Battles, Cana Battles, Dr Strange Battles

Cana vs Dr Strange




Suggested by iKnowledge Cana is one of the members of Fairy Tail so you may assume that this is a blowout, but she isn’t quite as powerful as most of the other members. She does have a few knock out moves like Fairy Glitter, but it takes a lot of energy out of her and should be used as a last resort. Dr Strange just has more options at his disposal and his magical abilities can definitely hold their own against Cana. She is strong and fast, but I just don’t think she really has any big advantages over Strange here. Pulling out a win would be unlikely. Dr Strange wins.

Advertisements
Battles, Dr Strange Battles, Queen Beryl Battles

Queen Beryl vs Dr Strange




Suggested by iKnowledge Queen Beryl is one of the most popular Sailor Moon villains. She certainly put up an impressive fight when necessary and was a figure who commanded respect. That being said, I think Dr Strange has the edge here. His abilities are more versatile so he is less predictable. Beryl will have to rely on her barrier and energy blast while Dr Strange can fly around or use his magic in a variety of ways like with his magic chains or duplicates. Either way, I think that will quickly prove to be too much for Queen Beryl. Dr Strange wins.

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Avengers: Infinity War Review


It’s time to take a look at the new Avengers film! This is certainly the big one. It’s the event film that we had been waiting for ever since 2012 when Thanos was teased at the end of the Avengers film. I remember going into the theaters for Avengers 2 and wondering where he was. He did get pushed back quite a bit, but the positive side of this was that it gave time for Marvel to grab Dr Strange and Spider-Man. Otherwise I suppose they would have had to miss out on this adventure. Black Panther getting a film was also fortunate since Wakanda gave the heroes a good place to fight the villains without a lot/ The film definitely lives up to the hype and is one of the best MCU films yet. I do have to say that this review will have a considerable amount of spoilers so do not read further if you haven’t seen it yet.

The film starts off rather quickly as it picks up right where Thor: Ragnarok left off. Unfortunately the fight is off screen but Thanos managed to take down Thor and the Asgardians. Hulk puts up a brief struggle, but is quickly beaten and traumatized for the rest of the film. Thanos aims to get all 6 of the Infinity Stones so he quickly sets out on this quest. He sends the Black Order over to Earth to claim 2 of them while he heads for the other 2 himself. He already has 2 so if you add them all up then he will have the six. Iron-Man, Dr. Strange, and Spider-Man decide to bring the fight to Thanos while Captain America and the other Avengers engage his forces on Earth. Meanwhile, Thor is looking for a new weapon which will allow him to destroy Thanos and avenge everyone.

In a film this big it is always hard to know where to start off. Do I talk about the many characters or the technical aspects or about the plot itself? They’ll all get mentioned at some point or other so the order doesn’t matter much, but keeping the list orderly is good. As such we’ll go for technicals first. The graphics look really good as you would expect. Iron-Man’s armor is able to do a whole lot of things now thanks to his Iron Man 3 upgrade and he puts them all to use. The nanomachine animations are solid and the energy attacks really stand out. Dr. Strange’s magic is as vibrant as ever and each of the Infinity Stones have their own energy wavelength which are all unique. The character uniforms are all on point from their various films as well. The only character design that wasn’t all that good was Cap’s. Of course Rogers is undercover now so he hasn’t had much time to get a proper haircut. Perhaps in the next film. Thor’s new costume is certainly really good. Black Widow’s hair change is rather random, but not bad. It doesn’t make much of a difference.

As far as the soundtrack goes, we don’t get too many new themes. There is the classic Avengers theme that all of the films love which has still aged well and works for all of the scenes. I can’t say that I remember any of the other tunes all that much, but they work well enough in the moment which is the important part. With all of the explosions and attacks going on it makes sense that there wouldn’t be too many tunes. I’m still waiting for a solid rock/electronic theme though. Maybe even a lyrical song like in Thor Ragnarok.

One thing you’ll notice in this film is that the heroes are all a tad edgier than usual. Probably a rather normal response considering that the stakes are so high, but they definitely don’t have a problem with destroying the enemies this time around. The heroes do stay true to their word and don’t take any prisoners this time. They all also go for the tough call of choosing to destroy one ally to save many. Star Lord makes this choice as well as Scarlet Witch. Naturally I am always against this call as it’s worth it to let the world burn to save one person, but it’s not a move that I would hold against the character either. At least if the other person is begging them to do it. If it’s against the victim’s will, then that’s a whole different ballgame. I do like how Captain America is the only hero to speak out against this though as he should definitely stand true to his principle of not sacrificing anyone.

While the film never gets overly violent, it is more intense than most of the other MCU films. 2 characters get tortured and in general the heroes are getting beaten up quite a bit. The Nebula scene was probably pushing it the most, but it’s certainly not as bad visually as if she was purely organic. The Dr. Strange scene is mostly off screen. I could have done without them, but again, the film was careful not to cross the line here. It also made sure not to bring back the giant animals from the Black Panther film which I was thrilled about. No animal violence here folks and that was really the only concern I had going into the film.

Infinity War feels like one of those event films that you only get once in a blue moon. The kind of film that doesn’t slow things down for the general audience and keeps the pacing up from start to finish. Final Wars did this for Godzilla, Resurrection F for DBZ, Hell Verse for Bleach, Batman V Superman for DC and finally this film for Marvel. The whole point of a shared universe is not having to reexplain character origins and trivia for the general audience so we can skip right to the fights. That’s exactly what this film did and it’s perfect. It embraces its comic book nature to a t. The best part about having multiple plots is that if one has to slow down for any reason then we can cut away to another one.

