Characters Appearing: Dr. Strange, Kyllian, Urthona, Wong
Doctor Strange #57-59
Issue(s): Doctor Strange #57,Doctor Strange #58, Doctor Strange #59
After Dr. Strange attempts to potty train Killian...
...Strange is called to a university where a professor friend of his has lined up a number of artifacts found by his students that he wants Strange to authenticate. Most are benign (and one is just a tourist trap keychain) but one concerns Strange. However, Strange is hit with a mystical wave indicating a more pressing problem.
The disturbance is thanks to a battle happening on Urthona's home planet. Two mystical beings, Para-Shamutra and Jarakk are fighting there, being on opposite sides of the Wars of the Seven Spheres. Urthona has allied himself with Para-Shamutra, which might seem a little counter-intuitive since Jarakk is on the side of the Trinity of Ashes, who are the "bad guys" in the war. But i suppose Urthona uses the same sort of spells as Doctor Strange, so he might be more inclined to side with the Vishanti and other mystical entities that we know about. In any event, Urthona's motives are self-interested. The battle is wreaking havoc on his planet, but this is all part of a scheme by Urthona to reclaim his throne.
Urthona works with Jarakk to defeat Para-Shamutra (turning him into crystal), and as a reward he gets Para-Shamutra's weapon.
Strange leaves for Urthona's planet, leaving Killian with strict instructions to not mess with the device they got from the university. Strange confronts Urthona...
...and uses the Eye of Agamotto to reveal to his people that Urthona made a deal with Jarakk even though it meant a battle that would wipe out much of his planet's population. As they fight, Strange is as surprised as i initially was to learn that Urthona is fighting against the Trinity.
Strange is at a disadvantage since he's been stripped of much of his powers for not participating in the War. He tries to compensate by attacking physically, but he's fighting against a totally ripped chitinous Cthulhu-man, so that doesn't exactly work.
However, he also uses his Cloak of Levitation.
And while they were grappling, Dr. Strange stole the "Spell of Ultimate Entrapment" from Urthona's mind.
Saying that Urthona has "great power but... no responsibility", Strange banishes Urthona to a far removed realm. Urthona's people are only too happy to help at this point, and they give him Para-Shamutra's device, which he uses to restore the entity.
Strange convinces Para-Shamutra that the cosmic wave that alerted him to all of this is a signal that the Wars of the Seven Spheres must remain in "balance" or else the universe will be destroyed.
So that's it for the Urthona portion. It's really short. A one issue fight after the set-up in the previous issue. I should say that one issue plus set-up might not have felt so short in, say, the 80s, but thanks to 90s level splash pages and decompression, it's a quick read. A single issue in an earlier era could have had various arcs to it, like Strange running around the planet dealing with minions or hooking up with rebels, but at this point it's just a big fight right from the start.
I do actually like that Strange got involved because of the unbalancing of the Wars as opposed to Urthona initiating some traditional scheme against him. It's cool to see Urthona just kind of doing his own thing at first. But the fight feels way too short (or, at least, too monotonous) and ends too definitively. Urthona is a character that most people probably don't know about, but he was a pretty big deal and delivered to Strange what was arguably his biggest defeat (sending him down the very dark Black Magic path). Urthona should really have become a repeat villain for Strange, at least on the Baron Mordo level. He's got a cool design and is at the right power level. This, however, is his final appearance.
Meanwhile, Kyllian messes around with the artifact that he wasn't supposed to touch, and it teleports him to a primordial world.
He drives off a gorilla...
...and then is met by woman named Iskelior.
The ape's name is Moku, and he's Iskelior's ally/pet. Iskelior turns out to also be from Earth. She was sent to this world by her father, a Greek wizard, centuries ago, to protect her from his enemies.
Iskelior starts asking Kyllian about his tattoos, and things get a little racy when she starts touching them, but the mood is interrupted when the touching somehow triggers very vivid memories from Kyllian's childhood.
Dr. Strange follows Kyllian (using the connection between Kyllian and his staff, which was left behind), but he's already talking about how he's been neglecting Lilith and her demons. Kyllian is in the process of asking Iskelior to start up the touching again, but they're interrupted by Strange's arrival. Strange reveals a mausoleum proving that Iskelior has summoned men to her little world previously and they're now all dead. But Iskelior is centuries old, and she says that the men all lived out their natural lives with her by choice.
And Kyllian also says he wants to stay. Strange tells him to "keep out of this", causing Kyllian to explode with the rage he's been bottling up about Strange's treatment of him. So they fight.
They start to reconcile but are interrupted by a breakdown of the dimensional barriers thanks to the Lilin.
So he's forced to leave Kyllian in Iskelior's dimension so he can help repair the barrier while Strange works on the other side.
Strange doesn't have time to think about bringing Kyllian back because he says that he needs to gather every resource to fight Lilith's invasion.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The end of this sets up for the Siege of Darkness crossover. Next issue is part 7 (!) of that crossover.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Urthona looks like the Man-Thing learned to speak and wear clothes.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 17, 2017 4:23 PM
Iskelior's dimension doesn't look so bad but when Kyllian returns as Wildpride, he acts like Strange abandoned him to some terrible fate.
Posted by: Michael | February 17, 2017 8:14 PM
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