Magic has long been used as a canonical explanation for the origin of superpowers in the Marvel Universe, dating back to before the modern superhero boom period. Thanks in large part to his fan-favorite portrayal by Benedict Cumberbatch in the MCU, Doctor Strange has become the most recognizable Marvel magic user.
But the Sorcerer Supreme is far from Marvel’s only magically inclined character, and the often hard to define nature of magic as a powerset has led to a Universe populated by wielders of numerous and drastically different forms of mysticism.
Updated on May 5th, 2022, by Shawn S. Lealos: Doctor Strange has been widely considered the most powerful magic user in Marvel Comics. As powerful as Scarlet Witch is, it is often Doctor Strange who has to clean up her messes and he has taken her down more than once when she got out of control. However, things have changed a lot about the Sorcerer Supreme in recent years.
In the comics, Doctor Strange has been trying to find his replacement and then died before he could. While he was powerful enough to help find his killer after his death, he is now gone from Marvel Comics and that opens up a new spot at the top of the Marvel magic users rankings. With Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness looks to teach Strange that his power truly is limited, it is easy to look around and see powerful Marvel magic users that could show up in the MCU as well.
Magic in Marvel comes from many different sources. In the case of Daimon Hellstrom, it comes from Hell itself. Daimon almost made it into the MCU, but the Hulu shows ended up removed from canon, so the one season of Hellstrom there is no more. On that show, Daimon showed how powerful his magic was.
In the comics, Daimon draws his power from Hell and performs demonic spells. While he once tried to give up his legacy, as the Son of Satan, trauma caused him to embrace it and become even more powerful. To understand his full magic power, he was able to kill and strip all the magic powers from Marvel villain Doctor Druid.
Amora the Enchantress never appeared in the MCU, despite being a major player in the comics when it comes to the Asgardians. This Marvel magic user has few equals on Asgard when it comes to her powers, and she is often able to use them to mess with heavyweights like Thor and Loki.
She is also physically stronger and more durable than humans, thanks to her Asgardian physiology, but she prefers to get by with her magic powers and persuasions of manipulation over men. Even Captain Marvel knew how powerful Enchantress is, as she went to her for help when Doctor Strange refused to teach her magic in the comics.
Loki learned magic from his adoptive mother and even in the MCU, Odin had mentioned how proud Frigga would be to see how proficient Loki had become with his magical powers. In the Marvel Comic world, Loki is also very powerful depending on what stage he is in in his life.
In the pages of Young Avengers, Loki returned as a child and only had limited use of his magic powers, but was still a threat. As an adult, there were few who used magic powers in Marvel to cause more havoc than Loki, although he now serves his King, Thor, and has no use for his old evil ways.
Morgan Le Fey is easily one of the most powerful magic users in Marvel Comics, and she has been for a very long time. She was an evil magic user who lived in the Arthurian times and has a long history with the hero known as Black Knight. With Dane Whitman showing up in Eternals, there is reason to think Morgan Le Fey could one day show up as well.
She is a dangerous magic user and has warped reality more than once. She was even one of the main threats during the comic book version of Age of Ultron and is a rival to Doctor Doom with her boasts of power.
Clea just made her big return to Marvel Comics after years of being missing in action. She is a long-running character in Doctor Strange comics, a love interest who also happens t be Dormammu’s daughter. For years, she had her memory of loving Doctor Strange removed from her mind by the Sorcerer Supreme himself.
However, this was undone after Strange’s death and she is back and more powerful than ever. If there was any doubt that Clea was a powerful Marvel magic user, that was dismissed the second she became the new Sorcerer Supreme upon her former lover’s death.
Shaman is a founding member of the Canadian superhero team Alpha Flight, and an accomplished physician. After failing to prevent his ailing wife from dying, Michael Twoyoungmen turned away from Western medicine and embraced the teachings of his late grandfather, a member of the First Nations Tsuut’tina people.
His subsequent mastery of various magical abilities put him on the Canadian government’s list of candidates when building their premiere superhero team. Shaman primarily utilizes these powers in the form of his medicine bag, essentially a “bag of infinite holding” from which he is able to summon any object he desires.
As the reincarnated son of one of the most powerful Avengers, The Scarlet Witch, Wiccan was born with a natural affinity towards the same chaos magic wielded by his mother. A frequent member of the Young Avengers alongside his husband Hulkling, Wiccan’s mystical powders have continued to grow, but his relative inexperience has limited its use.
Wiccan is proficient in the casting of force fields, teleportation, and energy bolts with minimal concentration. More complicated spells allow him to manipulate reality but require focus and concentration on the desired outcome, requiring Wiccan to repeatedly chant his intended results, and often disrupted when he is unable to hear himself speak. Despite these limitations, he was once a candidate for the vacant title of Sorcerer Supreme and some notable time travelers and precognitives have described him as having the potential to become one of the most powerful mages alive.
Foster-sister and former-lover of the X-Men’s Nightcrawler, Amanda Sefton, also known as Daytripper, is a sorceress following the “Path of the Winding Way”. A frequent X-Men ally, as well as a member of the European superhero team Excalibur, Sefton was also once the Sorceress Supreme of Limbo, one of Marvel’s many Hell dimensions.
