The Images of Ikonn


Classification: Magic Spell

Creator: Ikonn

User/Possessors: Cyrus Black, Clea, Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange), Ian Fate, Ikonn, Mister Rasputin

Aliases: Illusions of Ikonn, Multiple Illusions

First Appearance: (Used, unidentified) Strange Tales I#123 (August, 1965);
    (as Illusions of Ikonn) Strange Tales I#145 (June, 1966);
    (as Images of Ikonn) Doctor Strange I#176 (January, 1969)

Powers/Abilities/Functions: The Illusions of Ikonn can have different effects, depending on the purpose to achieve. The functions can be grouped in three versions: Illusion, Abjuration and Divination.

The Illusions of Ikonn

Version: Illusion

Powers/Abilities/Functions: The images can seem as real as the material ones; even if depicting never-existed things, they can be perceived as real and, if perceived as such, can harm like the real thing. The images can be cast into the mind and affect the mind for a plethora of purposes like calmness, confusion, fear, doubt and so on.

Casting Time: Few seconds
Range: Long (400 feet) at least
Components: A mandatory component, probably at caster's choice among:

Duration: Concentration, if broken could be restored. The maximum time is unrevealed, but could be a long time until a particular event, chosen by the caster, occurred.
Primary effects: Mind-affecting: deception, calmness, confusion. Communication.
Collateral effects: Concentric circles of light, centered on the caster's hands. inscribed with arcane runes.

The Illusions of Ikonn

(Strange Tales I#123) - An Illusion spell was used by Dr. Strange when fighting Loki, god of Mischief. Strange multiplied his image, taunting Loki. The god wasn't impressed at all, recognizing the trick, and easily destroyed the illusions in a single attack. But Strange was hidden elsewhere.

(Strange Tales I#130) - Surrounded by Baron Mordo's henchmen, Strange cast a Multiple Illusion on himself. The pursuers tried to catch the multiple images of Strange, but were fooled by the false images. Only another mystic, using another spell, was able to identify the real Strange, but was easily restrained.

(Strange Tales I#131) - Continuing his escape, Strange repeated the Multiple Illusion again, but this time Mordo's disciple was near the false images. Mordo, present in the disciple's mind, recognized and dispelled the images.
    Shortly later, Mordo's spirit servants from the Nether World became the witnesses of another Multiple Illusion. This time Strange empowered the illusion with the aid of the Moons of Munnopor, and gave each copy of himself the power of hypnotism.

(Strange Tales#145) - Mister Rasputin studied the realm of the supernatural and practiced the black arts. He reached a deep knowledge of the Illusions of Ikonn. He used them proficiently several times all over the world, creating ghost-like illusions to scare his preys.

    When Mr. Rasputin settled at the Greenwich Village, he called again the Illusions of Ikonn, producing a ghostly form very similar to Ikonn himself. But Rasputin used the forbidden Ritual of Ikonn, thus attracting the attention of Doctor Strange. Again the evil mystic created a ghost image using the Illusions of Ikonn, sending it to attack Strange, but the Master of the Mystic Arts could discern the truth behind the apparition, so he was not influenced by the illusion.

(Doctor Strange I#183) - The Images of Ikonn formed the illusion of Stephen Sanders sleeping in his bed, an image that could deceive the enemies that could look on him later.

    Shortly later, during a magical fight, Doctor Strange needed time to find the right countermeasures against three gargoyle-like magic user servants of the Undying Ones. He created mirror images of himself casting the Illusions of Ikonn. The room, filled with false images of Strange, confused the in-human agents for few seconds. One of the gargoyles destroyed the mirrors with a shattering spell, but Strange was already casting again.

(Marvel Premiere I#4) - Doctor Strange invoked all the Images of Ikonn as a warning for an unknown presence in his Sanctum Sanctorum. The spell was never completed.

(Tomb of Dracula I#44) - The illusions created by the Images of Ikonn, in Dracula's mind, were supposed to weaken his willpower to the breaking point. Dracula suffered from the memories of his past, but his iron will resisted as well to them as he resisted to Strange's attempts at commanding him.

(Defenders I#15) - Multiple images of Doctor Strange confused Mastermind. Without knowing who was the real Strange, the member of the Brotherhood of the Evil Mutants could not focus his power upon the sorcerer. Strange had cast a spell of Illusion (of Ikonn?).

(Doctor Strange II#19) - The past, year 1775, Philadelphia, America.
    Doctor Strange was flying over Philadelphia when the people noticed him. He used the Images of Ikonn to resemble an eagle.

(Doctor Strange II#40) - The Images of Ikonn multiplied the image of Doctor Strange and Madeleine, thus delaying the decaying attacks of Azrael. The undead that once was Lord Phyffe immediately recognized the spell, nonetheless he was delayed to find the real sorcerer. Instead Strange and Madeleine escaped.

