Saturday, November 20, 2010

EYE CARAMBA!
-or-
F*** YOU, IT'S MAGIC!
A Review of NEW AVENGERS v2 # 6
(and an overview of 1-6)

What follows here is a review of issue # 6 and an overview of the first story arc (issues # 1 - 6).
BEWARE: HERE THERE BE SPOILERS!

One of these Avengers will DIE!
Not a real tough mystery.
Predictable outcome from a predictable visual trick and a lame story set-up.

WRITER: BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
COVER and PENCILS: STUART IMMONEN
INKS: WADE VON GRAWBADGER
COLORED BY: LAURA JEAN MARTIN with RAIN BAREDO
LETTERED BY: CHRIS ELIOPOULOS

ASSOCIATE EDITOR: LAUREN SANKOVITCH
EDITOR; TOM BREVOORT
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: JOE QUESADA
PUBLISHER; DAN BUCKLEY
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: ALAN FINE


Wait... that sensation in the air... an intangible wave carried in the aether... that touches the base of your skull, the dormant corners of your perception, and raises the tiny hairs on the back of your neck...
Do you feel it?

It is the psychic residue of readers' collective anguish after reading NEW AVENGERS V2 # 006.

It is the death of an Avenger.

It is the death... of MAGIC!
(OK. Not really.)

To start off; that cover "mystery" of which Avenger will DIE wasn't even a hard one.
Even if you couldn't tell from reading the previous few issues, and how Bendis set up the soon-to-be-dead Sorcerer Supreme; Doctor Voodoo to be an ineffectual (even more so than Bendis' usual handling of mystics) "pretender" to the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme, that cover image totally gives it all away.

As I noted in the comments section of the "Panels of Awesome" blog post about the odds of which character would take the big sleep - found [HERE], but I also called it (and foresaw, with fairly accurate detail, what happened in the issue) in my last post about New Avengers # 5 [HERE].

Basically, the ONLY character who is totally in darkness (i.e; "eclipsed by the shadow of DEATH") is Doctor Voodoo.
Sure, Doctor Strange is half-lit, but that's both a red-herring to mislead as well as a hint that Stephen Strange doesn't quite escape unscathed either (as we'll discuss when we get to the ending of the story).

If only the cover blurb said;
ONE OF THESE CREATORS WILL DIE!
Then, we'd have a good shot at finally being rid of Bendis.
NO, I'm NOT wishing any ill will or poor health to the man... just saying that since he's so eager to mete out death, perhaps he'd be a little open to "equal opportunity".
 If only, the "death" of his "career" as a comic writer, at the very least.
Perhaps, he'd be better suited to writing prose fiction. Novels dealing with the themes of super-heroes and/or crime fiction. I think he'd be much more palatable in that medium.
Give him several hundred pages to run amok in and perhaps he'll be able to tell an engaging - and COMPLETE - story.
For some reason, he is unable to do so in the confines of comic book periodicals.
Even with the annoying modern practice of "decompressed" storytelling, wherein several pages can be dedicated to every minor event (like 3 pages of no dialogue or action, except for the eyes of the characters going back and forth watching a tennis match - *minor exaggeration there*) it is amazing that Brian Bendis still leaves out vital events that are crucial to the story at hand.

If you've ever read any (or heard an audio) interviews by Brian Bendis, you'd think to yourself, "This guy has some half-way decent ideas".
Unfortunately, MANY of them never seem to make it to the printed page.
SO many concepts and story segments seem to be cut due to space and end up on the "cutting room floor".
So many things happen off-panel, or unseen between issues, or are only implied long after the fact by a brief text bite, that it's hard to imagine anyone who has been working in comics as long as he has is still able to:
  1. continuously fall prey to the "Oops. Did I forget to include that?" aspect of omitting vital information.
  2. get further work with such shoddy workmanship.

Take this latest issue for example; after the previous issue had "the-unknown-entity-believed to-be-AGAMOTTO" (I will call it as such, because NO WHERE in the issue is that mystery truly solved) state that the reason he needs the EYE of AGAMOTTO back is because the VISHANTI "are no more"...
However, in this issue we find that is not the case. In point of fact,. the Vishanti seemingly kicked him OUT of the trinity (three beings comprised the Vishanti; Agamotto, his mother; Oshtur and Hoggoth).
And where does this information get laid on us?
In the brief text passage of the RECAP PAGE!

