the HOLLOW OUT OF TIME
(also known as TIME'S FORGOTTEN HOLLOW)
Classification: Prison for magic-users
Location: An underground cavern beneath Merlin's keep
Creator: Merlin of Camelot
Users: Merlin and
later used by Sir Isaac Newton
Occupants/Captives: (Imprisoned by Merlin) the Forgotten (including
Phoyu and hundreds of
(imprisoned by Newton) the Conjuror, Doctor Stephan Strange, Kushala, Wiccan (Billy Kaplan), Yao
First Appearance: Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#1 (December, 2016)
Powers/Abilities/Functions: The Hollow Out of Time was an underground cavern located somewhere close to Camelot that had been partly modified so that it could serve as a prison. A sturdy wooden wall had been built, one that rose from floor to ceiling, to divide the cavern into two sections. The larger section, comprised of most of the cavern, was left untouched except for the stairway carved out of rock that led up to the passage to the surface. The much smaller section, the area that was closed off behind the wall, became the cell. The only access to the cell was through a single door in the wooden wall, a door that was kept locked with a padlock that needed a key.
At some point, Merlin himself modified the cell area to make it capable of holding prisoners who had magical abilities. This was accomplished by placing sigils on the walls that prevented magic from working within the cell.
Merlin was presumably also responsible for whatever gave the cell its "out of time" nature. Merlin once assured King Arthur that the magicians he had imprisoned within the cell would be locked away forever and would not die. Additionally, the fact that there were apparently no arrangements made for supplying those prisoners with food and water suggests that something about the cell made it possible for them to survive in there without nourishment.
Another possible reason why this hollow might have been considered to be "out of time" can be found in the comments section.
Limitations: The sigils on the walls of the cell only prevented magic from working within the cell. Destroying the wooden wall that separated the cell from the rest of the cavern would make it easy for those imprisoned to move out of range of the effect of those sigils and regain their ability to use their magic.
History: The full origin of the Hollow Out of Time has not yet been revealed. The underground cavern may have been converted into a prison on Merlin's orders but it's also possible that it was already serving a prison and Merlin merely upgraded it so that it would be capable of containing magic-users.
(Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#4 (fb)) <early 6th century> - For reasons which have never been explained, the "magic" of the Word of God tome began to reach out through time. Those magicians who were somehow susceptible would "find" strange magic that would draw them through time to where the book existed in the past.
(Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#8 (fb) - BTS) - The mystics who made things happen by speaking Words from this book did so without realizing that they were actually using an alien technology that would drive them mad. The mystics were also unaware of the fact that every Word they spoke would be written onto their bones, and that these marks carved into their bones would enable the Author of the Word of God to take control of them if he were ever in close proximity.
(Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#4 (fb) - BTS) - Merlin became aware of these mystics and learned that they had been drawn to his time by a power that no mortal could understand. Merlin also discovered that this power had corrupted those mystics and he resolved to do what was necessary to protect the world.
(Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#3 (fb) - BTS) - By his own hand, Merlin made a list of people with great magic who were practitioners of this "darker magic." Merlin then used this list to track down these magicians, some of whom were children, and lock them away forever.
(Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#4 (fb) - BTS) - To contain these corrupted mystics, Merlin made a cell in the Hollow Out of Time and placed sigils on its walls that prevented magic from working within the cell.
(Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#1 (fb) - BTS) - Merlin informed King Arthur of the threat posed by these corrupted mystics but he did not tell his king exactly what "evil" actions he planned to take against the corrupted.
(Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#3-4 (fb) - BTS) - Being unaware of how the Words had corrupted them, the magicians came to believe that Merlin was targeting them because he feared this new magic and his fear had driven him mad.
(Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#1 (fb)) <507 A.D.> - Merlin brought one of the corrupted magicians, XII, to Time's Forgotten Hollow in order to lock him away. Before this could be done, King Arthur arrived with two guards and Merlin's apprentice, Bohra. King Arthur told Merlin that his apprentice had informed him of Merlin's actions and he stated that he would not allow Merlin to do it. When Merlin defied his king by saying that he did not seek King Arthur's permission, Bohra attacked, voicing his intent to kill his master. Merlin successfully defended himself and in doing so he exposed Bohra's true nature as one of the corrupted, VIII. As King Arthur admitted that he had not known what Bohra was, Merlin stated that this deceptiveness was why he had done what he had done and that "this darkness" was everywhere and must be locked away forever. In response, VIII told Merlin that he could not cage what he did not understand. As the guards began pushing the two captives towards the door to the cell, Merlin agreed with Bohra, stating, "Empathy requires understanding. You are evil incarnate. And what I am about to do is evil. I know this to be true. So we shall understand each other, at last." King Arthur, the two guards and Merlin then departed, leaving VIII and XII locked away with their arms reaching out through the bars in the cell door's window.
(Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#1 (fb)) - At some later point, King Arthur was again present as Merlin imprisoned another of the corrupted magicians. When the king stated that Merlin could not kill them all, the sorcerer agreed, saying, "Of course not, my king. But I can lock them away. Forever. They shall not die...they will be forgotten." At this time the padlock on the cell door was dripping with blood.
(Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#5: recap page) - In all, Merlin imprisoned "hundreds" of these corrupted magicians.
(Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#4 (fb)) - Trapped in the cell where magic did not work, the prisoners found the walls and the sigils of their cage to be as corrosive as Merlin was, and the longer that they stayed trapped, the more they became one, fusing together into a single collective non-human entity.
(Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#1 (fb) - BTS) - Some years after they had all first been imprisoned, a future version of the collective entity, now calling itself the Forgotten, arrived in the past from the early 21st century and began to collect magical relics.
(Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#1 (fb) - BTS) - In order to destroy the Forgotten, Merlin traveled through time and gathered Sorcerers Supreme from various eras to help, including the Conjuror (Nina), Yao (the Ancient One-to-be), Demon Rider (Kushala), Sir Isaac Newton and his Mindful servant, and Wiccan (Billy Kaplan). This group fought together in several battles against the Forgotten's beast-men without ever encountering the Forgotten.
(Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#1) - During one such battle, Merlin returned from the future with Doctor Strange, whom he had kidnapped, arriving at the battle mere seconds before Merlin's younger self left via time travel to get Strange. Once the battle had ended, Merlin approached the Conjuror, gave her a key that she recognized and told her to keep it safe. Mere minutes later, the Forgotten burst up out of the ground, grabbed Merlin and crushed him, causing damage so severe that he died in less than a minute.
(Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#2-3) - When more beast-men arrived to aid the Forgotten, the Sorcerers Supreme teleported away and set out for Merlin's home. They managed to gain entry into Merlin's library and began to search it for magic and/or weapons that they could use against the Forgotten. However, the Sorcerers had had to remove the protective warding when they entered, thereby enabling the Forgotten to invade the library. After a battle which resulted in the death of one of the Forgotten's component personalities, the creature grabbed the relic that it needed for a ritual that it wanted to perform and left, stating that they were now returning to the Hollow at last. In the aftermath, the Sorcerers realized that the Forgotten was the collective form of all those magicians whom Merlin had imprisoned and they decided to follow it to the Hollow Out of Time and destroy it once and for all.
(Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#4) - The Sorcerers
entered the Hollow Out of Time but were taken by surprise and incapacitated by the Forgotten.
The collective entity then explained its origin and the role that Merlin had played in its
creation. The Forgotten revealed that it planned to use the relics that it had collected
and the magic that Merlin had sought to banish to break the Hollow Out of Time, then they
would travel back in time and free each one of its components before they were caged.
while the Forgotten had been distracted, the Conjuror had quietly gotten Strange's attention,
pointed at the door to the cell where the Forgotten had been imprisoned and showed him Merlin's
key. The duo had just reached the cell door when the Forgotten noticed them, but attacks by
Demon Rider and the others kept it occupied long enough for the door to be opened. Having
had enough of their opposition, the Forgotten attempted to feast on the souls of the Sorcerers
but Newton used the Word against it, splitting the collective beast back into the magicians
from which it had been formed. While the other Sorcerers examined the now-freed magicians,
some of whom were dead, Newton sought out a particular corpse and retrieved the Word of God
tome from within it.
