Strange Tales #16-19
Issue(s): Strange Tales #16, Strange Tales #17, Strange Tales #18, Strange Tales #19
Cloak & Dagger
Title: "Bitter obligations like an unmade bed" / "Desperate straits" / "Descent into darkness" / "Volatile combinations!"
Title: "Go ask Alice...!" / "This old man came rolling home!" / "A touch of your hand" / "Servants of the secret fire!"
Marc McLaurin - Assistant Editor
The Doctor Strange halves of these issues aren't a continued story, but they are thematically related. This is Doctor Strange in the aftermath of the ordeal of using black magic and giving up his ego to defeat Shuma-Gorath, and it shows him recovering, doing a little clean-up, and making amends. Now, unlike, say, Michael, i've been holding off on condemning the way Strange's post-black magic phase (which, mind you, includes exploding a child) is handled because the story wasn't over yet. But as we'll see, the "making amends" portion of these issues is pretty minimal, and that's unfortunate not only because it leaves Strange with an unresolved blotch on his record but also because Peter Gillis misses an opportunity to tie things back to an important comment that was made when we started.
Issue #16 resolves the problem of Dr. Strange having killed off his ego to prevent him from becoming (more) corrupted from his fight with Shuma-Gorath. Last issue saw Strange's black magic mentor, Kaluu locate Strange, help discharge the energy Strange absorbed fighting Shuma-Gorath, and, with help from the magical dinosaur weaver Enitharmon, start to get through to Strange and restore his ego. But that hasn't been completed, and now that the three have teleported back to Earth we find that something is holding Strange back from completing the restoration of his identity.
But it's not anything to do with the atrocities he committed while he was embracing black magic. Back in Doctor Strange #80, when Strange was having a near-death experience, he called out the name "Alice", and in this issue we find out that Alice was a girl that he was attracted to while he was in med school.
Kaluu and company arrange things so that Stephen can relive that memory and this time around go up and talk to the girl.
Pretty banal, and obviously not intended to be redemptive in any way.
Issue #17 is where Dr. Strange parts ways with Kaluu and Enitharmon and Rintrah. They are in Kaluu's luxurious suites in New York. Strange says that he doesn't approve of Kaluu's wealth, which Kaluu amassed through "just a slight manipulation of the Dow. If I'm to be vilified for that, then Ivan Boesky must surely burn for eternity.".
Strange quickly backs off, and says that Kaluu is a "valiant sorcerer and a good man".
To be fair, we've seen Dr. Strange conjure gold in the past to handle his own monetary needs, which i suppose has some (small) effect on the overall value of gold, and it's not like Strange lives in a cave like his mentor the Ancient One did. But man, i'd be pretty upset if i was about to retire when Kaluu decided to mess with the stock market and the value of my 401(k).
Enitharmon then decides to go back to his home dimension, and Rintrah goes with him. Rintrah returns the Eye of Agamotto, which previously Strange had to give to him since his black magic path prevented him from using it. But now Kaluu tells Strange that he is "back on the path of light again", and the amulet glows in response to Strange's touch. It was at this point that i gave up any hope that Strange would have to go through any sort of contrition for his black magic ways.
With this in mind, as we turn the page, Dr. Strange's thoughts turn to the Ancient One. In the comic, Strange thinks to himself that even the Ancient One would ultimately have expected Strange to act this way (and, implicitly, approve).
But to me this brings back the criticism that Kaluu had for the Ancient One back in Strange Tales #8, asking why he never stopped atrocities like the Holocaust during his time as Sorcerer Supreme. And that could have been the out here, with Strange's being racked with guilt over his murder of that African boy "for the greater good" and realizing that the reason the Ancient One never tried to change the course of history is because the price is too high. Instead, Dr. Strange self-servingly assures himself that the Ancient One would have understood his actions, but that also seems to imply that Kaluu was right and the Ancient One should have stopped the Holocaust. And in real life, maybe i'd say that he should have, but it puts us in an awkward position in terms of the Marvel narrative.
