In a showdown between Dark Horse Comics' The Mask and the MCU's Doctor Strange, who would come out on top: a cartoon immortal or a magic master?
The Mask (1994) is a superhero comedy film reimagining a cartoonish, villain-like gangster as a fun, carefree vigilante from Dark Horse Comics. Doctor Strange (2016) is a superhero from Marvel Comics who is a primary protector of Earth against magical and mystical threats. So between the two, who would win in a showdown?
The Mask is exactly as he's portrayed: an unhinged mischievous cartoon character that likes to toy with others that annoy him or get in his way. Doctor Strange is a neurosurgeon who learns the mystic arts after a career-ending car crash. Both have advantages and weaknesses that can easily demolish cities and level the playing field.
RELATED: Doctor Strange 2's Opening Nearly Used a Different Version of the Mystic Avenger
The Mask is literally their title, with the user getting powers from a mask artifact they put on. The powers and abilities are what one might expect from cartoon characters similar to Wile E. Coyote, Tasmanian Devil, and Bugs Bunny from Looney Tunes or Tom and Jerry. It is an unlimited capability that allows the wearer to do anything and summon anything from anywhere. The Mask isn't just limited to conjuring objects for their own purpose; the user can also change their own physical size and shape. They can appear outside any type of situation or object, including but not limited to photographs and images from magazines, comic books, movies, and TV shows (live or not). The user can also change into other people and objects. Speed is just another factor, allowing the wearer to travel in a matter of seconds to other locations, and they would have immunity to any inflicted injury, minimal or fatal.
The limitations of a character as invincible as this one are very basic. One, the mask that grants the user the abilities and powers is essentially a wish granter. It takes a desire from the user and allows them to use any means necessary to complete their desired task until they are satisfied. This often leads to the user taking the mask off themselves if an external factor comes into play and convinces them to. The 1994 film version also gives the limitation of only coming out at night due to its association with Loki, the Nordic god of mischief, and the most disastrous situation would be if he caught the flu. The cold would affect both the user and the mask, similar to a symbiotic relationship, causing the user to suffer from different symptoms until their ultimate death.
RELATED: What Does Jim Carrey’s Retirement Mean for Sonic 3?
After the death of the Ancient One, Doctor Strange became the most powerful member of the Masters of the Mystic Arts. Even being inexperienced at first, he makes up for the difference with his prodigious skills, intellect, ingenuity, photographic memory, and use of various artifacts. He imprisons Loki rather easily, a master of Asgardian Sorcery, and held his own against Thanos, even gaining his praise. He can use eldritch magic to shape shields and weapons with tangible energy as well as imbue other items. As long as he practices a spell beforehand, he can cast multiple spells at once. This includes but isn't limited to elemental spells, making copies of himself, shields, restraints, memory erasing, and illusions.
This doesn't include creating portals for travel both across the material world and other dimensions. His use of mirror dimension magic can transport himself into parallel realities easily and also allow him to warp space. He can also do astral projection, conjuration, transmutation, telekinesis, and fly/levitate. If he was taken from earlier in his timeline, he would be able to manipulate time and have parachronal cognition using the Eye of Agamotto. This doesn't include his master-level abilities in martial arts and tactician strategies.
RELATED: How a Doctor Strange Character Became the Most Forgettable MCU Villain
His only known limitations are based on his personality flaws. Strange has a habit of using magic he doesn't fully understand in trial and error. His overconfidence causes him to underestimate those he faces at times, and a very fundamental weakness would be his own techniques. If the formulas he uses are interrupted or cut off at the source, there's not much he can do other than try to make another, a vulnerability that enemies can exploit. He also needs his hands, which suffered nerve damage due to his life-altering injury, to cast more intricate and powerful spells.
In this fight, Doctor Strange would be the clear winner due to his lengthy knowledge, various abilities, and the understanding of using them. The Mask's abilities vary depending on the user, and although they would be able to keep up and draw the battle out for an extended period, Strange would outsmart them in the end.
Subscribe to the CBR newsletter for exclusive comics, TV & movie news, reviews, interviews & much more!