Having acquired what he had been seeking for years, Newton proclaimed that the book would now make him God but the other Sorcerers objected and tried to force him back towards the door and into the cell. Unfortunately, Newton, with the unwilling help of his Mindful One, was well-prepared to face them and was able to easily defeat them all and hurl them into the cell where a force field kept them from simply walking back out. Once all five of his enemies were trapped within, Newton closed the cell door.
(Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#4 - BTS) - Newton locked the cell door, then secretly set a trap for the captives, one that would be activated if they managed to escape from the cell.
(Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#5) - Now trapped within the cell that had held the Forgotten for centuries, the Conjuror called out to her brother, João, one of the magicians who had been freed by Newton's destruction of the Forgotten, and asked him to help them get out of the cell. João confronted his sister, asking her if she had been planning on locking the Forgotten away again, and Nina admitted this by saying that she was sorry. João forgave her but said he had no key to free her. Instead, João then spoke a Word that destroyed the rock wall around the wooden barrier that separated the cell from the rest of the cavern, allowing the five captives to escape. Unfortunately, Yao was so eager to get revenge on Newton that he rushed forward and triggered the trap that Newton had left behind, sending all five of them (but not João) into a bizarre other-dimensional trap.
(Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#6) - Working together, the five Sorcerers managed to escape from Newton's other-dimensional trap and return to the Hollow Out of Time where they found João sitting slumped against a wall. Once Kushala had determined that Newton was now in a time when magic was at its weakest, Strange led them through a portal to New York City's Central Park in the early 21st century.
Strangely, even though the cell was (retroactively) now open...
(Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#5 (fb) - BTS) - The collective entity that had been the imprisoned corrupted magicians remained trapped in their cell where magic didn't work for centuries.
(Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#1 (fb) - BTS) - In the early 21st century, the collective entity was somehow released when the army of anti-magic crusaders known as the Empirikul eradicated most of the magic from the Earth of that time. Now calling itself the Forgotten, the monster then traveled back to Merlin's time.
(Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#6) - In the early 21st century, Doctor Strange, the Conjuror, João, Kushala, Wiccan and Yao all exited the portal from the 6th century Hollow Out of Time and arrived in New York City's Central Park where they found the Avengers lying defeated by Newton.
Comments: Created by Robbie Thompson, Javier Rodriguez and Álvaro López.
The prison where Merlin caged the magicians who became the
Forgotten was identified as "Time's Forgotten Hollow" for the first (and only) time in the
Omniscient Narrative on the first page of Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme #1, and
that name was never spoken in any dialog.
Later in the series, Merlin's prison is mentioned by name only in issues #3 and 4 where it is referred to only as either "the Hollow Out of Time" or simply "the Hollow." No reason for this name change has been provided.
Writer Robbie Thompson REALLY liked using time travel in this series. To make the sequence of events a bit clearer, I've used normal black text for everything that happened in the Hollow before any time travelers arrived. Listings in blue text represent events that occurred after the Forgotten first arrived in the past but which did not themselves involve time travel. And events recorded in maroon text are actions taken by any of the multiple time travelers. I hope this color-coding has proven at least somewhat helpful
Although it is known that the Forgotten was born when the magicians imprisoned by Merlin physically merged together into a single monstrous form, the exact reason why this happened has never been revealed. The Forgotten seemed to believe that the sigils on the walls of their cage, the ones put there by Merlin to prevent magic from working within the cell, were what was responsible. However, it should be noted that neither the Forgotten nor the magicians from whom it had been made were aware of the fact that they themselves had been transformed by their use of the alien Words. It could be that the fact that all of them were unknowingly bound to the Author of the Word of God was what caused them all to merge together into one collective form. Then again, maybe it was the combination of the sigils on the walls and the marks carved into their bones that interacted in an unexpected way to create the Forgotten. Fortunately, whatever caused their merger did not affect Doctor Strange and his four fellow captives when they were briefly trapped within that same cell.
On that topic, exactly WHERE were all of Merlin's prisoners during the time that Doctor Strange and his allies were trapped in that very same cell? We know for an ABSOLUTE fact that Merlin had imprisoned the corrupted magicians in that cell before, during and after the year 507 A.D., and it's also certain that they remained trapped there for centuries. However, when Newton turned on his allies and hurled them into the Forgotten's prison cell, that cell was otherwise completely empty. So how could Merlin's prisoners have been both imprisoned AND absent at the same time?