All right, I think it’s time to take a look at the character roster. First off we have Iron Man of course. He looks really good as you would expect. I’m glad that he still uses his suit to its full potential with a lot of mixups during his fight with Thanos. Gone are the days where all he would just keep shooting his repulser blasts and call it a day. Now he throws in hand to hand and his suits ability to morph into any object that he wills it too. He doesn’t make too many objects as of course this takes away from his supply of nanites which are limited, but the ones that he does make are quite good. He makes an energy sword/gun that looks like something out of Halo. I still can’t get over how great his new armor is. No more worrying about losing a mask as it can just form more, tech being broken isn’t an issue as it can build more, etc. Considering that Tony is the original genius of the MCU I am glad that his suit reflects that. I agreed with his decision to take the fight to Thanos. Lets be honest, the Earth doesn’t need more cities blown up in a quest to stop him and the group was a fairly powerful one as well. At the very least it’s a tactically sound plan. Ironman is certainly still the true leader of the Avengers in the movies.

Then we’ve got Thor. Naturally he gets quite a lot of screen time since he’s in the center of this whole encounter. I don’t like that his fight with Thanos was off screen though. I guess it was probably very hard to write in a scenario where he loses without doing any noticeable damage to Thanos and it would also be hard to explain why the Hulk didn’t jump in sooner. Valid reasons to have it be off screen of course, but that would have been a lot of fun. All I can say is that if Thor had been at full power then he probably would have won, but since he was weakened I can accept his loss. He spends a lot of the film in a depowered state, but still shows off his other abilities such as his durability in surviving the heat of an entire star for a few minutes. Even without calculating the exact magnitude of the feat you know that this is quite intense. Most would melt instantly upon getting hit with the heat at that range. Thor certainly gets a good payoff scene to that afterwards when he finally arrives into the battle. Again, I would have liked a longer rematch between him and Thanos, but I suppose that at this point it would have been tough for Thanos to hold his own. Thor definitely tipped the scaled of battle in Wakanda.

Then we have the Hulk. Seeing as how Ragnarok kept up the situation where Hulk and Banner are completely different characters from Age of Ultron as opposed to the more “same person” route that The Incredible Hulk and Avengers used, I’ll list them separately here. Unlike Ragnarok where Bruce actively avoided fighting and just kept trying to hide he was actually useful here. At the very least he certainly did take what happened to the Asgardians quite hard and did his best to contribute in any way possible. He was even able to take on one of the Black Order members on his own which is really impressive. Considering that he doesn’t have any super powers he did good.

Unfortunately I can’t say the same for the Hulk. He looked decent in his initial appearance against Thanos. Sure, he didn’t quite win, but he did get some hits in and at least he tried. His character was wrecked in all future scenes though as he was apparently too scared to come out after that. The Hulk is never portrayed as a coward and I think it was a big mistake of the film to do this to his character. No matter what happens from here on out I just can’t forget this. When everyone needed him in their darkest hour, Hulk refused to step up to the plate. As far as I’m concerned he’s no real Avenger anymore.

On a more positive note, we have Captain America. Compared to Iron Man and Thor his role is quite small, but still good nonetheless. It was fortunate that he rushed over to back up Vision and Black Widow. His hand to hand skills are consistent as always and it’s difficult for any of the villains to lay a hand on him except for when they are considerably stronger. I do miss the iconic shield to go along with the costume and it does limit how effective he is here, but he always tries his best. He also won’t let himself be pushed around by the government anymore and has definitely grown comfortable in his fugitive roll. I expect to see him take on more of a leadership role in the next film, but of course that could lead to some more bickering between him and Iron Man.

Black Widow looks solid as well. She gets two fights against the Black Order and holds her own both times. Her nunchuk weapons are definitely good to have and while she may not have Captain America’s strength, she is on his level when it comes to hand to hand combat. War Machine also gets a nice little appearance as he trolls Bruce and the government. His War Machine armor is still potent although it definitely feels really behind the curve next to the others so I think he is about due for an upgrade. Falcon doesn’t get much to do as just being able to fly isn’t a huge asset to the heroes, but he contributes as best he can.

Since Black Panther’s film was pretty recent you would definitely expect him to have a nice role here. While not large, the film still shows that Wakanda is definitely the global leader in tech. Even the Black Order is unable to completely break through their force fields. It’s a shame that they didn’t have more people to also guard the back of the kingdom, but I guess that would be difficult. Opening it up a bit made sense. Panther’s suit is able to block most kinetic energy, but we finally see its limit here as he still takes a lot of damage against Thanos. I definitely had no complaints with him or his supporting cast. One of them was able to help Black Widow in her fight and his sister was going to be able to crack the code on Vision’s gem, but she simply wasn’t given enough time.

Dr Strange looks really strong which is definitely good. From the brief scene he had in Thor Ragnarok it was clear that his abilities are better than ever. Unfortunately this also leads to some power level issues which I will go into later, but for the most part I thought he was handled well. I like his usual confidence and he definitely doesn’t fear the villains. When your abilities are only limited by your imagination this attitude is certainly justified. He’s certainly one of the most enjoyable characters and in this film at least I would probably say that he is the best one.