Her mystical abilities include, but are not limited to teleportation, shape-changing, and illusion-casting. The Winding Way, however, is not only a mystical discipline but a “journey one must travel,” and her ability to manipulate its energies wax and wane over time in conjunction with her high and low points along this path.
Created by the legendary team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Doctor Druid first appeared in 1961, two years before fellow sorcerer, the more famous Doctor Strange. After the success of his contemporary, Druid fell into obscurity for years, save for a handful of uneventful appearances that arguably did more damage to his reputation than good.
Although Druid attained Avengers membership years before Strange, he was always depicted as significantly less powerful than the latter and his tenure with the team is mostly unremarkable. It wasn’t until his own 1995 self-titled miniseries Druid that he would finally display his full potential as a sorcerer, simultaneously falling from grace in one of Marvel’s greatest ever horror comics.
Karl Mordo was a student of The Ancient One before the arrival of Doctor Strange, but secretly sought to eliminate his mentor to claim the title of Sorcerer Supreme. When Strange arrived and thwarted this plan, Mordo was exiled, resulting in Strange’s ascension to Sorcerer Supreme as the two became bitter rivals.
While his tutelage included multiple forms of mysticism, Mordo has proven to be especially proficient in black magic, frequently utilizing dark and corrupting spells that Strange himself is unable or unwilling to perform. One of the Sorcerer Supreme’s most powerful foes, he was portrayed by Chiwetel Ejiofor in the MCU’s Doctor Strange and is confirmed to be returning in its sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
While Kathryn Hahn’s fan-favorite portrayal of the Scarlet Witch’s mystical next-door neighbor in the Disney+ series WandaVision made her the show’s breakout character, her Agatha Harkness comic book depiction is much different. Appearing older and less antagonistic, comic book Agatha was first introduced as the nanny of a young Franklin Richards, son of the Fantastic Four’s Invisible Woman and Mr. Fantastic.
Both versions, however, are presented as powerful witches wielding vast control over multiple forms of magic. Although unashamedly versed in many of the most sinister mystical arts, Agatha has generally been presented as an ally to heroic teams such as the Fantastic Four and the Avengers. Similar to her onscreen counterpart, Marvel Comics’ Agatha is responsible for unleashing Wanda Maximoff’s full potential as a Marvel magic user.
Haitian-born Jericho Drumm spent much of his early adulthood studying in the US, where he eventually became an accredited psychologist. Meanwhile, his twin brother Daniel remained in Haiti, where he became his village’s houngan, a male priest in Haitian Vodou. With his dying wish, Daniel summoned Jericho home to succeed him as houngan. After studying under Daniel’s mentor, Papa Jambo, Jericho proved even more proficient in this role than his brother. Guided by the spirit gods of voodoo called the Loa, he quickly mastered the associated magics.
Drumm’s abilities include astral projection, resistance to pain, and control over flames and “lower lifeforms” such as animals and plants. Amongst the Loa who guide him is the spirit of his late brother, with whom Jericho can merge to increase his strength, or project into others to control their actions. Although he was sporadically used for years following his initial 1970s comic book appearances, Brother Voodoo was returned to prominence by writer Brian Michael Bendis in 2009 when he was selected amongst nearly 30 potential candidates to replace Doctor Strange as Sorcerer Supreme.
As a child, Illyana Rasputin tragically became lost in the hellish Limbo dimension. Due to time flowing differently in Limbo, years passed for Illyana before she returned to earth, reappearing only moments after her disappearance. During her time in exile, Illyana was “raised” by the demon Belasco, who trained her in the use of demonic sorcery. These dark magics are most commonly depicted by the use of her “Soul Sword,” a weapon manifested from a portion of her own mortal soul that, while extremely powerful, also allows dark energies to fill the resulting void.
Upon her return from Limbo, Illyana joined the X-Men’s junior team, the New Mutants, taking the codename Magik before later being promoted to the primary X-Men team. In recent times, she has become the apprentice of Doctor Strange, who has helped Illyana to reconcile her mortality with the dark energies she wields.
In her earliest appearances, Wanda Maximoff’s powers consisted of a vague ability to “alter probability,” essentially casting bad luck upon her opponents. Despite her name, the Scarlet Witch’s powers were not based on witchcraft but were instead a low level of reality manipulation.
After studying magic under the tutelage of Agatha Harkness, Wanda became a powerful witch in an authentic sense and learned how to better control her inherent hex powers. As her abilities grew over time, Wanda gained enough control over both her natural and learned talents to combine the two, allowing her to manipulate the fabric of reality on a massive scale, notably resulting on one occasion in the creation of the “House of M,” one of the most important multiversal worlds in Marvel Comics.
Arguably Marvel Comics’ all-time greatest villain, Doctor Doom possesses a genius intellect, which he has used to master both scientific and occult disciplines. Primarily taught by Tibetan monks, he further increased his magical abilities by studying under the ancient sorceress of Arthurian Legend, Morgan Le Fay.
One of the few Marvel characters to successfully combine the arcane with technology, Doom has held his own against Marvel’s most powerful magic users and defeated many of them. When Stephen Strange once relinquished his role as Sorcerer Supreme, he readily admitted that Doom had the necessary mystical abilities to take his place, if not for his unchecked hubris.