, that’s the interesting thing, right? That jumped out at me when I was writing this book, too. There’s a scene in issue #382 where Bats, his little talking basset hound friend, basically says, “You’ve really got to start lying to your patients, Doc.” And Stephen says, “I’m not overly fond of liars”—a fun little nod to how much he hates Loki. But then, in the next panel, Bats says, “Oh cool, do you want to hear about that super secret spy thing that you sent me on?”

Stephen doesn’t even get that he’s being as duplicitous as Loki. And the idea that he hid these things in the people he loves, without their knowledge…it makes them very similar characters. They both have their own very secret agendas. And as we go along, I think it’s quite obvious that this whole thing will lead to a pretty grand confrontation between this man and this God. And as we’ll see, these two are more alike than either of them would ever care to admit. They both keep things close to the chest in a way that continually comes back to bite them. I’m very attracted to the way that those to characters vibrate against one another.

I might have been the happiest boy in the world when I went to “Thor: Ragnarok” and saw those two guys talking to each other in the Sanctum!

Marvel.com: Would you like to tease anything else?

Donny Cates: I hope that, after reading DOCTOR STRANGE #383, people will forgive me a little bit for the death of Bats. There’s a payoff to that moment. If you thought that the emotional strangling that I was doing of you in issue #382 was over, it’s sure not!

You know, it’s always a bummer when a dog dies. But part of the reason I wanted to do that, and to make Strange a vet, was that my cat died the same month that I got the DOCTOR STRANGE gig. She was my best friend and she sat on my lap when I wrote. When she passed away, the veterinarian’s office was great and they were like my heroes. So I thought that’d be a noble choice for Stephen. Because he’s a little bit different for a Marvel character in that he was a hero, saving lives, before becoming a super hero. He was a doctor. A lot of people only know him as hero because he operated on them and saved their lives. That’s a really cool part of his character that sometimes gets glossed over. So to find Stephen now kind of dethroned but still finding a way to be people’s hero every day is, to me, very beautiful.

Donny Cates and artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s DOCTOR STRANGE #384 drops on January 17!

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There are a ton of familiar Marvel faces to encounter on the Disney Magic.

Brand-new to the Disney vacation experience, Black Panther joined the collection of Super Heroes aboard the Disney Magic for Marvel Day at Sea.

When he’s not showing off his mastery of unarmed combat skills during an epic battle at sea, Black Panther is inspiring young guests with his superhuman strength and intellect.

The mischievous Loki also made his debut to the Disney vacation experience during Marvel Day at Sea. He may even charm you like only the God of Mischief can. That is, when he isn’t resenting the shadow of his half-brother, Thor.

Even Spider-Man needs to relax after showing off his super strength and agility, and of course there’s no better place to do that than a Disney cruise.

You may also find Doctor Strange teaching kids how to create portals to other worlds…

Black Widow and Hawkeye inspiring them to unleash their inner super hero…

Or Captain America embodying honor, integrity, courage and trustworthiness.

Black Panther and Spider-Man are two of the Marvel heroes you are guaranteed a time to meet and take photographs with during the cruise. Before you even step onboard, you have the chance to reserve time with these characters and more under the My Disney Cruise section of www.disneycruise.com.

Marvel Day at Sea returns to the Disney Magic in January on select sailings from Miami through April. If you’re joining the fun, be sure to share photos of your heroic encounters with #MarvelDayatSea.

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Learn more about the Doctor Strange and 'Marvel Heroes Unite' shows available on the Disney Magic.

If you missed the first season of Marvel Day at Sea sailing from New York City this fall, you’re still in luck. The epic event returns to the Disney Magic on select cruises from Miami this January through April.

This daylong celebration is packed with exciting entertainment for the entire family, including opportunities for heroic encounters with more than a dozen legendary Marvel characters. An interactive show with Doctor Strange and a nighttime deck show spectacular are at the top of the list!