Then we have Spiderman. Unfortunately I don’t think the film makers were really big fans of this character. He didn’t look nearly as good as you would expect. The fact that he is still rather young was really played up here to the point where none of the other characters seem to respect him as a fighter. Granted, he only really got to interact with Ironman and Dr. Strange and they love belittling everyone else. Whenever we get a decent Spidey scene like him catching one of the villains’ weapon or landing hits on Thanos, we get counter scenes like him begging for his life. Spiderman should have some humor of course, but he gets serious when necessary and should be treated as a legitimate powerhouse. With his Spider Sense he shouldn’t be getting hit so easily as well.

Star Lord certainly looks like you would expect. The team still doesn’t respect him all that much, but at the end of the day he is the leader. He at least tries acting more heroic nowadays since that is what Gamora wants. He does make a rather dicey decision midway through the film which will probably not sit well with a lot of people but I can get behind it. Honestly, the others should have just completed their job sooner considering how much muscle was being used at the time. I do find it ironic how Star Lord is at his best when fighting other heroes. Where were all of his cool thunder gadgets that he used to beat Spiderman and Ironman earlier in the film? He was suddenly portrayed as a really competent fighter there. At the expense of Spiderman though as at least Ironman freed himself pretty quickly.

Gamora gets a big role as well since her backstory has a lot to do with the Titan of Terror. She still does well in a fight, but I do think rushing at Thanos was a little reckless all things considered. At that point they probably still could have avoided combat or at least gone in more prepared. She makes the heroic call in giving up the information, but things definitely don’t tend to go her way. It’s too bad we couldn’t see more of her. Rocket Raccoon is a fun character as always. He doesn’t get to do a lot of blowing up yet, but more guns are always welcome in the big fight against alien invaders.

Drax continues to be the biggest joke of the MCU as he never gets anywhere close to being considered a threat to Thanos. The guy is just deluding himself at this point. He’s not quite as obnoxious as his TV show counterpart, but at the end of the day I’m just not a Drax fan. He’s still better than Groot though. Groot is just annoying the entire film. He’s still going through his teen rebellion phase and the character should just be written out. There’s never been anything entertaining about his “I am Groot” gimmick and the character doesn’t add anything to the film. Mantis doesn’t do much here, but she always chips in when there is a fight. Her mental abilities are certainly handy after all and being able to control Thanos even for a brief period is impressive.

Then we have Vision, the worst character in the film. Everything that went wrong in this movie can be traced back to him. He should have been around in New York to fend off the Black Order but decided to go off the grid for no reason. Okay, he had a reason and it was pretty sad. He just wanted to spend more time with Scarlet Witch. They already get to hang out quite a lot though so he was just being greedy. After that he is defeated three different times by the same Black Order villain. Vision seems to have completely forgotten how to fight and the guy is supremely annoying. I couldn’t wait to see him get blasted to smithereens because just seeing the guy on screen was annoying. He kept begging Wanda to destroy him, but even that is being selfish. He could just crush his CPU himself which would save Wanda some grief and then she would have no objection to destroying the stone as she couldn’t let his death be in vain. Vision is supposed to be one of the power hitters so the heroes were counting on him. Without Vision messing everything up for everybody the heroes would have had a much better chance at securing victory. 2 of the stones would have been on Earth so Thanos would have been forced to arrive with 4 stones. Not to mention that he would be without his Black Order from the start. No way Thanos is able to defeat them without the extra stones.

Then we have Scarlet Witch who is fortunately much better than Vision. While Vision was wasting his time trying to be human and losing all of his fighting experience, Scarlet Witch was learning how to master her abilities. She is now shown to be highly proficient with them to the point where she can casually block Thanos with one arm. Unfortunately once again Vision was holding her back so she couldn’t use both arms to fight him. Scarlet Witch was also able to take down several large weapons in a single shot which was a tremendous feat of force. She is definitely a contender for top 3 strongest Avengers at this point as she could probably take down the Hulk.

Winter Soldier gets his quick guest star role and looks okay. His main problem is that he is using a normal gun while everyone else has some kind of unique weapon to help them. Honestly he should have asked some of the people from Wakanda for an energy gun instead as they looked a lot more impressive. Fighting mano a mano with Cap would have been a better idea as well. I mean….a normal gun…really? Loki’s role is small, but definitely within character. As with everyone else in the scene I have to question why he didn’t act sooner. Since he had the Cosmic Cube he could have also tried using it to destroy Thanos on the spot as well. Yeah, it could backfire but he would probably die otherwise right? Of course he was definitely out of his league in the situation otherwise so there really wasn’t much more that he could do. Heimdall definitely looked good as he at least gave Earth a fighting chance. Otherwise the heroes would have really not been prepared for the coming attacks. Wong is around for the opening fight scene and contributed a bit which was nice. I do think that hiding in the Sanctum is not a wise move though for 2 reasons. 1. If he doesn’t go help reclaim the Time Stone then the sanctum won’t be around long enough to matter anyway. 2. If people do break in since it’s unguarded…I have a feeling that they would be strong enough to stop Wong as well. Food for thought.