Dr. Strange next returns to his Greenwich Village home, which he had converted by magic into The Stephen Strange Memorial Metaphysical Institute while wiping the memories of his assistants Wong and Sara Wolfe. We find that Wong's pre-arranged betrothed, Imei Chang, has joined them.
Strange goes up to his room, declares himself "returned to the light"...
...and after a little debate, decides to revoke the spell and return the proper memories to his assistants.
Look guys, it's not like i'm some puritanical avenger that's demanding penance from Dr. Strange. I'm completely willing to accept a Dr. Strange that is morally ambiguous and willing to hurt and kill individuals for a greater good. But if that's the case, he can't simply be treated as a generic hero any more. Marvel's other super-heroes should start to consider him a potential threat (kind of like the Punisher). That could actually be interesting and i'd be willing to embrace it if the writers are. But that's not what happens, and even just in the context of this story, Gillis is writing Strange as if he's been redeemed (e.g. the Eye of Agamotto being returned) and that simply wasn't developed at all. I'd blame it on the split-book format, with Gillis having limited space to cover all the angles while wrapping up this story before the series' end, but we actually see similar things happening with Iron Man after Armor Wars and (albeit with a less intentional going-in point) the whole Cyclops/Madelyne mess. We flirt with deconstructionist realism and flawed characters, but in the end the books have to revert to their regular status quo, if only by willful disregard. People write in saying that Strange should have to pay a "cosmic penalty" for his actions in this series, but the response is that losing his eye and his ego (temporarily) is enough.
A repeated idea is that Strange has acted the way he has because, unlike the Ancient One, he "cares too much" and "because I love - and denied by love". And in issue #18 he tries to contact Clea but is prevented by his own magic. Doctor Strange decides it's because it's still too soon to be thinking of himself, and so he begins the process of making amends. Specifically that means going to Victoria Bentley, since one of the (minor, by comparison) atrocities he committed during his black magic period was steal her magical powers. Stephen did essentially "violate" Victoria (her words)...
...but the conversation quickly turns to a more general complaint that she loved him and he didn't love her back.
And if that's the conversation we're having, it's hardly something we can call Dr. Strange evil for. So he apologizes and is invited to stay for dinner anyway.
The final issue has Dr. Strange doing some final mop-up of the Elder Gods threat. A dabbler in magic had been trapped in a cabin with his two grandkids, fighting off an Unknowable Horror (the pits of R'Lyeh being specifically mentioned), and Strange shows up.
But instead of lending his magic to grandpa's, he tells the guy not to fight back.
And it turns out that the Horror was actually a product of his own spells, with the real threat having been banished some time ago when Strange defeated Shuma-Gorath. Strange talks about the paths of light and darkness, and the lesson here is to trust in the light of truth.
It's a message that would have had more resonance if Strange himself hadn't chosen the dark path and used it to successfully save the world from demons with no repercussions.
Ok, back to the top for the Cloak and Dagger side of things. I should mention that Assistant Editor Marc McLaurin is given a "thanks" for "story input". I assume Editors and Assistant Editors normally have some degree of input on the story, so the fact that it is called out here must mean more than usual.
At the end of issue #15, Cloak got a note from Yipyap telling Cloak that it was time to repay Mr. Jip for restoring his powers. This issue begins with Cloak confronting Mr. Jip.
Jip tells Cloak that he wants Dagger. Cloak debates what to do, and ultimately decides to teleport Dagger to what he thinks is a safe place. But it turns out that Mr. Jip knew that Cloak would try to trick him, and so the "safe place" that Cloak dumps Dagger in is literally a garbage dump, occupied by shades controlled by Night.
Throughout the issue #16, we see Night collecting the evil souls from various people living lives of crime, and who repent once the darkness is removed.
While she flees the shades, Dagger thinks about the fact that Cloak told her that he loved her as he was depositing her here.
Art is kind of wonky.
Dagger eventually stops running and starts fighting back against the shadows, and encounters Night, who opens with a hearty, "Welcome enemy!".
Night is working alone because her partner Day was badly injured during their last encounter with Cloak & Dagger (in fact, we'll never see him again). Night attacks Dagger by pulling her own bit of darkness out of her...
