Clea is the daughter of Prince Orini and Umar, the sister of Dormammu. After Clea's birth, her mother, Umar abandoned her to be raised by Prince Orini. When Clea grew up she aided Dr. Strange in his battles against Dormammu in the Dark Dimension and the two developed a relationship.
Clea was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko and first appeared in Strange Tales #126 in November 1964.
Clea was introduced during Doctor Strange's first meeting with Dormammu, but her name wasn't revealed for almost two years. Clea's origin wasn't fully detailed at first, leading to both Dormammu and Umar attacking her to get at Dr Strange.
Clea joined Dr Strange in several of his adventures, and fought alongside the Defenders as well
Major Story Arcs
Meeting Doctor Strange
When Clea secretly watched Doctor Strange battling Dormammu in the Dark Dimension she was impressed by his courage and tried to help him. Dormammu was angry at her for helping Strange and imprisoned her for her betrayal. Strange forced Dormammu to release her, however.
When Dormammu attacked Dr Strange, this time using Baron Mordo, Clea intervened again and was banished from the Dark Dimension. Dr Strange eventually managed to defeat Dormammu with the help of Eternity, freeing Clea and others that Dormammu had banished. Clea finally revealed her name to Strange, but remained in the Dark Dimension.
Seeking revenge against Strange, Umar took Clea hostage again after returning and gaining control of the Dark Dimension for herself. Doctor Strange came to Clea's rescue, but on the advice of his mentor, the Ancient One, Clea was sent to a pocket dimension for safety. Ironically, both Clea and Dormammu ended up in the same place, called the Realm Unknown. Dormammu used this opportunity to make a break for his escape, but Doctor Strange thwarted this plan, rescuing Clea in the process and the two returned to Earth together.
For a time after this, Clea lived with Dr Strange in his Sanctum Sanctorum. At first she took time to adjust to her new surroundings and was concerned that while on Earth her powers would weaken and fail. A trip to Stonehenge in England saw her abilities fully restored. When Strange became Sorcerer Supreme, he made her his official disciple, and helped her grow in her mystical potential and aptitude, eventually becoming his lover. She joined him and the Defenders on many adventures in their time together.
Clea resisted requests from her allies in the Dark Dimension to return to lead them, but when Morgana Blessing - a writer of books on the occult - came into Dr Strange's life, her feelings for him and her life on Earth were challenged. She believed that her love for Strange couldn't match that of Morgana. Thinking that Dr Strange should have a chance for love with Blessing, Clea left Earth to return to the Dark Dimension.
Back in her home dimension she helped lead the rebellion against Umar. Dormammu was believed dead at that time as his essence was scattered across several dimensions and Umar had seized the throne in his absence. Dr Strange came to join her at her request and together, Clea and Doctor Strange found out the truth about Prince Orini (who Clea's forces had captured). In an attempt to find out Umar's battle plans, they learned that Orini was the true heir to Olnar, the original ruler of the Dark Dimension, but also discovered the reality of Clea's origin, that Umar was her mother and Prince Orini her father. Tricking her way into Umar's lair, Clea fought Umar in a mystical battle and showed the denizens of the Dark Dimension that her mother didn't care for them and was willing to endanger them to defeat Clea. The people's weakening belief in Umar allowed Clea to win their fight. The population decided that Clea should be the ruler and the 'Flames of Regency' appeared on Clea's head. The power she gained from this effect made Clea powerful enough to banish Umar and her father Orini from the Dark Dimension and to take the throne in their place.
Although Dr Strange left Clea after the end of the rebellion, believing he needed to distance himself from emotion to function as a sorcerer, when Clea freed him from possession by Dormammu the two returned to the Dark Dimension, exchanged vows and were married.
Later, Dormammu returned and claimed the throne again. Clea was held hostage to lure in Dr Strange, and the two were cast into another dimension, trapped in each others bodies. Clea, realized that Umar had sent them there and brought her to them. At first Umar tried to kill Strange, but found that her spells hurt Clea as well, owing to the fact that they were married. Umar realized this and since she didn't want to hurt her daughter, they banded together to defeat Dormammu again. Umar and Baron Mordo claimed rulership over the Dark Dimension and promised Clea they would not abuse their powers. Clea agreed and returned to Earth with Dr Strange.
Back on Earth, Clea and Strange took time to work out their differences at first, but were able to reconcile and go on to battle Thanos together during the Infinity Gauntlet saga. Further conflicts with Nightmare and the Undying Ones weren't enough to stifle her curiosity about her Dark Dimension home. She learned that
Umar and Baron Mordo had broken their promise and so gathered allies to return and defeat them again, unaware that one of them (a Faltinian named Flyx) was actually Dormammu, who seized the opportunity to take over the Dark Dimension yet again and imprison Clea. Dr Strange came to the rescue once more, and with the help of the Hulk, Ghost Rider and the Silver Surfer was able to defeat Dormammu. Dr Strange left Clea behind to rule, but with Dormammu not permanently removed, a civil war broke out. Clea made her way back to Earth in search of Strange who she found had split himself into different aspects of his personality. Clea returned to the Dark Dimension where she decided to try negotiating with Dormammu. The negotiations quickly fail and Clea is forced to escape and a lengthy war begins.
