Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Stephen in Wonderland

At a time when his astral form was trapped inside the Orb of Agamotto, Stephen Strange encountered facsimiles of other heroes, including the earliest members of the Defenders (Dr. Strange #2).

The sorcerer recognized that the other heroes within the orb were in fact impressions from his own subconscious. With that in mind, the way these characters interacted with Dr. Strange in the dream world may have revealed his personal thoughts about them in the outside world.

Borrowing imagery from Wonderland as he adventured inside the orb, the master of the mystic arts was surprised to witness himself slumming at a tea party with other costumed figures.

Interestingly, an homage to Ant-Man was one of the characters napping at the tea party—while scientist Henry Pym had long abandoned his identity as Ant-Man by this point, and no one else had yet picked up the mantle as Ant-Man.

The version of Nick Fury who sat at the table showed the first signs of aggression when he drew a gun at an out-of-place Munchkin. Next, Nick Fury joined with Hawkeye, Spider-Man, Sub-Mariner, Hulk, and Black Panther in threatening to kill Dr. Strange, who in turn subdued them with his magic.

Not everyone was so volatile.

Even though the version of Silver Surfer inside the orb did not recognize Dr. Strange, the cosmic champion nonetheless offered to help the master of the mystic arts navigate through the dream world soon after his arrival.

Heralded by the other characters as the "Queen," Valkyrie received everyone's respect when she entered the scene on her flying horse, Aragorn. With more self-awareness than the other figures within the orb, Valkyrie gave Dr. Strange words of wisdom and support.

Dr. Strange #3 found the sorcerer riding on Aragorn as he continued his quest to escape from the maddening dreamland. That issue consisted largely of flashback pages to the first time Dr. Strange met Clea (who was in the clutches of the villain Silver Dagger while Dr. Strange was trapped inside the orb).

Doctor Strange. Vol. 1. No. 2. August 1974. "A Separate Reality." Steve Englehart (author), Frank Brunner (artist & colorist), Dick Giordano (inks), John Costanza (lettering), Roy Thomas (editor).

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Last Christmas I received a $25 gift certificate to Big Brain Comics, one of several comic book retailers in my hometown of Minneapolis.

I used the gift certificate to pick up Essential Hulk #4 (collecting The Incredible Hulk #148-170), along with Defenders #2 and #3 of the new series.

With 3¢ left, I'm hanging on to the gift certificate for sentimental reasons.