Doctor Strange #384



DoctorStrange384VCAs cataclysmic confrontations go, it is probably likely that Stephen Strange’s all-out attack upon the God of Mischief in Issue Three Hundred And Eighty Four of “Doctor Strange” didn’t quite excite the comic’s 25,652 strong audience in January 2018 as much as its writer Donny Cates would have hoped. Indeed, as battles between two of the Marvel Universe’s greatest magic users go, this penultimate instalment to the American author’s “Loki: Sorcerer Supreme” storyline arguably lacks much in way of either pulse-pounding mystic pugilism or sense-shattering spells; “I have shown remarkable patience with you. But I have a limit. And you are dancing rather precariously on its edge right now.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean that this twenty-page periodical isn’t entirely devoid of entertainment, with the veterinarian’s nonchalant transmutation of the entire Dimension Blood, “ancestral nesting realm of the cancerous Vampa Cambra Warriors”, into a rolling green landscape filled full of cute bouncing bunnies debatably being worth this publication’s cover price alone. But even such other notable moments like the titular character bringing the Lord of all Liars’ floating Sanctum Sanctorum crashing down to the ground with nothing more than a hand gesture, or unexpectedly dropping the deity from a great height, seemingly lack the phenomenal dynamism many of this book’s readers probably expected from such a titanic tussle and instead apparently play out like something out of a bog-standard ‘fight-by-numbers’ script.

Perhaps this battle’s biggest disappointment though, is that it is brought to an abrupt halt two-thirds through the magazine by Zelma Stanton’s miraculous ability to rob both combatants of their ability to “cast any magical spells” for “the next three minutes” simply by angrily uttering the words “Vrak Par Hensargin!” Just how a former librarian from the Bronx is able to reduce both the Master of the Mystic Arts and Thor’s half-brother to so vulnerable a state that neither “can so much as wish on a lucky penny” smacks of Cates desperately scrambling around for a reason as to how Loki could unsuspectingly force the “unbelievable hack” to release the Void when the “second-rate sorcerer” is being powered by the Sentry and Yggdrasil.

Fortunately, despite its potentially poor penmanship, Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s storyboards do at least prove predominantly pleasing to the eye, especially when the Spanish artist depicts Stephen Strange’s wonderfully-humorous facial horror at having been robbed of his magical spells whilst still in close proximity to the fuming Asgardian god. In addition, the Hugo Award-nominee provides a nice nod to this comic’s co-creator, Steve Ditko, by pencilling “DITKO” on the arm of the construct seen “on the panel that features Strange and Loki exiting the Dark Dimension.”

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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