When Dr. Strange, Hulk, Silver Surfer and Namor form The Order, Nighthawk, Hellcat and the Samantha Parrington Valkyrie enlist Namorita, She-Hulk and Clea to help bring them back to sanity. Clea agrees to help in return for aid in her war against Dormammu.
When Dr Strange relinquishes the title of Sorcerer Supreme, Clea is briefly considered a contender to take the title herself, although it instead passes to Brother Voodoo.
For a long time, Clea had been fighting a guerrilla war against Dormammu in Valhalla, thanks to Valkyrie's help. When Valkyrie traveled to Asgard to bring Annabelle Riggs back to life, she was ambushed by a group of trolls send by Dormammu to kill Clea. Clea and Valkyrie defeated the trolls and Clea used a spell to brainwash them and send them back to Dormammu.
Valkyrie asked Clea to help her resurrect Annabelle. At first Clea was reluctant as resurrection was a hard and powerful magic, but she finally agreed. Also Valkyrie convinced her to join her new group to Defenders, and she agreed. They found Annabelle's soul in Valhalla and Clea was able to use a spell that brought back Annabelle to life but with a great sacrifice: Annabelle became Valkyrie's new host and Valkyrie and Annabelle now had to share a body. Clea then teleported to New York with both women.
When Galactus is banished to the Dark Dimension by a planet with powerful sorcerers, Clea senses the disruption. She allies with Doctor Strange, who had followed Galactus and passed out trying to contain him. With few options, Strange agreed to be Galactus’ herald, but Clea starts finding allies among enemies in the mystical world, including Umar and Nightmare.
Clea leads an attack, but Galactus had already fed on magical energies and was becoming more powerful than he ever had been before. Even the Avengers weren’t enough. Eventually, Galactus became so powerful, he was overwhelmed and destroyed the whole universe. Strange was forced to make a deal with Mephisto to put everything back the way it was. His price was his relationship with Clea, not unlike Spider-Man’s One More Day deal.
Clea’s memories of Strange were gone.
Death of Doctor Strange
Clea was being chased by the Three Mothers, powerful beings looking for magic users to feed to the Peregrine Child. Like many other dimensional warlords, Clea fled to Earth hoping to use the Avengers and similar heroes as protection against. Clea went straight to Strange, the memories of whom returned upon his death. It was his death that weakened the barrier protecting Earth allowing the warlords to get to Earth. He had been replaced with a temporary younger version of himself that Strange had coordinated with in case he was ever untimely killed.
Believing the two incidents are linked, Clea joins Strange in the investigation. They track Strange’s Eye of Agamotto and Cloak of Levitation to Baron Mordo, who swears they were stashed there in an effort to frame him. With no other leads, Strange instructs Clea to summon the warlords so he can lure the Peregrine Child out in the open. With five Sorcerer Supremes among them including Clea herself as the Sorcerer Supreme of the Dark Dimension, they combine their energies into a pentagram and exile the Three Mothers and their child.
Successful, Strange asks Clea for forgiveness while having one more kiss before Death takes him back. Clea is left his Cloak of Levitation and Eye of Agamotto after his passing.
Clea Strange: Sorcerer Supreme
It was Stephen Strange's dying wish that Clea become the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth in addition to the Dark Dimension. Since her people have no use for family names, she decided to take Strange's last name in addition to his title. However, her intention is to raise Stephen from the dead and even casts a spell on all of New York City to alert her if one of the dead crosses back into the land of living in case Stephen does it on his own.
This spell ended up alerting Clea of the revenants that were being raised by The Blasphemy Cartel to do their dirty work. It also caught the attention of The Harvestman, Death's own personal Sorcerer Supreme. She would eventually learn that The Harvestman was Stephen, and he had made a deal with Death to get his life back for stopping these disrespectful resurrections. Clea did the prudent thing and forced Stephen to accept her help. Unfortunately, due to Clea's commitment to life and Strange's to death, they were incapable of touching without causing a catastrophic energy release.
With a lead from Pandora Peters, Clea and Stephen learn the The Blasphemy Cartel is a former strike team of W.A.N.D. using resources they stole during the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. Together, they raided the old WAND facility and were met with impressive force. This included their Revenant Prime, The Sentry, powered by one hundred million screaming ghosts. He was too much for Clea and Strange individually.
Wanting their last act to be that of love, Clea moves on Strange for a kiss knowing full well the energy pulse it would create. However, as they were kissing, Clea embraces the energy and manifests it, transforming the two of them into a single being called Strange. Together, they release the ghosts from Sentry causing the WAND location to explode. This took out Director None, leader of the Blasphemy Cartel, but Strange teleported the other Blasphemy Cartel members to safety so they could have a second chance to do right.