During “Doctor Strange: Journey into the Mystic Arts,” Doctor Stephen Strange invites you to discover the world of the Mystic Arts. You’ll be transported from the Walt Disney Theatre to the New York Sanctum Sanctorum, the residence of Doctor Strange.

Young apprentices play a special role in the experience, as Doctor Strange calls upon them to learn the fundamentals of the Mystic Arts.

After completion of their mystic arts training, the students put their new skills to the test when suddenly an epic battle against the Dark Dimension ensues!

Later that night, Marvel Day at Sea culminates with “Marvel Heroes Unite,” a show featuring incredible stunts, special effects, pyrotechnics and the largest collection of Marvel Super Heroes and Super Villains ever assembled on a cruise ship.

Tony Stark, dressed for the occasion in his Iron Man armor, throws an exclusive gala on the high seas aboard the Disney Magic to unveil the latest Stark Industries technology. Super Heroes like Captain America, Black Widow and Hawkeye make their grand entrances to join him.

The party suddenly turns into a battle at sea when the villainous Loki and sinister cohorts invade the ship. As a special guest at the gala, you’re in the middle of the ensuing action! The excitement continues as you witness heroic entrances by Black Panther, Thor, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Man. Even Star-Lord, Gamora and Groot join this ultimate confrontation of Super Heroes and Villains.

Do the Super Heroes prevail? Join us for Marvel Day at Sea in 2018 to find out!

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In theaters May 4.

There was an idea…

The first official trailer for Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” has finally arrived. We began our Marvel Cinematic Universe journey together back in 2008. All roads lead to Thanos next year. Get your first official look at “Avengers: Infinity War” right here on Marvel.com above.

Following the events of “Captain America: Civil War,” the Avengers as we know it no longer exists. Lines were drawn; sides were chosen. The Avengers is nothing more than a team name without any team members. Can Earth’s Mightiest Heroes put aside their differences and unite once more? Do they even stand a chance against the Mad Titan who delights in their failure and desperation? Can they stop his thirst for power and chaos as he begins to collect the Infinity Stones?

The trailer packs as many super heroes as it can in a mere 2 minutes and 30 seconds: Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Vision (Paul Bettany), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), and so much more.

“You can fight it. You can run from it. But destiny still arrives.” We know the trailer brought a smile to your face as much as pain and suffering put one on Thanos’ face. Now excuse us while we watch the trailer a thousand more times!

See the culmination of the last decade of the Marvel Cinematic Universe when “Avengers: Infinity War” opens in theaters on May 4, 2018. Stay tuned to Marvel.com, follow @Avengers on Twitter, and Like “The Avengers” on Facebook for the latest on the Avengers and the rest of the MCU as it develops!

 

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Donny Cates teases a Loki showdown and universe-shattering revelations!

Loki as a Sorcerer Supreme. Yeah, you read that correctly.

Writer Donny Cates and artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta give the God of Lies and Mischief the magical mantle in DOCTOR STRANGE. And on December 6, issue #382 sees Doctor Strange make a move that will create huge repercussions across the Marvel Universe.

We conjured up Mr. Cates to discuss the spellbinding showdown.

Marvel.com: What can you give away about how Strange handles Loki in this issue?

Donny Cates: Oh, well…nothing! [Laughs] I mean…I know in this day and age it has become a bit of a standard thing to say “This will change everything,” but just between you and me, the events of the end of my second issue will be felt for years and years in the Marvel Universe.

Marvel.com: What has been the most challenging aspect of transforming Loki for this new role?

Donny Cates: Loki is such an incredibly rich character to write—one that surprises me with every script. He’s alive, you know? He does whatever he wants on the page, regardless of what I have planned for him. I always say in interviews that I wouldn’t dare speak on behalf of Loki, and that’s true. He has plans upon plans, schemes upon schemes. He’s way smarter (and more charming) than me, so really, when I write him, it’s just me trying to get out of his way, and let him come out and speak in the book.

You notice how I didn’t answer your question? I learned that from watching Loki.

