Thursday, March 14, 2013



Doctor Strange: Master of the Mystic Arts # 5
written by Steve Englehart, art by Frank Brunner


Not since 1415 with the resignation of Pope Gregory XII has a living Pope stepped down from the Papacy. Such a calling is one that is answered and followed ‘til death. When the seat of St. Peter does eventually fall vacant, the process to place a new Pontiff thereupon begins.

Still, even though Pope Benedict XVI, who replaced the beloved Pope John-Paul II upon the wizened Holy Father’s  passing, had only been bestowed of Triregnum And Pastoral Staff in 2005, he has, a scant 8 years later, decided that he is too old and infirm to continue his duties as leader of the Holy See.

Thus it turns to the College of Cardinals from around the world to form a conclave to decide who is to become the new leader of the Catholic Church. *

As nearly everyone across the world has learned, a new Pope has been chosen:
Pope Francis I (born Jorge Mario Bergoglio – of Argentina).

And while we celebrate the choosing of a new Vicar of Christ, so now, we turn our gaze to one who had nearly obtained that sacred post, and who for better or worse… was passed over.


ISAIAH , who had risen to the position of Cardinal had ahead of him one last challenge…the Papacy. He had been an excellent cleric and had thus garnered the respect of his colleagues as well as the reverence of the laity whom he served.

However, even though he was the favored choice of successor of his Pope, he would ultimately be passed over – ostensibly due to his youth – and most importantly, due to his fevered fundamentalist fanaticism. It is said that there is no worse sinner than a fallen believer, and thus when the fall is from as high as nearly becoming Pope, the sins later committed would be grievous indeed.

It was then that he found himself at the doors of the Vatican’s Library – the repository of the world’s most complete collection of books on the dark arts, that he “divined” his true purpose. Deluding himself that his being passed over for the Papacy was so that he might become God’s Personal Weapon in the war against Satan, Curwen read every volume of magic in the vast archives. This he did for six days and nights, and did neither eat nor sleep, so that upon the seventh day… he was to wrest forth the secret workings of magic!

Thus was born… SILVER DAGGER; naming himself after his weapon, the traditional destroyer of demons.

From then he renounced his position in the Church – but not his unwavering and fanatical faith – and set across the globe to study under adepts of all the dark religions, mastering them all and then slaying his instructors – meting out his own brand of the Lord’s Vengeance.
Then, at last he found his next intended target to be the ANCIENT ONE, but he was too late; the Aged Master had become One Will All and in his stead Doctor Strange stood as Sorcerer Supreme.

It was Dr. Strange whose death Curwen believed God decreed. It was to Dr. Strange that he turned his attentions. It was to Dr. Strange that Silver Dagger dealt Death!

For while other foes may have come close, SILVER DAGGER has been the only foe to not only subsequently take possession of the EYE of AGAMOTTO as well as kidnap CLEA, but to successfully bring about... 


*             It is also prophesied by St. Malachy as well as Nostrodamus that this next Pope is to be the LAST POPE and is purported to being the one at the seat during the END OF THE WORLD! (So… we have THAT to look forward to. One more shot at Armageddon.)

**           And yes, while Doc was able to “accept” his death and thus become reborn as an “immortal”, that doesn’t negate the fact that Silver Dagger stabbed him in the back (quite literally) and brought about the death of Dr. Strange. MORE about that DEATH and RESURRECTION can be found in this old post [HERE].

Silver Dagger has also slain or severely wounded several other of Strange’s associates over the years; Clea, Rama Kaliph, Jack Russel (Werewolf by Night), James Mandarin, Devil Slayer and more.


In the comments section, a poster brought up the fact that the Rabbit had been seen after this event.
Indeed. In fact, that was something which I blogged about several years ago.
But, for the sake of convenience (and completion) I will link to those here.

- The Rabbit escapes and is seen on the TV News - [HERE]
- Doc & Clea put the rabbit BACK into the hat - [HERE]

- End Update - 


As this post is but the first in the long-intended series of “Favorite Foes”, I am taking this time, and the historical religious events of the day, to showcase one of my all-time Faves…

Created by Steve Englehart and Frank Brunner.

