Spidey faces the dreaded "Peering Peeper of the Prostate".
Oh... I've put this off for as long as I could.
I've been busy with a lot of personal things (and as such expect an "important" announcement to be made here in a few days) and have been hoping to keep my face out of the spanner/blades equation that is the internet fan-frenzy on stuff like this, wherein a story is not yet completed, and yet everywhere - the fanbase is frothing at the bit, trying to make some semblance of sense of - what seems to be - a poorly written story (at least from a 40 year canonical point of view) dealing with Doctor Strange, the Ancient One and the Eye of Agamotto.
I am not going to write a review of all of the first 4 issues, and the many things that I would normally examine in infinitesimal detail.
- The ridiculousness of writer Brian Bendis' including little footnotes as to which mystical spells are being used and from which tome they originated (with page numbers and everything).
- The amazingly drool-worthy artwork of Stuart Immonen.
- The awesome astral rescue Doc performs to save Ms. Marvel.
- The whiny-bitch that Daimon Hellstrom is being shown to be.
- The lack of respect for Doctor Voodoo.
- The fantastic nature that Dr. S. (and to a lesser extent, Dr. V.) insist that knowledge is the true path to power.
- The B-S attitude of "the Ancient One".
- Iron Fist and his drinking of the mystical kool-aid.
- Wolverine: Apparent "Mystical Crossroads" of the Marvel U.
- and much much more...
I'd love to, but that way leads to madness.
Instead, I'm only going to deal with the "mystery" surrounding the Eye of Agamotto (and the Ancient One).
Before I start, here are some scans of the last four pages of issue four.
These are pertinent to the subject at hand.
*So...y'know... SPOILER ALERT*
Everyone still with me?
*click pics to make Supreme Sized*
It seems that every review I have read online takes the dialogue as written - at face value.
I don't think that should be the case.
It's hard to do in a static form like comics, but I think there is a "layers behind layers" bit going on with what Iron Fist and Dr Strange are saying.
Look at Strange's face in the next-to-last page.
He is skeptical - not "guilty-looking" (as others online have written).
Strange is savvy enough to know that what is being said isn't as important as what isn't being said.
There is deception at work here.
When Iron Fist asks; flat-out - WHO the Eye "belongs" to, he is basically leading the answer.
He (and the entity behind this) could be deliberately phrasing the question so that the answer is "AGAMOTTO" - even though, Doc really SHOULD say; "Well, the Eye chose Jericho Drumm to be its wielder, so... it belongs with him".
(Of course, even back during the events wherein the Eye chose Jericho Drumm, Doctor Strange stated that this sort of thing had never happened before... so, aside from Bendis' usual "making stuff up to fit his stories", it could be that perhaps things aren't what they appear to be with the Eye.)
Also, check out the almost casually thrown-away line, also on that third scanned page, where after Iron Fist states that he spoke with the Ancient One, Doc asks; "The Ancient One came to you?"... "IN WHAT FORM?"
In what form, indeed.
That might lend a clue as to what is going on.
Since the Ancient One passed on, and is now "one with all there is", why would he be in a "physical" form?
And what was the deal with his glowing cane?
That seemed a bit ostentatious and obvious.
Of course, it could just be a "piece of flair" that artist Stuart Immonen tossed in to make it look even more visually interesting, but I'm one who is inclined to "see" clues in things like that.
Actually, speaking of clues, a multitude of clues could be hidden on that same "next-to-last" page, as while Iron Fist rants about "ownership" of the Eye, Doctor Voodoo looks on intently.
I mean, it IS his eye now, right?
Words and names are (usually) very important in magic.
Perhaps to NAME an owner outright, would cause some kind of "spell" to take effect.
If Doc said "Doctor Voodoo is now rightful owner" than maybe that would cause a domino-effect that could cause some other dilemma, since Voodoo isn't a true acolyte of the Vishanti, of whom Agamotto is one-third.
If Doc said "It is AGAMOTTO's Eye", then it would shift back to him/it.
Heck, maybe another illusion is being perpetrated and that isn't even IRON FIST at all!
Maybe that is the adversary in disguise!
I don't know.
All I can say is that something deeper seems to be afoot.
I am saying here (as I did on other forums elsewhere on the interwebs) that in MY opinion (and I have been known to be wrong) AGAMOTTO wants his eye back and simply can NOT take it unless it is surrendered.
I know that others believe that Agamotto can simply take back what is his, but I say that is probably not the case.
The same would go for anyone of us as well.
You give something of value to someone.
You can not simply just take it back.
If you LOAN someone something (which, really the Eye can be seen to be a "loaner" from Agamotto), then you usually need to ASK for it back as well.
Can you take it back? Well, yes. But that isn't the right way to do so.
The rules of etiquette are that you should ask for it back.
"Hey, Jimmy... y'know that thingamabob I loaned you? Well, I kinda need it. If it's ok with you, I'd like to get it back soon. OK? Thanks."
That's how it is done.
Even "U.S. Law" states that "possession is 9/10th of the law" and the one who HOLDS the item has the rights of it, even if it doesn't belong to them.
So, who is to say that MYSTICAL LAW isn't just as strong (if not stronger)?
That's not unheard of; even Vampires need to ask permission to enter a dwelling place. That could be seen as a part of the rules of mysticism.
The Eye has been given - handed down - from one Sorcerer Supreme to the next - STARTING with Agamotto (the 1st S.S.).
One can not simply take back what is given.
One may ASK for it back, or in the case of Agamotto, employ illusions to trick others into giving it up.
