Doctor Strange #48-50
Issue(s): Doctor Strange #48, Doctor Strange #49, Doctor Strange #50
Dr. Strange detects some ill omens and things quickly escalate into an attack by some demons - Ygothic Cyclopeans - that Strange says shouldn't even be able to exist in our plane of existence.
Overwhelmed, Strange calls on the Vishanti for help, and they show up in person (with Agamotto happily not in his Manic Caterpillar form).
They tell Strange that there is a war going on between them and some other mystical entities called the Trinity of Ashes.
And they'd like Strange to help them in this war. He balks when he hears that the war is likely to last 5,000 years. They don't exactly appreciate his refusal, and they try to force him to agree, and he flees through the multiverse. He tries to survive by calling on other mystical beings that he's called upon in the past, some that we've seen before (like Cyttorak - recently - and Satannish and Ikonn) and some that we've only heard invoked (Watoomb, Munipoor), and some that i'm not sure i've even heard of (Denak? - see the comments; it's not a new name) but they all just try to recruit him too.
So Strange recites the Emancipation Incantation. This frees him from any obligation to the entities, but also prevents him from ever calling upon their powers. As we'll see, this doesn't completely eliminate Strange's magical abilities, and he'll even retain the ability to use the Eye of Agamotto, but it severely limits them. In the lettercol for issue #55, it will say that Strange is now drawing on his own lifeforce for power.
Meanwhile, Clea goes with "Flyx" to the Dark Dimension to try to reclaim it from Umar and Baron Mordo, who Flyx told her were becoming despots. But Flyx turns out to really be Dormammu.
So when Strange returns to Earth, he finds that Dormammu is on a rampage.
So, in basically a test run for the Secret Defenders, Strange calls on the Hulk, Ghost Rider, and the Silver Surfer to help him.
They go to the Dark Dimension and fight their way past Mindless Ones and the G'uranthic Guardian.
The Guardian has been animated enough times that i am now accepting position papers on whether or not it ought to be listed as a Character Appearing.
Strange absorbs Ghost Rider's (or Noble Kale's?) spirit into his body to fight Dormammu.
That leaves Ghost Rider to mind Strange's body while Strange astrally projects himself to attack Dormammu's soul and ego directly.
Since Strange is still able to use the Eye of Agamotto, he uses it to show Dormammu what his soul really looks like (a Dire Wraith!).
That causes Dormammu to hesitate, giving the "Secret Defenders" and Clea an opening to attack his physical body. Wounded, Dormammu flees the Dark Dimension, promising to return and do something even worse in the future. Clea stays behind to help her dimension rebuild. When the others get back to Earth, Strange explicitly (but silently) names them "secret defenders".
Geof Isherwood is a good artist. He's maybe a little too "straight" for what i think of as a Doctor Strange artist, but i like his depiction of the mystic dimensions and the entities, some of whom we haven't seen before. I think if any book ought to be driven by the artist, it's this one, so i like that Isherwood will begin taking on writing credits next issue. On the downside for this issue, while the plot accomplishes what it needs to, the character interactions are pretty dry, and they all accept their recruitment without complaint. It's unusual to see the Hulk getting bossed around without pushback, for example. Of course if anyone's going to do that, it's Dr. Strange, but i just feel like there's no personality in the characters. Still, i consider these issues an improvement over Roy Thomas' flippant verbosity.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Hulk is found at Pantheon headquarters. This can really fit in any gap for the guest stars. Next issue begins with a flashback focusing on Rintrah that takes place concurrently with this story, and then it continues more or less directly for Dr. Strange. So issue #51 should follow this directly.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (8): show
Ghost Rider? Seriously, replace him with Namor and the band's back together.
Posted by: Ataru320 | September 6, 2016 1:50 PM
Didn't Isherwood pencil Conan The Barbarian? I thought he did quite well with the fantasy element and feel his art is suited to Dr Strange.
Posted by: JSfan | September 6, 2016 6:34 PM
I've definitely heard Strange exclaim "Demons of Denak!" somewhere before, perhaps in the Gerber issues of Defenders. But the demons of "Danak" were summoned by Kaluu way back in Strange Tales 149.
Posted by: Andrew | September 6, 2016 7:31 PM
This is the start of a string of bad stories and odd status quos that last until the series is cancelled.
Posted by: Michael | September 6, 2016 10:00 PM
Re: Strange being too powerful- it's not usually a problem in his own book where he can go up against Dormammu, Nightmare, Umar, etc. but it's definitely a problem when Strange appears in other books- Defenders had to introduce gimmicks like Strange being hypnotized by Xemnu or confused by Mastermind's illusions to prevent him from winning the battle singlehandedly.
Posted by: Michael | September 6, 2016 10:10 PM
Any idea what movie Hulk wants to show the Silver Surfer? "Yes green friend, I agree that this 'Robin Hood: Men in Tights' is fine entertainment!"
Posted by: Gary Himes | September 6, 2016 10:20 PM
I can't find a reference, but I have read that Len Kaminski's idea for the War of the Seven Spheres to be a hoax. The more I think about it, the more I think that the "War" was good for an impetus, but then it just makes Strange look bad.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | September 6, 2016 10:44 PM
One other weird thing- what happened to Sara Wolfe? She was around during Infinity War but she's vanished with this storyline.
Posted by: Michael | September 6, 2016 11:26 PM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|