Cloak of Levitation

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Cloak of Levitation
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance (Blue cloak) Strange Tales #114 (Nov. 1963)
(Red cloak) Strange Tales #127 (Dec. 1964)
Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
In story information
Type Mystic item/artifact
Element of stories featuring Doctor Strange

The Cloak of Levitation is a fictional item appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The Cloak of Levitation is depicted as a potent mystical item worn by the character Doctor Strange. The primary purpose of the cloak is to give its wearer the ability to levitate and fly. The first appearance of the first (blue) cloak was in Strange Tales #114 (November 1963). The first appearance of the second (red) cloak was in Strange Tales #127 (December 1964).[1]

Physical appearance[edit]

There were two distinctly different cloaks worn by Doctor Strange bequeathed to him by his mentor, the Ancient One: a billowing, full-length blue cloak, that had minor abilities and spells woven into it, and the later, red cloak that Strange is usually seen wearing.

The original design of the red Cloak of Levitation has been modified slightly by different artists since its creation; this includes the 'horns' around the collar. However, for the most part, the basic shape and color scheme have remained the same. The cloak is full-length, with enough surface to fully cover Strange. Even though the color scheme of the cloak has varied somewhat over the years, the basic color is usually a darker red, often with yellow (golden) designs around the border and collar. Most versions of the cloak also feature an upraised collar. The cloak has the ability to change shape and shade inline with the wearer's will.

History[edit]

While next to nothing is known about the Cloak of Levitation before it is given to Doctor Strange, it is suspected that the Cloak is many centuries old, since it was in the possession of the Ancient One.

The red cloak's first appearance is in Strange Tales #127, where, after Doctor Strange prevails in a battle with Dormammu, The Ancient One, having deemed him worthy to wear it, presents it to him as a prize.

The Cloak of Levitation is seen in a great many battles where it often plays a significant role. While it is extremely durable, there are a few occasions when it is damaged. Because of its mystical origins and properties, simply mending the cloak with a normal needle and thread is insufficient. Instead, a person with great knowledge of a mystical weaving technique must mend the garment, though as a test of worthiness for The Living Tribunal, Strange uses a large amount of mystical energy to reconstruct the cloak.[2][3]

It is because of these repair requirements that Strange gains a friend and valuable ally. After the cloak is damaged in battle, it is sent to Enitharmon the Weaver to be repaired.[4][5] After he finishes repairing the cloak, he sends it back in the hands of Rintrah, his assistant. After getting his valued cloak back, Doctor Strange offers Rintrah a position as his disciple, which he accepts. Rintrah himself later gains Strange's first, blue, levitation cloak, a separate object from the red one.[6]

At one point the cloak becomes larger than the solar system when Doctor Strange confronts Adam Warlock, who had gone mad with near-infinite power and was obsessed with sizes.[7][8]

Misuse of magic (which included a bond with the demonic Zom) causes Doctor Strange's fate as Sorcerer Supreme to be left up in the air.[9] After several days on the run from evil forces, Strange supervises the transfer of the title to the heroic Brother Voodoo. The new Sorcerer gains the cloak, now slightly modified, as part of his new status.[10][11]

Other cloaks[edit]

While, through most of the series, Doctor Strange wears the same cloak, there are a few occasions where he stores his traditional cloak and uses a newly created cloak.

In the first instance, after going underground for a good deal of time, the Doctor resurfaces wearing a new Cloak of Levitation. This Cloak bears more resemblance to a Kimono or a robe.[12]

After being drafted into the War of the Seven Spheres, where he does battle for five thousand years, he returns to his home dimension, his Kimono-like cloak in pieces.[13] He repairs what's left of this Cloak into a third cloak of Levitation (sometimes called the "Overcoat of Levitation"), this one bearing resemblance to a trench coat.[13]

Sometime after this, however, he abandons his new cloak in favor of his original, traditional Cloak of Levitation[14]

Other versions of the Cloak of Levitation[edit]

Age of Ultron[edit]

In an alternate timeline with no Hank Pym and no Vision, Doctor Strange helps protect New York with a badly damaged cloak. Despite being torn, the cloak still allows him to levitate.[15]

Counter-Earth[edit]

The Counter Earth, a planet that orbits opposite of the regular Earth, has a version of Doctor Strange called the Necromancer. This sorcerer also has a cloak.[16]

Future Imperfect[edit]

The cloak is seen in the Hulk graphic novel "Future Imperfect". Taking place a hundred years from 'now', after a nuclear war, the tattered cloak is shown as one of many items in the memorial-room home of the Hulk's associate Rick Jones.[17] The same cloak is then stolen as part of a plot by Thanatos, a version of Rick Jones, who wished to become the ultimate version of himself. Thanks to other versions, including the elderly, Thanatos is stopped.[18]

Guardians of the Galaxy[edit]

The cloak survives to the far future, in the Earth 691 timeline. Here, Doctor Strange passes his mantle and cloak down to the alien sorcerer Krugarr.[19] The alien wears it consistently through his multiple appearances.

