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  1. #1
    Junior Member Tulku's Avatar
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    Default Doctor Strange #19/Doc & the Sorcerers Supreme # 7 (Spoilers Magically Appear)

    I hope I didn't violate some rule by combining both books on this thread, but it seems more reasonable to have both books open for discussion.

    Doc #19: My patience with Aaron & Bachalo has pretty much run out. This issue shows Aaron's usual obsessions with Doc's eating and puking habits. We keep coming back to this and I still haven't decided whether Aaron (a) thinks it is funny (it's not); (b) thinks it is insightful & deep (it's not); or (c) thinks it has some sort of creepy horror vibe (it doesn't--and Doctor Strange is NOT a horror magazine!). This issue also re-displays what has been obvious for some time: Aaron has no idea how to write spells. We are treated to more "By [fill-in-the-blank].." or "In the name of [fill-in-the-blank]." Pathetic.

    Mr. Aaron, a suggestion: Try doing some actual research on the character you are writing. You quite obviously did not bother to do that with Dr. Strange. We are treated to a declaration from Doc that "love's not even the job description for a sorcerer supreme"--flatly contradicting established Strange history (for example Strange Tales (Vol. 2) #19--what a coincidence in the issue number!)(I could list several other issues from Doc's history to the same point, but let's leave it at that).

    I have also grown tired of Bachalo's inability to depict things clearly. This issue featured a "final" (for now!) battle with Mr. Misery. I'm not sure what happened in that battle because Bachalo's art failed to convey it with any sense. Considering that the point of artwork in a comic book is to Help Tell The Story, Bachalo fails as a comic book artist. Bachalo's desire to be obscure is a hindrance to the enjoyment of the comic, not something to be complimented.

    So, for me, the only good part of this issue was the "Next Issue" page, which promises that it will be the last we see of both Aaron & Bachalo. I can't wait!!!!

    DS&SS #7: This is, by far, the better of the two Doc books. Better story, better art. Unfortunately, this is not the best issue to prove that--although most of the problem is that Robbie Thompson is saddled with Aaron's poorly-thought-out "End of Magic" storyline. So the Sorcerers are now in the present day. Doc warns them that their magic will be weaker because of what has happened. Okay, let's pause there. If it were true that it is just in this time period that the effects of the Death of Magic applies, then Doc should have been at full power when he went back into the past. But he wasn't. But let that go--as it happens, the rule is not absolute. Yao's magic appear to work just fine, while Demon Rider's magic is weaker--but still stronger than Strange. And Newton, wielding the Word of God, didn't seem to be having any trouble. So the whole concept is really random in its effects. But maybe I am being too harsh here: that would explain why other magic users in other books were apparently unaffected. Thompson may just be highlighting what an incredibly inconsistent (i.e., stupid) idea Aaron had.

    Actually, the real weakness in this issue is just that, while it is set up to be a Big Battle Issue, there is not much going on. It feels more like a filler book: one of those written to expand the story long enough to make a decent sized trade paperback. IMHO, this is a major weakness in current comics: stories are not being written at a pace that best serves the story. They are written at a pace that best serves the marketing of trade paperbacks. In the old days we would get the occasional filler issue, usually when a writer got behind on deadlines, but these days you can almost always expect a filler issue in ever storyline. This is the one for this storyline. It is not a bad issue--like I said, it is far far far far far far far far better than any issue Aaron has written involving Dr. Strange. It is just a little disappointing coming from Thompson.

    YMMV.
    "Age is not defined by years, but by regrets...I'm an old man now." --Fighting Yank, "Project Superpowers"

  2. #2
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    How would you say Thompson's characterization of Strange compares, out-of-curiosity?

  3. #3
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    Thompson seems to at least remember things from Strange's past, instead of wiping everything away like Aaron, so he doesn't need continuity. I haven't read SS7 yet, but the Fangs of Fallah were used in issue 6. More importantly to me, Strange had knowledge, and in magic that is power (at least in my definition). You don't just blast things, you have to know stuff. In this case he suggested that a curse that Wiccan had wasn't a death sentence, that it could be used. This is the strategic thinker I have always seen Strange as, not the "never stop hitting" Aaron mantra.

    I do agree with Tulku it is odd that Strange's power was so limited in the magic rich past, since the difference in power levels at different times was specifically introduced, but compared to all the months of suffering with Aaron's view, I am willing to give this person more leeway, since he remembered SOME things.

  4. #4
    Junior Member Tulku's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    How would you say Thompson's characterization of Strange compares, out-of-curiosity?
    Interesting question. I think I would say that Aaron's Strange behaves more like an adolescent, while Thompson's Strange is more mature. Aaron's Strange tends to be more self-centered, while Thompson's cares more about others. For example, in DS&SS #7, Strange makes sure that Yao and Joao get medical attention--caring about their health even though Yao's ability to use magic would probably have been helpful in the battle. Doc also cautions Wiccan against overuse of the Mark of Sorrow (whose use he had explained to Wiccan in the prior issue). Doc is portrayed as a teaching figure, an advisor, a caring figure. There is nothing really comparable in Aaron's work, despite Doc's efforts to save Wong in the current issue, it still comes across more as an adolescent refusal to have a friend taken from him than a mature adult caring about all those he meets.

    Way back when Steve Englehart wrote the first Silver Dagger storyline, he made a distinction between Dagger as a man of "knowledge" and Strange as a man of "wisdom." I think that distinction works here. Aaron portrays Strange as just being knowledgeable, but not very wise. Thompson keeps Doc as a wise man.

    [tangent]I think it was Miles Kington who observed that knowledge is knowing that the tomato is a fruit, but wisdom is knowing not to put one in a fruit salad.[/tangent]
    "Age is not defined by years, but by regrets...I'm an old man now." --Fighting Yank, "Project Superpowers"

  5. #5

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    Doctor Strange #19

    Nice cover. Clearly, it had to be that Doc was lying (convincingly) about 'love not conquering all' to lure the empathic foe to him.

    I enjoyed this conclusion. The strong Doc/Wong bond was heartfelt (even if Doc doesn't know what Wong has for breakfast). But the colouring was questionable again. The goto puke jokes are getting kinda tired too. And the final fate of Mr.Misery was too confusing in art and story - did Doc absorb him for keeps or vomit him down the loo into the rate infested sewer?

    As Tulku noted, Doc's spellcasting repertoire was wanting. And any limitations by the notably recent Days of Magic mystic negations was not noted - if not just prematurely ignored. As for DS&SS, dropped it after the opening arc that was not entertaining. The weakness he points out doesn't make it appealing to retry ATM.

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