This is in part a commentary that I held back from my critique of the upcoming "What If? House of M" one-shot which I listed in my last entry (check it just under this post, or if you're surfing around - here). However, it is mostly a reply to a comment that was left on that post (no, not by the spam-bot- thanks for validating my initial hesitancy to allow "anonymous" comments, internet). The comment being discussed is by fantastic blogger, word-smith and thinker extraordinaire: PLOK, of "A Trout in The Milk" blog. His comment here.
In it, he questions WHY, if in the plot in question, because Scarlet Witch utters "No more POWERS" would Doctor Strange be powerless? Surely, EVERYONE by now should know that DOCTOR STRANGE HAS NO POWERS! He has only knowledge. A wisdom of the forces of the universe/ multiverse / omniverse and the nigh-eternal entities that possess such power and energies with which Strange can TAP INTO or ENTREAT.
Much like "the FORCE" from Star Wars (PRIOR to that whole midichlorians bullshit. That was just ass). These energies swirl around us all, and Strange, due to his years of study, has learned how to manipulate and control them. His studies and journeys to other realms and dimensions has also taught him the proper methods and protocols of REQUESTING usage of these energies from the higher powers, if the energies required be such as might exist beyond natural ebb and flow, but instead as personal power of any number of these extra-dimensional entities.
I must state for the record, that I WAS going to toss a heavy coat of lambaste over the writers on that point. Especially, as since they state that the only powers that WILL work in the new "What if?" story would be tech-based (obviously, it's another IRON-MAN heavy vehicle), which are also primarily "knowledge-based".
Plok, I assure you, I was ALL OVER that.
But then, I took a step back and reflected upon something that I have long pondered in my years on this Earth; watching horrific war after war, gun-violence in the streets, children blowing their head's off at gun shows (please, I can't get started on that piece of recent news)...
WHY wouldn't God * just say that the laws of nature that would otherwise make gunpowder combustible... simply WOULD NOT WORK that way? Sure, every other similar law of physics or nature would work just fine, but bullets would NOT work. I'm not smart enough to work out which possible "beneficial" applications of gunpowder would still function, if any, and I'm sure man would invent some work-around to it all... but as "God", I would make sure that THOSE wouldn't work either. Simply put; "No more EXPLODO to kill"! **
IF the very laws of physics and nature COULD be overridden by a "magic word" spoken from an omnipotent personage, then why WOULDN'T the "normal" procedures that would allow for a spoken spell or series of gesticulations (even the peerless prestidigitation of a Sorcerer Supreme) just simply NOT work?
As a bat-shit crazy, "mommy-go-bye-bye", all-powerful mutant-gone-mental with the ability to alter even the slightest "probabilities", then perhaps Wanda's re-working of the fundamental nature of how the universe (or at least the universal "laws" work on Earth) take that into consideration and put the "hex-whammy" on it. That would effectively negate the possibility for ANY powers, even ones based upon the calling of aid from other-dimensional principalities or cosmic energies.
It wouldn't remove the KNOWLEDGE of how he should be able to do so, just that the knowledge would no longer lead to a functioning application.
Cause, but no effect.
It would render the Marvel Earth the same as OURS in that regard.
Besides some fantastic (and heretofore unexplainable) abilities and/or phenomenon, mere mortals can not perform high-end sorcery.
We can do the dance and jig, wave our hands around *** and draw runes in the dirt, all the while shaking chicken-bones to our heart's content. But aside from some cool moves and a stunned and awestruck crowd (if done with proper flair), there'd be no mystical-moombahs popping out of the cauldron. That is what Strange and the others mystics of the M.U. would be reduced to due to Scarlet Witch's revised utterance.
Now, again, perhaps off-world, it would work fine. If Strange COULD get to another dimension, then he should be able to toss mystic zaps. Perhaps through the Nexus of All Realities or maybe (closer to home) the Negative Zone portal, since science still works in that story (if dimensional apertures won't open in our atmosphere).
However, due to the ramifications of negating all technology on the planet, all Hospitals, airplanes, nuclear power plants, etc... would just go belly up - basically a mutant-driven "Millennium-bug", Wanda could not cut off tech-based abilities.
That would be devastating to the world. However, not cutting off those "powers" also provides for "the out" - storywise (enter Iron-Man).
So, that was why I didn't tear into that plot point.
I had to allow for a "godlike" power to state that a "normal" process, like magic, simply would no longer work. Be it a cut-off from tapping the energies flow, a deadening-effect on mystic whojams or simply that A is no longer A where magic is concerned... the new status quo is without hocus-pocus. ****
Now, as to the whole COSMIC CUBE thing... hey... one writer's disaster at a time.
* Please refrain from the whole "God is a figment" replies... I'm up on the debates, and also posit my own questions to the Universe, but for the sake of this, since the story in question deals with someone with "god-like" powers, we're all accepting that in our universe, God exists. OK? ThanX.
** I've long thought that guns are the cowards' easy way to kill.
You want to kill someone? Really?? You shouldn't be allowed to (sit back, sometimes many yards away and) just twitch your finger to do so. It's too detached from the process of taking a life. It makes it too effortless, since you can do it from an easy chair. No. You want to kill someone (or something for those hunters out there)? You shouldn't get to do it unless you FIGHT that other life. Give it the same chance to kill you. Not that I'm condoning killing of ANY kind. Just that I've long thought that negating the laws of physics where weapons are concerned should have been top priority for the Almighty. But that's just one of the things that I'd do, given the power of "God". That, and the whole Famine, and Disease thing. Where the hell is that Infinity Gauntlet? I've got some work to do.
*** Good thing, too, because all of those "American Sign Language" users expressing "love" to anyone would turn their loved ones into newts.
**** Which would now beg the question... what is ALCHEMY? A science (like chemistry?)... or magic? I guess Diablo can whip up some bicarbonate of soda, but not elementals.