Writer Peter B. Gillis
Penciler Rich Case
Inker Randy Emberlin
Letterer Janice Chiang
Colorist Bob Sharen
Cover Dated January 1989
Technically, this title is “Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme” so websites such as Marvel Database refers to it as such. I find that a little silly, as it is clearly Doctor Stange’s third self-titled ongoing. So that is why I call this Volume Three.
I like how this issue has several editorial footnotes, I miss those. There are so many, that Carl Potts, the editor, comments that one of them is the last one, then another shows up!
Speaking of editors, Tom DeFalco is credited as, Editor Supreme.
This is due to the series, Strange Tales, ending and the two features both get their own bi-monthly series that spin out of it. Doctor Strange and Cloak & Dagger, one rotating with the other. Which is why Cloak and Dagger get the Marvel 25th Anniversary cover treatment in November of 1989. If it was October or December, it would have been Doctor Strange getting that cover treatment.
Doctor Strange, a character I don’t have much experience with. When Marvel Knights first launched, he was given a miniseries, that I really liked. I also like that he is an original member of the Defenders.
I would not say I am a huge fan of Marvel, or any company’s, magical characters – besides Magik, of course.
I will always be confused by Marvel’s decision to not make a Doctor Strange film at the height of the Harry Potter craze. That would have worked out nicely. I would have always made a Spider-Man verses Morbius during the whole Twilight phenomenon.
Issue opens with who we believe to be Doctor Strange but quickly, we and Wong (and some gal named, Sara Wolfe) discover that Dormummu has taken control over Strange’s body! They are powerless to do anything as now he has unlimited power.
Doctor Strange, unfortunately, had no body to go to while out enjoying his Astral Self (hence, how Dormummu was able to take over his body) and had to find a nearby rat to jump into.
Dormammu updates us on what has been happening to him since last we saw him in Doctor Strange 81. Next, he was in Strange Tales, second series, issue 14. He took over Strange’s body at the end of last issue. Which I do own and will review it sometime. Most likely if a Doctor Strange film is made, some day.
When Dormammu left the room, he threw several trinkets onto the ground. Wong picks up the Wings of Needless Sorrow, last seen in Strange Tales 4.
Rat Strange wants to find Clea, his old girlfriend and Dormammu’s niece, as she helped stop him the last time Dormammu tried this plan. It happened in Doctor Strange 73.
Strange thinks about those who can help him, which he thinks of the novice Magik – which is insulting but he does place her in the same sphere as – Doctor Druid, Talisman, Thor, Hercules, Doctor Doom and Scarlet Witch. Thor and Hercules are mostly for the brute strength to fight Dormammu and the others are those who can attack them magically.
None of these heroes can help Strange as he cast a forgeticus spell in Strange Tales 2, so they think him dead.
Dormammu locates the Four Freedoms Plaza and uses the portal to the Negative Zone to bring forth his fellow dark lords.
Rat Strange wants to summon Gaea, Mother Earth herself, plus mother of Thor, also the lady who kept giving the Planeteers things to do. She helped Strange fight back Dormammu in Doctor Strange 8.
He doesn’t need actual magic to call her, he just needs some water and sticks.
Strange seesca pond in Central Park. Once he approaches it, this gang of frogs see him and attack! During Inferno, rats were attacking everything. Poor Rat Strange takes quite a beating, until he can croak a ribbit.
Rich Case reminds me of Ig Guara, the Pet Avengers artist, in that he puts a lot of personality into Rat Strange and the frogs. The animals look like the actual animals, but very animated. Just because he was drawing animals, he didn’t half arse it.
One of the green frogs is constantly talking about their ‘mysterious champion’ who we know to be Thor. Though Thor isn’t named by the frogs. I wonder if this frog is the human who was turned into a frog, next, found a shard of Thor’s hammer and then became Throg? Also, if I added this to Throg’s list of appearances over at comicbookdb, if anyone would be disappointed that it is an unconfirmed appearance. His coloring and obsession of Thor, makes me feel like he is that frog.
The frogs agree to help Strange, they move some sticks around. Strange summons Gaea but all he senses is that she is weak. The footnote states to see recent issues of the X-Men. I wish they named the issue as well, as now that it is 25 years later, I am not sure which issue that is referencing. This is also the footnote that this will be the last footnote.
