Doctor Strange #175-178
Issue(s): Doctor Strange #175, Doctor Strange #176, Doctor Strange #177, Doctor Strange #178
Dr. Strange and Clea are out for a nice walk, with Clea still adjusting herself to our world.
Clea tries to fly but Dr. Strange won't let her. What a great metaphor for their relationship for the next 15 years.
Strange has set Clea up in her own apartment, so after their walk they take a cab to drop her off. Strange is attacked during the cab ride, but he fights it off on the astral plane.
He still thinks it's ok to leave Clea in her apartment though, without even telling her that they were attacked.
Then one of the Sons disguises himself as Wong and lures Clea out (Strange had apparently been been wiping the memories of everyone who saw Clea, but he neglected the cab driver). Strange has a sense of foreboding and returns to her apartment, but it's too late. He does manage to get into a fight with some of the Sons. Individually, the Sons aren't as powerful as Strange is, but their wands allow them to wield the power of the entire cult at once. So the fight is a difficult one and they are able to escape.
Despite the, um, Satan-ish name, Dr. Strange says that Satannish is above good and evil, but that doesn't meant that evil men can't invoke him, and he doesn't mind taking their souls.
Satannish looks almost Dormammuish (you won't believe me, but i really am trying to keep the -ish jokes to a minimum).
Eventually, Dr. Strange does track down the cult, and he's no weak girl like Clea.
However, the leader of the Sons, named Asmodeus, traps Dr. Strange and Clea in another dimension and takes the form of Stephen Strange. He heads to Earth and heads to the Ancient One, who has the Book of the Vishanti. When fighting Kaluu back in Strange Tales #147-150, a big deal was made of the fact that the spells in the book could not be used to cause harm, but that doesn't seem to be the case any more. The Ancient One realizes that something is wrong but doesn't act. He's almost in a Watcher-like 'sworn not to interfere' mode.
Because Asmodeus has taken Strange's form, Dr. Strange creates a new form for himself.
This is really just an excuse to give Dr. Strange a new costume in order to draw in more super-hero fans. There had been debates in the lettercols about whether Strange should fight super-villains or continue to "have Dr. Strange entering a foreign dimension and battling its lord", as one writer complained. The Sons of Satannish plot is offered a compromise - it's an Earth-based but mystical threat - and the costume is clearly also a way to make Strange more of a super-hero even if he continues to fight magical opponents.
Strange returns to Earth to battle Asmodeus - without Clea, who has been de-powered (which is very disappointing; adding a mystical character to the cast and immediately removing her powers seems pointless) - and defeats him, revealing that Asmodeus is in fact Strange's medical colleague Dr. Charles Benton, who has been contacting him repeatedly, purportedly to get him to come back to the medical profession. Strange was not in time to stop Benton from finishing his spell, however, which releases the Asgardian demon/giants Ymir and Surtur.
After taking a long lunch with the Ancient One, Strange decides he needs help so he seeks out poor Victoria Bentley again. She's throwing a costume party and the Black Knight is there, in costume.
Strange characteristically freezes all the other guests in the room so he can talk to those two, and then heads off with the Black Knight. The goal of the quest is to find another one of the Sons of Satannish to see if they can reverse Asmodeus's spell (Asmodeus is one of the Sons). The Sons have been bannished (sorry) by Satannish himself to the dimension of Tiboro. Strange and the Black Knight manage to defeat Tiboro and rescue the Sons.
The Black Knight's sword is key to defeating Tiboro. This is the first time we've seen Dane's mystic blade since he got it in Marvel Super Heroes #17. He says he actually doesn't know much about it.
Colan's storytelling style has always been nontraditional, but his page layouts seem to be be getting more creative. I like the effect, but please excuse my screenshots; there's less of an obvious sense of "panels" than there used to be (excepting the full page splash panels, of course).
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Leads directly into Avengers #61. This arc has been pushed up a bit to mesh with Avengers timeline.
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: N/A
Inbound References (1): show
Ancient One, Aragorn, Asmodeus (Sons of Satannish), Black Knight (Dane Whitman), Clea, Dr. Strange, Marduk, Satannish, Surtur, Tiboro, Victoria Bentley, Wong, Ymir
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