Doctor Strange #19



DoctorStrange19Enthusiastically promoted by “Marvel Worldwide” as a cataclysmic confrontation between the titular character and his “greatest friend — fiercest enemy”, many of this comic’s 33,246 readers were probably left bitterly disappointed in April 2017 considering that Jason Aaron’s script for “The Power Of Strange Compels You” arguably contained no such thing, and instead of depicting “a compromised Strange” finding “a way to defeat the sadistic entity without killing Wong”, the Alabama-born author alternatively presented a bizarrely lengthy ‘corridor chase sequence’ through the Sanctum Sanctorum which somehow managed to populate the vast majority of this periodical’s twenty-pages.

Indeed, the Sorcerer Supreme appears to defeat Mister Misery within this book’s opening third simply by straightforwardly self-harming using a branding wand right in front of his possessed manservant. This flesh-sizzling pain is more than enough to draw the evil-minded gestalt entity from out of his latest victim and best the magical being’s truly grotesque infestation of the bald-headed Chinese monk. Yet disconcertingly, it also suddenly encourages the Master of the Mystic Arts to surprisingly grab his two loyal companions before inexplicably tearing off through his mystically-energised mansion in the direction of “the front door!”

Admittedly what then follows makes for some reasonable entertainment as Chris Bachalo pencils the Man-Thing emerging from out of the vegetation inhabiting the magician’s living room, and a pistol-toting Zelma Stanton is rather inelegantly thrust down Stephen’s toilet bowl in order to later reappear from out of a ceiling trap-door “right outside the kitchen.” But such a ‘humorous interlude’ somewhat jars with this publication’s supposedly tense central plot of showing Wong’s unshakeable love for his friend being heart-wrenchingly broken by Baron Mordo’s hated rival in a desperate effort for Strange to reabsorb the thing in the cellar.

Just as perplexing is Aaron’s insistence on interspersing all these speedy shenanigans with some flashbacks as to when the Ancient One’s protégé first met the “second-rate Jarvis” and attempted to serve him “hot garbage… boiled in other, hotter garbage!” These insights into the duo’s early relationship are certainly interesting, especially one which focuses upon “the idea of planting trees in what will now be your living room.” However, as with Stanton’s impressive murder of the good Doctor’s refrigerator, such historical exposition arguably only seems to make an already unbalanced story-line even choppier.

This article is the opinion of the author and does not represent the views of the site owner.


Reviewed by
For the past forty or so years I have been collecting American comics… To begin with they were predominantly black and white British reprints of “Marvel Comics Group” titles such as “Spider-Man Comics Weekly”, “The Mighty World of Marvel” and “Star Wars Weekly”; all six to ten pence editions I could store away under my bed in a large cardboard box. As a result though I was introduced to the teenage angst of Peter Parker, the discovery of a frozen Captain America by Earth's Mightiest Heroes, witnessed the dreadful rage of Doctor Bruce Banner, and even travelled to a galaxy far far away... Later I would be able to afford actual America colour comic books and supplemented my collection of “Marvel” titles such as “Conan the Barbarian”, “Howard the Duck” and “Captain America” with some “DC Comics” issues of “Batman”, “Green Lantern” and “Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew”. There would even be time for Independent publications such as “Wildcats”, “Spawn” and “The Authority”. These days however I must admit to yearning back to the simpler times of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, back to when both artwork and storylines were straightforward, easy to follow and super-heroes were just starting out on their adventures. A time when no-one had yet to be resurrected from the dead for the fourth time. I've written over seven hundred comic book reviews on my blog over the past few years, with them usually following my latest purchases, all wrapped up in a large brown paper bag, as well as occasional ‘flashbacks’ to some of the classic "Golden Age" issues I already own…

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