(Doctor Strange II#42) - Strange's image was multiplied by the Images of Ikonn, while he tried to get past a colossal green dragon made of pure energy. The dragon didn't succeed in understanding what was the real Doctor Strange, but his incinerating breath destroyed all the duplicates at once.

(Doctor Strange II#48) - The Illusions of Ikonn were mentally invoked by Doctor Strange while in astral form. The illusion he created simply left his astral form visible to the two bank robbers only. The two believed in the apparition and were truly frightened.

(Doctor Strange II#55) - The Illusions of Ikonn were invoked by Strange to gain time in a fight against D'Spayre. Unfortunately, D'Spayre was a master of illusions himself and immediately recognized the deception. With a single Eldritch Bolt the demon hit Strange, causing the loss of his concentration, so the duplicate images were destroyed.

The Illusion created by Fate using the Images of Ikonn

(Doctor Strange II#71 (fb) - BTS) - In the Dark Dimension, when Umar ruled and Clea led the rebels to snuff the Flame, Doctor Strange was wanted for acts against the realm. The announcement was made using Ikonn's Illusions.

(Defenders I#104) - Ian Fate created an illusion of Cory Payne, Devil-Slayer's wife. He stabbed Cory with many daggers, to hurt Eric Payne. Then Fate revealed to Devil-Slayer that he had used the Images of Ikonn.
    Later, Fate enshrouded Sunshine in another illusion that made him resemble Cory. This time, all the Defenders were deceived. "Cory" died again, to hurt Payne again, then the illusion fell.

(Black Knight II#4) - An illusion of Victoria Bentley, conjured by Strange, appeared in mid-air and spoke to the Black Knight, spurring him to break the vow made to Morgaine Le Fey. Sir Percy listened, and Dane Whitman found the inspiration to do the right thing.

(Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme#49) - The Illusions of Ikonn deceived Watoomb. The brown giant swooped into the crowd of false Stranges, grabbing none. Strange cast the Illusions to escape from capture, but after a few heartbeats, the invoked provider of the Illusions' power appeared: Ikonn himself!

(New Avengers: Illuminati#1 (fb)) - Galactus the world-devourer was the product of the Images of Ikonn that the Master of the Mystic Arts cast, helped by Professor X. The illusion was particularly difficult to be made effective, because there were myriads of spaceships pursuing the Illuminati, and the minds to fool were too many for Doctor Strange alone.

(X-Factor I#232) - Jamie Madrox's conscience was unwittingly dimension-displaced on Earth-123, into the Madrox of that reality. Dormammu tried to kill him and Madrox cast the multiple Illusions of Ikonn and confused the demon. Unknown to both, the Doctor Strange of that dimension, whose body had been killed, had snuck his astral form into Madrox's body and had cast the spell.

(Doctor Strange V#12) - The Images of Ikonn, conjured by Strange, delayed only for an instant Zoloz the Mighty. Even if the images spoke to confuse the alien, he proceeded with his mission, and when the images shot at him he dissolved them all with a single area of effect spell.

(Doctor Doom#4) - Using the Images of Ikonn, Doctor Doom created multiple images of himself and assaulted the A.I.M. security team before him. The guard shot at the illusions while the real Doom disposed of them.

The Rite of Renewal

Version: Abjuration

Powers/Abilities/Functions: The Images of Ikonn have the power to dispel other active enchantments, or change their effect in a less harmful way up to the point to nullify them; they can also repel spells or creatures in a given area.

Casting Time: Few seconds
Range: Short (30 feet) at least
Components: A mandatory component, probably at caster's choice among:

Duration: Maximum time unrevealed, at least a minute
Primary effects: Dispel; create a barrier against some specific spells, items or creatures, of spherical shape, capable to surround the whole Sanctum Sanctorum.
Collateral effects: Concentric circles of light.

(Strange Tales I#172) - Prisoner in the Crimson Crystal created by Dormammu, Strange sought inspiration to escape his prison. He thanked the awesome Images of Ikonn because the Dread One gave him the hint to break his spell.

(Doctor Strange I#176) - Strange needed information from a taxi driver that seemed hypnotized. Having verified that his status was a magic induced trance, Strange used the Images of Ikonn and the power of Oshtur to dispell the mesmerism. The man reacted as if awakened from sleep.

