WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Strange Academy #7 by Skottie Young, Humberto Ramos, Edgar Delgado and VC’s Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
Enrolling in an elite boarding school for the next generation of masters of the mystic arts sounds like something almost any teenager would jump at the chance to do. Learning from the most powerful sorcerers in the Marvel Universe and meeting other kids from all over the multiverse would be the adventure of a lifetime. At the same time, the normal risks associated with student living are much greater than those at a regular school — sometimes even lethal. Not everyone is willing to let the recently departed stay dead, though, and two of the academy’s most powerful mages will go anywhere they can to save a life.
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Emily Bright wakes up screaming from a horrible nightmare with Zelma at her side. At first, she believes that everything that has happened recently was just in her head — at least until she sees the table with a white sheet draped over Doyle Dormammu’s body. Overcome with grief, Emily tried to convince herself that it isn’t real before asking Zelma why they couldn’t bring him back, especially considering the school offers an entire class on the subject. It turns out that someone tried to resurrect him as soon as they had gotten the students back to the school. When Doctor Strange wasn’t willing to retrieve some of Dormammu’s flame to attempt and relight the dark prince’s flame, Doctor Voodoo decided to do it on his own, and went headfirst into the Dark Dimension. After taking care of Emily, Strange followed after Voodoo, returning to our world with him just in time to answer Emily’s question himself.
Emily isn’t interested in listening. She is overcome with grief over the loss of her friend and frustrated with the vague and mysterious messages her class receives from the Sorcerer Supreme. Strange explains to her that traveling to the Dark Dimension, the plane where Dormammu resides, is not a simple task, as she should be able to see by the debilitated state of Doctor Voodoo upon his return. Still, teenage angst is a powerful force, and Emily uses hers to run past Doctor Strange, shoving him aside and throwing herself through the portal into the terrifying oblivion on the other side.
In an instant, Emily has bounded through a swirling sea of the broken and twisted remains of other realms, crashing into shards of former planes of existence, or possibly their inhabitants. When she finally lands on the closest thing to solid ground in the Dark Dimension, she is immediately caught in a pit of despair. As her powers surge with what little energy she has left, Emily falls to her knees and softly cries that she can’t do it. Thankfully, there is a caring hand to rest on her shoulder and remind her that, if nothing else, Doyle would be happy that she made the effort to save him. Doctor Strange empathizes with her the best he can, saying that he will never get used to losing people, and the two return back to their own realm. Taking on one of the Marvel Universe’s most treacherous landscapes isn’t a small task no matter who you are, even a former Sorcerer Supreme. That Emily Bright was able to survive at all, let alone last more than mere moments, only puts her further reinforces her position under the Strange Academy spotlight.
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