Dormammu summons his fellow dark lords. One of them is a Dire Wraith, who hates this planet. The footnote states the reason why is chronicled in ROM and the X-Men.
The dark lords will follow Dormammu. We are on page 14, and I start getting the impression that this is the beginning of a multi-part story.
The frogs say their farewell to Strange. Which is, Cool Water and Shade to You. I need to incorporate this into my goodbyes.
Rat Strange heads back to his sanctum. Along the way, a woman wants her gentleman companion to kill the rat. He asks her with all the crazy things that has been happening in the city, her concern is about a lone rat. She states she doesn’t care about any of the nonsense in the sky.
Rat Strange continues on his way. He does wonder about how the citizens of New York City can cope with all of the dislocations that they have to deal with on a regular basis. I too have wondered about the day to day living of New Yorkers.
Poor Strange gets hungry and has to eat garbage, as that is what his body is craving.
He is across the street from his home when he gets picked up by Topaz. Before he recognizes her, he bites her hand. She is not effected by the bite. I do feel bad that Topaz got bit, she isn’t hurt by it but her hand is bleeding from the bite. Which one would think it would be one or the other. That it would hurt and bleed, or she would have just shaken it off and there be no blood.
The two of them come up with a plan. Rat Strange is small enough to squeeze his way into his house. The roof was damaged back in Strange Tales 2.
Once there, the two old enemies duke it out.
Due to some trickery on Strange’s part, Dormammu’s magic only makes Strange stronger. Clea shows up, and distracts so that Topaz can do her thing.
Since Dormammu is technically a virus in Strange’s body, Topaz can heal him away.
Strange is given back his body and even his eye has been healed.
Topaz will keep the female rat. I wonder if we ever see her again.
I wouldn’t say that the story wrapped up quickly, everything is earned but the way it felt at the midway mark, I thought this was going to be the start of a new status quo.
Next issue, the New New Defenders show up! Which I like Gillis’ idea here, start a new Doctor Strange ongoing, start it with a tie in to the big X-Event at the time, have the New Mutants show up for a bit, second issue, have Strange’s greatest enemy show up, and now, have his friends the New Defenders show up in the third issue. That would make for a great and exciting way to launch the title.
I can’t even imagine current Marvel even trying a bi-monthly book but back in the late 80s, they didn’t have any qualms about doing so.
There is an house ad (actually several) celebrating some anniversary issues of some Avengers titles – Avengers 300 (which I own and will review as it also has a New Mutants cameo), Thor 400 and Captain America 350. Back cover has an ad for a Punisher graphic novel, Assassin’s Guild. Alpha Flight, Wrath of the Dream Queen, is a four part story starting in issue 67.
The letters page has some good letters. It is how I learn how Strange and Cloak & Dagger got their new ongoings.
Thanks to a letter written by The Unnamed Few, we get to see how Marvel officially pronounces certain characters and items in Doctor Strange’s world. It ends with the letter responder, either Carl Potts or Assistant Editor Marc McLaurin, stating that the names are essentially pronounced how one would imagine. But it is nice to have it be official. Comics are interesting like that, it wasn’t until my time at Hastings when I had conversations with fellow comic book fans that I actually experience how other people pronounced certain words. They just look like a grouping of letters that my mind associates with that one thing and I move on. Sort of like people’s screen names on message boards, I don’t really think of how to pronounce their names, I recognize that is their screen name and continue on with my posting.
Stephen – yew-jeen
Dormammu – Dor-mali-moo
Agamotto – Aga-mot-to
Vishanti – Vih-shahn-tee
Watoomb – Wah-toomb
Faltine – rhymes with saltine
Clea – Klee-uh
Oshtur – Osh-tur
Dyzakk – Dye-zack
Balthaak – Ball-thahk
Hoggoth – Hah-gath
G’uranthic – Car-uhl Pahtz
Other letters are from Michael Hanley McNamara from Millerton, NY, Kevin Hall from Carson, VA, John Traver from Philadelphia, PA, Tina Reno from Anaheim, CA and A. Quigley of Palo Alto, CA.
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