Nebula certainly gets one of the most painful roles in this film. Deciding to try and destroy Thanos one on one was also one of the worst plans I’ve ever seen as well. She really didn’t think that one through. Thanos mentions that she was almost successful so I have to assume that he was straight up lying to Gamora’s face. I can’t picture that either. If we trust the illusions then I guess Thanos doesn’t have a whole lot of resistance to stabbing so then a sneak attack is feasible, but I just find it hard to believe that his skin is so weak when the rest of his durability is so good. Perhaps that is the case, but I wouldn’t bank on it.

Thanos definitely gets a lot of screen time and seems to be considered as one of the stand out characters. It’s definitely a very different portrayal here as he’s very emotional and even sheds some tears. It feels like a slight retcon from how he acts in Guardians or Avengers, but of course he didn’t get to do much in those movies. He certainly didn’t have much of a chance to explain why he was destroying everybody. His goal of reducing life in half is definitely an interesting one. I was waiting for someone to ask him what will prevent life from getting too large once again, but I guess it would take so many thousands of years for that to happen that it’s rather moot. Anyway, Thanos is a decent villain. I think he was a little too emotional and I wasn’t buying into the act since the rest of the time he was shown to be quite ruthless and to enjoy dishing out pain. Despite the film trying to tell us that he was genuine otherwise, I’m still not sure about that. Either way he makes for a good opponent for the heroes since he is quite strong and has a lot of energy attacks.

The Black Order are definitely a solid group of villains as well. I wouldn’t really know any of their names if not for the comics, but I suppose that isn’t important. They each have unique fighting styles and are legitimate threats. The strongest member is probably the telekinetic who fought Strange as he was holding his own even though Strange had his Time Gem at the time. Too bad he always forgets to use it. The power hitter seemed reasonably tough. He was about Spider-Man level but without the hero’s agility and spider sense. Then we had the female villain with the long spear/staff. She seemed reasonably tough, weaker than the first two members, but her hand to hand combat was solid. Finally we had the wraith like guy who kept slapping Vision silly. He seemed to be about as tough as the third member. All told, a respectable group of villains.

Now I think it needs to be said that with a film this large in scope there are bound to be a bunch of power level inconsistencies and instances of plot hax. The elephant in the room is Spider-Man of course. With his spider sense and speed there is no way that he should be getting hit so many times. He would be dodging all of those strikes. Fact of the matter is that the heroes should have won the first fight in the city rather easily. Spiderman and Iron Man were more than a match for the power fighter. Meanwhile Strange should have easily beaten his foe by manipulating time. Even without time his magical spells should be up to the task as well. He is the Sorcerer Supreme after all.

While we are on the subject, why didn’t Dr Strange use the time stone against Thanos? The time loop it can create is quite potent after all. Even just using it to think of better strategies to fight would have been useful. No point in bringing it just to hide it. Lets face it, everyone knows that the hostage trick will inevitably work on the heroes so keeping it away just doesn’t work. Then for the power levels, I think Thanos’ durability wasn’t too consistent. Blows from the Hulk were shown to barely phase him at all but then later on normal hits from Iron-Man’s group were dealing some noticeable damage. Captain America shouldn’t even be able to block Thanos in this case. Thor should have put up a better fight than Hulk as it was shown that he was more powerful. The two Order members who fought Scarlet Witch were shown to have close to human level durability so a quick blast should have finished them off.

I guess at the end of the day what I’m saying is that it always felt like the heroes were way stronger than the villains despite the narrative trying to show otherwise. Even though the heroes were racking up losses like a for glory Captain Falcon I never thought that they should be. Until Thanos got all of the gems and started cheating with the Reality Stone the heroes had the edge the whole time. I felt like they should have beaten Thanos on his home planet, Scarlet Witch should have won in the night fight, Strange and the others should have won in New York, etc. The heroes all felt nerfed at various points to an extent. Nothing crazy, but they really had this win in the bag.

Once again I have to stress just how good the fights here were. We really got 3 main fight scenes. The New York Battle, The early battle for Vision’s stone, and the fight against Thanos on his home planet. We got other fights meanwhile as well. These 3 fights were all extremely solid. What the night one did especially well was how it started very suddenly. The Black Order member appeared out of nowhere with his first stab and there wasn’t any obvious build up to his appearance. More films and even shows for that matter should do this. It’s amazing when a sneak attack actually feels like one with no giveaways. The other fights naturally looked brilliantly as well.

Again, this is because of how fast paced the film is. It’s exciting from start to finish and feels like a real comic book. The heroes all get to shine and each of the main characters get to have a quick supporting cast moment which helps make this feel like even more of a legitimate crossover film. Some crossovers don’t really put in the same amount of effort, but this one had 10 years of material to use and it definitely grabbed as much as possible. At this point, I don’t think it will ever be possible to have a comic book film match this level of crossover intensity except for a Marvel vs DC film and as much as that kind of thing has gotten easier over the years, it is hard to picture.

Another thing that this film did well is not forcing in the humor the way that it did for Age of Ultron. One annoying thing about that film was how everyone was constnantly throwing in a one liner no matter what the circumstances were. That got rather irritating very quickly. The jokes are still around here, but the balance is much better. For the record, from the humor scenes we did get I think it’s safe to say that Star Lord stole the show. He did a great job of mimicking Thor and I dare say that he won his interaction with Iron Man. This is easily Star Lord’s best film appearance and in a way it makes sense since he has left most of his bad habits behind thanks to Gamora. The character whose humor tanks the most is probably Groot. There’s just nothing funny about him at all. I dare say that Drax and Spiderman are close though, but on the positive side to keep things balanced Ironman and Dr Strange are fun as always. The writing is definitely on point. There is maybe a little more language than usual, but is never gets into super edgy territory or anything.

