DOCTOR STRANGE #1 with Kate (and Dan)
Cover Date: December 2015
::Dan stares at a kitchen mess of cosmic proportions. Yes, it’s a normal evening: Kate has left a wake of destruction after making an amazing dinner::
K: How did you like dinner?
D: ::stares:: How…? How did you…? Is that an axle from a ‘59 Plymouth Fury? What purpose does an axle serve in making dinner? Where did you get that? And how did you get it in the kitchen? Is that cake batter on it? WE DIDN’T HAVE CAKE WITH DINNER?!
K: So, you didn’t like dinner?
D: AAAAHHH THE MESS! ::weeps::
K: Seriously. I need to know if you liked dinner, so I know if I should flag this meal as a go-to in my recipe book. Face it, Tiger, I’m sick of boiled chicken and white toast.
D: How the hell am I supposed to put this kitchen back together? All I have is a dish wand filled with 7th Generation dish soap.
K: Relax, Madge. You’re soaking in it. Here, take a breath and read about a guy who has a magic wand. And an Eye of Agamotto. And a Cloak of Levitation that turns into a hipster scarf.
D: I do like comics and magic. Don’t set the book on the counter! It looks like there’s some mystery sauce…or is that syrup? I’ll read DOCTOR STRANGE #1 over here in the living room, away from the chaos.
D: I thought the kitchen was messed up, but things are WAY worse in New York City.
K: Be thankful you don’t have shaky hands and are forced to fight interdimensional bacteria like Doctor Stephen Strange.
D: What do you mean?
K: Dude used to be a surgeon, but then he was in an accident and suffered nerve damage in his hands. That’s not good for a guy that works with his hands. He searched the world over for a cure and met The Ancient One. Hold up, isn’t that the name of old wizard in that SHAZAM book? If so, Strange should have just followed Billy Batson into the subway and he could have saved himself some miles. Two stones, one wizard, and all that.
D: The name of the wizard is Shazam. And that’s a DC book. DOCTOR STRANGE is published by Marvel. You know this.
K: Cook books, comic books, whatever. One is published by Betty Crocker, one by Marvel, one by DC. Anyway, The Ancient One helped Stephen Strange alright. No more performing surgery for the doctor! Now he’s a Sorcerer Supreme! All magic and no scalpels! But Doctor Strange still has nerve problems in his hands, so the Ancient One didn’t really fix the original problem. As he says here in issue one, “So now I walk alone through the nameless reaches the netherworld. Each day weirder than the last.”
D: DOCTOR STRANGE #1 opens with him fighting soul-eaters on the ectoplasmic plane. The soul-eaters had inhabited a little boy’s mind and his parents hired Doctor Strange to remove them. This is what he does now instead of cutting people open: he is earth’s first line of defense against magical threats.
K: Those soul-eaters were some angry looking teddy bears and plants. Their leader, the lizard lady with all of the tentacles, was messed up. Poor kid had that mess trying to take over his soul.
Teddy. Freaking. Bears. From the ectoplasmic plane. Are you kidding me with this?
D: I know, babe. It’ll be alright. There, there.
So let’s back up a bit. Our boy Stephen was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (the dream team behind Spider-Man) in 1963. He has appeared in many different books, namely Strange Tales, and headlined numerous self-titled monthlies. This is in addition to being a member of both the Defenders and the Avengers. Doctor Strange is absolutely a staple of the Marvel Universe.
K: Which is why he gets his own movie starring my future husband!
::pulls down window shade with Benedict Cumberbatch poster attached to it::
D: The future whatnow?! ANYWAY. Let’s just say the Doc has A LOT of continuity-type baggage. So a brand new first issue can be tough to pull off. This is where the superstar creative team of Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo really show their chops. They set up in the book that some bad cosmic mojo is on the horizon. The creepy teddy bears in the little boy’s mind were just the start. The interdimensional bacteria and other magical beings are fleeing something, and it’s gonna be big and it’s gonna be messy.
K: And then there’s that lady that shows up with the mouth on the top of her head. That was messed up.
D: As I said, Aaron and Bachalo pack a lot of story into DOCTOR STRANGE #1. You know exactly who Doctor Strange is, how he ended up with a magic cloak/scarf and the challenges that lie ahead of him. That’s some tight story telling. Magic isn’t always easy to distill down into a couple of panels, but this creative team nails it.
K: Bachalo’s pencils make the crazy magic even crazier. The scene where Doctor Strange is walking through the streets of NYC and he’s explaining interdimensional bacteria to the reader. The imagery is psychedelic without being cartoony. It makes you understand just how weird Stephen Strange’s life has become. And, man, is it weird.
Also, Interdimensional Bacteria is the name of my new psychedelic rock band and we head out on tour tonight!
D: But the kitchen is still a mess! How am I gonna get that axle out of the sink? ::looks up:: And there are mashed potatoes on the ceiling. I’m not even going to ask how that happened.
K: I got this. ::waves magic dish wand::
D: It’s all good, Tiger. Just watch out for magical teddy bears.