The recap page, as its name implies, is to recapitulate what we have THUS ALREADY READ (either for those who are slight of memory, or who may have missed an issue prior).
It is NOT the place where NEW and VITAL information is revealed for the first time.

THAT is some lazy-assed, hackity-hack-hack-hack writing, right there!
I'm not sure who is more to blame in such things;
  • the writer - Brian Bendis?
  • the "editor" - Tom Brevoort?
  • the associate editor - Lauren Sankovitch?
  • Editor-in-Cheif - Joe Quesada?
  • ALL OF THE ABOVE?!?
My answer is ALL OF THE ABOVE!

That said, the entire story arc was lacking in any real cohesion, pacing and/or direction - save to kill off a character who was given a too-little-too-late chance to shine, and to take away one of the longest-held artifacts in Marvel canon (not that it really makes any difference, as I noted in great detail in my previous examination of this arc [HERE])- all in a failed attempt to create "rules" for magic in the Marvel Universe.

Issue # 6, the apparent pay-off to the arc, has left more unanswered problems than what it seemingly "solved".

Starting off with "Magic-Bullet Wolverine" being mystically sent off to the newly revealed "Light Dimension" to do battle, one-on-one with Agamotto (or at least, an entity seemingly supposed to be Agamotto) for the fate of all there is, the issue, and the creative team totally miss the point of how to choreograph anything other than straight-up super-punch-up fisticuffs.

"Agamotto", an all-powerful mystical being, does nothing more than shape-shift into likenesses of those from Wolverine's mind (people from his past and present).
While, Wolvie slashes with his omnipresent claws - said pigstickers enhanced by magic spells - mystically infused within them, so that all he need do is slash around wildly in order to perform complex spells and mystic attacks.

Oddly enough, if it weren't for all the footnoted spells, cited with which book and scroll, it would seem to me to be nothing more than a typical Wolverine "berzerker-barrage" against a foe who doesn't seem to be putting up all that much of a fight.

Oddly enough, "Agamotto" (yes, I will use the "quotation marks" since nowhere in the issue is the real identity of that entity truly proven)... an entity who was around when the Earth was young, and who has either discovered or created entire magic systems, spell-sets and artifacts of power, starts off by utilizing a disguise spell created by BARON MORDO; a 20th-century mortal, whose spell is on the "Scroll of Loki"... Loki being another ancient-immortal mystical entity (godling) who also out-dates and overpowers Mordo, and so it makes little sense for a spell by such a mortal to even be of consideration for such publication on parchment.

The entire thing makes no sense.
But, alas... that is merely the start of the issue.
Bendis' confusion and stupidity (or at least; utter lack of regard) continues unabated and unchecked by so-called "editors".

At the very least, to Bendis' "credit", he does have Wolverine state his lack of awe or fear of a foe who stoops to altering their appearance as a means of "psyching-out" a combatant.
It remains unclear whether he was using that dialogue to truly portray disdain at "Agamotto's" sub-par means of combat, or using that comment in an attempt to proactively deflect from any criticism of the story (since it would seem that he can't come up with anything more creative in terms of mystical combat).

Perhaps one of the most telling - and damning of Bendis' new "rules" of magic - is that already it would seem that he had grown tired of coming up with new and interesting names and references for his "spells", since the preponderance of those "cast" during the fight were all from a single source.. the "Scroll of Wabawab".

My immediate thought, upon reading the many, many Wabawab spells was that Bendis was merely using that nonsensical name as a "placeholder" in his script, until he would later go back and choose new names and sources for the spells.
However, he either never got back to it, or lost interest in the storyline... either way, proving my previous points of his being a sloppy writer who pays little attention to details - either those of previous canon or those of his own making.
Also proving my point (made in the examination of the last issue [HERE]) that such a system of magic is doomed to misuse and decay by future writers.

My secondary thought was that Wabawab was a sadomasochistic entity, since most of his spells were those that dealt with the dealing of attacks and punishment.

