Not a new post, really.

Man, I never even got around to actually making a header graphic. That thrown together monstrosity sitting at the top of the page is my Ozymandias.

This is not a full on Strange Occasions post, but I happen to have a couple of comics and a couple of hours. I can’t think of any better way to spend them then to tell you about some of this week’s Strange Occasions.

Avengers Academy #10

This issue features Doctor Strange on the cover battling alongside the students of the Academy against some tentacled horror in a warped dimension. Add in the “Magic 101” prominently on the cover and I was hoping for a pretty fantastic showing from Stephen Strange. What he got instead was this:

Yep, that is all of it.

Thunderbolts #154 – The Man Thing is being criticized by government bureaucrats and is in danger of being replaced by a jet due to his unpredictability. Things get even stickier when Jennifer Kale, an old associate of Doctor Strange, kidnaps him and returns him to his native Florida swamps. Good old Ted has made friends in the Thunderbolts though and, after killing an extra-dimensional lizard, decided to return to his artificial habitat. His good will convinces the government that maybe he can be a useful addition to the team, but not without a mystically adept keeper:

Yep. Doctor Strange, Thunderbolt Supreme.

Fear Itself (sketchbook) – Doctor Strange also makes a teeny tiny appearance in the back of a Marvel promotional flyer this week. This doesn’t mean he will have anything to do with the Fear Itself event, but at least he isn’t being completely overlooked.

I want to take a moment to thank everybody for the kind words they have sent my way. I really do appreciate all of it. I enjoy the character of Doctor Strange, and wanted to share my observations of him in a new way. I also thought it would be pretty neat to have a comprehensive chronological reference to his appearances all gathered together in one spot, complete with summaries and pictures. I was right! Unfortunately I do not seem to be the one destined to do that.

Then again, knowing the way these things work I will be given back the mantle in a year of so and all this nonsense will be conveniently forgotten. Until then, May Your Amulet Never Tarnish!

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No more Sorcerer Supreme…

No more Strange Occasions. Recent life events will not allow me to update this page for the indefinite future and I am not sure when I will be in a place where I am able to do this again. It seems best just to end this now and hope that I can do it again someday instead of saying that I will get back to it as soon as I am able.

Thanks everybody, it was fun.

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Strange Occasions for the week of Decenber 2nd, 2010

I am posting a little late tonight because I was busy trying to make Ptor from Sanctum Sanctorum Comix jealous by attending Spacenite 2. This is a great cause that I suggest you look into. Unfortunately, this delay was not too much of a problem as it was a very light week on the Doctor Strange front. It is likely that Stephen will be lost in Limbo until the folks at Marvel are ready to put him on his next step to regaining his power, or possibly updating his character with a whole new power. Until then we will likely only get a few reprints and some tangential references. Iron Man/Thor: God Complex had a very tangential reference in the form of the Crimson Dynamo, who is still being boosted by Baron Mordo’s mystical amulet. Not quite enough there to merit an inclusion in the list of Strange Occasions. This was a good week for Hellstorm: Son of Satan though, an often times Defender and long time associate of Doc Strange. He was in the Chaos War: God Squad one shot, which Doctor Strange is still not in, and he had his collector magazine come out this week. Of course, I had to open one up and peek inside.

Classic Marvel Figurine Collection – Hellstorm: Son of Satan – If you have managed to avoid this leaden narcotic published every fortnight by Eaglemoss Publications then I salute you. The “magazine” part of these magazines is a couple of pages of images of the featured character interspersed with a bit of an old article discussing their history and career highlights.  I don’t think anybody buys these magazines for the magazines though. Included with every one is a hand painted lead figure that sits on my computer desk and makes me feel silly for spending my money on stuff I really don’t need. Of course this particular one, being about a Mystical Marvel Hero, is full of mentions and pictures of Doctor Strange.

Marvel Masterworks: The Defenders vol. 2 HC – I think this may have been released last week, but my shop just got it in today. This book follows the adventures of our favorite non-team through reprints of Defenders #7 – 16, Giant-Size Defenders #1, and Avengers #115 – 118. I particularily like the Defenders War story, these comics never fail to bring a smile to my face.

Gold Digger: Books of Magic #3 – Okay, this isn’t Doctor Strange and the comic seems to be just a few sketches and a list of spells formatted as if for some role playing game. But that guy on the cover, who appears nowhere inside as far as I can tell, is obviously influenced by the Master of the Mystic Arts.

Not for lack of trying, that was all I could find to sate myself with this week. If you saw the Sorcerer Supreme Homaged Hermetic in any other titles this week please post it in the comments and I will add it to the list.