Aside from the matter of its absent prisoners, there were several other things about the cell that were odd and/or unexplained. First, its size. It is known that, by the time he had finished, Merlin had imprisoned dozens (or hundreds) of corrupted magicians but the cell in which Strange and his allies were briefly trapped was clearly much too small to have ever held that many prisoners. How could they all have fit into that too-small space?
Second, its apparent deathlessness. Merlin once claimed that prisoners in the cell would remain locked away "forever" and would not die but he did not clarify what that meant. The two obvious possible explanations are that either Merlin knew that the corrupted magicians had somehow become immortal or he knew that there was something about the cell that would prevent its occupants from dying. Since there has never been any evidence of immortality among the corrupted and there was clearly something unusual about the cell's size, the second theory seems more likely.
Third, its apparent timelessness. Merlin meant for the cell to hold the corrupted forever but there is no evidence that it ever contained beds or sanitary facilities. Further, there apparently weren't any arrangements made to supply the prisoners with food and water. So how exactly did Merlin expect his prisoners to survive? The most likely explanation (again) is that Merlin knew something about the cell that made such concerns irrelevant.
To summarize, what "facts" have been revealed about the odd properties of the cell in the Hollow Out of Time? It's known to have held more prisoners than could be contained within the space defined by its physical dimensions. Those held within the cell seemingly did not have any of the needs that would otherwise be expected of people who were detained for prolonged periods of time. And death would never claim the occupants of the cell. Taken together, these clues suggest that the cell which held the corrupted mystics was actually located Somewhere Else, in a place that was somehow outside of normal Time and Space and was perhaps even connected to timeless Limbo (or a similar realm). The fact that the words "Out of Time" were part of the prison's name would seem to support this theory.
So, if we theorize that the true prison was Somewhere that was outside of normal Earth-616 reality, then what function did that walled-off room in the cavern actually serve? My best theory is that it was a dimensional interface between Earth and Someplace Else. Since it was meant to lead to a prison, the cell that existed in Earth's reality acted like an airlock whose two doors could not both be open at the same time. The physical door in the wall could only be opened when the interdimensional portal was closed and vice versa. The fact that Doctor Strange and his allies spent a brief time in the Earth cell without being sent to the real cell suggests that the portal did not open automatically. Perhaps someone (like Merlin) had to cast a spell to open the portal? Or maybe the portal did operate automatically but it required that the occupants of the physical cell had to have been locked inside for a specific minimum amount of amount of time before the portal was triggered? Additionally, the portal itself would have had to have been a one-way doorway, like a trapdoor, that would shunt the prisoners into Elsewhere but not allow them to travel in the opposite direction and return to Earth's plane of existence.
All in all, I think that the theory presented in this comments section provides a plausible explanation for certain inconsistencies in the story. Of course, all of this is just unofficial speculation and the truth about how the Hollow Out of Time functioned will not be revealed until and unless writer Robbie Thompson decides to provide some answers to these lingering questions. Ah, well.
Profile by Donald Campbell.
The Hollow out of Time (a.k.a. Time's Forgotten Hollow) has no known connections to
Located somewhere near Camelot, this large natural underground chamber may have been known as "Time's Forgotten Hollow" or the "Hollow Out of Time" even before men began using it as a prison. The cavern was presumably connected to the surface by a system of smaller caves. Once the large chamber had been discovered, work was done to make it more accessible, and that included carving a stairway out of the rock so that people could more easily reach the bottom of the cavern.
At some point in the 6th century (or earlier), local inhabitants decided to convert part of the cavern into a prison. Choosing an opening by which a small chamber was connected to the larger chamber, these unknown builders erected a sturdy wooden wall approximately 24 feet high by 12 feet wide that completely blocked the opening from floor to ceiling. The presence of two large hinges on one side of the wall suggests that it may actually have once been a functional door but the absence of any handle on the other side suggests that the door was later permanently sealed to make it a wall instead.
