While a popular character with comic book fans for decades, Doctor Strange only just made his introduction to a much larger pop culture audience in Marvel's Doctor Strange.
Some say a hero is only as good or interesting as his villains. If that's the case, Doctor Strange doesn't make a great case for its protagonist, as it chose Kaecilius, a character most hardcore Marvel don't eve remember, as its antagonist.
But that doesn't mean Doctor Strange is a slouch when it comes to finding a worthy opponent. To prove the point, here's Doctor Strange's five greatest enemies.
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5. The Empirikul
The Empirikul are a recent addition to Doctor Strange's list of enemies, but they sure made an impression when they first appeared.
The Empirikul are led by the Imperator, whose parents were murdered by magically empowered authority figures in his home dimension. Since then, the Imperator has made it his mission to wipe magic from existence across all dimensions, and he and the Empirikul have gotten quite good at it.
The thing that makes the Empirikul so scary is that they're not like most of Doctor Strange's other foes, who mostly wrestle with Doctor Strange for magical power or dominion over the Earth. The Empirikul care nothing for such things, seeking only to destroy all that is arcane in their path.
Shuma-Gorath is one of several Lovecraftian, otherworldly beings in the Marvel Universe known as the Old Ones.
Shuma-Gorath supposedly ruled over thousands of dimensions before coming to Earth with the other Old Ones, but he and his kind were banished from the dimension by an all-powerful, time-travelling sorcerer called Sise-Neg.
Shuma-Gorath woke from his slumber through a connection to Doctor Strange's mentor, the Ancient One. While Shuma-Gorath threatens all life on Earth, his connection to the Ancient One, and his responsibility for the mystic's death, make his rivalry with Doctor Strange a personal one.
Shuma-Gorath has ties to the dimension known as the cancerverse. He has attempted to lead an invasion from that realm but was thwarted by the Avengers.
Nightmare is the very first foe faced by Doctor Strange, with both characters first appearing in Strange Tales #110.
Nightmare is the malevolent ruler of the Dream Dimension. Nightmare draws sustenance and power from the suffering he inflicts on mortals during their sleeping hours.
Nightmare frequently seeks to expand his dominion to other realms and other power sources, and Doctor Strange or another hero must rein him in. The challenge in dealing with Nightmare is that his relationship with humanity is symbiotic. Nightmare needs humanity's dreams to continue his existence, but without Nightmare to rule over those dreams, humanity would go insane en masse.
2. Baron Mordo
Baron Mordo is Doctor Strange's greatest rival on Earth. Mordo is a gifted sorcerer with magic inherent in his bloodline, but he harbors deadly ambitions.
Mordo and Strange both studied with the Ancient One, but Mordo craved power and sought to steal it from his master. In truth, the Ancient One only humored Mordo and kept him nearby to keep an eye on the malevolent sorcerer while waiting for a true apprentice to arrive. Doctor Strange proved to be that student.
After being rejected by the Ancient One and finally forced to face the fact that he was an inferior sorcerer to Doctor Strange, Mordo has frequently become a willing pawn in the schemes of great beings.
No one has challenged Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme, quite like the Drea Dormammu. In fact, in their first meeting, Dormammu would have defeated Doctor Strange handily if not for Clea's trickery and Dormammu's sense of honor.
Dormammu is a powerful mystical being who travels from dimension to dimension, subjugating each as he goes. Dormammu made his home in the Dark Dimension, and his conquest hit a roadblock when he tried to take Earth.
Dormammu isn't one to stop trying, though. He continues to try to add Earth to his collection of realms, usually through the use of an Earth-born servant like Baron Mordo.