But, either way, since the GIANT--ALL-OR-NOTHING-MYSTICAL-BATTLE-TO-DETERMINE-THE-FATE-OF-ALL-THERE-IS was nothing but the same three or four spells from the scroll of Wabawab
(offensive spells being; Evenodor Attack Spell and/or Evanodor Punishment Spell with subtle variations to those two, and defensive spells being; Evanodor Compatriot Defense Spell and Evanodor Compatriot Boost Spell), I am wavering between my belief that Bendis merely used those as placeholders, and my belief that Bendis is a hack with no mind for magic.
(Of course, nothing is preventing BOTH from being true.)

Yet, to give what minor credit is due, Bendis at least utilized a spell or two from a previous issue (# 4 to be exact) repeating both; Carelli's Forced Mortal Astral Extraction spell - from the Book of Fire Appendix 309, and the Houdon-Lou Visualization Spell of the Real, so perhaps he has a crib-sheet of spells used, to help keep a sense of cohesion.
(Or, more likely, he thought it best to at least revisit a few earlier spells to give the veneer of a cohesive "spell-check".)

However, one of the most telling examples of Bendis' problematic grasp of magic-systems, and the failing of his "rules", as well as the lackadaisical aspect of his writing is that on several occasions, spells are cast that are attributed to the Vishanti.
If the Vishanti are indeed "no more" (or at the very least, disbanded) then those spells will have NO BACKING, no one from whom power or energy will be provided, and as such, will not be able to be cast.
You can't cast a spell that entreats an entity who will not (or is not able to) empower it.

For someone like Bendis to understand, it's like holding an old, rusty pistol that used to have, but no longer has bullets in it, and expecting it to fire just because you pull the trigger.
Or, having a electrical appliance, and expecting it to work without having it be plugged into an outlet - or even having electric power supply at all.

Also, in point of fact, having the Eye of Agamotto being used AGAINST Agamotto is something that has already been shown to be impossible (of course, one would need to recount and care to utilize past canon as well as believe that the entity being combated against is indeed Agamotto and not some pretender).

Unless, of course, Agamotto is so totally devoid of power that he has no ability to turn the eye away or do much else but use minor illusion as his primary defense. But that is almost unbelievable, and had not been established or supported by the story, since he obviously had enough power to rip open the skies and cause all the other mystical havoc of the previous issues.

The entire "mystic battle" comes across as nothing more than a backdrop for the portrayal of Doctor Voodoo's rapid loss of detachment and purpose as Sorcerer Supreme, instead becoming frantic at the reappearance of the spirit of his brother Daniel.
Although, long-deceased already, Daniel's spirit is in dire peril of final dissolution as he enters the battle to aid Wolverine against "Agamotto".
Unable to perform his duties and aid his brother from afar, Jericho Drumm breaks the mystic circle of all the Earth-bound Avengers and leaps into the dimensional portal, Eye of Agamotto in hand.

This proves to be the worst possible strategy, for not only does it remove the mystic anchor from the Earth-defense, place him in harms way, as well as expose the object of desire to the enemy who wishes to possess it.

However, such a power-grab is unmade by "Agamotto", as upon moments of his appearance in the Light Dimension, Doctor Voodoo announces that the Eye is the only thing to be able to defeat Agamotto, since the Vishanti have cast him out (a supposition that, unless you read the Recap page, is the first a reader has been exposed to such a concept) and as such, "Agamotto" must have been stripped of much of his power.
To that end, Voodoo casts a series of spells and seemingly destroys "Agamotto", the power of the spell turning Doctor Voodoo to dust as well, before the Eye of Agamotto fades away into nothingness.





Watching these events, Doctor Strange can not but help to shed tears of loss.

For of all things, Doctor Strange had always held the Eye of Agamotto among his most treasured of possessions (the Book of the Vishanti, and the Cloak of Levitation being the only others held in as high esteem).

He counted Jericho Drumm as a close compatriot, enjoyed a friendly (if not always totally positive) relationship with Agamotto, and revered the Vishanti as among those "gods" to whom he would supplicate himself in prayer and meditation.

Yet, in the span of a few moments, all of those have been lost - seemingly... forever.

The world of Stephen Strange has been dealt multiple blows, all while, admittedly, causing the effect of the saving of the world and reality as we know it.

Still, perception is reality, and what is the perception of a man who has lost most of what he has held dear - his friend, his treasured responsibility and his god - in essence - much of his reality - for the sake of the world?

