Characters Appearing: Agatha Harkness, Dr. Druid, Dr. Strange, Ebony, Imei Chang, Jean Grey, Moondragon, Necromancer (Counter-Earth), Professor X, Psylocke, Rick Sheridan, Scarlet Witch, Shaman, Silver Surfer, Sleepwalker, Wong
Doctor Strange #46-47
Issue(s): Doctor Strange #46, Doctor Strange #47
These two issues cover what happens to the Marvel hero mystics - Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch, Dr. Druid, Shaman, and Agatha Harkness - after they were sent back to Earth when the entire planet's populace became entranced as part of the Magus' effort to duplicate the universe. There's really nothing here of importance to the broader Infinity War.
Thy arrive on Earth while everyone is frozen mid-action, to the point where Dr. Druid convinces them to spend time moving someone out of the way of a car that will crash into her once reality resumes, over the objection of Dr. Strange, who apparently doesn't have time for the little people.
The fact that everyone is frozen is actually a different scenario than people becoming "entranced", which is how it's been described elsewhere in this crossover. It's more like the world has been paused. People also don't have heartbeats, etc..
The mystics then encounter Sleepwalker, who, despite already having helped the Marvel psychics, gets into a brief Misunderstanding Fight with the mystics.
It's hard to tell from my scan, but it looks like Dr. Druid's words have been re-scripted in the scene below.
I was wondering why Shaman was chosen to be the lone holdout in believing that Sleepwalker was a bad guy, and it's almost like they changed Dr. Druid's dialogue so that he would also be distrustful. But i'm probably making that up.
More confusion follows when Agatha Harkness starts making the pitch to Sleepwalker about letting the psychics use him as a conduit, and Dr. Strange is like, tsk, that happened already!
Here's the second reference during Infinity War to Jean Grey as Marvel Woman.
And then Sleepwalker seizes up, and Dr. Strange says that he's gone back to helping the psychics.
The whole sequence seems a little weird to me. I suspect Geof Isherwood drew all of this intending for it to be a lead up to the Sleepwalker tie-in, but Roy Thomas scripted it to take place afterwards, probably because the actual sequence in the Sleepwalker issue can't fit with him getting convinced by the mystics. If so, that's a nice recovery, but it does make the encounter here a little pointless.
In any event, the mystics move on from Sleepwalker and go to Dr. Strange's house. It's only when Strange sees a frozen Wong and Imei on the street that he understands why Dr. Druid was trying to save people. Geez, doc.
Here's a whole page getting wasted with a weird sequence about Dr. Strange's door that has no bearing on anything. I count four reversals on this page. He can open the door! He can't!
Anyway, inside the house it turns out there are demons that look "vaguely familiar" to Strange. Strange and company fight the demons...
...who turn out to be led by someone that looks like Dr. Strange back when he used to wear a "mask" (we're reminded that it wasn't a mask so much as a magical disguise). And i mean literally looks like him, like he was traced from a Gene Colan drawing.
Now, i think there was a kind of missed opportunity in Infinity War. We have all the doppelgangers. And we know that they're basically filler; they really add nothing to the larger story. And a lot of Marvel characters have gone through various iterations over the years. So why not engage in a little fun continuity porn, and have the doppelgangers appear as past incarnations of the characters. I suggested that maybe they should have had Deathlok face the alternate history version of the character, for example. Tom DeFalco actually does this with the Thing and Invisible Woman, and i think that was a good idea. And i would have liked to have seen more of it. Not that it would make any real sense as part of the larger story, but it's not like the doppelganger attacks do anyway. So when i saw this version of Dr. Strange, i thought it was really cool.
And to be clear, ultimately, it is fun. But this being Roy Thomas, it can't be as simple as this is Dr. Strange's doppelganger. No, this is a version of Doctor Strange from Counter-Earth. He calls himself the Necromancer.
The Necromancer learned about Eternity, and claims to have found him "some time" before our Dr. Strange did (as noted in the comments, this potentially raises some questions about Counter-Earth). But he tried to attack Eternity and steal his essence, and Eternity therefore absorbed him into himself. The Necromancer remained there until Counter-Earth exploded. But he didn't actually leave until Gamora woke Eternity from his catatonia.
And we're still not done with the explanation. Somehow, escaping Eternity threw Necromancer into the dimension of Shazana, and Necromancer took over that realm. That's where the demons come from, and that's why they seemed familiar to Dr. Strange.
From there, Necromancer came to Earth and went to Dr. Strange's house, where he encountered Dr. Strange's actual doppelganger, and defeated and replaced him.
All of this, and in the end it turns out that Necromancer is working for Magus anyway.
So that is a lot of convoluted effort just to get us to where we could have been to start with, if the Necromancer had just been Strange's doppelganger.
Magus then teleports the mystics to an asteroid in space.
However, they use Agatha Harkness' cat Ebony to get back to Earth.
The rest of the mystics handle the demons while Dr. Strange goes after Necromancer. He also has to fight a doppelganger of Rintrah.
Again, why go through all the trouble of making Necromancer not a doppelganger if he's going to do the same things as a doppelganger would, and even hangs out with other doppelgangers?
Granted, the actual Dr. Strange doppelganger does briefly return to the fight too.
But the real Strange quickly defeats the doppelganger, and then the Necromancer defeats himself by trying to utilize some of the energy he's absorbed from Eternity, which he's not able to handle.
The mystics then go back to Galactus' ship, but Agatha Harkness remains behind after warning Scarlet Witch that she's going to get suckered into a crossover with the Darkhold comic (and Dr. Strange will be there too).
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: This takes place after Sleepwalker #18 and after Warlock and the Infinity Watch #9. The scene with the mystics floating on the asteroid is repeated from Infinity War #6, so i'm placing it after that issue.
Crossover: Infinity War
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
This story makes no sense. How could the Necromancer have encountered Eternity before Strange? Counter Earth wasn't even created until long after Strange encountered Eternity?
Posted by: Michael | April 8, 2016 9:44 PM
@Michael: I think it means the Necromancer met Eternity earlier in his life then Strange met Eternity in HIS.
Posted by: Thanos6 | April 8, 2016 10:05 PM
@Thanos6: Actually, some people (including Jean-Marc Lofficier) are of the opinion that Counter-Earth was "created with an instant past...that had already experienced the full range of Earth's past including the 40s, 50s, 60s, etc." and that "the Necromancer was part of that past, just as was the CE's FF's trip to the stars."
Some other people have speculated that the High Evolutionary had more than just the Soul Gem in his possession when he created Counter-Earth. They suggest that he must have also had the Time Gem as well and that he had used it to manipulate time while creating Counter-Earth.
Personally, like Michael, I've always thought that the Necromancer's claim to have met Eternity before Strange did in Strange Tales #138 was nonsense. After all, Eternity first appeared one year before the High Evolutionary did, almost two years before Wundagore II was introduced, and over six years before Counter-Earth was even a gleam in Roy Thomas' eye (so to speak). In my mind, I explained this away as the Necromancer was either delusional or lying. While trapped within Eternity, the Necromancer may have absorbed some of Eternity's memories, including the one in which Eternity had previously met Strange, and come to believe that the reason why he "remembered" that encounter was because he was already within Eternity when it happened. Or the Necromancer may have simply been lying in order to bluff Strange into thinking that he was a stronger sorcerer because he had discovered Eternity first. Either way, I see no reason to accept his claim of having met Eternity first.
Posted by: Don Campbell | April 9, 2016 12:00 AM
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