Tag: graphic novel

Doctor Strange Volume 1: Way of the Weird Review

Written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Chris Bachalo

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This was my first taste into Doctor Strange’s lore. (About time right!)
Luckily then, what I had was the perfect introduction to Doctor Strange. This isn’t exactly an origin story, however some of his earlier time as a magician and his training under the Ancient One is displayed, but only to help us readers understand Doctor Strange’s revelations and the story itself.

Normally I get straight into the story, but I feel I should first comment on the art. It’s fantastic! I can only imagine how fun though frustrating it would of been for Aaron (the writer) to convey his mind’s eye to Bachalo (the illustrator).
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The title for this volume is called “Way of the Weird” and if you skim through almost any page in the book you are bound to find some highly unusual imagery.
We see characters with mouths and eyes protruding out of their heads, and Strange himself isn’t just an observer to the weird.. he is often at times the one doing it.
One page has him eating what is described by another character as ‘culinary afterbirth’. The book isn’t afraid to go strange (no pun intended) and I have to give both the writer and illustrator the thumbs up for that.
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The story was highly enjoyable. We are introduced to Zelma Stanton, a librarian who comes to Strange for reasons she can’t well explain. After an unusual first meeting, Doctor Strange offers her the job to be his librarian.. of sorts. He shows her and us as readers the side effects of being earth’s Sorcerer Supreme and the outright crazy world he has to contend with on a daily basis. We see glimpses into magical horrors that lurk in some of his hidden rooms and it becomes clear how much Doctor Strange is sacrificing to keep the world we know from being destroyed from the face of existence. The weird he has to deal with face on would drive almost anyone mad. He even warns Zelma at one point not to think too much about it all otherwise it could turn her mind crazy.
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Though we are not shown too much of the main villain in this first volume, it seems his mission is this: To rid every dimension of magic. It isn’t long into the story that we learn whoever this antagonist is, he means business and is well on the way to his dream becoming a reality. His reasons and motives so far are unknown, but in order to stop him Doctor Strange has had to assemble every magician and every Sorcerer Supreme he can to help stop this destroyer before magic is taken forever. No magic means every existence would just collapse in itself. Thus ending many if not all universes.
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The story isn’t all doom and gloom, there are parts that had me smiling and parts that had me squirming.

I genuinely could not have picked up a better first read of Doctor Strange. Almost 100 percent of what he does in the marvel universe is unseen by others. He really is in some ways Marvel’s biggest unsung hero. The weird isn’t just something he faces, it’s something that has taken its toll on him and yet, there he is doing all he can to keep the earth from being destroyed. The book does a wonderful job of explaining Strange’s personality without giving us a history lesson.

If your new to Doctor Strange, do what I did.. pick up this comic and delve deep into the weird.

Reviewed by Tyrone Burns.

Doctor Strange Retrospective

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Created by Artist Steve Ditko

Also known as: 1242100-doctor_strange_2

Sorcerer Supreme
Master of the Mystic Arts
Stephen Sanders
Captain Universe
Vincent Strange
Strange

Real Name:

Stephen Vincent Strange

First Appearance:

Strange Tales #110 (1963)

Powers:

One of the most powerful sorcerers in existence.

His power is drawn from one of three sources: an entreaty with powerful mystical entities or objects, the bending of the universe’s ambient magical energy and his own psychic resources.

The list of Strange’s magical influences include energy projection and manipulation, matter transformation, animation of inanimate objects, teleportation, illusion-casting, mesmerism, thought projection, astral projection, dimensional travel, time travel and mental possession.

He is constantly learning new powers, thus the full list of what he is capable of is unknown.

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Abilities:

Skilled athlete and martial artist.
Great knowledge of medical and magical spells.
Expert surgeon (with the help of magic).

Rogues Gallery:

Baron Mordo – expert of black magic and mystic arts. Can summon demons. Often classed as the biggest rival and arch nemesis of Doctor Strange.

Dormammu – Ruler of the Dark Dimension. Immensely powerful. Conquerer of universes.

Mephesto – Emperor of Hell, an immortal extremely powerful demonic entity.

Nightmare – King of the Dream Dimension, nigh-omnipotent, nigh-omniscient and nigh-omnipresent, tormentor of anyone who dreams.


The Hood
– can go invisible, has limited levitation abilities. Corruption and power has overtaken his mind.

Group affiliation:
Avengers

The Order
Defenders
Midnight Sons
Former disciple of the Ancient One

Highlights:
1972- Helped form The Defenders

1973- Earned the title Sorcerer Supreme
1988- Strange Tales Volume 2 featuring Cloak and Dagger
2004- Origin remade
2007- Animated Movie
2008- Left the Avengers
2016- Marvel Blockbuster Movie

doctor-strange

History:

Origin Story:

Stephen Strange was born in 1930. He was the eldest child of Eugene and Beverly Strange. At age eight, Strange was attacked by demons working for apprentice sorcerer, Karl Mordo, only to be rescued by Mordo’s mentor, the Ancient One, protector of Earth with the title the Sorcerer Supreme. At age eleven Strange, after aiding his injured sister Donna, was inspired to pursue a medical career.