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Strange Occasions for Wednesday November 24th, 2010

It may be a day or two late, but it is well worth the wait. My friendly local comic shop finally got their books in late Friday evening, but I was unable to make it out there until after work today. It looks like I did not miss much, and the lack of comments on my interim entry seems to confirm this. But Stephen Strange was present this week, and so was Stephen Strange.

Ultimate Spider-Man 150 – This landmark book contains a story where Spider-Man is having trouble with his sense of self. To complicate things for poor Peter Parker he is supposed to write a report for school on the hero who is most influential to him. Of course, this is best portrayed in a montage of the people who have influenced his life that includes Dr. Strange. No, not the one who is actually a doctor but his alternate continuity son Stevie Strange. It is a beautiful two-page spread by P. Craig Russell that I would love to have a larger version of. That’s a hint Marvel Product Development Team.

There is also a small image of Stephen and his buddy Wong on the back of the book mixed into the wraparound collage that makes up the cover drawn by David LaFuente.

Marvel Masterworks Doctor Strange vol. 01 TPB – I had totally forgotten I had ordered this book and it was a delight to find it waiting for me. This volume collects full color reprintings of Strange Tales #110-111, 114-141 and Amazing Spider-Man Annual #2. These are some great stories and some wonderful art. If you don’t already have the hard cover version of this book then you need to go out right now and get this trade. I am having difficulty putting it down long enough to write this blurb.

And with that I leave you to your own private desires for old comics you probably already own several times over in various formats. But fear not, in just a few short days we will have this week’s installment of Strange Occasions. Until then, if you saw the Sorcerer Supreme Classic Conjurer  in any other titles this week please post it in the comments and I will add it to the list.

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Good News, Everybody!

Bad news, everybody. Due to poor weather my comics will not be arriving this week. This is bad news for me, but worse for my local comic shop. If only I, like my hero Doctor Strange, could use sorcery to compensate for the whims of the weather.

I had briefly considered going to a different shop in order to maintain my deadline, but decided against it. My CBG is kind enough to let me paw through dozens of books every week trying to get my Strange fix, and because of that I cannot help but be loyal. I will hopefully be able to do this week’s post on Saturday, but it may be as late as Monday. Also remember that next week new comic day is on Thursday, so the post will be delayed then as well. For now, however, let me leave you with this:

This is some of the best writing for Doctor Strange we have seen in a while, so enjoy it.

If you notice any Strange Occasions this week, please post them in the comments. When I do get around to doing the proper entry for this week I will be certain to add them all.

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Strange Occasions for the week of November 17th, 2010

After the much touted end of the Marvel Magic arc in New Avengers #6 last week it is no surprise that Doctor Strange is scarce today. It is probably going to take him a while to get over all those genre-shattering changes, or possibly even notice them. This week, however, is not entirely without its Strange Occasions.

Marvel Super Action #1 – This magazine format periodical showcases several stories from the Marvel Black and White comics that have recently been released, including a couple gems from The Mystic Hands of Doctor Strange. Reprinted here are “So This Is How It Feels” by Ted McKeever and “The Cure” by Kieron Gillen and Frazer Irving.

And that is all I was able to find. Well, unless you count the mention of The Revengers in the Cancerverse entry of Heroic Age: Villians. If you saw the Sorcerer Supreme Monochromatic Mesmer  in any other titles this week please post it in the comments and I will add it to the list.

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New Avengers #6

As predicted, promised and/or threatened, it is time for my review of New Avengers #6. This the the grand finale to the story arc that was to change the face of Marvel Magic forever, and therefore almost guaranteed to be a mind-blowing bit of storytelling. Almost.

This issue begins before it begins with the bit of plot exposition on the title page that is intended to remind readers of what has been going on in the story so far. This is a great vehicle for not only enabling readers to stay withing the narrative flow after having had a month of downtime since the last part of the story, but also allowing new readers to pick up the book and jump in without too much confusion. But this should not be abused. You should not, for instance, say in this bit that the reason Agamotto has gone berserk is because he has been ousted from the Vishanti and he needs the Eye, which is now his actual eye and his only weakness, back to protect him from their attacks. Wait, what? Apparently that happened. That could have been an awesome bit of comics story, why was it relegated to a tiny paragraph before the actual comic began? Well, the real answer is because Bendis is a bit of a hack. Unfortunately as fans we now need to try to tie this all into the logic of the Marvel world and we don’t have a lot to go on. But now to the bit of the story we are told in this issue. Keep in mind, this will change everything.

This issue begins where the last one left off. The Avengers have just supercharged their secret weapon, the Mighty Mystical Fast Ball Special. Using the Eye of Agamotto Wolverine, because even Deadpool has some dignity, is shunted to the Light Dimension, apparent home of Agamotto, where Earth’s first and finest Sorcerer Supreme begins the battle for what we are told is his very existance with a spell borrowed from Karl Mordo. Yeah, that happened.

