Doctor Strange #383

3

Bad

DoctorStrange383Having literally upended Marvel’s entire magical universe just two short editions earlier with Loki Laufeyson’s shock replacement of this comic’s titular character as the Sorcerer Supreme, Donny Cates’ opening to Issue Three Hundred And Eighty Three of “Doctor Strange” probably had its 23,021 readers on the edge of their seats due to his narrative finally promising to explain just how the God of Mischief managed to defeat the former “preeminent surgeon” during “The Tournament”. However, rather than provide any sort of sense-shattering contest between the two mystics, the former sequential artist at the Savannah College of Art and Design instead disappointingly shows a victorious Stephen being stripped of his appointment simply upon the whim of the Vishanti because they suddenly feel “that a mortal can no longer fulfil the role…”

Indeed, this third instalment to the author’s “Loki: Sorcerer Supreme” storyline somewhat ludicrously presents Thor’s mischievous step-brother as being an uninvited spectator of the event, who, having first bewilderingly unplugged himself from his personal stereo, actually also challenges the “trio of supernatural, god-like entities” regarding their nonsensical decision. Understandably, a furious Master of the Mystic Arts, made all the angrier when the triumvirate imply that the troubled Jotunn will face some considerable dangers in the days ahead, voices his outrage at being so disrespectfully cast aside after all he has done to protect the realm, and with hindsight it is perhaps arguably easy to see just why this comic’s circulation was declining at its time of publication, if the book’s loyal fan-base felt Cates’ penmanship was disparaging them in a similar fashion…

Alas, little of what follows this massive anti-climax, including the substitution of “Flashback Artist” Niko Henrichon with Gabriel Hernandez Walta, makes for a compelling read until near the twenty-page periodical’s end when Doctor Strange challenges the mighty Asgardian leader Cul Borson, brother of Odin, so as to gain “access to an almost unlimited well” of magic, and brings the all-mighty Sentry with him “in case things went sideways.” The subsequent clash of arms as Robert Reynolds literally flings himself into the midst of a heavily-armoured horde of warriors is impressively palpable, and beautifully contrasts with a truly touching scene moments later when the humble sorcerer somewhat tearfully tenders Yggdrasil the corpse of his friend, Bats, so as to win the World Tree’s favour; “I can offer you a very, very good boy… Please… I don’t have anything else…”

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3

Bad

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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