Could the Darkhold be the new Infinity Gauntlet of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, an artifact that in the wrong hands *ahem* could mean disaster for not just the universe, but the entire multiverse?
I think it’s worth wondering if maybe the Darkhold will pop up in future MCU projects, both on Disney+ as well as in the movies. Will it be as ubiquitous as the Infinity Stones? I don’t know. But, I mean, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness is certainly a prime candidate for future Darkhold storylines, as is the upcoming Blade project. There is some real potential here, is what I’m saying.
Much like 6-issue storylines that make up a story arc that is ultimately collected in a graphic novel, the MCU certainly has story arcs that run across different properties. Consider these announced projects just in regards to supernatural storylines:
- WandaVision – Streaming on Disney+ beginning January 15, 2021
- Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness – Theatrical Release March 22, 2022
- Moon Knight – Streaming on Disney+ in 2022
- Blade – Theatrical Release TBD
WandaVision already featured the Darkhold. Could we be witnessing the rise of the Darkhold in other MCU properties? Well, it turns out that some storyline inspiration has been staring right at us the entire time in the form of Doctor Strange: Rise of the Darkhold, a nearly 500 page tome that collects oodles of comics which feature the Darkhold.
It would be easier to get Nerds to agree on the inclusion of Evan Peters in WandaVision than to find Avengers / Doctor Strange: Rise of the Darkhold in a dead tree version, but Amazon sells the Kindle version here and all these issues are available on the amazing Marvel Unlimited app. Here is what is collected:
- Marvel Spotlight #3-4 (1971)
- Werewolf by Night #1, #3, #15 (1972)
- Tomb of Dracula #18-19 (1974)
- Marvel Chillers #1-2 (1975)
- Avengers #185-187 (1979)
- Doctor Strange #59-62, #67, #81 (1983)
- Thor #332-333 (1983)
It also includes a smattering of content from Dracula Lives #6, Amazing Spider-Man Annual #22, X-Men Annual #12, and Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme #9-13 and #15. Basically, Avengers / Doctor Strange: Rise of the Darkhold tries to collect all the storyline appearances from that era that involves the Darkhold.
The most relevant of those above issues are Avengers #185-187, as those issues give the origin story of Scarlet Witch. Those comics are also bonkers, as the High Evolutionary mixes a cow with a human who then becomes Wanda’s midwife. Dark Wanda comes into play, there is Modred…anyway, it’s bonkers.
Avengers: Age of Ultron and WandaVision told a much better – and certainly more streamlined – tale for Wanda’s backstory. But the Darkhold was present in both the comics and the show. And the mid-credits sequence of Wanda at a cabin looked to me to be Wundagore Mountain, the key location in the comics.
Doctor Strange #59-62 are the other relevant issues in the collected edition, although many others feature more Darkhold backstory if you are a completionist. The Doctor Strange books feature Dracula, which very well could be the thread that conjoins the Blade movie into all this. But Mephisto is in the shadows in those tales and fans were clamoring for that character to be unveiled in WandaVision.
Take, for example, this synopsis from Doctor Strange #59:
“Doctor Strange recalls his first fight with Dracula, which he believes should have killed the vampire permanently, but upon turning the Eye of Agamotto on himself, he remembers a more recent encounter that Mephisto had made him forget. He agrees to help Hannibal King in tracking down Dracula to end his threat once and for all. Meanwhile, Dracula has taken control of a cult of Darkholders, who summon the Children of the Night to help search for the one true Darkhold. The Children immediately sense Strange and King conspiring to oppose them and fly to attack them. The Children of the Night are defeated and Strange learns that the Darkhold must be found, but the Darkholders have also come much closer to pinpointing its location.”
- Mephisto is mentioned.
- Darkholders Cult could provide interesting foot soldiers in the MCU a la Hydra.
- Hannibal King could be introduced in Moon Knight or another Jimmy Woo-like side character like him.
- Dracula, of course, ties into Blade.
At the center of all that is the Darkhold. Will any of these storylines be pilfered, plundered, and prioritized for the MCU? Who knows? But we do know that Kevin Feige and the rest of the Marvel team love to begin with these old Bronze Age storylines, then remix them for today, just as they did for WandaVision.
If you want to be the hipster Nerd who reads the book before they watch the movie, then look up Doctor Strange: Rise of the Darkhold. You can get it here for the Kindle or it is also available via Marvel Unlimited.
- Marvel Fandom: Doctor Strange 59