(Doctor Strange II#32) - The Images of Ikonn were used as an important part of a radical Spell of Protection. The spell was invented by Doctor Strange and served as a renewal of the spells that protected the Sanctum Sanctorum. Studying and creating the spell took some hours. The rite required two mirrors and two people to be cast. It was a special spell. It was radical because it required a careful coordination of incantation and movement. The execution of the rite involved a slight risk for the casters.
    Strange had Clea help him, but he didn't know that Clea was not the real Clea; instead she was a dream-duplicate created by Dream Weaver. Nonetheless, the spell was cast and produced the effect sought by Strange: a spherical barrier, made of mystic energies, surrounded the Sanctum Santorum. Before, the barrier's light flashed, then became invisible, but remained present around the building. From that moment on the barrier warned Strange from surprise attacks.
    The spell also produced two images, frozen in the mirrors when the eye-searing flash of light bathed Strange and Clea. They represented Doctor Strange with four arms.
    The spell was intended to do it but not to give life to the images and have them attack Strange and Clea. Actually, the Spell of Protection was working. It defended the Sanctorum from external attacks, but that attack came from within, fault of the presence of the duplicate-Clea and the influence of Dream Weaver.

The Images of Ikonn reveal the hidden truth

Version: Divination

Powers/Abilities/Functions: The Illusions of Ikonn let the caster find what was hidden or not immediately visible, disguised, difficult to learn, not known at all or forgotten.

Casting Time: Few seconds
Range: Short (30 feet) at least
Components: A mandatory component, probably at caster's choice among:

Duration: Immediate
Primary effects: Varying. It can force a door to open when the object searched is hidden behind. It can reveal the function of an object or the nature of a creature. It can reveal the past, obscured by time and space. It can help to find information and knowledge.
Collateral effects: None

(Doctor Strange II#20) - Doctor Strange sensed that the sarcophagus before him had something to do with Clea, so he cast the Illusions of Ikonn to reveal the truth beyond its shell. The spell let the top open, and forced the bandages enveloping the mummy to unbind. So, Clea's body was revealed.

(Doctor Strange II#22) - While exploring Clea's brain's cortex, Strange went deeper in her subconscious, to find the origin of her madness. When he found the black mass of mind-worms he was so surprised that he called upon the Images of Ikonn. Being in search for something, the call could have had Divination purposes.

(Defenders I#6) - Cyrus Black had just guessed that his nightmares could gave him a sort of reality-bending power. Unbeliever as someone who sees an illusion too good to be true, he sought to learn more, invoking the Illusions of Ikonn.

(Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme#41) - After taking control of one of the Undying Ones, Strange used the Eye of Agamotto and Ikonn's iridescent Images to learn the monster's purposes and also learn the past of his demonic race.

Comments: Created by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko.

The Images of Ikonn? Or Ikonn themselves?     When, in Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme#49, Ikonn appeared around Strange after his name was invoked, the Mystic Principality showed up as a multitude of the same entity. Strange's feeling of bewilderment was the same that many of the Sorcerer's adversaries suffered when the Images/Illusions of Ikonn affected them. That episode leads to some hypothesis.

  1. In DSSS#49, Ikonn was actually materially multiplied or a multi-being. The hypothesis is supported by the behavior of the Seraphim, that imprisoned every repetition of Ikonn in their shields. Often but not always, when illusions are interacted with, vanish, dissolve, etc.
    So, when an "ordinary" magic user casts the Illusions, the spell replicates only the visual aspect of Ikonn's material multiplication. This also leads to other speculations. Is Ikonn's natural form, a multi-form? Is it a multifaceted form, like a prism reflecting the same image with imperceptible variations? Hypothesizing that Ikonn's nature has a multifaceted aspect, is it connected to the multifaceted Truth that is known only partially when observed by limited points of view? Is it only one of his powers or his only power? Does it make sense to speak about a form for a supernatural being like Ikonn? And, how can we be sure to speak about the true form of a supreme master caster of Illusions like Ikonn?

  2. More simply, Ikonn was one, and Strange suffered the effect of the very spell he had cast few seconds before: the Illusions of Ikonn! Of course, this version of the spell could be more powerful, so powerful that made the illusions resistant to interaction, or even gifted with supernatural powers like hypnotism, as seen in Strange Tales#131.

  3. The Images of Ikonn were cast upon mind-controlled thralls. Ikonn already controlled minds at the Norcross University. Perfect coordination of speech between mind-thralls could be difficult to achieve, unless it was an Illusion of Ikonn!
    In Marvel Premiere I#4 Strange's invocation of the the Image of Ikonn had a menacing tone, but he didn't release the effect that substantiated the menace. Considering that the Images were never used to attack an enemy, the most likely purpose of that spell was to confuse the target.

Profile by Spidermay.

