Thursday, 21 July 2016

Doctor Strange [2015] #7 - Marvel Comics

DOCTOR STRANGE No. 7, June 2016
It's hard not to think that at least some of this title’s 49,590 readers didn’t pause midway through the comic’s opening third and check Chris Bachalo’s rather gruesomely grotesque illustrated cover to ensure that they hadn’t inadvertently picked up a copy of “Superman” by “DC Comics” instead. For whilst the opening to this second chapter in “The Last Days of Magic” story-arc doesn’t specifically refer to the Man of Steel’s home planet of Krypton, Jason Aaron’s script depicting the last moments of a scientific couple determined to save their sole child from death by transporting him off-planet in a spaceship before they themselves are killed, significantly smacks of Kal-El’s origin story. Indeed with the exception of Abbadona Hellgore’s son actually being saved from the sacrificial maw of “the great beast called, Shuma-Gorath” and obtaining a crew of eyebots in the process, the similarities are all too evident and perturbing.

Fortunately the Alabama-born author’s narrative doesn’t linger too long upon the supposedly innovative causation of the “heretic” Imperator from Tentacle Hill and instead soon returns this book’s audience to New York City “now” in order to resolve the titular character’s grim fate having been irrefutably defeated in the series’ previous instalment. This rather terse, overly-wordy ‘judgement’ by the super-scientist upon the bloodied Sorcerer Supreme initially proves something of a dank dialogue-heavy disappointment, despite the Imperator partially focussing some of his ire upon an incarcerated Magick. But is then rather delightfully ‘saved’ by the sudden appearance of Monako; a somewhat underrated magic-user who first appeared in the January 1940 first edition of “Daring Mystery Comics” (as published by “Timely Comics”).

This rather endearing “son of a missionary couple who were proselytizing in early Twentieth Century India” injects Aaron’s seemingly bleak adventure with some much-needed colourful humour as the gruff ‘elder statesman’ momentarily stands his ground against the formidable might of the Empirikul, and additionally imbues the twenty-page periodical with a genuine sense of tragedy too as the “Prince of Magic” subsequently sacrifices his life in order to teleport all his friends to safety; “Used up everything I had. Heh. But it was worth it. You shoulda seen the look on your --”
The 'Civil War' variant cover art of "DOCTOR STRANGE" No. 7 by Chris Stevens

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