Well, it has begun. The future of Marvel magic, and by extension Doctor Strange, is being shaped by our buddy Brian Michael Bendis right here in the pages of the new New Avengers. This issue had some other stuff about Luke Cage moving his team into the Avengers Mansion, but I wasn’t really paying attention to that. The part that really had me by the frontal lobe was the ten pages focusing on the Marvel mysticism. Doctor Strange is in a couple of those pages, and his possessed husk is in a couple more, but this is mostly a story about the Helmet of Fate Eye of Agamotto.
This book actually opens with Steven Strange, which is a good thing in my opinion. Daimon Hellstrom, who likes sitting in the park with no shirt on so people can get a good look at the inverse pentagram scored into his chest, has asked Strange to meet with him to confer about the recent breaches into reality by outside forces. Or does he? It turns out it was all a trap as it was not Daimon who requested Strange’s help at all, but one of those very entities that has infiltrated our dimension… by POSSESSION! On page two we lose the Doc as he is also possessed by one of these beings.
A few pages of avengers stuff happen then we get back to the mystical storyline as the entities possessing Strange and Hellstrom show up in the Sanctum Sanctorum of Doctor Voodoo in New Orleans. Voodoo is not fooled as easily as the former Sorcerer Supreme was and instantly spots the two interlopers. After arguing some more with his dead brother he begins his counteroffensive. I am going to give this to Voodoo. As unhappy as I am with Strange not noticing that Daimon was possessed, or that Daimon was possessed in the first place, voodoo is all about possession and Doctor Voodoo would be an elite specialist. After realizing that he was outclassed Voodoo uses “Caroni’s Teleportation Spell for Endangered Material Possessions” to send the Eye of Agamotto to Luke Cage. Because Power Man is certainly the go to guy for dealing with this sort of thing. Apparently.
The last page of the book is one panel featuring a gigantic Luke Cage holding the opened Eye of Agamotto, although whether he is possessed by the Eye or one of the daemons is unclear. We are promised that this will be continued.
I am wary at this point. I am a bit of a fanboy and tend to like anything I have decided is in my realm of interest. Even so, something here feels like it is going to kick me in the “junk” then giggle like a fat kid. I did enjoy the fact that every time a spell was cast there was a note on the page telling the name of the spell and in what arcane tome it can be found. This is a clever way for Bendis to show that magic, or at least sorcery, in the Marvel universe will now be something codified and learnable to those with the talent. I did not like that all of existence seems focused on the Eye of Agamotto though, and that it is still acting like the Helm of Fate or a Green Lantern ring. Oh well, it’s not like they tried to do anything absurd like shoehorning Wolverine into the story as some some of mystical messiah or anything…
Overall I am very warily positive about this book. There were a lot of things I did not like, but things are going a new direction whether I like it or not and once a solid foundation is laid Strange will once again regain the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme, perhaps even with a decent costume change for once, and good stories can be told once again.