Welcome to Wham! Bam! Thank You, Ma’am!, Geeks OUT’s monthly recap that focuses on the trials and tribulations of a different Marvel Universe SFC (Strong Female Character) every thirty days. With the cinematic acid trip, Doctor Strange, a little over a month away and a Kathryn Immonen-penned return in this month’s annual issue, it only seems appropriate that the silver-haired sorceress with killer leggings take center stage. Through a purple haze of magical residue comes the Dark Dimension’s most fabulous exile… Clea!
Clea has the distinct pleasure of having been co-created by Stan Lee, himself. She first appeared in 1964’s November issue of Strange Tales where she observed Stephen Strange battle the likes of her uncle, Dormammu. Moved by his valor and spirit, Clea assisted Doctor Strange in his fight against the demon for which she soon found herself imprisoned.
Following a second foiling of Dormammu’s attempt on Strange’s life and a brief banishment from the Dark Dimension, Clea was taken prisoner by her mother, Dormammu’s sister, Umar, after the Faltine sorceress usurped her brother and took the Dark Dimension for herself. Thanks to the intervention of the Ancient One, Clea was rescued and transported to a pocket dimension for her safety. Ironically, the same dimension housed the displaced Dormammu. She was eventually rescued from this universe by Strange while preventing Dormammu’s escape. The pair returned to Earth and Clea joined Strange in living at the Sanctum Sanctorum, becoming his disciple and companion.
Her feelings for Strange soon came into question with the arrival of Morgana Blessing, a writer of occult books, into their lives. Believing that Stephen deserved a chance at real love, she returned to the Dark Dimension where she would go on to take the throne following a rebellion against her mother, Umar. This would eventually culminate in Clea and Strange exchanging vows in the Dark Dimension, becoming “one” based on the laws of that realm.
After returning to Earth, the couple would battle against the likes of Thanos, Nightmare, and the Undying Ones. However, with Dormammu not permanently removed from the Dark Dimension, a civil war broke out Clea returned to her home in an attempt to negotiate with her uncle. This proved futile as she was forced to seek refuge in Valhalla with the assistance of Valkyrie.
Time passes and Clea’s magics are soon sought out by Valkyrie in resurrecting the deceased archaeologist, Annabelle Riggs. With the spell completed and Valkyrie and Annabelle now sharing a body, Clea returns with the Asgardian to join her team of Fearless Defenders. The joy of her return is short-lived as she happens upon Doctor Strange in the throes of a potential orgy and soon demands a divorce when they team up to take down Sylvie Lushton.
Doctor Strange Annual #1 picks up shortly after the recent events involving the Empirikul attempting to eradicate magic from every dimension and realm in the multiverse. Until this time, Clea had been absent since the final battle between the Fearless Defenders and Caroline Le Fay’s Doom Maidens.
Shortly after arriving on the stoop of the Sanctum Sanctorum, Clea is asked where she was during the Empirikul’s attack and why she was missing when the rest of the world’s sorcerers were fighting for their survival. It is revealed that she was attacked by the same fanatics in the Dark Dimension but managed to escape execution. She has returned due to her concerns that the mystical “marriage” bond that they share is siphoning what remaining magics Strange has left. He refuses to entertain the notion and the two are soon forced to fight a demonic repairman after Wong refuses payment for services rendered.
Following the conclusion of this latest magical foray, Strange and Clea agree that while they are eternally bound, it is now by magic and no longer love. Stephen admits that he is still not ready to undo their “marriage” but knows that they are friends and nothing more, to which Clea responds, “Friendship is a powerful force. If you need me, I’ll be here. Maybe not forever… but for now.”
SFC Moment of the Month: Civil War II #5 continues to barrel along and this latest issue fleshes out the hero-on-hero throwdown that was teased in the final panels of #4. Storm vs. Doctor Strange. Miles Morales vs. Venom. Luke Cage vs. Blue Marvel. The standout panels come courtesy of the Québécoise “Mean Girl”… Jeanne-Marie Beaubier a.k.a. Aurora. As Sasquatch and Luke Cage tussle behind her, Kate Bishop shows her ignorance by implying the d-list status of the Alpha Flight speedster. Aurora, true to fashion, shows no tolerance for disrespectful millennials.