Wolverine versus Agamotto for the fate of the universe

Then the battle proper begins, which is really an uninspiring bit of story in my opinion. Agamotto continues to take the forms of people from Wolverine’s past, and Wolverine never once is fooled and continues to punch Agamotto in the face. Interspersed in this mystical battle are shots of the Avengers watching the course of events, and Doctor Voodoo getting increasingly edgy as the struggle continues. Doctor Strange had to learn patience before he could master Sorcery. Jericho Drumm accepted his anger before he embraced the path of the Hougan. While perhaps necessary, it was maybe not he best idea to make Jericho the anchor for all their power. Between the super-charged Wolverine and Agamotto there is a bit of mystical back and forth, at least that is what the spell text listed at the bottom of the pages tell us. Also, apparently this Wabawab guy was a jerk with a real penchant for magical torture. In the end it all boils down to Agamotto and Wolverine punching each other with some glowy bits around them. There is none of the intellectual back and forth you would expect from a magical battle. None of the finesse you should have in a Doctor Strange story.

Doctor Strange watches in horror as he realizes how it will end.

Ah, but there it is! This is not, nor ever was a Doctor Strange story. We have been reminded several times that Doctor Voodoo, the Brothers Drumm, is the Sorcerer Supreme. It has been easy to forget because Voodoo has been extremely passive and ineffective in this story, even for one of Bendis’ Sorcerers Supreme, but it was always his duty to defend against this threat and the consequences of failure were always his to bear. But not his alone. Jericho Drumm shares his body with the spirit of his brother Daniel, the previous Brother Voodoo. The very same Daniel Drumm who, as it just so happens, is currently wandering aimlessly throughout the Light Dimension. Of course, Daniel has always been the more family focused of the brothers, and the more duty focused. He is certainly not going to let some alien caterpillar thing beat up his little brother.

Daniel Drumm, the original Brother Voodoo, sucker punches Agamotto

This is where things all go wrong. Agamotto feels the terms of the challenge have been violated and he starts to unleash his full might on both Wolverine and Daniel. Jericho, who still feels guilt over his brother’s death, loses all control of himself and enters the fray directly, along with the Eye. This is something that Agamotto may have been hoping for all along. Or maybe I am giving Bendis too much credit there. At any rate, things don’t seem to go too well for either of them. Fueled by pure rage Doctor Voodoo is able to Banish, or possibly even kill, Agamotto. For all time. Which is long, even for a god-like being such as the All-Seeing. The price was not low, however. Jericho Drumm, Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme, had to give his own life in order to accomplish that task, thus fulfilling Marvel’s “one of these Avengers” will die teaser.

Stephen Strange does not seem to understand how this works

Doctor Strange seems confounded by this turn of events, but I am not sure why. If he is asking why Jericho would sacrifice himself for the good of the universe, well that should be pretty self evident. Perhaps Strange is wondering why Jericho would give into an obvious ploy and let himself be killed in the process? It is also possible that Strange is wondering why Jericho would forfeit the eye, which apparently means the earth is left with no Sorcerer Supreme. Or maybe, just maybe, Bendis is continuing to write him as an incompetent boob. We are not left long to wonder though because Daniel Drumm, the other Brother Voodoo, has posessed Luke Cage and is about to fulfill this issue’s quota of Strange Punchin’.

Here's the windup...Of course, Bendis is still on a personal mission to prove me wrong and Doctor Strange is rescued in the nick of time by the Thing. Lucky for the Doc that Ben hasn’t taken his turn human again potion yet. There is a brief struggle between the Drumm possessed Luke Cage and the Thing, which ends in Daniel swearing revenge and then disappearing, and then Damien storms out of the remains of the mansion to yell at the crown of gathered citizenry.

A tongue lashing from the Son of SatanThe end. That is how Earth’s greatest mystical battle of all time went down. Somehow, I’m not feeling it.

In the end, this issue really did not satisfactorily end this arc for me, and it certainly did not shake the foundations of Marvel Magic. Sure, something is going on in a realm we don’t usually have insight to. It is also probably true that there will be no more Sorcerer Supreme, at least not one who assumes the authority of office through the Eye of Agamotto. These things have happened before though with only Stephen Strange noticing, and he was able to work around them in the past. We did get some insight into the Rage of Drumm event that has been forecast. I think Daniel may be coming back to kick Strange while he is down. He could also be the incredible new villainous force that was hinted at. If Daniel still has access to the light dimension, not to mention all of it’s now unaligned minions, he might be able to cause some real problems for the folks back on Earth. I guess we shall see in time, and hopefully through the pen of a decent writer.

I did not care for this book, but at least it is over. Now we get to look forward to the Bendismantling of the Illuminati…

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