...but that seems to have the opposite of the intended effect.
However, killing the big dragon shadow just splits it into smaller ones, and eventually Dagger is overwhelmed. Night then calls X-Factor claiming that there's an evil mutant on the loose.
They show up to find Dark Dazzler on a rampage.
Meanwhile, Cloak is a chained prisoner of Mr. Jip.
He struggles to teleport away, and eventually thinks that he's succeeding, but instead he finds that he's been trapped by a kid that cast a demon summoning spell out of his AD&D Player's Handbook.
I'm sure no one meant any harm by it, but it's a little weird to see a black character first chained up and then repeatedly referred to as a slave.
I like to point out Goo-Gam appearances, so here's one. And that "Newsweak" magazine says "The GOP picks another winner for 1988".
For both Cloak and Dagger, we will have to wait until the first issue of their new series for the conclusions of these plots. The final issue of this series does not feature Cloak or Dagger, and regular penciler Dan Lawlis is replaced by Erik Larsen, while Terry Austin inks as well as writes. It's a Mayhem story, and it teams her up with the Thing.
We've been seeing Brigid O'Reilly's police detective friend Rebecca "Rusty" Nales investigating Brigid's death in past issues. And of course, O'Reilly didn't really die, or she did and then got turned into Mayhem, but she's still around. So this story starts with Mayhem getting advice from her former police chief about whether or not to show herself to Nales.
Their conversation is interrupted by a bomb threat from a scientist that had worked for Reed Richards, a Mr. Strunk. He's upset that Richards and company got all the fame and he lost his reputation because the rocket that he helped build wasn't shielded for cosmic rays - and he even claims that he warned Reed about the rays. When the "Reed Richards Company" was sold to "Dynacom", he got laid off.
Reed Richards is too far away to respond quickly, since he's no longer a member of the Fantastic Four, so the Thing shows up at least as a delaying tactic. Mayhem annoyingly, weirdly, irresponsibly insists on tagging along too.
It does sound like this scientist has a legitimate grievance, if he's to be believed. It also seems to confirm the "fake" information from Fantastic Four vs. X-Men, at least to the point where Reed should have known about the cosmic rays.
Which isn't to say that this scientist isn't a nut.
I've said before that the best way to put the Thing's current "pineapple" form to the test is to see him drawn by guest artists, and i'd say that test fails pretty horribly under Erik Larsen.
Mayhem uses her poison ability as a "truth serum" to force Mr. Strunk to tell them how to disable the bomb.
But that turns out to not be possible, so the Thing and Mayhem are forced to put themselves at risk to absorb the bomb's impact.
They do survive, but they use the opportunity to spread word that Mayhem died. The Thing then tells Mayhem that she's a hero, and she starts making contact with her former life again, starting by reaching out to the other cops that died when she was poisoned and became Mayhem.
The only time i found Mayhem compelling was when she was used as a force of irrational vengeance to contrast with Cloak and Dagger at a time when they were moderating their vigilante ways after their encounter with the Beyonder. Now that Mayhem has become more moderate too, i don't see the point of her. She nonetheless will remain a member of the Cloak and Dagger cast.
Generally speaking, despite the morality issues, i'd much rather read Peter Gillis' Dr. Strange than Cloak and Dagger. Gillis had to cheat in a number of ways to get us there and back, but putting Dr. Strange down the black magic path for a while at least made for some compelling stories and a new scenario. Cloak and Dagger, by contrast, have strayed so far from the "teen vigilante" concept that made them interesting under both Mantlo and Austin, and the things that have replaced that theme have been underwhelming, be it due to the lack of space in the split-book format or just the fact that their other adventures haven't been very interesting.
