The Wings of Needless Sorrow was created by the Old Ones before the age of man. Although a highly powerful artifact, it is extremely dangerous even to its user.It exists in both the physical and spiritual plane and at times seems to have a mind of its own.
Functions of the Wings of Needless Sorrow
The main function of the Wings of Needless Sorrow is the absorption and redirection of various energies. Magical attacks thrown at its wielder will be siphoned, causing the attacks to considerably weaken in potency. In turn, the talisman will strengthen its wielder's magical assaults.
The Wings of Needless Sorrow is capable of influencing those within relative proximity to bend to its will of destruction and chaos. Because the talisman exists in both the spiritual and physical plane, one who wishes to use the Wings can control its actions mentally.
It is revealed that the Wings of Needless Sorrow can also be used to summon forth the Old Ones from their extra-dimensional realms.
Wielders of the Wings of Needless Sorrow
Due to its age, the Wings of Needless Sorrow has likely been wielded by numerous individuals. In its debut in Strange Tales #4 (1987), the Wings of Needless Sorrow was caught by a man in a fishing net on the shores of Hong Kong and given to his wife in the hopes of cheering her up due to her despondence over their deaf, mute, and ill son. Doctor Strange came upon the family and forced himself to become its new host. He has possessed it since, but does not like to use it due to the despair and chaos it brings.
Appearances of the Wings of Needless Sorrow
In Strange Tales II #4 (1987), Doctor Strange travels to Hong Kong after the globe in his Sanctum Sanctorum reveals the city as one of the points of evil on his map. As Strange arrives, he discovers a crowd overlooking police holding back an old man that is yelling at someone covered in blood. The blood-soaked man is kneeling over a woman's bloody corpse, revealed to be the corpse of the old man's daughter, and with tears in his eyes is crying out how much he loved her. Strange finds out from a nearby detective that the man had used a knife to butcher his wife of six-months for no apparent reason. The detective reveals that a rash of strange homicides had been happening recently, and as Strange pokes his finger in the corpse's pool of blood, the blood quivers with life and takes the shape of the Wings of Needless Sorrow.
Having prior knowledge of the talisman, Strange recognizes it as the source of the evil and uses his Eye of Agamotto to quickly find it in an offshore boat being worn by a brooding woman holding her sick child. Her husband reveals how he caught it in his net and gave it to his wife to cheer her up, but as Strange asks to examine the necklace the man grabs his wrist with such power that Strange cannot break free and is unable to use his spells. Strange decides that the only way he can prevent more disaster is to become host of the Wings of Needless Sorrow. Once willing to become its host, he forces the talisman to release its grip on the minds of the citizens of Hong Kong, saving a large crowd mere moments before they attempt to douse themselves in gasoline-filled showers and light themselves on fire due to the influence of the Wings of Needless Sorrow.
The Wings of Needless Sorrow cements Strange's turn from white mage to black mage, as its evil makes Strange impure and unable to wield White Magic, including the Eye of Agamotto.
In Strange Tales II #13 (1988), Doctor Strange finds himself in battle with Shuma-Gorath's lieutenant, an entity with infinite power called Arioch. Although Strange admits that he cannot stand up to that level of power, he is able to forcibly merge with the infinite entity using the magic siphoning abilities of the Wings of Needless Sorrow.
In Strange Tales II #14 (1988), Doctor Strange (merged with Arioch) enters Shuma-Gorath's dimension and fights the chaos lord directly, managing to defeat it. The magical abilities of the Wings of Needless Sorrow allowed Strange to absorb Shuma-Gorath's power over the course of their battle.
In Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #2 (1989), Doctor Strange uses the Wings of Needless Sorrow to battle Dormammu while he has taken over Doctor Strange's body. The Wings of Needless Sorrow were able to absorb Dormammu's attacks and use them against him.
In Mighty Avengers II #2, Ebony Maw uses his mental powers to influence Doctor Strange to summon a particular Great Old One to Earth. Strange summons the entity using the Wings of Needless Sorrow.