Marvel.com: Can you talk about how Loki uses his god-like powers combined with his new sorcerer ones?

Donny Cates: Obviously it makes for a hell of a powerful character, right? But, it’s important to note that the title of Sorcerer Supreme doesn’t necessarily grant you new powers. It’s a symbol of the level of power you already wield. It’s like a black belt. Having a black belt doesn’t make you better at karate…it’s an outward symbol of how good you are at karate.

So to answer your question, Loki is super good at karate.

Marvel.com: Anyone would be wary in striking an alliance with him, but what explicit reasons does Stephen have to mistrust him?

Donny Cates: That’s the big thing in this book. So I can’t give that away, but here…let’s do this instead. Who saw “Thor: Ragnarok” this weekend? Oh, all of you did? Awesome, okay. So here we go into spoiler country…

3…

2…

1…

Okay, any of you still there? Oh, all of you are? Awesome. Okay, so you know that way too brief but amazing little back and forth between Loki and Doctor Strange in the movie? If you want more of exactly that…I got you.

Honestly, that scene was more or less a trailer for this entire run. You’re welcome!

Marvel.com: What kind of legacy does Loki see for himself in the world of magic?

Donny Cates: The idea of legacy that runs through this arc has been crazy fun. I’ve said it before, but this arc shares so much DNA with the origin of Doctor Strange, and the long, long history of Loki. It’s all about Stephen coming to grips with the things that made him special being torn away from him, and the insane lengths he’ll go to see them returned. That’s where Stephen Strange began his journey, and that’s where we once again find him here.

As for Loki, well…you’re certainly asking the right questions. So many people get hung up on the how of it all. “How did Loki become the Sorcerer Supreme!? How can that be possible!?”

And look, we’ll answer that question, of course…but that’s not what you should be asking.

You should be asking “Why?”

And for that answer…well, I’m afraid you’ll have to ask Loki. I wouldn’t dare speak for a sorcerer god with a black belt in question dodging and karate.

DOCTOR STRANGE #382, by Donny Cates and artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta, drops on December 6!

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Writer Donny Cates conjures up mischief with our newest Sorcerer Supreme!

What would happen if Loki, the God of Mischief, became the Sorcerer Supreme? That’s exactly the question that writer Donny Cates tackles in the upcoming DOCTOR STRANGE #381. We may not know what Loki is up to yet, but we do know one thing – it won’t be boring! We caught up with Cates to find out more about what we can expect.

Marvel.com: Loki obviously doesn’t have the same altruistic leanings as Stephen Strange…as the Sorcerer Supreme, will he use his role to further his own ends?

Donny Cates: Hmmmm, yes and no. That question there is really the heart of Loki, right? He’s so much fun because you never know the rules of whatever game he’s currently playing. So yes, he probably is using his role to serve his own needs….but what if his needs are altruistic? Is he still being selfish and underhanded if the result is a net positive? I’m not saying that’s necessarily the case here, but I wouldn’t ever get too comfortable with how you perceive Loki and his intentions.

Marvel.com: Stephen has a lot of experience when it comes to sorcery, but Loki has been doing it even longer. How will that inform how he approaches being Sorcerer Supreme?

Donny Cates: Well, at the end of the day, this is still very much a book about Stephen Strange. So, it’s very interesting, because on the one hand you have this GOD who is now insanely powerful in his new role….and then we have Stephen. I can’t say much about where Stephen is in this arc, but it’s unusual, and more (ahem) low-key than anything we’ve ever seen before. So it’s a nice dichotomy between the two.

How’s that for dodging a question? 🙂

Doctor Strange #381 cover by Mike Del Mundo

Marvel.com: Loki is, of course, the god of mischief. He doesn’t have the same reverence for authority as some of the more “heroic” characters. It seems like he’d have a lot of fun in this role. He could definitely mess with people.

Donny Cates: Oh for sure! As is said in the first issue, Loki is not, nor has he ever been, overly fond of “the rules.” So he kind of bumps up against this idea of magic having limits and prices. He’s not into it. And that leads him, and us,  down some rather dark roads.  