But despite what i may think of them, both Cloak & Dagger and Dr. Strange survived through this split book period to go back to solo books. For Cloak & Dagger, that does mean being recast as mutants, with a "Mutant Misadventures of" being tacked onto their series' title. So X-Factor's appearance here and in their first two issues isn't an accident. The lettercol in issue #18 repeats the claim that Cloak and Dagger are "latent mutants" (perhaps deliberately using the same term from Uncanny X-Men #49), although it also says that they are probably not going to be affected by the Mutant Registration Act. Which makes you wonder what the point is. As far as i understand it, Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, and any other super-character bitten by a radioactive something-or-other are also "latent mutants" and the phrase is pretty much meaningless. But i'll admit my understanding is potentially warped by an explanation i may have just made up that says that these super-heroes had a special "X-Factor" that makes it so that when they were exposed to radiation they got super-powers instead of dying. I suppose my theory is contradicted by the fact that in many cases others have been able to repeat these heroes' origins (e.g., the Red Ghost and his Super-Apes, the UFOs, all the Gamma villains and heroes), so maybe Cloak and Dagger (who we know were the only survivors of the synthetic drugs they were exposed to) really are "latent mutants" in a way that the others aren't. But then there's Mayhem (whose origin is the same drugs), and you can also get into the mystical explanations we've also gotten for Cloak and Dagger in this Strange Tales book, and it all gets muddled.
By the way, i've figured out why the New Universe books never sold. Someone writes in to issue #18 and (among other questions) asks how they can get a subscription to Psi-Force. They are directed to the subscription ad in the back of the book, but that ad does not include any New Universe titles.
So the kid ordered a subscription to X-Men instead, and the rest is history.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP place the Thing's appearance here during Fantastic Four annual #21, and X-Factor's appearance between X-Factor #19 and X-Factor annual #3. The Cloak & Dagger story, including X-Factor's appearance, continues directly into Cloak and Dagger #1-2.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (9): show
There's one more thing about Strange's series that doesn't make sense. The reason that Strange lost his powers at the start of this arc was because of the destruction of the talismans, right? But in between Strange returning Victoria her powers and Strange getting the talismans back in Roy Thomas's run, Strange is a little less powerful than he used to be but still able to defeat most foes by being creative. So how did Strange get most of his powers back?
Posted by: Michael | July 2, 2014 8:13 PM
Hey, Cloak fights Jack B. Quick in a comic book inked by Kevin Nowlan! :D
Posted by: ChrisW | July 2, 2014 8:57 PM
I agree with you, Fnord. Peter Gillis did make some compelling stories with fresh premises, but a lot of the context does not really make moral sense.
I wonder if it was even supposed to. I hope it wasn't.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | July 3, 2014 1:15 AM
The first Dr. Strange title is a Jefferson Airplane reference(and possibly for the infamous early 1970s juvenile drug abuse book as well).
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 5, 2014 5:27 PM
Wow, did my taste save a crapload of money. Looking at that ad, I was buying something like 10 different titles regularly around this time and only one of them (Excalibur) was in that bottom, more expensive part.
Posted by: Erik Beck | August 4, 2015 10:24 PM
The Holy Ghost Church is almost certainly taken from the Holy Cross Church on 42nd Street (as Spidey says in MTU Annual #6) right next to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. It was only a mile and a half away from Marvel’s offices at the time, and in pre-Giuliani days, the area was popular for all sorts of sex, drugs, grindhouse movies, bookstores. You know, the sort of things that would have attracted Marvel writers.
It’s an odd name for a church, given that “Holy Spirit” is far more common, directly named as part of the Christian Trinity in the Book of Matthew. “Holy Spirit” is even used in the other Abrahamic religions; in Judaism as the spirit of YHWH, and in Islam as the angel Gabriel. “Ghost” is from an Old English term, while “Spirit” comes from Latin, although the terms themselves are basically synonymous. But not too many Catholic organizations use “Holy Ghost.” The real church conducts services in English and Spanish, so one can understand why Father Bowen might be replacing Father Delgado.
The surname “Bowen” derives from the Welsh “ab Owain” meaning “son of Owen” and the Irish “O Buadhachain” (“descendant of Bohan.”) “Owain” is Welsh, corresponding to the Irish “Eoghan,” both meaning “born of the yew,” as in Yew Trees, long-lived cone-bearing trees native to most of England and the coast of Ireland, as well as Central Europe, Italy and the Balkans and southern Scandinavia. So Tandy’s uncle’s name, Father Bowen [!] literally means ‘grandson of the yew tree.’
