Saturday, November 29, 2008

Draw the Curtains and Turn Off the Lights

* Part V in this series: here*
* Part IV in this series: here*
* Part III in this series: here*
* Part II in this series: here*
* Part I in this series: here*


"Shhhh..... quiet.
There's someone at the door.
Don't make a sound. Don't. Move. A. Muscle.
Try not to even breathe."

"If they hear you, we're all in a world of..." *creeeaak*... "oh, no."

BAM! BAM!! BAM!!!!
AAAAGgghhh! RUN!! Look out! Get out!
Up-against-the-wall! one gets out alive...

This penultimate installment takes a look at the most recent developments regarding the Sanctum Sanctorum, it's occupants (The "Secret" New Avengers) it's opposing forces (the "Mighty Avengers", the Feds, the Hulk's "Warbound", the "Hood" and his gang ) and it's master; Doctor Strange : Master of the Mystic Arts.

So, lock the door and don't go near the windows.
Let's update the latest rise and fall of the Sanctum Sanctorum.


With America in a mandated crack-down against unlicensed "super-humans" after the so-called "Civil War" many of the rebellious heroes are on the run from the government-sponsored allied forces. One such fraction of unrepentant super-heroes are the "New" Avengers. On the run, with nowhere to hide, in stepped Doctor Strange who, trying to make amends for taking a neutral stance on the war, (despite his stated disgust over the very concept of the "Superhuman Registration Act",) has offered up his services and his home for the embattled renegades.

More out of guilt and grief over the subsequent death of Captain America, than an abundance of munificence, Strange has opened his home to the Captain's chosen, hand-picked team.

The only problem is, the Sanctum Sanctorum is not exactly "low-profile".
To remedy this, Strange casts an illusion over the edifice, so that it appears to everyone to be an abandoned, graffiti tagged, old building that is soon to become a Starbucks franchise location.

Death & Dream - of the "Endless" - comment on the sad fate of a beautiful building.
New Avengers # 28
Brian Bendis (words)/ Leinil Yu (pictures)

New Avengers # 29
Brian Bendis (words)/ Leinil Yu (pictures)

An illusion that compensates for even the highest technical sensory devices that Tony Stark; Iron-Man, can bring to bear.
The "Mighty" Avengers bust down the door and search - to no avail for Doctor Strange's newly forged friends, who are, in reality standing right in the same room - unseen, undetected, unmolested.
All that is seen is a tattered and battered, shuttered and buttressed old townhouse, abandoned and "empty".

"Ain't nobody here but us 'Secret Defenders' "
Sequence from - New Avengers # 29

Brian Bendis (words)/ Leinil Yu (pictures)

Stymied, the government's forces choose to fight fire with fire, or to be precise, magic with magic!
Calling in the dark forces that Brother Voodoo can bring to bear... the power play between mystics is set in motion.

Brother Voodoo do that voodoo that he do so well.
New Avengers # 29

Brian Bendis (words)/ Leinil Yu (pictures)

However, while Brother Voodoo is a powerful Houngan, Doctor Strange is more than his better - he IS the Master of the Mystic Arts.

Brother Voodoo creeps everyone out - then tells the creeps to bug out.
New Avengers # 30
Brian Bendis (words)/ Leinil Yu (pictures)

With the word given that no one is at home - or at least no one can say for certain that things aren't as they seem, Iron Man and his team reluctantly depart.
For now.


The Earthly forces of the U.S. government are hardly the only faction hunting for Doctor Strange. The HULK, freshly returned from his banishment to the far off planet Sakaar, is in New York with his blood-pact team of alien warriors; his "Warbound. Hunting for Strange, they seek the Hulk's former friend and DEFENDERS team-mate for what is believed to be the mystic's part in the death of the Hulk's wife, unborn child and much of their planet.
Despite the fact that Strange did indeed elect, with his secret cabal; the Illuminati to, once again, banish the green goliath off-world due to his ever-present danger to the Earth, in the case of the unfortunate demise of the Hulk's loved ones - Stephen Strange is innocent.
That plea of innocence falls on deaf ears as the Warbound appear at the door of the Sanctum Sanctorum and proceed to punch holes in the outer walls. Even if they must do so with the very bodies of the "Secret Avengers", as Iron Fist is sent crashing through the wall in a heap of broken wood, battered plaster, and bruised flesh.

Iron Fist is used as a door knocker. Head first.
World War Hulk # 3
Greg Pak(words)/ John Romita Jr. (pencils)/ Klaus Jans0n (inks)

What little is left of the outer defenses falls before the alien Shadow Priest; Hiroim and his powerful counter-spells.
The very walls bend and contort around the alien mystic's advance.
Strange, hands broken and useless by a personal attack from the Hulk has little chance unless he takes drastic measures.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, when a Red-Bull just isn't enough.
World War Hulk # 3
Greg Pak(words)/ John Romita Jr. (pencils)/ Klaus Jans0n (inks)

Strange ingests a portion of the very essence of the ancient demonic entity; ZOM, and is transformed into a demonic godling of giant stature and berzerker, destructive fury!

