Friday, February 11, 2011

Flashback Fridays: Doctor Strange Master of the Mystic Arts #60 - 62

            One fine day some time ago in September I made an interesting find at my local shop's $1 boxes. Three issues of Doctor Strange back when Marvel was not bound by the corporate restraints of the Trade or lack of continuity. These issues are the final three parts to a story that was the end of Dracula in the Marvel Universe. If you don't know, at one point Dracula was a staple in the MU and he was ultimately defeated, and then boo hoo if you feel I spoiled something you never would have read.

            I confess that I have very few Doctor Strange comics in my collection. Any issues I have purchased on purpose have been less than one buck or included in a 3 for 1 deal and I wanted something else that was part of the combo. Here I was drawn to issue #60 when looking through the box the lovely form of Scarlet Witch appeared. Before I could really read, I confess to having two little boy crushes. One was Jamie Somers, the Bionic Woman and the other was the Scarlet Witch. I had this Marvel matching card game and she was included in the cards. I had never even read or seen a comic with her in it, by I was in love. So, ever since I
have had a fondness for Wanda. I paused and needed to see what this issue was all about.

            Seems the enigmatic book known as the Darkhold was once again loose in the Marvel Universe. This is a magic book that goes all the way back to the lost City of Atlantis. It is pure EVIL and cannot be destroyed. It can corrupt the soul of any who use it, so good people are in danger when around it. It also can aid Dracula to become the complete ruler of Earth. The cult that follows and worships the Darkhold are aiding the Lord of Vampires and of course Dr. Strange is standing in their way. The Darkhold is soon to be held secure the Avenger's Mansion with Scarlet Witch and Captain Marvel helping protect it. Captain Marvel being Monica and not the one who died of Cancer only to be brought back in a horrible attempt to be "cool" and edgy during “Civil War”.

            My decision to buy the book came with the two that followed. The next two issues and the end of the story were in the box. It was like divine destiny that I should buy these books. When being a cheap and avid hunter of back issues at low prices the best thing that can happen is to have the issues that resolve a story. Here I had it and loads of Marvel guest appearances included as well. The following issues contained the Doctor's man servant Wong and he actually does more than answer the door in the tale. Hannibal King is present along with Blade. It is a battle that highlights all characters and shows some magical might as the Doctor battles Dracula on the astral landscape inside the Darkhold. It displays a really awesome conflict and a sacrifice of an infected Vampire.

            Doctor Strange has one last trick up his sleeve and a character sees the sunrise for the first time in years. This is what Marvel used to excel at in storytelling. We had tension and conflict that is made of stern material. Yet, we end on the high and happy note of good squashing evil and all pausing to relish a moment of a big victory in the never ending battle.

            Cool issues if you can find them.  Plus, like I said, the Scarlet Witch is in there.