Naturally there is an after credits scene so make sure you stick around. It’s one that directly affects the ending as well as the next film which is great since those are the best kind of after credit scenes. This may feel like I’m taking a shot at the comedy ones which are ultimately pointless to the narrative and will never be referenced again, but that’s only because that is exactly what I’m doing. This is a real after credits scene and a hype way to end things off. Now, you might come to the conclusion that Superman is being called in and I don’t blame you, but the person they are calling in instead can certainly put up a great fight and I’m expecting to see her dish out some serious damage. Granted, there isn’t really anyone to fight at the moment, but more fighters is always good to have because the danger isn’t over.

Now it’s time to rank all of the MCU films again from best to worst. There have certainly been a bunch and some of them are quite close, but no ties can be accepted. After some thought this is how I rank them. You’ll notice that the films have been getting consistently better lately as a lot of the recent films are near the top. That’s definitely the sign of a quality franchise.

1. Avengers
2. Captain America Civil War
3. Avengers: Infinity War
4. Avengers Age of Ultron
5. Thor: Ragnarok
6. Captain America: Winter Soldier
7. Doctor Strange
8. Spider-Man Homecoming
9. Thor: The Dark World
10. Iron-Man 3
11. Black Panther
12. Guardians of the Galaxy
13. Thor
14. Iron Man 2
15. Iron Man
16. The Incredible Hulk
17. Captain America
18. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
19. Ant Man

Overall, Avengers Infinity War definitely stepped up and delivered what it promised. It brought in a ton of action and quality writing between the characters. It adapted the original comic arc pretty well all things considered. While it couldn’t literally get every character, putting off the film any longer to establish more characters would have been too much. This is a perfect way to celebrate 10 years of Marvel. I highly recommend checking out this film if you disregarded my spoiler warning and read the whole way through anyway. There are certainly a lot of ways they can go about the next film. I could probably make a whole post just discussing the possibilities. Instead I’ll just close the review here. Suffice it to say, it’s going to be tough to top Thanos in terms of power anytime soon. It may be time to shrink in scale temporarily (After Avengers 4 of course) to wind down before going to another big cosmic end game scenario. Another 10 years would be a lot of time to get in new characters so that destroying them will have more of an impact. Of course if it happens sooner you will get no complaints from me.

Overall 9/10

Battles, Dr Strange Battles, Hawkeye Battles

Dr Strange vs Hawkeye



Hawkeye has really gotten the shaft in the marketing for the Infinity War, but no worries the blog has not forgotten him. He certainly knows some good tricks with his bow and arrow, but I’m afraid that they just don’t have enough power to really hurt someone like Dr Strange. He is really in a completely different league next to Hawkeye and a simple spell will be enough for him to win. No arrow can beat an energy blast. Dr Strange wins.

Battles, Dr Strange Battles, Howl Battles

Howl vs Dr Strange


Howl
Dr_Strange
Suggested by IKnowledge Howl is a fairly skilled magician who can shapeshift into a bird and knows a lot of tricks. However, he will have a hard time landing any actual damage on Strange. Strange has many magical shields and defenses to protect him from any spell and his attack spells can damage foes like the Hulk. Being the Sorcerer Supreme has helped Strange unlock many levels of power and at this point, he is certainly one of the stronger magicians. I just don’t think Howl will be able to compete here. Dr Strange wins.

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

New Avengers Volume 2 Review

3a1e13be39c5564de0f9deac6fe8d06a_xl
I actually read this comic many months ago, but haven’t had a chance to write the review now. Well, the epic Incursions Arc reaches a boiling point and this is certainly the height of the whole thing. It’s technically still going on to an extent, but the team has had enough of it all so this will probably be the final true battle revolving around it. The series has been leading up to this moment with some time and even survived various tie-in issues to Infinity in order to get here. Without further ado, let’s discuss this title.

The collection was quite large as it was longer than that of a normal trade paperback, but the majority of the issues were about the big confrontation with the homage to the Justice League. Earth was coming under attack from another Incursion. If you don’t recall what that means, it essentially refers to the phenomenon of two Earths starting to exist in the same place. If they collide for even an instant, then both planets die along with the Solar System. The only way to prevent this is to destroy the other Earth. For decades, many planets tried to find another way around this, but no such way was found. This has been occurring for all of eternity with numerous versions of the Avengers so the modern day ones have finally acknowledged that they don’t think it is possible to avoid this fate. Their only choices now are to simply accept their destruction or to destroy the other Earth to spare their own. The team has many debates about that, but at least they’ve been lucky with the fact that the other Earths have been uninhabited..until now.

The Earth that appeared this time is home to the Justice League. Their Earth is the only one besides the 616 (Marvel’s main Universe) Earth to have survived multiple Incursions to live til this point. Both Earths are undefeated, but only one planet can walk away from this one alive. The New Avengers roster is fairly stacked at this point (Since it is really the Illuminati and not the New Avengers per say) since they have Iron Man, Dr. Strange, Namor, Hulk, Black Panther, Black Bolt, Beast and Mr. Fantastic on their side. However, the Justice League team has all of their signature members as well. One factor that helps the Avengers not get completely decimated in the opening seconds is that fate was not kind to DC’s team. When their Earth first appears, it happens immediately after the League had just finished fighting off another Earth. Dealing with one Incursion is already tough, but two of them in a row? The League is exhausted before the fight with the Avengers has even begun. (The previous Incursion had them fight against power mages who had previously wrecked the Illuminati with ease when it was just a few of them. The Justice League had to take on dozens of them in a planet wide invasion, but they pulled through.)

