Doctor Strange #32
Issue(s): Doctor Strange #32
Afraid it was unavoidable, Mark, but not because of DOC's creative team. Chris Marrinan was hard at work penciling the Silver Dagger issue, which was to be in DOC #31 -- when suddently the publication schedule of INFINITY GAUNTLET was knocked back a few weeks. Since the Dagger story had to come out between Infinity Gauntlet #2-3, Roy & Dann, along with guest artist Tony DeZuniga, hurriedly did a new plot for #31, featuring the SIlver Surfer. Thus, since the scene between Doc and Clear had already been penciled in the latter story, readers had to wait an extra month to see it. At least all things come to him who waits.
This story starts with Dr. Strange feeling distracted because of the situation with Clea. The Silver Surfer and Adam Warlock are bizarrely trying to get Strange to guess the magnitude of the earthquake caused by Thanos' shockwave, but Strange can only think of his recent fight with Clea.
At the moment, Strange is wondering if Clea was among those that were disappeared by Thanos.
Meanwhile, Roy and Dann Thomas start up a nice little antagonistic friendship between Pip and Rintrah.
They come across the Silver Dagger, who is ranting to a crowd like an apocalyptic prophet in the aftermath of the destruction caused by Thanos. Silver Dagger is blaming it all on Dr. Strange.
Silver Dagger recognizes Rintrah despite Rintrah's disguise spell. So Rintrah and Pip wind up fighting Silver Dagger. Silver Dagger has a new eye.
Dr. Strange shows up, and identifies Silver Dagger's new eye as the Eye of Agamotto. Or rather, it's the amulet that Strange used before it was replaced in Strange Tales #127.
It may be a question of semantics, but i never thought that the first amulet was actually the, or a, Eye of Agamotto. I thought it was just a generic magic amulet. I suppose the real answer is that both amulets can tap into the power of Agamotto.
Anyway, the old amulet seems to equal the new one in power, at least to the point where Strange and Silver Dagger are caught in a stand-off, with each blasting power from their amulets (or eyesocket, in Silver Dagger's case). And then Silver Dagger throws an actual dagger at Strange, and Strange thinks to himself that he can't take away any concentration from the magical battle, so he can't deal with the knife. But then Clea shows up.
And then Agamotto himself shows up, and takes Silver Dagger with him back to his own dimension.
Like, wait! Want to maybe help us out with this Thanos problem before you go?
In the aftermath, Clea and Doctor Strange reconcile.
Clea! No no no no no! This is classic co-dependent behavior! You do not excuse a guy for knocking you out. There will always be some big end of the universe threat for Dr. Strange to deal with. You can't just push this stuff aside. Ugh, you're hopeless.
In the back-up, the Fear Lords reconvene for part two of their meeting. This one starts by introducing the new character, Nox.
And Roy Thomas isn't ashamed to bolster her up with some significant back story. She is the mother of Phobos and Deimos.
And she was secretly behind the origin of Psycho-Man.
And Thog (or at least the major plot he was involved in).
I get the impulse to consolidate everything fear related, but this seems a bit much.
D'Spayre pipes in when Nox mentions Man-Thing, noting that he's faced Man-Thing too. He says that the Man-Thing is not just the guardian of the Nexus of Reality, but also a weapon designed to fight the Fear Lords.
I, uh, don't get that. People who are afraid get burned by the Man-Thing. The Fear Lords make people afraid. You'd think they'd like him. I don't get how he's a threat to them, unless we interpret "those who know fear" more abstractly than we ever have in the past.
Anyway, at this point Nightmare starts trash-talking everyone, calling D'Spayre a shadow of his master, Dweller in Darkness, and then turning his insults on everyone else.
But the Dweller has a plan that he'll talk about next issue.
I continue to like the general idea of the back-up feature. As for the main story, i like the Rintrah/Pip interactions but:
1) I think the Silver Dagger plot shouldn't be happening in the middle of the Infinity Gauntlet story. It's too much of an unrelated side thing. The intervention of the extremely powerful Agamotto just raises the question of why he wouldn't help with the real threat that is menacing the universe.
2) The Silver Dagger plot is pretty lame in its own right. The idea that Dr. Strange has Silver Dagger's eye is a fun/weird thing full of potential, and the question of that original amulet (and cloak) is also something worth exploring. But literally nothing happens with those elements here. There's a quick power struggle and then Agamotto shows up and whisks Silver Dagger away. The whole story is clearly just meant to provide a random threat for Clea to show up and help with.
3) I loathe the resolution to the Clea situation. Dr. Strange's decision to put Clea to sleep was inexplicable. It's in the spirit of the worst of the Silver Age nerve pinches that heroes give to their girlfriends to protect their secret identities. There was no reason for Clea to be forced to go to sleep. And Clea's bland forgiveness here makes the whole thing just a random event that happened, instead of something that forces a serious dialogue between Clea and Strange.
All told, this issue feels like the Thomases are just mechanically going through some plot ideas instead of trying to develop a voice for the book. Which is weird, because out of all of the Infinity Gauntlet tie-ins, this one is the least obligatory and the most like a regular issue of the book.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: As noted above, the fight with Clea that we thought we we were seeing the start of at the end of Strange #30 wound up getting delayed until this issue. Since i've had to fit in a number of additional Dr. Strange appearances between issue #30 and #32, i am assuming that more time took place between issues than is implied in this issue and in #31. If they're going to give me that break, i'm going to take it. Regarding any references that seem to indicate a shorter gap, we can either ignore them as temporal references or assume that Clea had been fighting on and off for a while until this issue. As also noted in the quote at the top of the entry, this issue was intended to take place between Infinity Gauntlet #2-3.
Crossover: Infinity Gauntlet
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showAdam Warlock, Agamotto, Clea, D'Spayre, Dr. Doom, Dr. Strange, Dweller In Darkness, Fear Eater, Lurking Unknown, Nightmare, Nox, Pip the Troll, Rintrah, Silver Dagger, Silver Surfer, Soul Gem
I think the idea is that if the Man-Thing burns to death someone who's afraid, then the Fear Lords aren't being empowered by that person's fear anymore. So that weakens them.
Posted by: Thanos6 | October 9, 2015 5:31 PM
The Silver Dagger - a guy with David Crosby's 'stache and hair, an eyepatch and a belly shirt.
When they were handing out looks to MU villains, he must have been in the can.
Posted by: Bob | October 9, 2015 7:55 PM
I agree that making Nox the hidden benefactor of the Psycho-Man is unnecessary, but it's simple enough to hand-wave it away by saying that she's padding her resume in an attempt to impress the other Fear Lords.
Posted by: Ben Herman | November 26, 2017 7:52 PM
Comments are now closed.
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