Monday, August 29, 2016

Doctor Strange Prelude #2 Review and **SPOILERS** - Marvel Mondays

A Doctor Strange Comic, Without All that Cumbersome Doctor Strange!

Written By: Will Corona Pilgrim
Art By: Jorge Fornés. Jesus Aburtov
Lettered By: VC’s Travis Lanham
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: August 24, 2016


I don’t understand the film industry at all. People (on the internet) say Suicide Squad is a failure and Warner Bros. Studios is in peril, despite it having made $600 million domestically, to date. And though Marvel had a well-received and profitable movie in Captain America: Civil War last May, people (on the internet) are acting like Doctor Strange is Marvel’s last-ditch attempt to “revive” their superhero film franchise. Is there some new metric for “success” that I wasn’t made aware of? I mean, in a Hollywood studio landscape where they’d rather remake films from the 1980s and 90s for the guaranteed licensing return, movies bringing fresh content to non-comic book readers and comics enthusiasts alike is a good thing. I have faith that Doctor Strange will be a cool movie, but even if it sucks I can tell you it doesn’t impact their plans for film releases in 2017 and beyond. This is a gravy train, folks, and while the gravy might not always be ladled in billion dollar quantities, I assure you there’s plenty for these movie studio executives to sop up with sourdough bread. Here’s some comic book hype for the forthcoming Doctor Strange movie now, read on if you want to know what I think!

Explain It!

In the first issue, we learned about the Masters of the Mystic Arts, a collective of magicians that stop evil people from destroying life as we know it by grabbing ancient magic artifacts from them. Well, in this issue, it happens some more. This time, it’s Jiao’ào Zhànshì, who steals a magic arrow from Guizhou, China, then holds the village in his thrall. Wong, who is a Master of the Mystic Arts, gets wind of this development after watching some young mages train at the monastery in Kamar-Taj, a scene which shows Wong’s compassion in far too many pages. While he does some funky tai chi stances and muses about his waning sense of balance, someone runs into his room and, without knocking, says that some jerks have stolen the Arrow of Apollon.

Zhànshì is over in Guizhou, terrorizing the populace and setting some of their homes on fire, when Wong and his interrupting buddy teleport in and immediately challenges him. Jiao’ào fires the magic arrow at Wong, but Wong puts up a magic shield that deflects it elsewhere with a loud BOOM! Then Wong and pal beat the living snot out of everything using magic karate, which frankly is a little unfair if you ask me. At the end, Wong is back at Kamar-Taj, considering the solemnity of his mission while revealing that the Arrow of Apollon was deflected—to land at Kamar-Taj!

This isn’t a terrible story, it simply takes too long to tell. It should have been eight issues. Also, I can’t help but feel a little ripped off when the cover of this book titled Doctor Strange features Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, yet the character is featured nowhere within. There’s nothing bad to say about the artwork or plotting, but this smacks of being some over-padded cash grab to milk enthusiasm for the Doctor Strange movie, and I don’t like it. It looks like the next issue brings the good Doctor into the mix, but at this point we’ve paid eight bucks for the privilege of not seeing him. Lame.

Bits and Pieces:

A decent little story about Wong and the type of task the Masters of the Mystic Arts get up to that is marred by being too padded and aimless. The whole thing makes me feel cheated, frankly. I understand that this is the "prelude," and we're learning backstory that may or may not be important in the movie, but the lack of actual Doctor Strange content is discomfiting. This should have been two bucks. 

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