Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mystic Hands of Doctor Strange

I'm not a guy that follows writers. I mostly attempt to follow characters. That has led me to make some bad decisions before, such as buying Jimmy Palmiotti's "Deadpool" run. I'm a fan of Doctor Strange, mostly because his Hero Clix figure was a giant swiss army knife.
Eugene on War Rocket Ajax remarked, recently, that it seems anthologies are on the rise. I might be inclined to agree with him. As an anthology book of Doctor Strange, in B&W, the book is what you expect from it, a mixed bag.
Kieron Gillen leads off spectacularly with "The Cure". The gentle nudges to the makeup of the world at the beginning that tip Strange off to problems of the magical kind are clever and subtle, up until that point where Clara is going to rob a bank. The placement of it on the right page, bottom corner, gives it a forced pause to snap the reader out of the motions of reading and give them a moment of sudden realization akin to, perhaps, what Strange felt.
Whats of particular notice to me is the time of the setting. The story is set in 1975. It takes advantage of the turmoil of that time. I suppose my only critique to that date is that we see a Dr. Strange that looks much like the one used in 2010. Strange apparently ages very well.
But still, the story, itself, is marvelous.
Peter Milligan tackles the second story with "Melancholia". Here, instead of Strange, protector of the real, we have Strange presented as a man able to cure exotic problems. While not bad, I suppose I am burned out on Strange stories that deal with him entering a man's mind to fix him in some way. I can't help but compare this to Fraction's use of Strange in Invincible Iron Man. That was excellent. Without as much space as Fraction had to use Strange Milligan's story just comes up a bit short.
Ted McKeever brings his fabulous art with him to the third tale "So this is how it feels..." In this story, Strange is just as fallable as any man, and I think this Strange has the most potential to carry his own ongoing series. While the story is not the best of them, it is another twist on Strange, and makes him a more accessible character for readers.
Finally, there's Mike Carey's "Duel in the Dark Dimension" which is a prose piece. Its 2 pages of words and a single picture. I tried doing something like that in College, Dave Simms did that in Cerebus, and "Poison Elves" started in this format. There's a reason why 1)I'm not a comic writer, 2) a lot of Cerebus readers HATE Jaka's story, and 3) Poison Elves switched to a more conventional comic format.
In all, the anthology did do one thing for me, it made me want to go out and write my own Dr. Strange script.

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