Warning! Spoilers for Strange Academy #1 below
Class is in session at Marvel Comics‘ Strange Academy! But, just who are the students at Marvel’s Hogwarts equivalent? Skottie Young and Humberto Ramos are teaming up on Strange Academy, one of the most exciting comics of the year. Marvel’s premiere sorcerers are banding together to teach the next generation of mystics, an idea that’s simply too good for the MCU to ignore.
Doctor Strange is nominally the headmaster of Strange Academy, although it’s already clear that – as Sorcerer Supreme – he’ll have a lot of other things on his mind as well. The heavy lifting will be done by his friend Zelma Stanton and Brother Voodoo, although there is a rotating cast of teachers; they include Daimon Hellstrom, Nico Minoru, Scarlet Witch, Magik, and Shaman. It’s certainly going to be entertaining seeing how these different teachers conduct their classes, and even more so watching just how well they work together; there’s bad blood between the X-Men and Scarlet Witch, with the mutant nation of Krakoa basically viewing Scarlet Witch as the devil, so Magik and Wanda may clash.
But, of course, the real interest in Strange Academy doesn’t lie in the experienced superheroes. It’s a clear Harry Potter analog, which means the focus will inevitably be on the next generation of magicians. This is a tremendous opportunity for Marvel to introduce a massive number of new magical characters – some heroes, some villains – and it’s all being done with the customary flair and energy you’d expect from Young and Ramos. So – it’s time to take the register.
Calvin is an orphan who spent most of his life moving from one foster home to another. He presents as enthusiastic and socially inept, completely unaware when he’s wearing people down, but it’s likely there’s far more to this kid than meets the eye; for one thing, Strange Academy avoids even hinting at what happened to Calvin’s parents.
Dessy (short for Despair) originates from Limbo, one of the most dangerous Hell Dimensions. This is traditionally associated with the X-Men’s most prominent sorceress, Magik, although recent issues of Ghost Rider have confirmed it has once again been conquered by the demonic Belasco. Dessy lacks social awareness, and has an innate ability to sense people’s deepest secrets; it will be fascinating to see what she uncovers in her teachers, never mind her classmates. “I never tell,” Dessy observes. “It’s my burden.”
One of the most fascinating Strange Academy students is Doyle Dormammu, the young son of the Dread Dormammu. Dormammu and his sister Umar are powerful members of a race called the Faltine, and have served as classic enemies for Doctor Strange time and again – with Dormammu even serving as the main villain in 2016’s Doctor Strange movie. In ancient times, Dormammu warred against Asgard and King Odin, and Strange Academy reveals Asgardians still remember his wrath. For all that’s the case, though, Doyle Dormammu doesn’t seem dangerous – even if he is powerful. Visually, Doyle Dormammu bears a resemblance to his father, which is fascinating; the flames around his head denote rulership and authority, which may mean he’s already master of some dimension or other.
Iric and Alvi – Doyle Dormammu’s brief opponents – are two brothers from Asgard, and it’s fascinating to see them sent to Strange Academy rather than taught at Asgard. Mackenzi Lee’s novel Loki: Where Mischief Lies revealed Asgard typically has a degree of disdain towards magic, explaining why Loki never really fit in among the royal family. It’s never been entirely clear whether or not Lee’s book should be considered canon, but that would certainly explain why King Thor has sent two of his subjects to Midgard to learn sorcery. He’d be wary of history repeating itself, and eager to give them a chance to learn among their peers. Naturally, as Asgardians, Iric and Alvi don’t see things the same way, and would never consider their fellow students to be their peers.
Emily Bright, at first glance, seems to be the most powerful student at Strange Academy – but she’s raw and untrained. Emily serves as the reader’s introduction to Strange Academy; she’s a teenager who grew up knowing she was a sorcerer, but she has absolutely no idea how the rules operate. Her greatest feat to date is entirely spontaneous when she resurrects her dog Emma, who’s been hit by a car. This impressive act draws attention from a mystical other-dimensional entity, but thankfully Emily is rescued by Zelma. Zelma is concerned the creature drawn to Emily is only the first, and that she’s being sought out by other entities as well.
Next is Guslaug, a young Frost Giant from the Realm of Jotunheim. Precious few Frost Giants have ever been developed as characters before now, and Ramos is careful to ensure Guslaug is presented as non-sinister. Naturally, his arrival almost provokes a fight when Iric and Alvic attempt to attack; there’s bad blood between Asgard and Jotunheim, of course. The potential fight is interrupted by the arrival of Loki, who’s now King of Jotunheim and has ushered in an uneasy peace between the Realms. Loki has something of a history with Zelma, and he makes it clear he’s going to be dropping by Strange Academy to keep an eye on Guslaug.
Shaylee Moonpeddle is an excitable and friendly half-human, half-fairy who originates from the mystical realm of Otherworld. This mystical realm serves as the collective subconscious of the British Isles; it’s a pocket dimension adjacent to Earth, and has frequently been considered the source of all magic, a key location in the Multiverse from which other dimensions can be accessed. According to Shaylee, her mom broke the rules of the Fairy Council when she mated with a human; it’s likely a halfling like Shaylee has grown up treated with a great deal of prejudice. Shaylee may well be a refugee, given Otherworld has been in chaos of late; it’s recently been conquered by the X-Men, and is now ruled by the mutant Jamie Braddock.
Toth isn’t developed as a character in the first issue of Strange Academy; apparently he’s a denizen of Weirdworld. Weirdworld was originally a mystical sword-and-sorcery dimension, but it was transformed in the aftermath of 2015’s Secret Wars event, in which the entire Marvel Multiverse collided together. When the dust settled, Weirdworld was located on Earth, a floating island hovering in the Bermuda Triangle. Toth originates from Weirdworld’s swamps, and he’s delighted to see the bayou at the back of Strange Academy, wasting no time getting into the water.
Zoe Laveau is a New Orleans native who grew up with a knowledge of magic. Although she’s friendly enough, Dessy senses she hides a secret she’s concealing from everyone around her, something dangerous and very personal. Zoe doesn’t get much development in Strange Academy #1, but her secret is clearly going to be one of the major sub-plots.
Read more: screenrant.com