Infinity Gauntlet[edit]

In an alternate reality[20] involving the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos uses the Cloak to hang Dr. Strange, causing his death. This ties into the main series, where Thanos is using the gauntlet to control all of reality. Here, Strange is not slain with his cloak.[21]

What If...[edit]

In the reality where Wolverine becomes lord of the vampires,[22] a severely weakened Doctor Strange lends his cloak and the Eye of Agamotto to the Punisher. Though the vigilante uses it in an attempt to kill all vampires, Wolverine tears the cloak and eye off and kills him.

Wolverine: Old Man Logan[edit]

The cloak is seen in another trophy case, this time belonging to the Red Skull, one of the villainous rulers of a post-apocalypse America.[23]

Abilities[edit]

The Cloak of Levitation, as its name suggests, has the primary purpose of granting its wearer the ability to levitate. The greatest advantage of this is that its wearer need know little about the mystic arts in order to operate it, nor does the wearer need to use any of his "mystical strength" in order to operate it. While the cloak actually has no will of its own[citation needed], it has been known to act on the will of its wearer without command, responding to mere thought. While the top speed of the cloak is unknown, it has been shown traveling at subsonic speeds. The maximum load-bearing weight of the cloak is also unknown, but Doctor Strange has been shown carrying passengers. In the miniseries The Oath, it is suggested that the cloak exhibits semi-sentient behavior (such as hiding in a favorite closet).

In addition to levitation, the cloak possesses abilities greater than those of any normal garment. These include:

  • Resistance to damage from the elements, physical attack, and mystical attacks, (for example, the cloak has withstood the direct blow from the enchanted Asgardian crowbar of the Wrecker).
  • The ability to change shape to mimic other garments, such as a business suit.
  • Ability to act upon the will of its last wearer, even when not in physical contact (or even in the same room) as the wearer.
  • The ability to act as an extra limb, grabbing, striking, or even wrapping. It snatches a thrown knife in issue 66, for example.[24]

Other works[edit]

The cloak's noted similarity to a cape gets Doctor Strange an entry in the non-fiction book Caped Crusaders 101.[25]

In other media[edit]

  • The Cloak of Levitation appears in the 2016 film Doctor Strange. According to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, the cloak: "allows him to fly, but not like how Superman or Thor can fly. It’s almost got a consciousness of its own, this cloak, which, again, gives us a superhero with a red cape."[26] In the continuity of the film, all sorcerers are gifted with a specific ancient mystical artifact that will choose them as its master when they come into their powers, with Strange finding the Cloak of Levitation among the artifacts gathered in the New York Sanctum Sanctorum while battling the minions of Dormammu and the cloak coming to his aid when its case is broken and he is nearly killed. During the film, the Cloak allows Strange to fly and is also able to move on its own to attack others who would threaten its master.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cloak of Levitation". Marvel Universe. Retrieved 2014-12-16. 
  2. ^ Strange Tales Vol. 1, #157 (June 10, 1967)
  3. ^ "Strange Tales (1951) #157". Marvel. Retrieved 12 February 2016. 
  4. ^ Doctor Strange Vol. 2, #77 (June 10, 1986)
  5. ^ "Doctor Strange (1974) #77". Marvel. Retrieved 12 February 2016. 
  6. ^ Dr. Strange Annual #2 (July 1, 1992)
  7. ^ Doctor Strange #36 (December 10, 1991)
  8. ^ "Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme (1988) #36". Marvel. Retrieved 12 February 2016. 
  9. ^ New Avengers Annual #2 (March 2008)
  10. ^ New Avengers #53 (May 28, 2009)
  11. ^ "New Avengers (2004) #53". Marvel. Retrieved 12 February 2016. 
  12. ^ Doctor Strange vol. 3, #76
  13. ^ a b Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #80 (August 1995)
  14. ^ April 2009
  15. ^ Age of Ultron Vol. 1 #7 (May 1, 2013)
  16. ^ Marvel Premiere #1 (1972)
  17. ^ "The Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect" #1-2 (December 1992 - January 1993)
  18. ^ "Captain Marvel" #30 (May 2002)
  19. ^ "Guardians of the Galaxy" Annual #1 (1991)
  20. ^ Silver Surfer #55 (1991)
  21. ^ Infinity Gauntlet #1-6 (1991)
  22. ^ "What If..." Vol. 2 #24 (April 1991)
  23. ^ Wolverine Giant-Size Old Man Logan (Sept. 2009)
  24. ^ "Dr. Strange Master Of The Mystic Arts" #66 Vol. 1 (August 1984)
  25. ^ Kahan, Jeffrey (2006). Caped Crusaders 101. McFarland. p. 127. ISBN 978-0-7864-2532-7. 
  26. ^ Collis, Clark (December 29, 2015). "Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige explains the powers of Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 29, 2015. 

External links[edit]