Thursday, February 16, 2012



No. This hasn’t suddenly become a MONTY PYTON fan-site. It’s just that I was working on a series of upcoming posts detailing a number of concerns that I have with Doctor Strange’s handling over the years, and the number of specific points kept going up. As soon as I detailed what my major peeve was, that one would bring forth another. What started as ONE item, soon became THREE. Then, after I detailed those three (and actually wrote much of the three posts, and then wrote this post), a FOURTH rose to the top (and I had to toss out some great jokes dealing with "3's"). Between this increasing number of points and that thought of how my accusatory in-the-works blog-posts might be seen as some kind of  “Inquisition”, thus led the ‘Spanish Inquisition’ skit to bloom full into my noggin.

That which THEN led me to think of the time that DOCTOR STRANGE came close to dying at the hands of those he would least expect...



So, here, as a prelude to my standing as Grand Inquisitor over Marvel’s unholy witchcraft on Dr. Strange (yeah, I know… that was a bit much, just go with it)… I present to you a portion of DOCTOR STRANGE; Master of the Mystic Arts # 52 by Roger Stern, Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin.

This issue blends the "romance" of an eternal love, the sexiness of a shirtless, sideburns-rockin' Stephen Strange, a little time-travel cosplay, and the dynamism of an action-hero adventure where Strange relies more on his muscles than his magic!
(So, to the ladies and my gay readers, I say; "You're welcome.") 

*Remember... all images can be made larger by a click (or a right-click - open in new tab)

 Now THAT's a cover! Not only is it a stylishly designed "pin-up",
but all of that crazy crap actually happens IN the issue!

While on a journey through time, Doctor Strange traveled back through the multiple past lives of then-future girlfriend; Morganna Blessing, in order to capture her soul-shard and thus save her life and the very existence of humankind’s collective consciousness.
This mission was cast to Strange by the fear-lord; Nightmare, who knew that if the shard was not stopped, mankind would soon go mad – or perish, and so too would he.

After materializing in 15th century Spain, Stephen Strange meets the living incarnation of she who will bear the soul shard, but is quickly betrayed… drugged… and cast before the Inquisitor’s tribunal.

What happens next is a delightful hallmark of the Roger Stern era of Doctor Strange – one where he is an adept physical combatant - wherein he fights, hand-to-hand, utilizing the martial arts training that he received while studying magic in Tibet, this time against the forces of the Spanish army.

Marshall Rogers’s exemplary input was his always innovative and imaginative displays of sorcery –especially his method of portraying dimensional travel – but also his skills as an architectural illustrator.
 His Doctor Strange existed within realistically rendered settings. With an added flourish of choreographing scenes in a manner that the great Steve Ditko or Will Eisner would admire, (and future artists like Marcos Martin would emulate,) Rogers allows for a sequence of events to be carried out over a multi-panel backdrop that manages to maintain showing the whole of the environment in which it takes place.

Still, despite not EXPECTING the Spanish Inquisition, Doctor Strange more than proved himself able to handle this sect and not only escape with his life, but defeat its lead Inquisitor.

I won’t give away the rest of the battle or the ending… save, suffice it to say, sadly, he failed in his mission, and had to continue his quest for the macguffin soul-shard further into the past.

But therein lies a tale for another day.

There is nothing about this issue that causes me grief. It is excellently written, with a tightly-paced plot, on-the-nose characterization, superb (if not a little cartoonish at times) illustration, and best of all, while it is a part of a larger multi-issue arc, this issue stands on its own and is not, in any way decompressed. In fact, this is but one chapter in the issue (there are three – each fully realized with beginning, middle and end)!
THIS is how comics should be done!

I did not present scans of the entire issue, nor the entire story (but one chapter in that issue), so that you might enjoy the experience of discovering it on your own (and keep me under the radar of litigious mouse-eared lawyers).
The issue and the arc can be found – among other stories, in the following collected editions:

The team of Roger Stern and Marshall Rogers were among the very best tenures of caretakers for the mystic master. While Rogers was only on the title for a scant few issues, Stern’s other artistic counterparts included; Paul Smith, Dan Green, Steve Leialoha, Bret Blevens, Michael Golden and more!


Jade said...

Holla! This lady reader appreciated it for sure :)
Can't wait to read the upcoming posts.


Shlomo Ben Hungstien said...

what a cool scripted this story so reminds me of one of those Star Trek time travel episodes. i think i mentioned in one of my earliest comments on this blog how i like it when Dr. Strange has to once in a while rely on his brawn rather then magic once in a while.
check out this Dr. Strange vs. Dr. Fate crossover cover concept i just found:

H said...

Saw your tweet on New Avengers #22... what a disappointment that was. Strange and Ms. Marvel might as well not have been there.

H said...

NA #21, I mean.

Have I been giving He Who Shall Not be Named too much credit? I keep thinking, "Well, he's done this to Strange -- he must be going somewhere with it. There must be reason. This is going to be significant later. He's put Strange on New Avengers for a purpose. He's going to do something with the character." And now I'm starting to think, "No, he didn't have a reason, he's not going anywhere, he's not going to redeem this. He just did it to make his life as a writer easier."

And the more I think about it, the less hope I have for anything good or redemptive coming out of AvX.

Post a Comment