Don’t mess with Dr. Strange

Dr. Strange isn’t as popular as he should be.  The Sorcerer Supreme, Stephen Strange, MD, commands all the magic of the cosmos.  I’m not entirely sure what that means either, but he cast spells, collects magical relics, and battles with demons.  And despite the prematurely grey streaks in his hair, his ornately manner of speaking, and an outfit that resembles a disco magician – the dude’s actually a really cool superhero.

He premiered in Strange Tales #110, written by Stan Lee and drawn by Steve Ditko in 1963 within that same two-year span that also spawned Spider-Man, Hulk, the Fantastic Four and others.  He looked a little different in his first appearance:

Before he became master of the occult, he was the best surgeon in the world.  Unfortunately, he was also arrogant and selfish.  One day, he crashed his car into a tree while speeding and his hands became shattered and unable to ever hold a scalpel again.  How sad.  Searching for cures, he found an old man called the Ancient One in the Himalayas who taught him magic instead.  Now he’s selfless and even joined the Avengers for a while.  Happy ending.

Today, we’re looking at a few select scenes from the miniseries Doctor Strange: The Oath #1-5, written by Brian K. Vaughan and drawn by Marcos Martin.  We start at the offices of Night Nurse, a doctor with a cape that discreetly treats superheroes to protect their secret identities and whatnot.

Someone has to treat mace wounds, and the family doctor just isn’t as familiar with heavy weaponry. Frantically, Dr. Strange bursts in with a gunshot wound.  I’m as shocked as you are.  Today, we’re not going to focus so much on the plot as we are a few of the super cool moments from the miniseries. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is totally my favorite comic I’ve read in months.

When incapacitated, Strange can astral project himself so he can still communicate.  Or flirt.  Takes a brave man to make a move on a doctor while currently being operated on.

Also, no one wounds our mustachioed superhero and gets away with it.  But first, a little back story that prompted the shooting.  Introducing Dr. Strange’s assistant Wong:

This arc is about Wong just as much as Dr. Strange.  Y’see, Wong found out he has cancer and Dr. Strange just discovered a dimension hiding what he’s looking for:

Yes, this is the moment that everything goes downhill.  First, he gets shot:

What weapon can possibly penetrate Dr. Strange’s barriers?  Did you guess the actual gun used by Hitler to commit suicide and then doused in some evil voodoo stuff?  I’m sure you were close.  Sadly for Brigand, he can’t backflip his way from fate.  Magical fate.  Especially when Dr. Strange finds his buddy murdered:

Now it’s Detective Strange.  Though Sherlock Holmes usually doesn’t figure out his mysteries the same way Strange does:

After an exciting trip through the mind of a serial killer, time to dispose of the trash:

I love the coloring showing a twinge of moral darkness in that last panel.

I’ve stated before the biggest problem with comic book magic: because it’s not restrained by things like reality or physics, comic book magic can be anything, do anything, and solve anything depending on the whims of the writer.  So how does someone keep stories involving sorcerers interesting?  Well, what’s the one thing magic can’t beat?  Duh, more powerful magic.

Luckily for our protagonist, super strong magic isn’t going to stop him, leading to one of the most badass scenes in the miniseries:

Awesome, right?  What trick does he use to stop this rampaging demonic slug?  Does it involve Hitler?  I’m not going to show you, but it doesn’t mean I don’t respect our friendship.  Look, I so adore this book and I really want you to buy it.  Because I care about you.

Anyway, a few scenes from the climax showcasing more of a badass Dr. Strange:

And the twist for their final confrontation?

I love it.  The ending is just as amazing, of course.  I don’t want to spoil it for you, but it wouldn’t hurt to tell you something you’ve no doubt figured out already.  When the Sorcerer Supreme exhibits that much core-rocking confidence, this is inevitable:

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