Benedict Cumberbatch and Rachel McAdams face off in new Doctor Strange images

There's a doctor in the new Empire this month. Not your standard physician, mind you – unless your local GP can span dimensions, defy physics and do actual magic, which seems unlikely on the NHS. Empire's new cover star is, of course, Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange. As a taster for the world-leading coverage in Thursday's new issue, we can share a fresh look at the Sorcerer Supreme in action with co-star Rachel McAdams.

Mads Mikkelsen in Doctor Strange

Strange, of course, is the damaged neurosurgeon who must rebuild his life and learn to tap into higher powers. His spiritual guide, The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), will be intrumental in that, as the former physician washes up in Tibet's Lost Horizon-like enclave of Kamar-Taj. But as Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige explains, McAdam's surgeon Christine Palmer will offer "an anchor to [Strange's] past life".

Bringing the threat of death and destruction is Mads Mikkelsen's Kaecilius (below). "[He's] a man who believes in a better world, a world without human tragedy," explains the actor in the new Empire, "but his means are quite different from the ones Doctor Strange is using, therefore conflict".

Mads Mikkelsen in Doctor Strange

Tantalisingly, Chiwetel Ejiofor's Baron Mordo, a long-standing Strange antagonist in the comic books, has shadier motivations. For more on that – as well as plenty more from Ejiofor, Cumberbatch, Swinton and director Scott Derrickson – pick up the new issue of Empire on all good newsstands on 29 October. To download the new issue on tablet or pick up a discounted subscription offer, the Great Magazines site is the place to visit.

Doctor Strange lands in UK cinemas on 28 October.