Whilst home on vacation from college for his 19th birthday, Strange and his sister went swimming. While in the water, Donna suffered a cramp and tragically drowned. Unable to save her, Stephen felt a sense of personal failure and guilt for not having the medical prowess to perform a miracle.

After earning his medical degree in record-breaking time and while having a five-year residency at New York hospital, Strange started to become highly arrogant. Near the end of his 5-year residency, his mother Beverly died. Soon after that tragedy Stephen started to become distant. While his wealth and ego grew and before he turned 30, Strange turned into a celebrated neurosurgeon. Two years after his mother passed away, Stephen’s father Eugene became severely ill. In fear of dealing with another family members death, Stephen never visited his father’s death bed. This infuriated Victor (Stephen’s brother), and while leaving Stephen’s apartment one night in a fit of anger, he rushed out on to the road and was accidentally hit by an oncoming car. Blaming himself, Strange put Victor’s body in frozen storage hoping that the future would hold an answer to revive the dead.

In 1963 when Strange was 33 years old, he was involved in a car accident that causedstephen_strange_earth-616_from_strange_tales_vol_1_110_0001 major damage to the nerves in his hands. Thus his surgical career came to an end. Stephen’s ego would not allow him to accept any positions as a consultant or assistant, so Strange desperate as he was, sought out and pursued all possible treatments for a potential cure for his hands. In time his fortune dissipated and he became a shadow of his former self.

Soon however, Strange began hearing rumors of the mystical Ancient One and with his last bit of money he bought a ticket to the East where he found the Ancient One’s Tibetan palace. ¬†While asking the Ancient One to fix his hands, to which he refused, an attack was brought upon the sorcerer. It was soon after that, Strange learned that the Ancient One was Earth’s magical and mystical defender and that the head of the attack came from none other than the sorcerer’s pupil Mordo. For the first time in years Strange acted unselfishly and tried to warn the Ancient One, but Mordo mystically prevented Strange from doing this. For the sake of the world, Stephen made a vow to learn the ways of magic himself and counter Mordo and his ilk. Becoming a disciple of the Ancient One he spent years being instructed in the art of sorcery, learning how to tap the innate mystic powers of both himself and the world around him, as well as how to invoke the power of awesome entities or principalities, who resided in their own realms, most notably the three benign beings known as the Vishanti. Some years after Strange became a student, Mordo left to seek greater power and in the future he would often clash with Strange in an attempt to prove he is the greater disciple.

Thus over the course of his comic history, Stephen Strange would go on to learn the great powers of the universe while battling entities from other realms.

Written by Tyrone Burns

Planetes Volume 1 – Review by Tyrone Burns

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Planetes Volume 1

Holy Smackaronies! I just could not put this book down. While in Greenlight Comics I remember picking this book up and reading the synopsis, right below that there are some high praise quotes from well respected websites and people including Archie vs Predator! writer Alex De Campi who said Planetes is “My favourite sci-fi comics series of all time”. It was then I thought to myself “well this book should be worth a read” and thank goodness I picked it up. It wasn’t just worth the read, it is now my top read so far this year!

“I respect the selfish dreamers. Without them, space would still be a mystery.”

That is a line from about half way in this epic manga series written and drawn by Makoto Yukimura and it really sets up the tone of Volume 1’s story. Each chapter beautifully opens with a few full colour pages; It just blows my mind this book was written and drawn by the same person. So much talent and thankfully it is all on show on every page.

The journey within is set over the course of 3 years and though based around a team of Astronauts, the story mainly focuses on Hachiroto (Hachi) and his quest/obsession to own his own spaceship. The rest of the team include Yuri: A wise man with a tragic past. He is sort of the ‘Grown up of the group’. Fee: The comedy of the crew. If she isn’t piloting the DS-12 (their Garbage Truck Ship) she is smoking… hell sometimes she is doing both. Tanabe: The heart of the Bunch. Her importance comes more into play as Volume 1 concludes.

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I said to a friend that Planetes is like the movie Gravity except with a deeper story and a stronger heart.
The Japanese are geniuses when it comes to putting multiple themes in one story without it losing focus and direction.
There are moments that are funny, silly, terrifying, heartfelt and sad.
I won’t forget the story I read. It touched me and left me with so much to think about.
Why do “the selfish dreamers dream? Why is it when we are living our dream we then dream of home?
Those are just some of the questions the book asks and I am so thrilled there is more to the story than shown thus far.

If you’re a fan of sci-fi or human exploration and contemplation you need to read Planetes.

This is now my favourite read this year and it is gonna have to take something mighty good to knock this off my number 1 spot.

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