This month’s big dose of Strange hit the stores on Wednesday and I am still not feeling the punch. You know who is though? Doctor Strange.
Large portions of this comic felt rushed, both Stuart Immonen’s art and Brian Bendis’ writing. To be fair though, the art was good more often than the writing. It kind of feels like Bendis spent the majority of his time on the Avengers Assemble oral history and rushed out the script for the comic portion. Fortunatly, not much was going on in this issue, it was basically all one short action scene.
Issue #2 opens right where issue #1 left off, with a demon-posessed Luke Cage claiming the Eye of Agamotto in the name of his dark master “The He”. Then a bunch of punching happens. I found the initial brawl for the Eye to be less than amazing. Indeed, it felt a bit like a scene from a Marx Brothers movie, complete with zany one-liners to accompany every major blow. Eventually Wolverine, who obviously would have a pivotal role in this Avengers story about Doctor Strange’s jewelry, throws the Eye out into the neighboring park and punches both Strange and Hellstrom. They’re okay though, he only “popped a little bit of claw.” Fortunately for everyone, the fight is moved outside and Strange and Hellstrom are both freed from their posession by the physical trauma of getting stabbed. As we should all be aware by now, getting stabbed sucks for Doctor Strange, but it rarely slows him down.
After healing himself and the Son of Satan, and I just realized abandoning a baby, Strange and gang rush out to join the fight in the park. It seems that the demons getting the Eye is a bad thing. It is again frustrating to me that Bendis’ would complain about how the power of magic is unbalancing in the Marvel Universe, then he amps up the power of magic and magic items to disturbingly high levels. That seems a bit counterproductive to me.
The fight in the park concludes, with a minimum of civilian casualties, when the demon jumps from Luke Cage into Iron Fist and absconds to his home dimension with the eye. This is a bad thing.
I did not dislike this comic. I actually enjoyed the slightly silly banter during the fight and it was nice to see Doctor Strange doing more than stuttering about how he can’t do anything. I can’t say I liked it though. The writing was lacking and at the end of it I neither felt the sting of impending doom or the galvanized willpower of the heroes as they set out to do what must be done. This felt more like a overly long rehash of the last couple pages of the first issue than a proper installment. Perhaps next month things will get moving again.