At some point, a smaller, more human-sized door was cut out of the lower right quadrant of the wall. Slightly more than 6 feet high and between 3 and 4 feet wide, this door opened outward (i.e., into the larger chamber) on three metal hinges. There was a barrel bolt latch that could keep the door closed and a padlock that could be used to hold the bolt in place, preventing the latch and the door from being opened. The key that was needed to unlock the padlock was generally kept in Merlin's possession.
Aside from the wooden wall and the stone stairway, the only other non-natural features of the cavern were the two cages that hung near the wall. Suspended near the top of the wall, each cage had a flat bottom and rounded top and were about 3 feet tall. In 507 A.D., one of the cages contained a corpse, presumably that of a prisoner who had been left to die in it.
In 507 A.D., when Merlin was using the Hollow Out of Time as a prison for corrupted magicians, the large cavern was dry and not open to the sky. The only people known to visit the cavern were Merlin, the captives he brought to be imprisoned, King Arthur and some of his soldiers. No guards were stationed on the door to the prison cell. Unless visitors who had brought their own sources of light were present, the cavern was shrouded in complete darkness.
Years later, presumably after the death of King Arthur and the fall of Camelot, things had changed somewhat. At least one hole had opened in the ceiling, allowing sunlight to enter and illuminate the cavern. This same opening had also allowed rainwater to drain into the cavern, enough so that by the time the Sorcerers visited the Hollow there was a pool of water almost waist deep at the bottom of the stairway. However, the cavern floor near the wooden wall was higher and not covered by water. As for the body in the hanging cage, it had apparently either been removed some time earlier or it had rotted away to nothing.
When the Forgotten first traveled back in time to Merlin's era, it apparently found the passage to the Hollow blocked. However, after the Sorcerers removed the warding that had protected Merlin's library, the Forgotten was able to both invade the library and return to the Hollow. This suggests that the surface entrance to the passage that led to the Hollow was located within Merlin's library or near enough to have been also protected by the warding on the library.
When the Forgotten returned to the Hollow Out of Time, it brought with it multiple magical relics that it planned to use to help it break the Hollow so that it could then travel further back in time and free its component selves before they were ever caged. That plan was ultimately thwarted when Newton used a Word to split the Forgotten into the magicians out of whom it had been created. Those magicians who survived having been split back into separate individuals took the bodies of their dead comrades with them when they left, and they may have taken those relics with them.
Soon afterwards, the wall separating the prison cell from the rest of the cavern was removed when the Conjuror's brother, João, one of those now-freed magicians, spoke a Word that destroyed the rock that surrounded the wooden wall. Seconds later, that wall was cast into another dimension when Yao sprung a trap that Newton had set before he left. As a result, from that time onwards there was no longer a physical barrier between the larger and smaller chambers of the cavern.
After Doctor Strange and his four allies were cast into another dimension by Newton's trap, João stayed behind, either to wait for his sister to return or because he was too weakened to leave with two other ex-Forgotten members. Strange and his allies later escaped from Newton's trap and returned to the Hollow, and then they and João departed via a time portal to early 21st century New York City.
The cavern is believed to have remained empty since the 6th century. However, when the Forgotten was inadvertently released by the Empirikul in the early 21st century, they probably appeared briefly within the cavern before traveling back in time to Merlin's era.
--Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#1 (fb), DSatSS#4 (fb), DSatSS#4-6
The small section of the Hollow Out of Time that had been sealed off by a sturdy wooden wall from the rest of that underground cavern so that it could be used as a prison. The single door in that wooden wall was the only way in or out of the cell, and it was kept locked with a padlock whose key Merlin kept in his possession.
Although it has never been revealed who first proposed the idea of using the Hollow as a prison, it was definitely Merlin who added the features that made it capable of holding magicians. Those features were sigils, placed on the walls by Merlin, that prevented magic from working within the cell. Those sigils were also effective against the alien Word "technology" unwittingly used by the corrupted magicians who followed the Word of God tome. However, the effect of the sigils did not extend beyond the cell, and magic and the Words still functioned only a few feet outside of the cell.