Doctor ZOM : Master of Disastrous Arts!
World War Hulk # 4
Greg Pak(words)/ John Romita Jr. (pencils)/ Klaus Jans0n (inks)

What was left of his chambers (and Hiroim) is reduced to a broken shell.

Still, near limitless power is held in slight reserve when innocents are almost harmed, and holding back, Strange is defeated by a vengeful Hulk.


However, that "World War Hulk" ends with all misunderstandings laid bare, and Strange eventually returns to hiding with the "Secret" New Avengers in his Sanctum (which he has mystically repaired yet again - as well as recasting the illusion spell of it being an abandoned structure).

That does not stop the latest forces who have gathered to tackle the renegade heroes - to settle old scores - with a fatal finality.

The Hood, a minor hooligan possessing a powerful cloak with a demonic entity within, has led an impressive array of the world's worst villainy to the Doctor's door.

His hell-spawned powers grant him the ability to pierce the illusion and see the Sanctum as it truly is. Intact. And inhabited!

Peek-a-boo! I SEE you..
New Avengers - Annual # 2
Brian Bendis (words)/ Carlo Pagulayan (pictures)

The first step is to remove the Sanctum's major enchantment of protection - the sigil window! It's very molecular structure - altered, so that enchanted wood becomes naught but dead leaves, falling, fluttering and dissipating their spell.

Leaves of glass.
New Avengers - Annual # 2
Brian Bendis (words)/ Carlo Pagulayan (pictures)

What follows is a battle royale'. A blood-bath of brutality and bullets.
Valiant Heroes against Horrific Villains in a final battle - nothing held back.

New Avengers - Annual # 2
Brian Bendis (words)/ Carlo Pagulayan (pictures)

The Hood focuses his early attention on pumping as many bullets as he can into the body of the ailing Dr. Strange - effectively killing him, and leaving the Sanctum open to destructive siege!

New Avengers - Annual # 2
Brian Bendis (words)/ Carlo Pagulayan (pictures)

However, the dark forces that imbued Stephen's body with the essence of ZOM were awoken when Strange succumbed to being as close to death as he has been in long years. Those dark forces awakened - with a vengeance!

Zomtor Strange - Tormentor Supreme!
New Avengers - Annual # 2
Brian Bendis (words)/ Carlo Pagulayan (pictures)

Friend and foeman alike were cut down by dark sorceries - effectively ending the gang war that roiled within his home, Strange also, proceeded to further destroy what was left of his home, leaving it utterly devastated.

Crawling from the wreckage.
New Avengers - Annual # 2
Brian Bendis (words)/ Carlo Pagulayan (pictures)

Also devastated was Strange himself and his tenuous hold on his magics, and as such, he must depart - to parts unknown to realign himself with the path of white magics.
He is forced to abandon his alliance with his teammates, his newfound lover; the Night Nurse and abandon his Sanctum Sanctorum - yet again.

Taking Strange off the chessboard.
New Avengers - Annual # 2
Brian Bendis (words)/ Carlo Pagulayan (pictures)


And so, that is roughly where things stand in current continuity and while Doctor Strange has been seen on rare occasion, trying to do what he can to set aright the balance of forces on Earth, he has effectively removed himself from the current goings on - and is looking to rebuild his life, rebuild his magic, rebuild his status as Sorcerer Supreme - and hopefully, in time... rebuild his Sanctum Sanctorum.

*Updated 01-06-2012*
After Dr. Strange laid waste to his sanctum, he wandered around a bit, doing what he could to reconnect himself to the realms of "white" magic.
Without a specific base of operations, as the Sanctum would be undoubtedly under constant watch by government agencies and Initiative task forces, and not wishing (or being able) to waste energies mystically hiding from sight there anymore, Strange would always just seem to appear at places where magic was going awry and/or people needed him.

HOWEVER, the Master's home would not be gone for long...


and then CONCLUDES [HERE] in the "alternate universe" examples:
- A look in the mirror before heading out.
- The Alternate Universes of the Sanctum.


Holly said...

I really, really enjoyed the New Avengers when Dr. Strange was in it. And it was so EPIC when he left like that...but now he's gone, and I'm bored. Hopefully he'll come back soon...I love these scans though! Some of my favorite art of Dr. Strange that isn't from the old comics, haha...(I HATED how they made Strange look in the Illuminate. Seriously, he has magic, he's not going to look like he just checked into a nursing home).

Also, I think Iron Fist makes a stellar door knocker. Strange should think of adding that to the Sanctum once he builds it again....

~P~ said...

I'll bet he wishes he was named (and powered) "IRON HEAD" after being sent through that heavy wooden door like that.


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