Clea and Strange separate, and then Death makes good on her word. She gives Strange back his life, and the two sorcerers head home to the Sanctum to revive their romance.
During Strange's absence, Earth had become home to a number of interdiminesional refugees. A number of these evil magicians and magical monsters were killed starting with the assassination of Aggamon. A new version of WAND was investigating, but the real killer eventually revealed themself at the wedding of Tiboro and Umar. It had been General Strange, the personification of Stange's trauma endured during the five thousand year long War of the Seven Spheres. The Vishanti had removed and imprisoned it after the war, but it managed to escape during Strange's death and do what Strange refused to: kill his enemies.
Powers & Abilities
Clea possesses formidable abilities for manipulating mystical forces for various purposes, due to her training by Dr. Strange and her Faltine descent. At this point, Clea is Sorceress Supreme of the Dark Dimension, and her power equals that of Umar at Umar's peak. Clea finally achieved this high level of power in her battle with Umar that led to Clea's becoming ruler of the Dark Dimension. At that point, the "flames of regency," that by Dormammu's spell appears about the head of the ruler of the Dark Dimension, surrounded Clea's head. The flames, which do not harm Clea, will remain about her head as long as she is ruler. It is believed that the flames themselves may have increased Clea's power. Whenever Dormammu has been deposed and Umar succeeded him, the flames appeared about her head , and her power increased. Currently this is not the case.
Presumably Clea generates great mystical energy within her own body as Dormammu and Umar do, and can draw upon it. It remains to be seen what Clea can do with her newly increased power. While she was a student of Dr. Strange and removed from the Dark Dimension, her magic, like his seemed to be derived from three major sources: personal power of the soul/mind/body (such as mesmerize and thought casting), power gained by tapping the ambient magical energy of the universe she inhabits and employing it for special effects (such as illusion-casting and energy projection), and finally, powers gained through the tapping of mystical energy from other dimensions by invoking entities of objects of power existing in those dimensions. The latter means of power is usually gained by the recitation of spells, either ritualized ones found in various mystical text or original spells invoking extra-dimensional assistance.
The full range of Clea's mystical abilities have yet to be seen. However, it has been theorized the Clea, at least potentially, can now perform any magical feat that her mentor Dr. Strange or her mother Umar can. Clea's abilities are, however, limited by her amount of training and experience. It is known that Clea can form and hurl magical energy bolts with a high degree of potency and skill. She can use local magical energy for the conjuration of at least physical objects or for unusual luminescent effects. She has an extensive knowledge of sorcerous spells and incantations which were taught her by Dr. Strange and which invoke the names and aspects of various extra-dimensional power sources for very specific effects without taxing her own personal abilities.
As the daughter of Umar, a member of the extra-dimensional race Faltine race, Clea has a body whose density is somewhat greater than that of an Earth human. As a result, she weighs more than an Earth woman of the same height and build would.
The rate at which Clea ages is unknown. Her father has aged very slowly over the centuries, and her mother has apparently not aged at all over this same amount of time. It has been speculated that Clea is thousands of years old; however, physically, she remains a young woman.
In the 1978 Dr. Strange YV movie, a young woman named Clea Lake becomes a pawn of the Sorceress Morgan LeFay (from the legends of King Arthur). To save Clea and thwart Morgan's plans, Strange must enter the mystical world, wherein the battle between good and evil is played out on a magical level.
Clea is portrayed by Anne-Marie Martin
Dr. Strange Animated
In the animated direct-to-DVD movie Doctor Strange, Clea is mentioned by Wong as a potential student for Doctor Strange as they enter the Sanctum Sanctorum mansion but is not actually seen.
Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness
Clea debuts in the mid-credit sequence of Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness. She confronts Doctor Strange over his actions over the course of the movie and invites him to join her to stop the incursions he caused.
She was portrayed by Charlize Theron.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance
Clea appears as a non-playable character in the video game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance voiced by Marabina Jaimes. She can be seen in Sanctum Sanctorum. She has special dialogue with Doctor Strange. A simulation disk starring Doctor Strange has Clea being protected by him from Baron Mordo while in Mephisto's Realm.
Although she is not a playable character, Clea can be used as a team-up character in the game. She is voiced by Kari Wahlgren.
Marvel: War of Heroes
Clea appears in several cards in the mobile card game Marvel: War of Heroes. Her cards are:
- [Black Magic Woman] Clea
- [Mistress of the Sanctorum] Clea
- [Faltine Lineage] Clea
Marvel Future Fight
Clea is a playable character in the game. She is an universal type of character.
Her bio in the game says: A powerful practitioner of the mystic arts, Clea was raised in the Dark Dimension but would later become an ally of Doctor Strange, training with him on Earth in the Sanctum Sanctorum. As the Sorceress Supreme of the Dark Dimension, she possesses great power in both magical and physical combat.
Clea was ranked 28th in Comics Buyer's Guide's 100 Sexiest Women in Comics list.