Doctor Strange #385

5

Average

DoctorStrange385Considering that Donny Cates’ “Loki: Sorcerer Supreme” storyline significantly relies upon the presence of the Sentry in order for Stephen Strange to be able to match mystic arts with the God of Mischief, it probably came as little surprise to some of this comic’s 26,774 readers that the all-powerful evil imprisoned within the Sanctum Sanctorum is actually Robert Reynolds’ “dark opposite”, the Void. But whilst the presence of “the black and destructive counterforce” undeniably makes for a somewhat sense-shattering conclusion to the American author’s long-winded narrative, the simplistic ease with which Loki, the former “preeminent surgeon” and “arguably the most powerful of all heroes” defeats it smacks of this title’s writer mismanaging the plot’s pacing quite significantly.

For starters, having unleased a force supposedly “capable of destroying the Earth, if not the entire universe”, it disconcertingly takes this publication’s three heroes less time to batter the Void back inside its sealed room than it does Thor’s step-brother to later explain to Strange just why he duped the magic user into believing that the Vishanti had robbed him of his title. Indeed, the titular character appears to be in far more danger of being killed by a murderously enraged “Golden Guardian of the Good” than he does from the evil psyche of the Sentry, and probably would have been if not for Loki’s protective spells sparing the man from the bone-breaking fury of the angry New Avenger; “You told me we had to protect the world! I didn’t know we’d have to protect it from you. I trusted you, Stephen.”

Of course, all this pulse-pounding pugilism and carousel of theatrical spell-casting is soon disconcertingly diminished by Laufeyson’s revelation that “there… never was a tournament” for Doctor Strange to lose, and that he had apparently simply weaved the illusion so as to make the Master of the Mystic Arts better prepared for the War of the Realms, “Hell on Earth”, the gathering of the Infinity Stones and the Final Host.” This grand-sounding motivation momentarily appears disconcertingly credible, considering the Agent of Asgard has just “used the Exile of Singhsoon to consolidate Midgard’s magic into myself so I could jump-start the Dragon Lines.” Yet such an explanation is soon disappointingly dispelled and clouded in doubt by a dubious Sorcerer Supreme and Loki’s abrupt departure…

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5

Average

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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