1st appearance: Doctor Strange v2 # 1,2,4,5


Marvel Team-Up 76
Marvel Team-Up 77
Marvel Comics Presents 54/2
Marvel Comics Presents 55/2
Marvel Comics Presents 56/2-FB
Marvel Comics Presents 56/2
Marvel Comics Presents 57/2
Marvel Comics Presents 58/2
Marvel Comics Presents 59/2
Over The Edge 2

(chronology thanks in part to the "Chronology Project")

All images from DOCTOR STRANGE: SPECIAL EDITION # 1 (a reprinting of that classic storyline)
but YOU can buy the entire thing in the fabulous TPB: from Amazon (and I'd appreciate it if you ordered it from my widget here)


Mithrandir said...

Interesting post, interesting villain! The fact that the silver dagger can pass through Doc's magic defenses reminds me to that story (don't remember its name, sorry) when Wong had cancer/mortal disease and Doc fought a cure for him (in a tiny bottle guarded by a demon). Then one tried to steal it from him and shot with an enchanted gun - Strange didn't expect that and the bullet went through his shield, almost ko'ing him.

Anonymous said...

@ Mithrandir: Note also that Silver Dagger cleverly exploited a flaw in Strange's defenses. In a sequence not shown above, Clea had summoned a rabbit--pulling it out of a hat in the time-honored stage tradition--as a joke; a later scene had her playing with the rabbit beneath the Sanctum's window. This was the opportunity that Silver Dagger (who had presumably been casing the joint) seized to broach Strange's defenses and effect his entry: he cast a spell to enlarge the rabbit to the size of a cow and then compelled it to leap through the window--reasoning that neither enlarging a rabbit nor breaking a window from the inside constituted a direct threat. (He may also have chosen the rabbit as his focus because, having been newly introduced, it would not have been covered by any magical protections Strange might have placed upon members of his household.)

I like to think that, following this adventure, Strange put some serious effort into fine-tuning his firewalls.

Anonymous said...

The second Marvels mini-series has a reference to the giant rabbit running loose in Greenwich.
I always thought it a shame Silver Dagger and Mordo couldn't hang out—"I was fit to be the leader of the church, but they decided I was morally questionable!" "Wow, I totally get where you're coming from—I was way better than the guy my mentor picked to replace me!"-Fraser

Nathan Adler said...

How cool would it be to see a Strange story launching off the recent news by having Curwen appointed as the final pope!?

~P~ said...

Yes, the OATH was awesome, yet it was far from the only time someone got past Dr. Strange's defensive spells around the Sanctum.
Depending on the whims of the writer(s), such by-passing happens with alarming regularity.

Yup, you point out the "caveat" that Steve Englehart used so that Silver Dagger could gain entry: ie; none of his spells were actually "evil". A good way to by-pass the spells in as locigal a manner as can be expected when dealing with the "non-rules" of magic.

Yes, in fact I had posed a few entries several years back detailing those events...
The Bunny escaping and being shown on the TV News (MARVELS: Eye of the Camera):

As well as how Doc and Clea put the Rabbit BACK in the hat again:

But I'll also tag these on as an update to the end of this post - for better ease.


Yup. That was kinda what prompted me to post this entry now. The happenstance of the Pope's election coinciding with the fact that SILVER DAGGER (is probably the ONLY character who) could have been POPE was too much to pass up.

Nathan Adler said...

I thought maybe:)

In Marvel Team-Up #76-77, Claremont shows Silver Dagger reading the Shiatra Book of the Damned in the Vatican library during Curwen's time as a Cardinal of the Catholic Church. This book was later retconned to be one of the many names of the Darkhold. I suspect, however, that Claremont's use of the term 'Damned' suggests a different intention, and that the Book was originally intended as an indestructible parchment which Kierrok managed to infuse his mystical knowledge into, later used as the basis of the tale about Chthon's leaving the Darkhold to provide a gateway for his eventual return. Recall Claremont intended the N'Garai in every reference he made to the Elder Gods. Claremont had he remained on Dr. Strange had a story planned to have Curwen become our ages High Priest of the N'Garai, equivalent to the Hyborian Age's Kulan Gath.

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