- "I’d given up on my body. I thought my mind’s the only thing I have left I should at least try to elevate that. So, I sat with gurus and sacred women. Strangers carried me to mountaintops to see holy men, and finally I found my teacher. And my mind was elevated, and my spirit deepened."
- ―Jonathan Pangborn to Stephen Strange[src]
Jonathan Pangborn is a former Master of the Mystic Arts who was trained by the Ancient One but later chose to leave Kamar-Taj as he only wanted to heal his paralysis. He later lost his powers and his ability to walk after Karl Mordo attacked him.
Trained at Kamar-Taj
Jonathan Pangborn was rendered paralytic following an accident at a factory that he had worked at and consulted Stephen Strange, only to be told that his injury was inoperable. Pangborn took physical therapy and eventually made his way to Kamar-Taj in Kathmandu, Nepal, where he was taught to use magic by the Ancient One. He later left Kamar-Taj as he had wanted nothing more than to use his abilities to walk again.
Sought by Doctor Strange
While playing basketball one day with friends, Pangborn was visited by Doctor Stephen Strange who greeted him by noting his medical history. When Strange revealed who he was, Pangborn noted that Strange's assistant Billy had refused to allow Pangborn to see Strange as he was deemed untreatable due to his injuries, therefore Strange would not get credit for curing him as it was impossible.
Strange then revealed he was coming to Pangborn because he was looking for his own miracle, revealing that he had been in a car accident that crippled his hands. Taking pity for Strange's condition, Pangborn told him the story of how he met the Ancient One who cured him and revealed the location of Kamar-Taj despite his initial reluctance, warning him that his journey would come at a great cost, wishing him good luck in his new quest.
Karl Mordo's Betrayal
Pangborn returned to work until, several months later, he was confronted by Karl Mordo, who reminded him of how he had been carried into Kamar-Taj on a stretcher before being eventually being cured by the Ancient One. Mordo claimed that he had been away for some time and had now finally come to his own realization about the Masters of the Mystic Arts' true purpose in their world.
When Pangborn was accused of stealing and manipulating magic, Pangborn argued that he was only using his own power. Fearing Mordo's intentions, Pangborn attempted to attack him with a crowbar, only for Mordo to knock him down and strip him of his powers, causing his paralysis to return. As Pangborn asked Mordo why he was doing this to him, the former Master replied that there were too many sorcerers misusing their powers.
Pangborn is a humble man of small goals. After mastering enough magic to treat his injuries, rather than seeking true enlightenment and further power, he settled for his small miracle of being able to walk and decided to return to his normal life. He is compassionate as he took pity on Stephen Strange's condition, despite the latter having previously rebuff him for a cure for his paralyses. At the same time, it is possible that like Strange originally was, Pangborn was afraid of taking on dark forces to protect the world and left the Mystic Arts out of both selfishness and fear.
- Eldritch Magic Manipulation: Pangborn constantly drew on dimensional energy to bypass his paralysis, constantly channeling into his body to allow it to function normally. He was later stripped of his powers by Karl Mordo as part of the former Master's quest to rid the world of sorcerers who, in his perspective, misused their powers.
- Kamar-Taj: Pangborn visited Kamar-Taj after he was paralyzed, where Ancient One taught him how to use magic to be able to walk.
- Workshop: Pangborn works in his machine shop in New York City.
Behind the Scenes
- Scott Derrickson has stated that he had an idea to bring back Jonathan Pangborn for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.