While I have NO idea what the heck the deal was in the first 3 issues, with the possession of physical bodies and the teleportation of Iron Fist (with the supposed rationalizing that it would be ok for him to be killed in doing so - which he did not, due to his mystical protection - much to the disembodied voices' surprise), but that aside, I believe that it is Agamotto.
The only time in comics canon that he ever reclaimed one of his "eyes" (the ORB of Agamotto) was after Strange attempted to destroy it to prevent the other-worldly "Urthona" from taking possession of it and all of Strange's other artifacts.
Doc thought it best to destroy such powerful items rather than let them fall into the hands of an evil sorcerer.
However, Agamotto sensed this and whisked the Orb and all the other items away to himself.
He later gave it back to Strange (interestingly enough, only after Doc threatened to destroy Agamotto's best-version, personal "Orb"; the "Omni-Visor"- aka; his Hookah).
So, it is with this sequence of history that we hope Bendis will play:
- Ancient One gives Strange the Eye after Doc beats Dormammu the 1st time.
- Strange Tales v1 # 127
- Doc keeps the Eye for many years - despite the many attempts of others to take it (Silver Dagger chief among them. See Dr. Strange; Master of the Mystic Arts # 1 - 5.)
(- Doc tries to destroy an Eye (the Orb) to keep it away from Urthona.
- Dr. Strange; Master of the Mystic Arts # 81)
(- Agamotto secretly retrieves it.)
(- Agamotto later gives it back to Strange. - Dr. Strange; Sorcerer Supreme # 7)
- Strange keeps the Eye until he performs dark magic (actually, he did this three times):
- 1) During Strange Tales v2 - when he's forced to use the "Wings of Needless Sorrow".
- 2) During "The ORDER" - when he's relegated to using the "Star of Capistan".
- 3) After the events of New Avengers Annual # 2 - which led to his giving up the title of Sorcerer Supreme.
- The HOOD and DORMAMMU actively seek to gain the Eye.
- New Avengers v1 # 51 - 54
- The Eye (and Agamotto / Ancient One) seeks out a NEW S.S. - finding it in Brother Voodoo.
- New Avengers v1 # 53
- Hood/ Dormammu are defeated by Strange, Voodoo and Hellstorm.
- New Avengers v1 # 54
- SOMEONE finally decides it is time to get the Eye back.
- New Avengers v2 # 1 - 4 (and more issues to come)
Now - as the the WHY... I have NO idea.
Maybe Agamotto just wants it.
He could see that maybe it's too powerful a "weapon" to be on Earth with the mystic upheavals going on, and decided that it would be best not to leave it as a tempting bauble for evil entities to try to plunder.
Does that make any sense?
Not if you keep the 40+ years of Strange mythos in mind.
But, there may be NEW turn of events going on that would predicate new reasoning.
Sure, it's basically just Bendis and Quesada effing with the "rules" of magic, but they were going to do SOMETHING to "fix" it... looks like this is all part of "the plan".
Could it be someone pretending to be the Ancient One?
Well... that's my theory - and see my first "footnoted" Tangent below.
If that is the case, then it could be any number of baddies.
But none moreso than the one whom I speak of in that tangent.
Either way, it would make the MOST sense for Doc to use the Eye in its primary function and use it to REVEAL THE TRUTH!
Shine its lights on "the Ancient One" and see what is going on here.
Of course, this all could be meant to be read JUST as it is written;
Strange needs to be taken down a peg.
Magic needs rules.
The biggest magic "gun" is the Eye, so take it off the board.
Since, as I already posted [HERE], Doctor Strange is to be featured in an upcoming HULK storyline, dressed as he is now, in raincoat and civvies, we know he isn't getting the Eye back any time soon.
Whether there will even BE a titular "Sorcerer Supreme" is up in the air.
Could Doctor Voodoo die and Doc become the default "Master of the Mystic Arts" and continue to safeguard the Earth-dimension while in a de-powered state?
It's also a matter of record (online - you can find it easily) that Bendis is using a tip from a fellow writer (Ed Brubaker, if I recall?) to use Stephen Strange as a plain-clothed kung-fu mystic.
That might be the default setting for Doctor Strange for the near future.
Sadly, all I can say is... we have to WAIT and SEE what the EYE shows us to be the TRUTH.
Tangent, the 1st:
Now, allow me to posit a brief "wish" on this story...
The Ancient One isn't acting "in character".
Not his "good" natured character anyway...
But... he could be exhibiting a facet of a darker manifestation... one that inevitably caused Doctor Strange to be forced to slay his master in the first place (waaaay back in Marvel Premiere # 10).
The reason for the Ancient One's dark tendancies?
He was possessed by SHUMA GORATH!
If there is anything right in this world, it will be revealed that this so-called "Ancient One" is nothing more than another attempt to gain access to our world by Shuma Gorath (but by hiding behind the facade of Dr. Strange's former master).
Tangent the 2nd:
There have been a lot of comics and events at Marvel as of late, in which mystical upheavals are occurring in much more frequent procession than "normal".
To name but a few:
- The X-Men's dealing with Vampires
- New Mutants' battles in Limbo.
- Asgard's fall and the events that spiral out of that.
- Thanos and the Guardians of the Galaxy fighting in the dark "cancerverse".
With more on the horizon (if Previews and other advance sources are any indication).
So, maybe.... just maybe, the forshadowed "Hell War" that was teased for several years in many Marvel books from 2004 - 2007 (Knights 4, Nightcrawler, Spectacular Spider-Man v2... basically anything written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa) will soon come to pass.
While this New Avengers story won't be the start of a major mystical "event", perhaps it is more seeds being planted to produce that dark fruit.