Interestingly, Tandy’s boyfriend’s name, Tyrone, is also derived from Northern Ireland, specifically meaning “land of Eoghan.” Their names indicate that both Cloak and Uncle Mike are a step above Tandy on the generational ladder. “Tyrone” has also been traced to the Greek “tyron” meaning “sovereign, lord” as well as the Latin, “tiro” for “a young soldier.” This might be a bit contradictory, as young soldiers rarely have much rank, authority, experience, history, etc. to qualify as sovereigns, but the Scandinavian version of “Tyrone” identifies the word with Thor, whom you might have heard of. Young, a soldier, and a sovereign, the son of Asgard’s ruler, whom I’ll get back to in a moment.
Tandy’s name is strange. The internet is giving multiple origins for her first name, from Native American for “flower” to Greek for “immortality.” “Tandy” is a more common last name, again back to an English/Irish derivation from the name “Andrew.” St. Andrew was Jesus’ first disciple, the canonical founder of the Eastern Church, and his cross still flies on the flag of Scotland and, consequently, on the British flag.] This makes a little more sense, at least thematically.
Speaking of the Eastern Church, Father Bowen divides his time between the Holy Ghost and St. Anne’s Parrish. St. Anne is remembered as the mother of Mary, who was the mother of Jesus, and became revered much earlier in Greece and the Orthodox Church than in the Catholic nations. The Koran also has reverence for Anne, which is interesting considering Islam was just getting started at the same time Anne became celebrated in the Greek Churches.
Anne herself is the patron saint of unmarried women, housewives, women in labor, grandmothers, as well as horseback riders, cabinet-makers, miners, sailors and a protector from storms. So it’s interesting that Father Bowen is named for the son of a son of a tree and spends part of his time serving the mother of the mother of the guy who got nailed to a tree.
Treading as lightly as I can on anybody’s religious toes, Christ’s crucifixion has long been noted to have thematic parallels in other religions, such as Odin hanging himself at the World Tree Yggdrasill for nine days without food and water, returning with spiritual knowledge for runes, used for language, writing and divination. The comics writers would have known about this as well.
[Yggdrasill is repeatedly referred to as an ash tree. However, this may be a mistranslation as ash trees lose their leaves in the winter. Yew trees do not, and Yggdrasill is ever-green. Also, according to “Journey Into Mystery” #103, a branch of Yggdrasill was dipped into Mimir’s well and the water spilled onto trees, creating human life, in a way reminiscent of the Book of Genesis as well as Noah repopulating the Earth after the flood.]
So what does this all have to do with Dr. Strange, you may be asking? Good question. Keep in mind that, while sharing the book with Cloak and Dagger, Doc had destroyed almost all of his magical objects, and before that his Cloak of Levitation had been ruined by Khat. Before that, Doc had been spending an issue or so moping about his emotional problems, a point highlighted by the appearance of Topaz, an empath who has had half of her soul stolen.
[And I literally didn’t know until I got to the previous paragraph that Topaz had ever appeared before, much less was such a mainstay of “Werewolf By Night.” Let’s see how the continuity works, shall we?]
Topaz [a colorless crystal tinted by impurities] is working for a magician named Taboo [“prohibited, forbidden”] who wants Jack Russell to get the Darkhold for him. The Darkhold was written by Chthon, and was crucial in creating vampires and werewolves, as well as being part of the history of Atlantis, Conan and Red Sonja and Merlin, before winding up in the hands of Jessica Drew’s father at the base of Mount Wundagore, most prominently on the night Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch were born.
The Darkhold would eventually end up with Doctor Strange after all the vampires had been destroyed. Topaz reappeared shortly afterwards, having been trapped in Hell since her last appearance where she was fated to destroy Satan himself on her 21st birthday. Interestingly, Dracula turned human himself just after Topaz was consigned to Hell, although I gather this didn’t last.