That was a mouthful, but some backstory is pretty important to fully appreciate the stakes. It is as much of a battle of morals as it is physically. The Avengers have been skirting the issue of whether or not they would pull the trigger and decide to essentially destroy a whole planet of innocent people in order to save their own skins and that of the planet’s. They would be choosing to swap their own lives for others, thus saying that theirs are more important. It’s a very dicey conundrum and one that is easily seen as morally wrong, but still hard to stop. After all, you’ll naturally be tempted to save your friends and family over total strangers. In the end, this is that situation, but on a grand scale. The fact that it is so grand also makes the whole thing very impersonal as it all becomes a lot of statistics instead of lives.

In the end, The Avengers mostly make the right call although they weren’t as decisive as I would have liked. They decide not to destroy the planet, but they also don’t decide to destroy the device. One by one they all simply say that they can’t do it and leave the machine there so it was easy for someone to walk up and press the button anyway. Hopefully they will be more alert next time, but it doesn’t change the fact that they just let an entire planet blow up on their watch. This was definitely not their greatest moment and will be something that they likely won’t want to share anytime soon.

The tensions with Black Panther and Namor have escalated as well. Black Panther now knows that Namor was responsible for the massacre in Wakanda and having a planetary genocide to add to that rap sheet doesn’t help matters either. It’ll be tough to get to Namor now though since the graphic novel ends with the Sub Mariner forming his own Cabal. The group is fairly powerful with heavy weights like Thanos, Terrax, and the mysterious lady from another dimension in their ranks. If necessary, this group could likely defeat the Illuminati and with ease I might add.

The author likes his use of synergy and repetition, but with a twist. For example, the speech that Namor gives at the end is the same one that Mr. Fantastic gave to the heroes at the beginning. It’s the exact same dialogue word for word, but the words have been twisted thanks to the context of how Namor is saying it all. It was definitely a solid piece of writing and the whole collection is quite good with that. There are no poorly written scenes in the entirety of the collection and a lot of plots are juggled around. Once you start reading this saga, you really can’t put the book down. The saga even has its own lore and universe built to support it without interfering with the rest of the Marvel Universe. This story is essentially taking place in a vacuum. It doesn’t effect the other titles, but you can still feel that the stakes are real. For example, I like all of the original characters that were added for this event.

Black Swan is the main one and she gives the heroes the various ideas for how to destroy worlds. She’s the dark voice urging them to give in and just destroy their obstacles. Acting as a bad influence to the team, she tends to succeed in breaking them all down slowly but surely. Her powers are vague, but she seems to be quite powerful. Her standard looking energy attacks are deadlier than they appear to be. She also got an origin story towards the end of the saga, which shed some light on her motivations, but she’s still an odd character. At the very least none of the factions should trust her.

All right, let’s talk about the Justice League. They were easily the best characters in the comic and I was rooting for them right from the start. It’s hard not to since they appear to be completely heroic and just want to protect their planet. From their side of things, the Avengers just look underhanded. As soon as the Justice League turned their backs, Namor threw his spear into one of their members. Sure, the Illuminati didn’t think that Namor would be that corrupt, but the whole thing is on them. The Justice League tried for a peaceful solution, but this destroyed negotiations so they decided to fight. As it stands, Superman was completely decimating the Avengers. (Not even going to bother with code-names) The Justice League did a great job of showing that unity and experience can defeat individually powerful fighters any time.

While they relied on heroism and good ole fashioned team-work, the Avengers had their Namor traitor and Dr. Strange, who decided to sacrifice his soul to get help from a demon. That did give him a massive power boost and ultimately it is what turned the tides against the Justice League, but it was definitely a very dicey decision. The Avengers had to pull out all of the stops for this fight. It was great to see Green Lantern, The Flash, Batman, and Superman in a Marvel comic. There was even a Martian Manhunter member although I don’t recall if there was a Wonder Woman fighter in the group. I was on Team DC as expected, but even the Marvel fans reading this may side with them given the circumstances. I hope to see them all again soon.

Even if I was rooting against them, the Illuminati members are all rather solid as well. This is not counting Namor of course as he is just another petty villain in the end. Mr. Fantastic was a bit out of character during some points as he was overly protective and making quite a lot of threats. It seems like this arc started to slowly corrupt him. Iron-Man and Beast retained their composure and were fairly in character even if there wasn’t a lot of opportunity for Iron Man to crack jokes. Black Bolt didn’t say much, (Shocker) but he also made the right calls in the end. Hulk was really just here to fight and get stomped by Superman. It’s a solid cast, but with the team fractured and more Incursions to come, what will they do? They have essentially decided to just let Earth die and I believe that all of this ends up tying into Secret Wars so maybe there won’t need to be much of a conclusion in the series.