The Images of Ikonn are likely the same spell of the Illusions of Ikonn. They are strongly connected to the Forbidden Ritual of Ikonn.
They are connected to
but are probably different from the Ikonn's Shifting Sands.
They have no known connections to:

  • Illusion of Normalcy, used by Demon-Slayer at the Felix Club, @ Defenders I#58
  • Illusion of Reality, hid Eternity to preserve the mental sanity of the people, @ Doctor Strange II#10
  • "Images all -- of vaporous mist", illusion spell, produced multiple identical images foiling Voltorg, @ Strange Tales I#166
  • Spell of Illusion, disguised the Eye of Agamotto as St. Christopher Medal, @ Doctor Strange II#46/1
  • Spheres of Illusion, complex illusion used by D'Spayre against Doctor Strange, @ Doctor Strange II#55
  • or any spell or item with a similar name.

images: (without ads)
Doctor Strange II#40, p15, pan3 (The Images of Ikonn created multiple illusions of perfect duplicates)
Strange Tales I#130, p9, pan3 (Strange confounded his pursuers with the Images of Ikonn)
Doctor Strange I#183, p19, pan1 (The Illusions of Ikonn with their many faceted mirrors)
Defenders I#104, p11, pan2 (The Images of Ikonn projecting Cory, fading when Ian Fate let the spell break)
Doctor Strange II#32, p14, pan5 (Spell of Protection using mirrors and Images of Ikonn)
Doctor Strange II#20, p7, pan4 (The Images of Ikonn reveal the hidden truth)
Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme#41, p9, pan1/2 (The Images of Ikonn showing unknown events of a distant past)
Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme#49, p9, pan2 (Ikonn's images or Ikonns themselves?)

Strange Tales I#123 (August, 1965) - Stan Lee (writer), Steve Ditko (pencils), George Bells (inks)
Strange Tales I#130 (January, 1966) - Stan Lee (writer), Steve Ditko (pencils and inks)
Strange Tales I#131 (February, 1966) - Stan Lee (writer), Steve Ditko (pencils and inks)

Strange Tales I#145 (June, 1966) - Dennis O'Neil (writer), Steve Ditko (
pencils and inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Doctor Strange I#176 (January, 1969) - Roy Thomas (writer), Gene Colan (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Doctor Strange I#183 (November, 1969) - Roy Thomas (writer), Gene Colan (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Marvel Premiere#4 (May, 1973) - Archie Goodwin (writer), Barry Smith and Frank Brunner (artists), Roy Thomas (plotter and editor)
Marvel Premiere#8 (May, 1973) - Gardner F. Fox (writer), Jim Starlin (pencils), Frank Giacoia & David Hunt (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Defenders I#15 (September, 1974) - Len Wein (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Klaus Janson (inks), Glynis Wein (colorist), Roy Thomas (editor)
Tomb of Dracula#44 (May, 1975) - Marv Wolfman (writer and editor), Gene Colan (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks and colors)
Doctor Strange II#19 (October, 1976) - Marv Wolfman (writer and editor), Alfredo Alcala (pencils and inks), Michele Wolfman (colors)
Doctor Strange II#40 (April, 1980) - Chris Claremont (writer), Gene Colan (penciler), Dan Green and Ricardo Villamonte (inks), Bob Sharen (colors), Jo Duffy and Al Milgrom (editors)
Doctor Strange II#42 (August, 1980) - Chris Claremont (writer), Gene Colan (penciler), Dan Green (inks), Bob Sharen (colors), Jo Duffy (editor)
Doctor Strange II#47 (June, 1981) - Roger Stern (writer), Gene Colan (pencils), Dan Green (inks), Jo Duffy (editor)
Doctor Strange II#48 (August, 1981) - Roger Stern (writer), Marshall Rogers (pencils), Terry Austin (inks), Al Milgrom (editor)
Defenders I#104 (February, 1982) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Don Perlin (pencils), Joe Sinnott & Al Milgrom (inks), Al Milgrom (editor)
Doctor Strange II#71 (June, 1985) - Roger Stern (writer), Paul Smith (pencils and inks), Bob Sharen (colors), Carl Potts (editor)
Black Knight II#4 (September, 1990) - Roy & Dann Thomas (writers), Rich Buckler (pencils), Tony DeZuniga (inks), George Roussos (colors), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme#41 (May, 1992) - Roy Thomas (writer) and Jean-Marc Lofficier (co-plotter), Geof Isherwood (artist), George Roussos (colorist), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme#49 (January, 1993) - Len Kaminski (write), Geof Isherwood (pencils), Bob Petrecca & Don Hudson (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
X-Factor#232 (April, 2012) - Peter David (writer), Emanuela Lupacchino (pencils), Guillermo Ortego (inks), Matt Milla (colors), Jordan D. White and Daniel Ketchum (editors)
Doctor Strange V#12 (May, 2019) - Barry Kitson and Mark Waid (writers), Barry Kitson (pencils), Scott Koblish (inks), Brian Reber (colors), Nick Lowe (editor)
Doctor Doom#4 (March, 2020) - Christopher Cantwell (writer), Salvador Larroca (pencils and inks), Guru-eFX (colors), Tom Breevort (editor)

First Posted: 07/16/2021
Last updated: 07/16/2021

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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