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Doctor Strange - The Oath #2

Issue two of Doctor Strange's latest title starts with a recap of issue one by the all-seeing Eye of Agamotto, which I didn't realise actually had a mouth ... or at least the power of speech ... or comic book panel narration. The Eye does have a sense of the coy however; it might be all-seeing, but still refers to the shadowy figure we saw last issue as "a shadowy figure".

It appears though that the mover behind the villainy is a patient Strange turned down in his less enlightened days, as seen in flashback this issue. It seems the origin recap last issue wasn't just obligatory, with figures from his past returning to play their part in this story.

The way writers portrayed the younger Strange's arrogance always felt slightly (or more than slightly) caricaturish to me - picture him after an operation, still in surgical gown lighting up a cigarette, one eyebrow raised disdainfully, while making a call to his broker - but Brian Vaughn frames Strange's rejection in terms of medical priorities: "I can only help so many patients a quarter", at least lending a tissue-thin veneer of justification to his action, while not forgetting the bastardy: "First priority has to go to those who can fund my continued development as a neurosurgeon" and "I thought I asked you to stop sending me your uninsured castoffs for second opinions." There are also hints as to the reasons for his hard-heartedness: "Whatever happened to the guy who used to volunteer his weekends at the Brooklyn E.R.?" asks a colleague. "He learned that not even he could save everyone," Strange replies, face off-panel, fist clenched.

The banter and down-to-earth dialogue continues with one literally-laugh-out-loud variation on the doctor's venerable oath, "By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth!", or in references to Strange's medical insurance coverage (courtesy of the Defenders). The mix of the arcane and mundane is also evident in scenes where Strange and his posse take a train to the lair of his nemesis or, of course, in the fact that Strange was shot by a gun (how urban!), albeit a mystically charged one.

I'm not absolutely taken by Marcos Martin's art - like many of Vaughn's artistic partners his style is distinctive but not particularly flashy - but do love the panel of a street lamp illuminating a foggy Bronx on page 8.

Incidentally - neilalien, the cool Doctor Strange fansite has dug up a Starlog article on the 1978 Doctor Strange telemovie which I have vague, fond, and undoubtedly rose-coloured, memories of. Isn't it time for a classy, epic big screen outing for Marvel's Sorcerer Supreme?

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 14, 2006 4:58 AM.

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