Topaz’ escape from Hell (now ruled by Mephisto) came just as an unofficial crossover occurred between “Dr. Strange” and “Fantastic Four,” where Doc rescues Reed and Sue from the demon, with the help of an unleashed Franklin Richards, and at the same time that all the Dire Wraiths are being wiped out in “Rom” by none other than Bill Mantlo and Steve Ditko. In the fight with the Dire Wraiths, the US government would turn to Forge to build a neutralizer [resulting in Storm losing her powers for almost fifty issues] and Naze would turn to the Adversary [resulting in the X-Men dying in “Fall of the Mutants,” a scheme of Roma’s and by extension Merlin’s, an adversary of the Darkhold from way back when.] I don’t even get why Mephisto was involved.
But he was. This happened just as the Thing returned from Battleworld to find his best friend Johnny was engaging in, shall we say, ‘interspecies activities’ with Ben’s ex-girlfriend. Kulan Gath would soon reappear, requiring Dr. Strange’s help to fight. And as noted, Doc would be going through his own problems. [I’m sure the continuity and chronology are getting a bit messed up, but this is a lot of comics to go through, many I haven’t actually read myself.]
So now Doc’s cloak has been destroyed by a henchman from another galaxy’s sorcerer supreme. And in the process of defeating that sorcerer supreme, he has to destroy his own magical objects, except for the Darkhold which Urthona escapes with. And Doc himself is in the process of turning to black magic, with the help of a sorcerer named Kaluu, whose only other appearance was in the first post-Steve Ditko “Dr. Strange” storyline.
After Doc’s ‘turn to the dark side’ storyline, he would get his magical items back, while Cloak and Dagger [remember Cloak and Dagger? This is an essay about Cloak and Dagger] had turned to the dark side. Dagger, literally, while Cloak was trapped on a pool table thanks to a spell cast by a little boy, the son of Mister Rasputin, a sorcerer whose only other appearance was the final Steve Ditko “Dr. Strange” storyline.
See how neatly the bookends work? This is why Dr. Strange, Cloak and Dagger had to share a book, merging their series before breaking apart again. It’s almost like a common thread was weaved through the universe.
To repair the Cloak of Levitation, Doc turned to a weaver named Enitharmon, who tasted his ‘life-thread’ to ensure that Doc was worth dealing with. Enitharmon also gave Doc his servant Rintrah, who will never replace Clea as Doc’s best-loved assistant, but did his best, even recruiting Topaz to help in the Mephisto vs. Satannish fight where Doc got his magical stuff back.
It gets even better, just before Topaz escaped from Hell, Doc had helped Clea overthrow her mother Umar and start ruling the Dark Dimension. In the fight where Doc beat Urthona, the bad guy had been promising that he himself would become a new Dormammu, and this universe would be his “Dark Dimension.” And soon after Doc gets his talismans back, Clea is overthrown and again trapped on Earth, while Umar resumes her role.
So how does this tie back into the Holy Ghost Church and Father Bowen? Literally. The Holy Ghost Church was where Karma first appeared, with her siblings Leong and Nga. We know Karma was taken over by Ahmahl Farouk and turned fat and evil, from which she only redeemed herself after a trip through Asgard, where after her tribulations, she received only a piece of thread, a reference to the Norns, i.e. the Fates, the ones who weave our life-threads, obviously referred to when Enitharmon made his appearance.
Oh, but I’m not done yet. Just as Dr. Strange set off on this short journey to turn evil and then back again in the pages of “Fantastic Four,” the apex of this journey was another unofficial “Fantastic Four” crossover, this time as Doc battled Shuma-Gorath who has connections with Robert E. Howard and H.P Lovecraft, connections which far precede comic books. Similar to the Darkhold.
Doc had become omnipotent, or at least ego-less, during the battle. But the FF were filled with their own egos, and the book’s own self-awareness, as they went from one continuity-heavy adventure to the next. They no longer had Reed, Sue and Franklin, but they had Steve Englehart, who ensured that Doc’s fight with Shuma-Gorath enabled the FF to defeat Belasco before setting up their trip to meet the Beyonders, who acquired Counter-Earth in defiance of Adam Warlock and the High Evolutionary, and this trip would (try to) resolve the Beyonder we know from “Secret Wars” I and II.