It almost goes without saying that the art is excellent for this collection. It’s some of Marvel’s best work in that area and can hold its own against the DC powerhouses. As a comic, this one is also one of the best titles out there. This New Avengers run may be the best Avengers arc that I’ve read. Currently, I’d say that the best Marvel arcs are Infinity Gauntlet, Civil War, and X-Sanction. We can’t forget Secret Wars and World War Hulk either, although while I love that final arc, it is a bit of a step down from some of the others. If I had to rank them all (Counting tie-in issues that I’ve read for them) It would go: Infinity Gauntlet>Secret Wars>Civil War> New Avenger Incursions> X-Sanction> World War Hulk. As of now, I haven’t read much of the other big Marvel events like AVX, the new Secret Wars, or the new Infinity. The big X-Men arcs are solid as well, but none of them even come close to ranking up there at this point in time. There are probably other arcs around that I’m not thinking of at the moment, but Marvel does have a ton of them in the lineup so it would take forever if I was actually listing all of them.

Marvel’s events have been consistently good even if some of the later ones look a little anticlimactic. The new Secret Wars always looked rather boring from what I’ve seen and the new Infinity seems like the Infinity Gauntlet, but on a much smaller scale. Luckily, tie-ins help to stretch out the events. Infinity should have good fights though so hopefully Secret Wars threw some in there as well. Plus, if it does tie in to a lot of the material from this series, then that will help bump it up quite a bit. Personally, I think Secret Invasion looks like an epic arc with all the intrigue of who is turned and who isn’t, but I know that the comic doesn’t have the greatest reputation so it’ll be interesting to see how that one is someday. I don’t know what big Marvel event is coming up next, but I’ve been rather out of touch with the comics lately so I’ll work on getting a little more involved again.

Overall, This is definitely a comic that I highly recommend to all comic readers. Even if you haven’t read the previous volumes yet, you’ll be able to quickly get into the situation thanks to the recap at the beginning and the fact that the heroes will remind you a few times. This comic is very dialogue heavy, but also has a lot of action so it makes for a good mix. The comic should take you a little while to read as a result. The highlight is definitely the fight with the Justice League. While the League should have won even if they were already exhausted, out of energy, and got hit by a sucker punch at the start, it was still a good fight. It’ll be tough for this comic to be surpassed by other Marvel comics with how solid this was. It’s hard to imagine another event being this engaging at the moment either.

Overall 9/10

Battles, Dr Strange Battles, Soma Cruz Battles

Soma Cruz vs Dr Strange


SomaDawn
Dr_Strange
Soma Cruz is a powerful magician and he certainly has a lot of experience teleporting around the place. He’ll make it tough for Dr Strange to get a bead on him, but he is known as the Sorcerer Supreme for a reason. Dr Strange will be able to keep up strong barriers while launching an all out assault with his magical blasts. Soma wouldn’t be able to keep up the intensity for quite as long. His true form is actually pretty cool and is a nice creature design, but likewise, Dr Strange can unleash his true nefarious mode, which amps up his strength considerably. This time, the Marvel fighter takes the win. Dr Strange wins.

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

World War Hulk Review

DC12596lg
I remember this arc when it first came out. There was a lot of hype around it and I still consider the plot to be one of the best concepts from all Marvel events. Only Civil War may be able to top it. Nothing beats a good Heroes vs Heroes story, but one that comes close is when the hero turns evil and decides to destroy the heroes. It’s sort of like the Doomsday story in the comics as Superman has a long monologue about what would happen if he finally met a villain that he couldn’t defeat. It’s a story that has a lot of potential. World War Hulk doesn’t live up to all of it sadly, but it’s still a fun comic.

As mentioned, the plot is very simple. The Hulk was shot into space and deserted to die on a planet full of gladiators and aliens. He managed to survive and lived a happy life there, but then his rocket ship came back into orbit and crashed on the planet, destroying everyone on the planet. The Hulk blames the Illuminati for placing the bomb on the rocket and he has now returned to Earth to destroy them and make the Earth suffer for what has happened. All of Marvel’s heroes will have to set aside their differences if there is any hope of stopping the Hulk.

It should be noted that the Hulk picked a great time to launch this attack. For starters, Thor isn’t around at the moment, which takes away a really large threat right from the start. Also, the Civil War is still raging on at the moment or at least the post effects so the heroes have to reluctantly work together at the risk of being arrested. Yes, this is definitely the Hulk’s moment of glory and the heroes may not know what hit them! It should be noted that some heavy weights like Ghost Rider and the X-Men are noticeably absent, but they end up fighting the Hulk in tie-in issues. It’s too bad that they weren’t included, but I did review the X-Men one a while back.

If you wanted a comic with nonstop action, then this is definitely the one to check out. The 5 issues are basically showing the Hulk take down the Avengers, Fantastic Four, and all of the loners who tried to join the fray. Even the military stood no chance against the Hulk. Granted, The Hulk had about 5 teammates known as the Warbound who are apparently about as strong as the Hulk pre rage. That’s a lot of hype for those guys, but they did manage to defeat Spiderman (Off screen naturally……he never gets any respect in the modern comics!) so I suppose that they lived up to their reputation.

The Hulk has never been madder than he is now so his power is really skyrocketing. By the end of the comic, he starts to grow so powerful that he could have destroyed the Earth with a single stomp. That’s some insanely good strength. Naturally, Hulk is a total villain here who only cares for revenge. It’s a motive that works for most villains so why not for him right? He’s not mindless here by any means and he just believes that the Avengers need to pay for their crimes of genocide. An eye for an eye is his strategy. It’s been a while since we saw the Hulk portrayed as a villain so that was neat. He even uses his intelligence to trick Dr Strange at one point since he’s totally in control here. You have never seen a more deadly Hulk.

