Doctor Strange #74
Issue(s): Doctor Strange #74
Dr. Strange is still in the Dark Dimension with Clea. She invites him to remain there with her, but he says he's dedicated to Earth. There also seems to be the beginnings of a thing going on with Clea and her advisor Rahl.
Clea's parents Umar and Orini are eternally banished.
Then the Beyonder peeks in...
...and Strange heads back to Earth to find Wong and Sarah disturbed to report that the Beyonder had invaded Strange's house, cracked open the Orb of Agamotto, and then left in a distraught state.
There's an interesting little nugget in here that i was hoping would have bigger implications. When Wong tells the story of how the Beyonder used the Orb of Agamotto, it ends with the Beyonder running away sobbing, "Not human! Not human!". Pretty much the whole flaw of Secret Wars II, or if you're feeling charitable, the key to the story of the Beyonder's, is that he's a vast cosmic entity that's the equivalent to our entire multi-verse, and yet he's trying to emulate human beings. Which is like me pretending to be a dust mote and wondering why i can't be content just laying curled up under the sofa. So when the Orb presented the Beyonder with that fact, i was hoping it would be an eventual turning point. I guess ultimately it will be.
Strange seeks out the Beyonder and finds him at a bar. It's worth noting that the bartender in this issue is just discovering that the Beyonder has super-powers, which implies a different bartender than the one in Thing #30, which sets my mind at ease.
The Beyonder is very glad to see Dr. Strange, for he is seeking enlightenment. And that's when we get into the retelling of Strange's origin. Strange has the Beyonder walk the path that he took that led from a successful arrogant surgeon to the master of the mystic arts.
The issue doesn't end with the Beyonder fully enlightened. In fact, he finds the lesson, that sacrifice for others leads to contentment, unsatisfying, but he promises that he will try to internalize the teaching.
At one point it's said that Strange could have taken advantage of the Beyonder's confused and drunken state and trapped him in a pocket dimension forever. Strange chooses to not take that path. I'm not so sure it would have worked in the long run anyway.
Mark Badger angular abstract style is well suited for the mystical elements of this book, and i think Gillis does a decent job handling the Strange/Beyonder interactions.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place during Secret Wars II #4. See that issue's Considerations section for more. Doctor Strange returns from the Dark Dimension this issue.
Crossover: Secret Wars II
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Something you don't mention but which I enjoyed about this issue is the brief scene with the barber and his apprentice, who think Clea is going to put them to death until she assures them they are now "free men" and then goes on to discuss with Stephen how difficult it will be bringing independence to people who have been so terribly oppressed. It's a sobering moment, showing just how terrible life in the Dark Dimension was for the average citizen.
Posted by: Gary Himes | April 27, 2017 10:00 PM
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