Marvel.com: Still, Loki often chooses to do the right thing. He might not want to admit it, but he does care. So can we expect to see him using his authority for the greater good, as well?

Donny Cates: Yeah, that’s what’s so amazing about him as a character these days. Even when he WANTS to do something good, no one on Earth (or in any realm) believes him. Everyone still thinks of him as this mustache-twirling villain, but that’s not really who he is anymore, right? He’s much more complicated.

I should mention though, that whatever supposed heroic deeds Loki has planned, or how well his intentions are….the good Doctor will be having none of it. Stephen doesn’t trust Loki as far as he can throw him, and he will stop at nothing to see his home, his cloak, and his title returned to him.

The lengths Strange will go through to see his livelihood returned to him…that’s the real story here. And I promise you can’t fathom what those lengths will be.

You’ve never seen Doctor Strange like this.

Doctor Strange #382 cover by Mike Del Mundo

Marvel.com: Would you like to mention or tease anything else?

Donny Cates: If I were a betting man….I’d pay A LOT OF ATTENTION to the second issue of my run. DOCTOR STRANGE #382 is a big one folks. I’ll see you there!

DOCTOR STRANGE #381, by Donny Cates and Gabriel Hernandez Walta, hits shelves on November 15!

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Things will be very Strange indeed aboard the Disney Magic!

More details have been revealed about the epic events of Marvel Day at Sea! The day’s entertainment will include a brand-new interactive show with Doctor Strange that invites families to join sorcerer supreme Doctor Strange on a journey of discovery into the world of the Mystic Arts.

Through the power of special effects and projections, you’ll be transported from the Walt Disney Theatre to the New York Sanctum Santorum, the residence of Doctor Strange. As apprentices, you’ll learn how to master the Mystic Arts, create portals to other worlds and cast spells.

Children play a special role in the experience, as Doctor Strange calls upon the young apprentices to learn the fundamentals of the Mystic Arts, and his Master Students lead the kids in training exercises. Each new student of Doctor Strange is awarded a certificate after completion of their mystic arts training.

But this powerful experience isn’t over yet! The students will need to put their new skills to the test when suddenly an epic battle against the Dark Dimension ensues. Doctor Strange calls upon his young apprentices to join forces and summon their practiced powers…

Will they prevail? Keep your mind open. The possibilities out there are endless.

Marvel Day at Sea premieres on select 7- and 8-night Disney Cruise Line sailings from New York this fall, and returns on select 5-night Western Caribbean cruises from Miami in early 2018.

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The Master of the Mystic Arts will soon be seen aboard the Disney Magic.

The premiere of Marvel Day at Sea is just around the corner! Marvel fans will want to join us as we count down to this epic celebration on select cruises aboard the Disney Magic.

In the coming weeks, we’re featuring some of the mighty Marvel Super Heroes you can meet onboard during the daylong event, giving you insights into who they are and how you can get some face time with them.

Today, the spotlight is on the Master of the Mystic Arts… Doctor Strange!

Doctor Strange is one of the most powerful sorcerers in existence. Once an expert surgeon, a car accident severely damaged his hands, sending him on a quest that led to his discovery of the Mystic Arts. His magical repertoire includes energy projection, matter transformation, teleportation, dimensional travel and time travel, to name just a few.

During Marvel Day at Sea, you can see Doctor Strange in his very own show in the Walt Disney Theatre. Through the power of special effects and projections, Doctor Strange demonstrates his mastery of the Mystic Arts. Doctor Strange may also be encountered around the ship, summoning his powers and seeking enlightenment, as well as appearing in the nighttime deck show.

Stay tuned to meet more Super Heroes assembling for Marvel Day at Sea, which premieres on select 7- and 8-night Disney Cruise Line sailings from New York this fall, and returns on select 5-night Western Caribbean cruises from Miami in early 2018.

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