Comics writers up against Lovecraft and Howard, re-writing Lee and Kirby concepts, resolving Jim Shooter’s time as e-i-c. Talk about ego. And this is what Doc is missing?
So Doc kills himself, gets reborn, and Kaluu has to talk him down to basic concepts like walking up to a girl and saying ‘hi.’ Then Enitharmon reappears to demand payment for repairing the Cloak of Levitation [created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko] that Doc be Stephen Strange again. All tied up in a neat little bow. Just before Dormammu returns, just before “Inferno,” just before vampires return.
We had already learned that the Beyonder’s creation was the same as the Molecule Man’s, whose first name is “Owen.” Englehart would go on to attempt a continuation of his Mantis plot, and she was… a woman who married a tree. “Born of the Yew” indeed. Owen and the Beyonder would merge into a Cosmic Cube – what the kids now call a “tesseract” – and even though there’s no literal connection, it feels like Topaz has the missing half of her soul back.
[And, other than being on the opposite side of the Kree-Skrull divide, how is what Mantis did much different from what Johnny Storm did? Marry someone well outside their species! I guess Johnny didn’t know what he was getting into and Mantis did, but still…]
I actually could add more, but it might be reaching a bit. You think?
Posted by: ChrisW | July 17, 2016 7:00 PM
Just from reading the synopses and comments here, I felt the Dr. Strange stories in #1-19 had interesting and compelling themes plus pretty decent delivery, but they would have worked better using some other Dr. Strange-type character, rather than using Dr. Strange himself, because these stories more-or-less obliterate the character as previously modeled, and then pretend as if he can be "brought back to the light" and the old model without repercussions. Others here have already mentioned this mangling of the character.
This Dr. Strange will be looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life, wracked by guilt and hoping that nobody ever finds out about his corruption in this story arc. This isn't the Dr. Strange I thought I knew. Once corrupted so, how can he go back to the state of spiritual enlightenment and illumination he presumably enjoyed previously? He can't. From this point on he's a phoney and a fake.
"It wasn't me," lies Strange, "it must have been the Sorcerer Supreme of 617, or maybe the Mystic Arts Master of 919. Not ME."
Posted by: James Holt | July 20, 2016 12:43 AM
Shadow King did it!
Posted by: AF | July 20, 2016 3:56 AM
Hmmm, we've never seen the Shadow King and Night together, have we? And "Dark Dagger" is open about releasing her "Malice." Maybe it was Mister Sinister?
Let's see, Dagger obviously feels abandoned by Cloak, mirroring Madelyne's abandonment by Scott, who is conspicuously absent when X-Factor shows up here. Night is pulling out all the evil from mens' souls - I loved how Dagger's evil was just a cute li'l kitty - the way the Shadow King does.
I know I'm mixing up the Shadow King and Mister Sinister here, but Night also feels betrayed by her master, Mister Jip, who let her partner Day die even after promising to save him. It's not operating on the same levels as the X-Titles, but many of the same things were going on.
Mister Jip even restored Cloak's powers, leading to a blackout in New York City when Dagger ran away from him. Dazzler tried to help, but failed because she doesn't have the right kind of light for him. So when Jip meets the X-Men, it's because Dazzler has been mind-switched with one of the Serpent Society, who are obviously agents of Set. [The, you know, serpent thing.] And Set is one of the Dark Gods [or whatever they're called] along with Chthon.
I think the Shadow King's reputation is vastly overrated. Clearly this is a fight between Set and Chthon, or Mephisto and Satannish.
Posted by: ChrisW | July 20, 2016 7:38 PM
To be honest, I sense the potential for an Untold Story that not only bridges this series and the next Dr. Strange ongoing, but also wraps up the loose ends/plot points left at the end of this storyline.
Posted by: D09 | July 21, 2016 2:31 AM
Comments are now closed.
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