Doctor Strange: The Oath
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|Doctor Strange: The Oath|
Cover of the 1st issue
|Publication date||December 2006 – April 2007|
|No. of issues||5|
|Main character(s)||Doctor Strange|
|Written by||Brian K. Vaughan|
Doctor Strange: The Oath is a 2007 comic book limited series written by Brian K. Vaughan, drawn by Marcos Martin, published by Marvel Comics and starring the superhero Doctor Strange. The story follows Doctor Strange as he searches for the person who tried to kill him, while he also looks for a stolen magical elixir that will cure the terminal cancer of Wong, his faithful servant. Doctor Strange finds himself facing another disciple of the Ancient One, who has learned about the elixir and is determined to destroy it.
During a rainy night in New York City, in the lobby of the hospice belonging to Night Nurse, Wong, servant to the Sorcerer Supreme, drags in the unconscious, bleeding Doctor Strange, begging for help. He had been running errands and returned to the Sanctum Sanctorum to find that Strange had been shot during a burglary. Strange appears in his astral form and tells Night Nurse that if she didn’t hurry, he’d be dead before Wong could finish.
Inside the office of Dr. Nicodemus West, a thief named Brigand hands him a bottle containing the Otkid's Elixir and an amulet. He claims that he killed Doctor Strange during the theft and shows him a gun that fires silver bullets. West tells him should have made sure Strange was dead.
Night Nurse removes the bullet from Strange’s chest as Wong explains how Strange learned of his illness. Inside the Sanctum Sanctorum, Strange had been looking for his Cloak of Levitation and found Wong's bottle of Timelozar, a targeting agent for brain tumors. Wong had hoped to keep his terminal brain cancer a secret until his replacement could be found. He accepted his fate, but Strange refuses and remembers something from a book of magic.
Following the directions to a specific location, he opened a portal to another dimension to find the Otkid’s Elixir to cure Wong’s cancer. Wong begged him not to go up against a god for the cure. Strange reminded him that he had taken the Hippocratic Oath before entering the portal.
After finding the elixir, he sent a sample to his friend, Dr. Jonas Hilt, for testing. He returns to his body and reveals that the elixir can cure every form of disease. He was examining it inside the Sanctum Sanctorum when he was attacked by Brigand. The thief fired a silver bullet that broke through a defense spell and hit him.
Strange takes Wong and Night Nurse to Hilt's research lab. Inside, they find the place destroyed and the sample gone. Hilt is dead, shot by the same gun that had been used on Strange. The Eye of Agamotto leads them to Brigand's hideout where they confront him. Strange manages to get inside his mind and force him to reveal that the sorcerer helping him was the same West who had been unable to repair his hands.
At Timely Pharmaceuticals, West’s employer, he meets with the board members. They tell him to eliminate anyone who knows about the elixir. West scoffs when they claim they only want humanity to get cures at a natural pace. He asks if they really mean that if a cure was found, they would lose their powerful lucrative jobs. The CEO counters by saying that he wouldn’t have killed Dr. Hilt if he thought they were wrong. They order him to end their problem with Strange.
Strange returns to Brigand's hideout and suggests they return to the hospice. He destroys a Marrrakant Hellguard blocking the entrance to the building before opening a portal to its summoning origin. When they walk through to West's room, he imprisons them in a holding spell, and Strange demands to know who taught him magic.
West was determined to find a way restore his hands. He located the Ancient One, but quickly grew bored and left. After using magic to help a severely injured girl, he tried a spell on a bedridden, terminal cancer patient. The botched spell backfires and his immune cells attack all the cells in his body causing them to explode.
He was about to turn himself over to the police when he was stopped by two CEOs from Timely. They followed him because they didn't want the increasing use of magic to affect their industry, so they offered him a lucrative deal. He would track and keep users of magic in check, and in return they would cover his mistake.
After Strange breaks the holding spell, Wong collapses. West teleports to a bathroom, where he prepares to dump the elixir down the drain. Strange appears and demands to know why he wants to destroy it. West admits that he thinks the liquid is poison and people need cures by natural means. Strange counters by asking if things like CT scans were natural. He feels that West is scared that not all magic is harmful and the cancer patient hadn’t been killed by magic, but by his incompetence as a sorcerer. Strange forgives him for not saving his hands and owns up to his own involvement in how they were destroyed. He knows that doctors and sorcerers have to own up to their mistakes. He can’t forgive West for not owning up to his mistake as a sorcerer.
West teleports to the roof with Strange in pursuit, where they engage in a fistfight. Strange reveals his training in the martial arts and delivers several severe blows. West tries to get away only to fall over the edge of the roof, taking the elixir with him. The vial shatters, leaving only a tiny drop on top a broken piece. West's astral projection appears as he had managed to send it out just before he landed. He tells Strange to make a choice: save Wong or take the necessary amount of time to recreate it. As his projection fades, he asks Strange to think about which choice he could live with.
A day later, Wong wakes up with no trace of cancer. Strange assures him that his life was worth the final bit. Night Nurse assures Strange that he can only do his best and leave the cures to the drug companies. He reminds her that no one at Timely would pay for their crimes. She shows a confession memo she had lifted from West’s office. He had created it for the Timely board members to remind them of the extreme measures they had used to destroy the Otkid’s elixir and silence everyone who knew about it. He's so grateful that he invites her to set up a new hospice inside his Sanctum Sanctorum.