Who is Clea, Mistress of the Dark Dimension?

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hit theaters a few weeks ago now, and there’s certainly been a lot to think about for the MCU’s past, present, and future. In a brief but memorable mid-credit scene for the film, a very important character in the Doctor Strange story is introduced – Clea (played by Charlize Theron). There’s a long history between these two Sorcerer Supremes, so let’s take a look at how Clea was born and get to know this strange mistress of the Dark Dimension a little better.

One of Clea’s first appearances in strange tales issue #127, trapped while Doctor Strange fought the Dread Dormammu

In the beginning

In strange tales issue #126, Doctor Strange has taken a trip to the Dark Dimension to confront the Dread Dormammu. As he traveled through this other dimension, a mysterious woman with silver hair watched him. She followed Doctor Strange and the “human creature” impressed her. Eventually, she tried to stop him from confronting Dormammu.

Throughout the story arc of “Domain of Dread Dormammu”, the silver-haired woman has been through a lot. Dormammu imprisoned her for her betrayal and will deal with her after defeating Strange. However, after being forced to team up with Stephen Strange to contain the Mindless, Dormammu was beholden to Doctor Strange. Strange forced him to free the young woman and promised that he would not invade the earth.

It wasn’t until nearly two years later that we learned her name was Clea. Around this time, she was again imprisoned by Dormammu, forced to watch Doctor Strange fight Baron Mordo and then Dormammu, and then banished to another dimension. She was eventually rescued by Eternity, but her safety didn’t last very long.

When Eternity helped Clea, he also defeated Dormammu. This left the Dark Dimension without rule, and Umar, Dormammu’s sister, seized her moment. She sent Clea to another dimension once more to trick Doctor Strange and defeat him. While Strange was able to save Clea again, the Ancient One convinced him that it wasn’t safe for Clea to stay on Earth, and he sent her to another dimension.

Clea in Doctor Strange Volume 2 Number 72
Clea is a little shocked when she finds out who her mother is in. strange doctor volume 2, number 72

Family drama

Throughout the early issues of Doctor Strange Volume 1, she was again trapped by Dormammu in an unknown dimension, and Doctor Strange was able to save her once again. He eventually realized that maybe sending her to other dimensions wasn’t the best idea, and she came to live on earth.

While on Earth, she lost her power and began to miss her home. She took to spending time in Sanctum Santorum’s library in hopes of regaining her power. When Doctor Strange became Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme, he asked Clea to become his disciple in the mystical arts. She had many adventures with Doctor Strange and began to fall in love with him.

In strange doctor 2nd volume, Clea decided to return to the Dark Dimension. Her people wanted her to be their leader and she joined a rebellion to overthrow Umar. During the rebellion, Clea learned that Umar was her mother in issue #72. After winning the fight, she banished Umar and Orini (her father) to another dimension. Clea then became the ruler of the Dark Dimension but had to leave Strange after refusing his offer to be his helper and wife.

Clea and Doctor Strange in Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme issue 3
Clea and Doctor Strange finally confess their love in Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme number 3.

A strange love story

Although hurt by his departure, Clea met Strange again. At this time, Strange finally confessed his love for Clea, and Clea married Strange according to the laws of the Dark Dimension. In issue 3 of Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme, they began to wear rings that magically united them.

This would come to help later as they faced Umar again, and any spells she cast to hurt Strange also hurt Clea. Umar didn’t want to hurt his daughter and eventually helped defeat Dormammu. But her threat to the Dark Dimension was ever-present, and they needed Clea more often.

All that time away from Earth turned out to be too much for the couple. She was heartbroken after Strange began to wander off and did not return to Earth for a long time. After Strange was weakened by the Empirikul, she went to him once more to break their magical bond in hopes of helping him. The two managed to reconcile and remained friends rather than lovers.

Clea Strange in The Death of Doctor Strange #5
Clea takes on the role of the Sorceress Supreme in The Death of Doctor Strange number 5

A new Sorcerer Supreme

In 2019, something new threatened not only Earth but reality itself. In strange doctor volume 5, our old enemy Dormammu was back to his old tricks. But he wasn’t working alone.

In the “Herald Supreme” story arc, Mephisto has agreed to help Dormammu orchestrate a plan. The plan was to have Galactus consume a magical planet that gave him new forms of magic. Dormammu hoped to become the new herald of an all-powerful “eater of worlds and magic”, but Galactus ate him.

In order to save the universe, Strange visited Mephisto and discovered that he had taken Clea hostage. Strange asked for help to save the universe and Clea. Mephisto agreed – but all magic has a price, and Strange’s payment was to be his true love. In issue #17, all of Clea’s memories of Strange were erased after the universe was saved.

Clea would regain her memories once Stephen Strange died in The Death of Doctor Strange. She returned to help Earth defeat the Pilgrim Child and the Three Mothers, as well as a time-shifted version of Strange. Clea had to lose Strange for the third time in this story, and her grief continues in her current comic.

In the current series Odd, Clea assumes the role of Sorcerer Supreme of Earth and the Dark Dimension. His story in this role is just beginning, but something bad happens. While she’s doing her best to bring Stephen Strange back from the dead, she also has a lot to do in the wizarding world.

Clea in Strange number 1
Clea takes her new job very seriously in Odd number 1

Clea – Mistress of the Dark Dimension

Clea Strange has had a long and tragic history. Despite many trips to unknown dimensions, family reunions that are nothing but the worst, and a less than ideal love life, she has come out strong on all occasions. Clea eventually joined the MCU, portrayed by Charlize Theron, and his role in the comics expands. As the multiverse is ever expanding and his powers increasing, I think it’s pretty safe to say that we’ll definitely see more of this character. We can only hope she becomes as prominent in the movies as she is in the comics.

Can’t wait to see Charlize Theron playing Clea in the MCU? Let us know in the comments or on social media @mycosmiccircus!

Would you like to learn more about the characters and elements of the comics in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? To verify Wine’s useful comic book reading guides for the movie below!

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