To a man like Doctor Strange, the understanding that such losses are possible ramifications of such a task, but still... they are hard-felt losses, nevertheless.

I'm sure that part of his sorrow is that there must have been another way - any other way - to succeed without such high cost. Or, if not, that it should have been he who was faced with the challenge.

The take-away subtext being, that if he hadn't "failed" as Sorcerer Supreme, that none of these following events would have happened, or if they did, that he would have been better positioned, by experience and connection with other entities, to have best solved the crisis with a potentially less catastrophic finale.


To add to his injury, the spirit of Daniel Drumm comes back to Earth and takes temporary possession of Luke Cage, to accuse Strange of causing Jericho Drumm's demise.
Daniel attempts to attack Strange, but is cast out - all the while swearing vengeance upon him.
This is all as I partially predicted (in my review of issue # 5 - once again [HERE]).
It was also foreshadowed  in the giant map of the time-line shown in (adjectiveless) Avengers # 5.
Remember the "Drumm of Revenge" note I blogged about a few months back? [HERE]).


One other thing that I posited was that, if the entity was not Agamotto, or even if it was, that the other entity with whom he consulted (in issue # 3) who appeared as the Ancient One, was none other than "He Who Sleeps but Shall Awaken"; Shuma Gorath!
And, perhaps as a tantalizing clue... at the end of the mystic battle, just prior to Doctor Voodoo's casting out of the entity, the appearance of "Agamotto" shifts to a large tentacled creature... a single eye (the Eye of Agamotto) superimposed over the shape.
All that giving the look of the elder god, Shuma Gorath!
A potential story avenue that I predicted in my review of issue # 4 [HERE].

 C'mon... try to tell me that isn't some visual foreshadowing right there.

Before I begin my wrap-up of the review, I have to state that, as always, it is a pleasure to pore over the artwork of Stuart Immonen.
Every line, every figure, every expression is perfect!
I mean, look at the faces in the spread shown above: so many subtle emotions being expressed perfectly.
Even Spider-Man's facial expression is made obvious, all-the-while thought a full stocking mask - all without falling into the oft-abused trick of having the "eyes" on Spidey's mask change shape to convey complex feelings... all with a few well-placed lines on his brow.

Kudos to Mr. Immonen!
I hope he stays on the title for a long, long while.

But, sadly, he is but one portion of the creative team.
We are still left with Brian Bendis' half-formed stories, and an absent editorial staff who seem content to let his glaring shortcomings proceed to printed page.

If this entire arc was to establish new rules for magic, then it is an abject failure.
As I related in my review for issue # 5 (ok. once more... [HERE]), not only have the rules NOT been established, but there has been almost NO change whatsoever - barring the loss of a magic Swiss-Army-Knife such as the Eye Of Agamotto and temporary loss of several mystic entities.

No rules have been made.
The new parameters are flimsy and easily subject to abuse or decay.
No explanations have been offered to the situations behind the break-up of the Vishanti, the identity of the "Ancient One" (remember, there were TWO distinct voices being used in issue # 3).
Perhaps... just perhaps, since this story is far from being complete... that those two are the voices of Oshtur and Hoggoth, the two remaining entities of the Vishanti, who were trying to gain access to the Eye before Agamotto could do so.
But then, why would the "Ancient One" visage also be utilized by "Agamotto" in his dealings with the Avengers.

The entire thing makes little sense, and is lacking in details or anything even remotely resembling a resolution.

Instead, we are offered a half-formed concept, a failing set of "rules", and a loose "ending".
We are denied the Eye of Agamotto, (but seemingly still retain the lesser Eye; the "Amulet" of Agamotto, the ORB of Agamotto, and other artifacts of power belonging to him and/or others in the Vishanti, such as the BOOK of the Vishanti)...
However, since modern Marvel have stated that the EYE is the badge of the Sorcerer Supreme, it seems that we are to be denied an "official" Sorcerer Supreme?
Bendis' story also stated that without the Eye, our reality is "forfeit"... so... who will come to collect?
Or is that another dangling plotline?
We are given no answers.
Basically, we are told;
"F*** YOU, It's MAGIC!" *  **


 ----

*
Oddly enough, it's not the first time that such a sentiment was offered by Marvel in recent years.
Writer Joe Michael Straczynski stated that when the questions of the multiple errors, plot-holes and canonical conundrums of the "Deal with Mephisto" in the Spider-Man "One More Day" storyline, was presented to Editor-In-Chief; Joe Quesada, he was met with a reply of "It's Magic... we don't have to explain it!" [source]
----
**
Here, for those who are unaware of the reference, is the original stand-up comedy act that brought to life, the term;
"F*** YOU, IT'S MAGIC"

(Warning: N.S.F.W. due to NONSTOP usage of the "F"-word)



----

"Tamam Shud!"
~P~

15 comments:

Mario said...

