Marvel's New Doctor Strange Villains Are the Magic Version of SHIELD
One of the most obscure organizations of the Marvel Universe has returned as Doctor Strange's new dangerous enemy. WAND is a former division of SHIELD that dealt with magical threats. After the disbanding of the organization following the events of Secret Empire, WAND turned into a terrorist group, rebranding itself as the Blasphemy Cartel and starting a magic war against the new Doctor Strange.
SHIELD has been a mainstay of the Marvel Universe since its debut in 1965. Over the years, the organization has taken on many guises, from spy and counter-terrorism agency to top law-enforcement division in the United States. At the peak of its power, SHIELD had a huge amount of resources and personnel, divided into several divisions, each with its own focus, including an anti-Godzilla task force. One of SHIELD's purposes is to deal with superhuman threats, but not many fans know that there was also a specific division created to deal with supernatural and magical menaces. After appearing in only two stories, WAND (Wizardry Alchemy Necromancy Department) was disbanded along with the rest of SHIELD after the Hydra takeover suffered during Secret Empire. However, its former members quickly formed a new group with much more sinister purposes.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
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After the death of Stephen Strange, his wife Clea has taken over the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme. During her first months "in office", Clea had to deal with a dangerous new threat: a paramilitary group called the Blasphemy Cartel that uses a mix of technological weapons, magic, and military tactics. Clea gets in the way of whatever shady business the Cartel is involved in, so they target her personally. In Strange #6, by Jed MacKay, Lee Garbett, and Java Tartaglia, Wong enlists the help of the X-Men's Jean Grey to find out why he has never heard of this group, and who are they exactly. Thanks to some telepathic probing, Wong discovers that, after SHIELD's fall, the Blasphemy Cartel was created from WAND.
Wong's quest leads him to former WAND director Pandora Peters, who is also a target of the Blasphemy Cartel, possibly because she opposed their turn to terrorism and crime. This revelation was a nice touch from Jed MacKay, who once again proves to be an unrivaled connoisseur of Marvel lore, even the most obscure. Even if WAND only appears in a couple of stories before, it could play a very interesting role in the Strange series. The Blasphemy Cartel's mix of military tactics and magic makes them a unique type of villain, and having access to the vast resources (including secret knowledge) that SHIELD commanded makes them a threat even to the powerful and merciless Clea.
Interestingly enough, the revelation that WAND is behind the Blasphemy Cartel poses the important question of what happened to SHIELD after Secret Empire. In theory, its resources were gathered by the U.S. Government, but considering how many weapons, high-tech equipment, manpower, and secret intelligence SHIELD commanded, it's very likely that a lot of this flew under the radar and ended up in the wrong hands, just like WAND gave birth to the Blasphemy Cartel, Doctor Strange's new deadly enemies.