Sure, last year’s Spider-Man: No Way Home gave audiences a bit of a primer on multiverse-hopping superhero shenanigans, but truly nothing could have prepared them for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Actually, that’s not true. There is something: comics. Which brings up a question: What’s next? As with all things in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are many unknowns, but if you’re looking for some possible answers, read on.
The Death of Doctor Strange #1-5 (2021-2022)
Marvel’s most recent comic book outing for Stephen Strange kills off the character—and immediately brings an alternate version of him in to investigate the murder. It’s funny, fast-moving, and filled with twists and turns. Writer Jed MacKay and artist Lee Garbett give the murder mystery a magical makeover in this miniseries, creating an unlikely but ideal introduction to Doctor Strange and the weird world around him … even though he is, technically, dead.
The Defenders #1-5 (2021-2022)
They might not be traveling across the multiverse, but this revival of the 1970s super team is so mind-bending you won’t even notice. When Strange is visited by a mystery man wearing an object of vast and unknowable power, it launches a journey beyond the origins of the Marvel Universe and into realities existing before reality. Combining psychedelic writing from acclaimed Immortal Hulk scribe Al Ewing with art from Javier Rodríguez, this might be the weirdest thing Marvel has published in a long time.
Fantastic Four #570-611, FF #1-23 (2009-2012)
For one of the greatest Marvel multiverse stories, look to writer Jonathan Hickman’s celebrated run on Fantastic Four, in which Reed Richards joins the ultimate think tank: a council made up entirely of versions of himself from alternate realities. The differences between the members of the Council of Reeds help define just who “our” Reed Richards is, as well as opening a host of storytelling possibilities … and no small amount of inspiration for the filmmakers of Multiverse of Madness in the process.
The Darkhold (2021)
While things might not have worked out too well for the MCU’s version of the Scarlet Witch, those looking for a happier ending should turn their attention to this recent storyline where she stands alone against a demonic invasion. As the Darkhold corrupts heroes across the world, only Wanda has the knowledge and the strength to take care of business … but even she might not be enough in the end. Writer Steve Orlando leads a creative charge through this horror adventure.
Young Avengers #1-15 (2013)
America Chavez is certainly one of the breakouts of Multiverse of Madness, but her finest hour arguably remains the beloved Young Avengers series that introduced many elements of who she ended up being onscreen. As it happens, there’s more than a small amount of thematic crossover between this run by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie and the second Doctor Strange movie, including magical threats to reality, the cosmic consequences of selfish actions, and, oh yeah, Wanda’s two kids being in the middle of everything.
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