I honestly just don't care anymore. Six issues of pointless fistcuffs, lame dialogue, weak cliffhangers, and non-existent "rules of magic" have killed my interest in anything Bendis has to say about magic.

If Shuma Gorath does show up, he'll probably empower the Hood and talk like William Shatner. :P

For all its faults, at least the Doctor Voodoo series (when are you going to review that, anyway?) TRIED to do something new with the magical side of the Marvel Universe. This was just a bad D&D fanfic disguised as an Avengers story.

I'm pretty much done with Marvel for the short term.

The_Myth said...

Evenodor Attack Spell
Evanodor Punishment Spell
Evanodor Compatriot Defense Spell
Evanodor Compatriot Boost Spell
Carelli's Forced Mortal Astral Extraction
Houdon-Lou Visualization Spell of the Real


(Imagined conversation at Marvel Comics offices several years ago)

Marvel Marketing Exec: "Um, like, I don't understand the Marvel magic system, do you?"

Dumb Marvel Exec: "Um, like, no."

Marvel Marketing Exec: "Well here's a solution that will make us a TON of money!"

*Marketer whips out a packet of Magic: The Gathering cards*

Dumb Marvel Exec: "Oooo, pretty."

Marvel Marekting Exec: "Aren't they just! And they're all the rage among kids ages 10-18, which is our target market! We can ignore all the geezers out there who have been reading our mags all their lives. Losers, all of them. We need NEW readers! By changing the magic system and adapting it for a YOUNGER audience, we can capture a whole new source of consumer! And make more money than those bastards over at DC!"

Dumb Marvel Exec: "I like money and I hate DC."

Marvel Marketing Exec: "I know, right? And their magic system is just as much a mess. But they were really successful when they played with it a few years ago. We have to do the same thing, just bigger and better! That magic mini-series we did just wasn't enough! And with our own, brand-new Collectible Card Game based on the new and improved and understandable magic system, then we can have 12-year-olds who can actually BE Doctor Strange! They'll LOVE it!"

Dumb Marvel Exec: "I want more money. I like your idea. Let's run with it."

Marvel Marketing Exec: "Ok, here's the plan. One, we need to make a crisis with Doctor Strange and take away his powers. Two, he's this thing called a Sorcerer Supreme, so we need to get rid of whatever the heck that is. And three, we need to set up a patsy character to take the fall when we get rid of that Sorcerer Supreme thingy."

Dumb Marvel Exec: "Ok, a magical patsy. Let me get my catalog of tertiary Marvel characters and we'll find someone bland and uninteresting that doesn't have its own title. Hmmm...I see nothing good in the As, so B...B...B. Oh, Brother Voodoo! No one is interested in that Voodoo stuff anymore, so let's get someone to throw him under the bus!"

Together: "Yay!"

Sean Aaron said...

What a frakking travesty. At this point I think the only saving grace would be the death of comics in periodical form, meaning that getting published would require actually writing a complete story arc deemed worthy of publication in graphical novel format (of course given the apparent state of Marvel editorial even that might not save us).

Thanks for taking the bullet, mate!

What can please us all is that Marvel Masterworks Doctor Strange Volume 5 is coming out next April tying off the original Shuma Gorath arc and starting the second series. My pre-order is already in!

~P~ said...

Dear "The Myth",

Reading your comment,

I laughed.
I cried.
I believed it could very well have happened the way you portray.

Awesome.
Thanks!

~P~

~P~ said...

OH!

And if you HATE the current Marvel regime, and Bendis in particular... then wait till you see what I am unveiling VERY SOON.

Just need a little while to get it all worked out.

heh heh heh...

~P~

Predabot said...

Not a fan of the story-arc, I see...

