Doctor Strange #11
Issue(s): Doctor Strange #11
...but also has the unintended benefit of preventing the Hobgoblin from launching his Acts of Vengeance attack.
Sara Wolfe, while modeling the latest in adult contemporary fashions for us, asks Dr. Strange why we never heard that Dr. Strange had a brother before.
And the answer is that Stephen did have a brother named Victor. But Victor was not pleased with the way his older brother became a greedy jerk doctor, and one night after an argument Victor ran into the street and got hit by a car, and died (or was pronounced dead by Stephen Strange himself, since he was the first doctor on the scene). Strange had Victor put in a "state-of-the-art refrigerating unit" and "put into a warehouse I'd just bought as an investment". And funded it through an "untouchable trust fund" that Stephen couldn't access as he sank into poverty after his accident.
This cryogenically-frozen long lost brother thing is terrible, the worst-of-daytime-soaps sort of stuff. I can't believe we're doing this. But for now, anyway, we're not. That's the last we'll hear about it this issue. Morbius disappears while everyone is talking, and we don't find out how Morbius became a science-vampire again. Or how Victor has become a vampire, let alone how a vampire can even exist at this point in time (although this issue does continue the "Curse of the Darkhold" back-ups, so we know we're going somewhere with it.
Instead, Dr. Strange gets invited to appear on a television show called "Hour Thirteen". This is a show that follows the format of its predecessor, "The Twelfth Hour", which was a show that Dr. Strange was invited to appear on back in the Silver Age. This time, he agrees to appear, hoping that the hosts will try to debunk the idea that he's a magician, which Strange will play along with in order to cast doubt on Morgana Blessing's tell-all book about him. But after he agrees, they find out that Morgana is going to appear on the show, too, so now he's going to have to debunk himself.
Jackson Guice's art continues to seem weird to me. It's not exploitative, at least not in the sense that we usually think of for 90s comics. But the focus is definitely static poses of pretty women (and, to be fair, Rintrah!) staring blankly out into the camera. The television appearance sequence similarly emphasizes Morgana Blessing's legs.
Long lost brothers, tell-all books, talk shows, and whatever's going on with the art. Can't we just have some nice mystical battles with psychedelic artwork? Well, not quite, since this is an Acts of Vengeance issue. But this Hobgoblin (Jack O'Lantern + Demogoblin, if you are looking at the Characters Appearing) is a demonic entity nowadays, so he's an interesting foe for Dr. Strange (despite the lack of any sensible motivation thanks to AoV).
"I'm not wearing a mask!"
Strange eventually casts a spell to make the Hobgoblin think that he's become human again, and that causes him to leave, happy to think he's been restored to human form (it must suck when he realizes that it wasn't true), and Dr. Strange is kind of a jerk for not immediately trying to actually help Jason Macendale when he hears that becoming human is something that the Hobgoblin would like to do (he does say that it's "something I'll take up with Spider-Man later"). Stephen and Morgana reconcile, with Morgana regretting writing her book. It also turns out that Strange used magic to prevent the TV audience from seeing his battle. Strange and Morgana go back to Strange's house, where the others are carving - appropriately enough - Jack O'Lanterns, because it's apparently Halloween.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: I've allowed a little space to occur between the end of last issue and the beginning of this issue, but that's mainly to let Acts of Vengeance heat up; the beginning of this issue is really a direct continuation from last issue (although we could say that Strange needed a little time to prepare his spell). Since Dr. Strange is not aware of why the Hobgoblin is attacking him, this issue takes place before Alpha Flight #78 when the Avengers tell Strange about Acts of Vengeance. Cameo by J. Jonah Jameson, who is upset that the disruption to the television show prevents the publicity for Morgana's book, which he's publishing (i guess even though Puma bought the Daily Bugle, JJ still retains an interest in the book publishing arm or maybe all of Now magazine). Worth mentioning that Acts of Vengeance must take place during Halloween based on this issue, although that can certainly be considered a temporal reference.
Crossover: Acts of Vengeance
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): show
The spell that makes the Hobgoblin think he's become human again will remain in effect for the next few stories.
Posted by: Michael | March 29, 2015 5:19 PM
The "brother who no one ever heard of who is now a supernatural creature" is so bad, I'm surprised Chris Claremont is not responsible for it. I'm just surprised he's not a Russian cosmonaut.
Retroactively introducing unknown members of the immediate family is always jarring. Thomas could have told the exact same story, but made it less distracting if he just made Victor a cousin to whom Stephen was once close. Then have someone else put Victor in cryogenic suspension rather than the elaborate backstory Thomas used. All the somersaults Thomas must do to make things work in continuity just demonstrates a different approach is needed.
I agree that there is something strange about Jackson Guice's art, but in the end I like it.
This demonic version of the Hobgoblin is much more appropriate to occult heroes like Strange than Spider-Man, although the power deferential is just too much.
Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2015 6:15 PM
Chris, the difference is that Mikhail was first mentioned less than a year and a half after Colossus was introduced, so we didn't have to wonder why he was never mentioned before.
Posted by: Michael | March 29, 2015 6:44 PM
When the vampire-return was previewed in fanzines, the Montesi Formula was called the "Montessori Formula".
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 30, 2015 11:29 AM
Chris - correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Claremont leave X-Men several issues before Mikhail was actually brought in? So that really shouldn't be on Claremont.
Posted by: Erik Beck | March 30, 2015 11:58 AM
Erik, colossus' brother was first mentioned way back in X-Men 99 or 100. However, I think you are right that his brother as a mutant (come back from the dead) was after Claremont.
My comment was in jest, but regardless of the specifics, this is the type of thing Claremont always does. Too bad there is no edit feature, instead I should state that the Viper was Dr Strange's mother. Would that make everyone happy? ;)
Posted by: Chris | March 30, 2015 11:31 PM
Chris, we could just consider you saying "I'm surprised that wasn't an X-book." That works just as well and not only covers Mikhail but the ridiculous concept of a third Summers brother. :)
Posted by: Erik Beck | March 31, 2015 7:16 AM
"that becoming human is something that the Hobgoblin would like to do (he does say that it's "something I'll take up with Spider-Man later")."
Posted by: clyde | July 21, 2015 4:09 PM
I always thought Dr. Strange's involvement int he AoV was a bit odd, since most of the "Prime Movers" should have no serious grudges against him. He hasn't fought any of them other than Magneto, and that was a very different Magneto.
For that matter, Doom at least should be wise enough to understand that killing the Sorcerer Supreme might make it harder to take over the world or whatever.
But I suppose this is more of Loki's manipulations, since Strange *has* helped stop Loki several times in the past.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | November 7, 2015 8:46 AM
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