Now that I've split hairs on all the semantics above, I'll get down to the subject at hand.
Steve Epting dresses Doctor Strange - from New Avengers v3 # 1
As discussed in the previous iteration(s) of this blog post [HERE] & [HERE], since Dr. Strange initially adopted his new Red & Black suit [in the pages of DEFENDERS v4] it has undergone a few tweaks here and there, either due to artistic preference, or more likely - and the worst reason of all - because the precise design was never fully refined (not "ironed out" if you'll pardon the pun). It had too many vague areas where interpretation could cause confusion.
Terry Dodson's cover to DEFENDERS v4 # 1
Those vague areas included the gauntlets that Strange wore (the origins and image of them found at the first post in this series [HERE]). However, while drawn and designed as intricate and detailed metal armbands by one artist (Gabrielle Del-Otto), they were immediately redesigned and reinterpreted (wrongly) as less detail-specific articles by another (Terry Dodson), which then led every other subsequent artist to reinterpret them as they thought they might be. At best, they had been drawn as simple bands about his forearms (like leggings would be for the lower legs), and at worst, they were drawn as superhero gloves. This mistake was only further confused by the fact that while, originally the gauntlets were gold they were now colored red, and the gloves on Strange's hands -under the gauntlets - were either colored black, red or left off entirely, shown as simple flesh.
Personally, I always thought that the gloves should either be colored black (or left off entirely) to avoid the exact confusion that has been made wherein someone thinks that the red gloves and the red gauntlets are one and the same.
Also of confusion/interpretation was if Strange's suit was skin-tight or comprised of looser fabric. And many artists would leave off the draping fabric "tails" that would flow behind him, instead just having him wear tight-pants.
Then, when the entire look was drawn in it's most crucial moment - at the end of NEW AVENGERS v2 # 34 - when Strange would regain his lost artifacts; the Eye of Agamotto & the Cloak of Levitation, the artist responsible (Mike Deodato) made every wrong choice.
Supreme Sorcerer. Stylistically Sub-par.
Thus, not only was the Cloak drawn incorrectly (as I discussed in the previous entry of this "series"), but Strange was drawn with a skin-tight super-suit, at the loss of the draping fabric at his waist, but also the gauntlets were reduced to simple super-hero gloves.
It is this look that is being repeated in the newest volume (v3) of New Avengers, by artist Steve Epting.
I've no love... for the gloves.
Another artistic choice by Epting is that, while he is also following the erroneous design of having the Cloak of Levitation be gilded improperly (see the previous entry for that information), he has also chosen to drawn the high collar (cowl?) of the Cloak in a manner more likened to Strange's original blue cloak - that of a uniformly edged barrel-shape than the sloping and angular collar we've known the past 50 years.
Strange Tales # 126 - Art by Steve Ditko. Words by Stan Lee
As of yet, we've not seen Steve Epting render the entirety of Strange's new garb. For the most of his appearance in the first 2 issues of NEW AVENGERS v3, Doctor Strange has been wrapped in the folds of his cloak, and further draped in shadow. So it is unknown if Steve Epting has decided to follow suit in regards to Strange's...suit. Will he render it as a super-hero skin-tight garment, or do otherwise?
Strangely, the only glimpses we've seen of Strange's entirety come from variant covers, drawn by others. In each of those, it is drawn differently, but for the most part, in keeping with the Deodato redesign.
Variant cover for # 5 by Joe Quinones.
I won't even show the Simone Bianchi variant for # 4
- as the costume is quite obviously a fantasy-inspired version -
However, in the pages of New Avengers v3 # 2 , Epting showed glimpses of what could either be seen as a look into the happenings from other parallel Earths, or what could be future events of our "own" (616) Earth. In that vision, we saw a NEW look for Doctor Strange - with a new symbol at his chest.
Gone is the classic Ditko-designed "demon" spirit, to be replaced by a stylized "EYE" (of Agamotto). Only time will tell if these glimpses prove to be prophesy or mere phantoms of other worlds.
I'm fairly sure the images are events showing what had occurred on OTHER Earths.
And while I doubt that they represent future looks at OUR Illuminati, for my part, I will go on record saying that you'll not get any argument from ME if he does change his look (again).
I like that new symbol!
However, design-wise... it is aesthetically confusing, as it makes 3 "eye" shapes on his uniform (the EYE of Agamotto itself, that symbol and the golden belt buckle).
Still, when all is said and done, I have always liked Steve Epting's artwork - as far back as his 1990's run on the Avengers, and all things considered, he did draw this piece of Doctor Strange (a commission piece?) a scant year or so ago, so it can't be that he's totally forgotten what Strange is supposed to look like.
I'm unsure how I feel about that. I'm unsure how it will all look (and will most likely have to have a final 4th installment to this "series" when Doctor Strange is fully revealed - in issue # 3?), but I'm willing to wait and see.
Since this new volume of NEW AVENGERS looks to be the title that I will have the closest interest, what with writer Jonathan Hickman laying down such coolness as Strange's statement in the scan below... I am willing to invest in it - with my dollars and my faith that all will be worth it.
THIS is every kind of awesome!
I can only hope that we get to SEE Strange's journey.