Well, I think it's a bit premature to judge it, personally.
It feels ( and most likely is) more like the half-way point in a fairly big story, regarding the restructuring of magic in the MU.

I kind of agree with Bendis basic idea tho, so that may be why I'm optimistic that there will be a decent pay-off, in the end.
The MU's definition of magic is completely fuzzy and flimsy, and there seems to have been at the very least 5 different definitions and systems, all often used simultaneously and interchangeably, resulting at the very least in this readers confusion.

Streamlining it all, and giving it logic, rules, and sense, is an admirable aspiration. It all adds to the suspension of disbelief.

Now, I would like to comment a bit extra on the tears of Dr. Strange. I'd say the tears are not so much for himself, his failures, the MU reality, or even Brother Voodoo.

I'd say they are mostly for Agamotto.
What Strange regards his holiest of beliefs, the basis for his magic and spirituality, is no more. The Vishanti are now gone, for good. And Agamotto in perticular, who was the first Sorcerer Supreme, logically the one that Steven Strange revered the most, is corrupted and finally destroyed.

His god just died, and so did all of his faiths.

I think it was actually a fairly touching moment, very well-portrayed by Immonen and Bendis.

In final, I'd say the actual chapter in these 6 issues, were kind of so-so. Not bad at all, but nothing that stood out. ( In comparison, I considered the first Avengers v4 Arc to be stupendously enjoyable.)

Well, here's to a good future pay-off for this big storyline.

~P~ said...

@Predabot,

Yes, indeed.
You reiterate somewhat of what I wrote in this blog post.

While I obviously felt that this story arc was a bit of a failure... since, it was hyped at being where the rules of Magic were going to be overhauled... I ALSO stated that it is obviously FAR from over.

It goes without saying that the rest of the story is coming down the pike - most likely when Daniel Drumm returns, possibly bringing Jericho back from the dead.
I mean, doesn't VOODOO, by it's very nature, deal with the dead?

As for Strange's tears... yes.
As I wrote in the piece, he weeps for the loss of many things, his friend, his treasured Eye, of which he long was it's safe-keeper, and his GOD(s).

He weeps for the loss of his very reality as he has long known it to be.

So, I don't disagree with anything you state.
Glad to see we are on the same page (for the most part).

I do think that Bendis leaves much to be desired in his actually getting of concepts to the printed page.

His basic "CONCEPTS" are always on the interesting side.

Their execution, however...

Also, as stated, Immonen is a joy!
I hope he stays on for a long, long time.

I think the only area where we may disagree (and not even all that much) is that I don't think Marvel's magic needed to be overhauled.

It never really had rules.
Or at least too many hard-defined rules.
Just those put in place by the more "cosmic" and "mystic-bent" writers of the 70's.
ANd even then, as long as they ramped up the dangers, Doc was never "too" powerful.
He usually defeated far more powerful entities by out thinking them.

Certainly, many writers wrote themselves into corners and then just let loose with the craziness... but those weren't prevalent.
Usually, storylines had a structure, where you could see the thought processes of how the end tied up all the story bits.

Now, it just needs writers who can avoid overdoing the deux ex machina, magic-eraser thing.
ANd/or maybe writers who can seemingly get the entire arc fleshed out in full before wandering wildly from concept to concept, like this arc did.

The Eye of Agamotto can be removed from play for as far as I am concerned.
It has never been used properly (or consistently) - EVER.
(as I wrote about in my review of issue # 5)

So, if taking away Doc's magical "sonic-screwdriver" will relieve writers of the temptation of making him able to do anything... fine.
I just don't see ANY of these "fixes" being stable or able to be maintained for long.

Commenter, "The MYTH" actually pinned down one problem, quite poignantly.
Barring turning Marvel magic into a "CCG-like" pseudo-"Magic-the-Gathering" / "Yu-Gi-oH!" type of set of rules, the center will not hold.

But, I am hoping to be proven wrong.
NO ONE wants for Strange's universe to be strong and vibrant moreso than I.

Thanks for stopping by, reading my gibberish, and commenting!
It's appreciated.

The_Myth said...

I'm sorry, but as a reader from the 80s who is completely embedded in the analysis and summaries of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe volumes, the way to go would have been to completely re-inscribe the system into the Personal/Universal/Dimensional systems of magic (which, IIRP, never really was stated in any comic book...I admit to potentially being wrong).

