One of the great things about the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that it's not necessary to know a huge deal, or indeed anything at all, about the comic books from where the movies take their source material. It helps, sure, especially if you're on the lookout for Easter Eggs, but it's not a prerequisite.
That being said, it does helps to have a little knowledge of the comics before you go in — especially when it comes to something as new and exciting as #DoctorStrange, which is set to hit the US a mere week from now. Doctor Stephen Strange has a long history in Marvel comics, and a complicated array of spells, mysticisms and magical items accompany him.
Some of these items crop up in Doctor Strange, so if you want to brush up on your comic book knowledge before the movie, then jump on it. But be warned — this post *contains SPOILERS* for Doctor Strange, so don't read on if you don't want to know.
1. The Book of Cagliostro
The Book of Cagliostro becomes a major plot point in Doctor Strange: It's the mysterious tome from which Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) takes a spell to access the Dark Dimension, and the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) uses it to channel Dark energies. Going hand in hand with the Eye of Agamotto, it can also be used to manipulate time itself.
In the comics, the Book of Cagliostro is used by Strange to travel in time. Penned by the Marvel mystic Cagliostro, the book contains a multitude of sorcery knowledge, some of it dark and dangerous. It was used by Baron Mordo against the Ancient One as part of a time-traveling scheme, but he was defeated by Strange and last we saw in the comics, it was safely in the possession of the good doctor in his Sanctum Sanctorum.
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2. The Staff Of The Living Tribunal
During a training sequence with Strange and Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Mordo wields a weapon which he calls The Staff Of The Living Tribunal. In the comics the Living Tribunal is a cosmic, ageless being, the guardian of gateways and protector of the Marvel multiverse itself.
No such weapon exists in the Marvel Comic Universe, but it's likely another name for the Staff of Polar Power, which was used both by Doctor Strange and the Living Tribunal to harness, channel and focus cosmic energy.
3. The Cloak of Levitation
The Cloak of Levitation, unsurprisingly, allows Doctor Strange the power of flight. A staple of Strange's wardrobe and a very important part of his iconic look, the red Cloak was gifted to him by the Ancient One (and then Sorcerer Supreme) in the early days of Strange Tales.
It's been by his side ever since, apart from that time he lost the Sorcerer Supreme mantle for a time, then it hung out with Brother Voodoo instead. Like in Doctor Strange, the Cloak of Levitation often gets directly involved in battles, and it is incredibly strong and hard to damage due to the mystical enchantments woven into its fabric.
4. The Eye of Agamotto
In the comics, Agamotto is an ancient sorcerer and deity from which Strange draws his mystic magic, one of the three powerful Vishanti (Agamotto, Oshtur and Hoggoth) who form the main source of his power. In the MCU Agamotto was a powerful sorcerer who created the Eye many hundreds of years before the events of Doctor Strange, contained within an amulet which Strange wears around his neck
The eye is commonly referred to as a physical representation of the illuminating power of wisdom, possessing the ability to dispel illusions, read minds, identity and track both physical and spectral beings, weaken evil creatures, see into the past and create portals between dimensions. But it's a bit different in the MCU. Here the Eye of Agamotto is used to manipulate probabilities, and time itself. Because in the MCU the Eye is actually...
5. The Time Stone
As revealed by Wong (Benedict Wong) towards the conclusion of Doctor Strange, the Eye of Agamotto is in fact our fifth Infinity Stone. The Time Stone — or Time Gem in the comics — allows its wielder control over time itself — past, present and future. This can come in the form of visions of possible or probable futures, time travel, control over aging, and to trap others in loops of time.
We saw most of these abilities demonstrated in Doctor Strange, as Strange uses it to reverse a tragic incident, control the decay of an apple, and to combat the final villain with time loops in the climactic scene — but that's a spoiler for another day.
Doctor Strange arrives in cinemas November 4, 2016.