Doctor Strange #24

9

Amazing

DoctorStrange24As cataclysmic confrontations between Karl Amadeus Mordo and this comic’s titular character go, Dennis Hopeless’ script for Issue Twenty Four of “Doctor Strange” must have pleased the vast majority of its 28,992 strong audience, with its excellent blend of heart-pumping shenanigans, multi-faceted strategies and dark incantations. Indeed, as conclusions to multi-part storylines go, the Missouri-born’s decision to depict the Sorcerer Supreme utilising his wits as opposed to simply relying upon exotic magical items, not only allows the rest of this book’s supporting cast to share in the ‘limelight’ as they collectively attempt to penetrate the Baron’s formidable protective bubble, but for once shows the Master Of The Mystic Arts relying upon his intimate knowledge of Hydra’s “trumped-up pawn” so as to use his arrogant vanity against him; “No one was going to defeat you from the ground. Not while you held the Sanctum. I had to compel you to gather up your mindless beasts and ill-gotten spells — and leave my house.”

Such a pleasantly surprising plot-twist also results in a far more physically dynamic battle than perhaps this publication’s bibliophiles were ordinarily used to, most notably Spider-Woman’s fantastic flying display behind the cockpit of the Phantom Eagle. Terrifically pencilled and coloured by Niko Henrichon, this “exhilarating… gun run in a zombie airplane with no roof” makes for a thrilling read, with Jessica Drew narrowly evading the tentacles of Mordo’s “great beasties of the Darkforce” and engaging in “a rousing round of hide-and-go death serpent”.

Likewise Benjamin Urich’s phantasmagorical swordplay against a “gangrenous horde” whilst inhabited by a spiritual Light Knight packs the Kansas State University alumnus’ narrative full of scything sensationalism as the “investigative journalist for the New York newspaper The Daily Bugle” chops down an “abominable army of rot” with both his “luminous blade light” and bluster. It’s rare to see the chain-smoker portrayed as such an obvious action hero, and Hopeless’ dialogue strongly suggests just how much the reporter is enjoying himself by penning Ben confidently wading into a zombie host alongside a similarly super-powered Wilson Fisk.

Of course, this comic’s arguable highlight however, has to be the Baron’s utter astonishment at having been bested once again by a magician whose modern-day abilities are far inferior to his own. Dethroned by Strange’s astral projection “rope-a-dope” ruse, and faced with the combined physical might of such notable costumed crime-fighters as Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Cloak and Spider-Woman, the beaten Transylvanian nobleman is so enraged with frustration that he rather humorously stands indignantly transfixed before his foes spouting his unrealistic defiance until Matt Murdock mercifully socks him in the jaw.

Publisher
This article is the opinion of the author and does not represent the views of the site owner.
9

Amazing

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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