The door in the wooden wall was the most obvious barrier preventing the prisoners from escaping but it was not the only one. When the door was open, the doorway was still sealed by a one-way magical forcefield that allowed objects (like new prisoners) to enter the cell but prevented anything inside from exiting via the open door. The fact that prisoners could reach out through the door's barred window when the door was closed indicates that this forcefield was active only when the door was open.
Merlin once assured King Arthur that the magicians who he had locked away forever in the cell would not die. That statement, combined with the fact that there were apparently no arrangements made for supplying those prisoners with food or water, suggests that in some sense time may not have passed within the cell, thereby making it perhaps "out of time."
In the early 6th century, after having made the cell where no magic worked, Merlin began to track down the corrupted magicians and lock them away in the cell. In 507 A.D., King Arthur learned of what Merlin was doing and tried to stop him but withdrew his objection when Merlin's own apprentice was revealed to be one of the corrupted. Merlin continued to hunt down the corrupted magicians and imprison them in the cell until at some point there were no more of them left to be locked away. The reason why magicians were no longer drawn to that time has not been revealed but probably has something to do with the fact that one of the magicians who had been locked away had the Word of God tome hidden within his body, and its presence within that cell had somehow neutralized whatever means it had been using to draw susceptible magicians to it.
The longer the prisoners remained trapped in the cell, the more the sigils corroded their individuality so that they slowly became one creature who manifested as a collective form that called itself the Forgotten.
Eventually, presumably after the death of King Arthur and the fall of Camelot, a future version of the Forgotten traveled back through time from the early 21st century and collected a number of magical relics that it needed to perform a ritual to break the Hollow Out of Time. When the Sorcerers Supreme came to the Hollow after it, the Forgotten ambushed them and explained its origin and plans to its captive audience. However, while it was thus self-distracted, Doctor Strange and the Conjuror managed to reach the cell door and unlock and open it before the Forgotten noticed them. The Sorcerers had hoped to lock the Forgotten back inside the cell, but Newton used a Word to destroy the beast by splitting it back into the magicians out of whom it had been made. Newton soon proved himself to be as great a threat so his former allies attempted to force him into the cell, but he managed to defeat them all and hurl them into the cell, which was (inexplicably) otherwise EMPTY, and then lock them inside it.
As it happened, the five new prisoners were only trapped for a matter of minutes before João, the Conjuror's brother and one of the magicians freed by Newton, spoke a Word that destroyed the rock that surrounded the wooden wall separating the prison cell from the rest of the cavern. The captive Sorcerers were then able to leave the cell, but Yao triggered a trap that sent both them and the wall into another dimension. The Sorcerers later returned to Earth, to a point in the cavern outside the now-open cell, and they and João then left via a time portal to early 21st century New York City.
There is no indication that the wall was ever rebuilt, so the cell presumably remained open since that time. This situation poses a certain problem that is discussed in the Comments section.
Additionally, the lack of space (and beds and any sanitary facilities) makes it seem virtually impossible that this cell could have been expected to hold hundreds of prisoners for hundreds of years. Clearly, there must have been something about the cell that somehow made it function, but we can only speculate as to what it was. See the Comments section.
It's worth noting that the wooden wall that had sealed off the cell from the rest of the cavern must have been exceptionally resistant to damage because the Word that João used to free his sister destroyed the rock into which the wall had been built instead of the wall itself. Maybe there were sigils on the wall itself that protected it?
--Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#1 (fb), DSatSS#4 (fb), DSatSS#4-6
key and padlock
The means by which the door to the prison cell in the Hollow Out of Time was secured. The door was actually held shut by a barrel bolt latch and the padlock had to be unlocked and removed before the bolt could be moved.
Whenever Merlin brought a new prisoner (like XII) to the Hollow Out of Time he had to use the key to unlock the padlock so that he could slide the bolt and open the door. On at least one occasion the prisoner proved to be troublesome and some blood ended up splashed across both the key and the padlock.
Merlin kept the key with him until the late 20th century, when the Conjuror (Nina) confronted him and demanded to know the whereabouts of her brother. Realizing that the time had come for him to face the Forgotten, Merlin provided a cryptic explanation that ended with him showing Nina a key and stating that a time would come when she would be the one to lock her brother away forever.