What the heck is the purpose of D&D-ing all the spells into Codified Spells from Named Sourcebooks? Meh. That makes the magic less superhero-y and too Cthulhu-y.

Strange said...

Great article, and as always a pleasure to read. I just wish the comic it was based on had been as well though out. I think predabot is right in that this is only the first half of the story, but it was a really crappy first half. The Shuma Gorath appearance in Invaders Now should be fun though, and maybe Strange will start getting better treatment in The Avengers now that he is no longer going to be forced into Voodoo's shadow. A boy can dream...

Predabot said...

@PTOR: It does appear as if we agree on most of the details, but disagree on the bigger things.

I think it all stems from our basic perception of the writer really, I'm more of a Pro-Bendis guy, because I've really enjoyed most of his past stories.

I'm guessing you haven't, so it's harder for you to have faith in the end-result.

Now... One thing I'm finding a bit intriguing, if not exciting, is the question as to who's going to be Sorcerer Supreme now that the Eye, the Vishanti, and Dr VooDoo is gone. I'm thinking we'll see Dr Strange picking up the Amulet, BUT..! He won't be the SS. ;)

Instead, I think it will be another wild card, perhaps a really sort of hardcore, more aggressive sorcerer... Someone like... DR DRUID!!

Maybe he'll be the only character to return after Chaos War? What with his mystic nature. 'Twould be cool, lads.

@Strange: Afraid I can't agree there. The Invaders mini have been the usual lackluster Ross-as-concepter fare... :( His recent series, where he is the concepter and cover-artist, have all been of a fairly thin quality.

It's an interesting use of Shumah Gorath, but the execution is terrible. Writing, pencils, colouring, it all looks decent at a first glance, but once you read it as a whole, it just falls apart. Very disappointing.

plok said...

I would be unsurprised to learn that Bendis has already changed the way magic works as much as he intends to, actually!

Heck, I could be persuaded to put money on it.

Giant-Size Geek said...

Your thoughts on New Avengers echo mine as well! I agree that Immonen is doing great work on this title, I particularly love his rendition of The Thing. Bendis is badly mis-placed writing mystical characters. He trumpeted this storyline on word balloon podcasts as "re-defining the Marvel mystical universe" with rules and all he has done is come up with Wabawab. Stan Lee did all that stuff better in his sleep.

Doctor Voodoo isn't dead, that's obvious. The Wasp isn't dead either, Janet Van Dyne will come back one day. Death of these characters is meaningless. It might have been better to say that Jericho Drumm was imprisoned in another dimension along with Shuma Gorath or Agamotto.

The return of Shuma Gorath is something that I looked forward to since the 70s. How unfortunate that if it comes to pass it will be Bendis writing it!

Chris T said...

You're totally right about how Dr Strange wins is usually not by magic but by out-thinking his opponents. You see the same thing happening in all the good fantasy stories out there: Jack Vance's stories spring immediately to mind.

I see them as a kind of an analogy for, say, high school competitiveness, where, say, the smart kid doesn't have all the cool toys and sports-car but he gets the girl by using his brain and his heart.

That's the story everyone wants to read.

That's why you don't actually *need* to worry about magical rules and all that boring crap.

Otherwise, as you say, it just becomes mediocre D&D fan-fic.

H said...

That panel of Strange in tears just kills me. Damn you, Bendis, for making Stephen cry.

In light of that recent Avengers Annual (the one where Wonder Man said "ha ha, Wanda made me, I don't really exist! *poof*") makes me wonder... have all our heroes been living in a false reality since House of M? And if so, was Agamotto trying to break in and destroy it to get them back to the real world? Was the Eye that was destroyed a Wanda-created copy of the real Eye? And if so, is there still a chance of a giant retcon to put everyone back to some point just before (or after) House of M?

I hate retcons, but you have to admit it could be exciting. What if Agamotto or some other entity brought the Illuminati out and showed them the false world they'd been living in -- and charged them with making sure their reality turned out different? No Civil War. No "One More Day." No World War Hulk. Could they, as true 'enlightened ones,' fix their past blunders? Tell me that wouldn't be interesting!

Cirdan said...

Dr Strange is crying over the bad writing. *nod nod* :p

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