In order to deal with the Forgotten, Merlin gathered together some other Sorcerers Supreme and then they all traveled back in time to Merlin's era. There, after a battle with some of the Forgotten's beast-men, Merlin showed Nina the key and asked her to hold on to it. Realizing what this meant she was going to have to do, Nina protested that she was not ready, but Merlin insisted, stating that it was hers now to keep safe. Merlin was killed by the Forgotten only minutes later.
Nina kept the key with her (in a pouch on one of her cuffs) during the battle against the Forgotten and the journey that the Sorcerers subsequently took to Merlin's castle. Once within Merlin's library, Nina covertly went to a specific bookshelf and used a key to unlock the padlock that kept shut a certain book. After having ripped some pages from the book, Nina closed and relocked it. Soon afterwards, the Forgotten attacked, but it soon departed after seizing that very same book.
The Sorcerers entered the Hollow Out of Time but were taken by surprise and incapacitated by the Forgotten. As the beast distracted itself by telling its captives about its origin and its plans, Nina quietly got Strange's attention, pointed at the door to the cell and showed him Merlin's key. The duo managed to reach the cell door and begin unlocking the padlock before the Forgotten noticed them. As the other Sorcerers attacked the Forgotten, Nina managed to open the cell door, hoping that they could force the Forgotten back into its cell, but that soon became unnecessary when Newton used a Word to split the beast into its component magicians. However, Newton then proved himself to be at least as dangerous so the Sorcerers attempted to force him into the cell instead. Unfortunately, Newton was well-prepared and was able to easily defeat his recent allies and hurl them into the cell. Once all five of his enemies were trapped within, Newton closed and locked the cell door.
Mere minutes later, when Nina asked her brother João to help them get out of the cell, he revealed that he had no key (presumably because Newton had taken it after using the padlock to secure the door). Instead, João spoke a Word that freed his sister and her allies by destroying the rock that had surrounded the sturdy wooden wall. Seconds later, Yao's impatience triggered a trap that Newton had set, and the five Sorcerers were sent to a bizarre other dimension. The wooden wall, with the locked padlock still attached, was sent along with them, but the Sorcerers eventually returned to the Hollow without it.
The key, if Newton had kept it with him, would have been useless since the padlock that it opened was now gone.
Note: I'm not entirely sure that the key that opened the padlock on that book in Merlin's library is the same key that opened the padlock on the door to the cell in the Hollow Out of Time. However, since the key for the book MUST have come from Merlin, either the same key worked with both padlocks or Merlin gave Nina two different keys. It doesn't help matters that no reason was ever provided for why Nina was interested in that book or what she did with the pages that she ripped out of it.
--Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#1 (fb), DSatSS#4 (fb), DSatSS#1, DSatSS#2 - BTS, DSatSS#3-4
images: (without ads)
Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#4, pages 6-7 (main image)
Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#1, page 1, panel 7 (Bohra attacking Merlin)
page 2, panel 8 (arms of VIII and XII)
Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#4, page 8, panel 1 (Forgotten with relics)
page 19, panel 5 (Newton imprisoning his former allies)
Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#5, page 20, panel 7 (João speaking a Word)
page 21, panel 1 (prison cell is breached)
Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#4, page 4, panel 4 (the cavern)
Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#1, page 1, panel 7 (the wall)
Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#5, page 2, panel 3 (inside the cell)
Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#1, page 22, panel 4 (blood-splattered key in lock)
page 16, panel 5 (Merlin giving the key to Nina)
Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#1 (December, 2016) - Robbie Thompson (writer), Javier Rodriguez (penciler), Álvaro López (inker), Nick Lowe (editor)
Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#4 (March, 2017) - Robbie Thompson (writer), Javier Rodriguez (penciler), Álvaro López (inker), Nick Lowe (editor)
Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#5 (April, 2017) - Robbie Thompson (writer), Nathan Stockman (penciler), (no inker listed), Nick Lowe (editor)
Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme#6 (May, 2017) - Robbie Thompson (writer), Javier Rodriguez (penciler), Álvaro López (inker), Nick Lowe (editor)<
First Posted: 07/02/2019
Last updated: 07/02/2019
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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