The Sentry’s role in this is also quite big as he gets hyped up right from the start. One problem that you may have with this is the fact that everyone acts like the Sentry and Hulk are best friends. Since when right? The Sentry is also a little insane and completely unlikable, but you still have to respect his incredible power. He’s said to be the strongest hero in Marvel and while I completely disagree with that, he’s certainly one of the stronger members and not someone to be taken lightly.

I do have to mention that the art isn’t very good here. It’ll look all right at times and then the character models will just start to shift and tumble. I dunno, there was just something a little off putting about it, but the art still wasn’t downright bad. We still got some fun action sequences out of it (Which is the whole point of World War Hulk right?) and the scene where the Sentry finally makes his move is pretty epic. The guy definitely seems to think of himself as a Superman level fighter and maybe he has some valid reasons for this. He does end up looking really good here after all.

As this is one of the more modern events, you can tell that you are missing some things by not reading the tie ins, but it’s not as big as in some other graphic novels where it’s in your face. The pacing is good. The Hulk gradually defeats everyone and by the end you will be wondering how the Hulk can possibly be defeated. You have to wonder if even the Sentry will be able to stand up to such a powerful threat. Most of the other heroes do feel like light weights here. Even fighters like Ms. Marvel and She Hulk are shown to not even be a threat to the Hulk. Seriously, they just watch Iron Man get taken out and only jump in to help at the very end. Not very heroic eh? I was personally disappointed that Spiderman was taken out off screen by one of the minions. I don’t buy that…at all.

In fact, as cool and tough as the Hulk is, I don’t buy any of it. The heroes badly outnumbered Hulk and his little group and I feel like they really should have won this round. I think that Ms. Marvel could give the Hulk a good fight. When she’s with She Hulk, Ares, Spiderman, and many more fighters…that should really be enough to end things. The Fantastic Four didn’t look too good, but I have to admit that those guys would be outmatched in an instant. Only Mr. Fantastic can hope to save them all and things didn’t go according to plan for him. It was fun to see Iron Fist and X-23 jump into the action and Iron Fist did all right against one of the Warbound, but he was soon put in his place.

Dr Strange entered a type of rage mode to stop the Hulk and nearly destroyed innocent civilians in the process. It was the only time where the heroes looked bad as the Hulk had to save them before stopping Dr. Strange. It was still a fun super form to look at though. Even the government gets some hype as General Ross explains that he always knew that the other superheroes could never stop the Hulk. Naturally, his weapons aren’t that effective and he doesn’t stand a chance, but you really have to admire his confidence. Ross has no doubt that he will stop the Hulk and he fights on right up til the very end. He was actually a very likable figure here and he has certainly known the Hulk much longer than anyone else.

The Warbound don’t really have much of a personality as they carry their baggage from Planet Hulk. I didn’t like any of the members and I doubt that the film would change my mind. One of them admits that what they are doing is wrong, but he doesn’t care since he just wants revenge. Better to be a villain than to knowingly act like a villain. Seriously, the guy is constantly talking about morals and justice while he’s attacking the heroes. Definitely not your typical superhero behavior eh? The justice concept would have been pretty interesting had the Illuminati actually placed a bomb inside of Hulk’s rocket, but a plot twist nullifies that. Most of what the Illuminati did was unintentional, but they still deserve a lot of blame for what happened to the Hulk. His time in space was certainly not a pleasant one.

You have to wonder what would have happened if Thor and the X-Men had been here from the start. Would the Hulk have been able to come out on top like he did here or would the heroes have stopped him? I feel like the heroes should definitely have won and with Thor and the others, that should be a guarantee. I would love to see another arc like this pop up soon where one powerhouse takes on the whole Marvel Universe. Not in a single blow or eventually, but a gauntlet run like what happened here. Those scenarios are always a lot of fun.

Overall, I was hyped to read World War Hulk from the start. I just love the concept of it and greatly enjoyed the X-Men vs Hulk tie-in. That being said, it was maybe a little less enjoyable than I had been expecting it to be. The gladiator ring part of the saga wasn’t great and the art was definitely a little sub par. The nonstop action was great though and the dialogue was engaging as well. This is definitely a solid read for all Hulk fans and especially if you just want to see some big hero against hero fights. There is a cliff hanger, but it’s not that great. Especially when you know who the mysterious figure turns out to be. Still, this was a fun event. Smaller in scope than most of Marvel’s big specials, but it was still impactful and showed us the Hulk’s true power! (Albeit, slightly over hyped…)

Overall 8/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

New Avengers Volume 2 Infinity Review

51ZSByYkxaL
I read the first volume a while back so now it’s time to check out the sequel! This one ties into Infinity so now we can get to see the return of Thanos in time for the Age of Ultron! The first volume definitely had some high stakes and was a pretty original Avengers title so I looked forward to more of the same in this volume. It does suffer a little from the Future Foundation problem, but still ends up being a solid read.

From the last volume, you may recall that various versions of Earth are smashing into each other and taking out universes as collateral damage. The heroes had to decide if they were willing to destroy an entire planet of innocents, but the decision was taken out of their hands when they found out that it was uninhabited. Would they be so lucky the next time? That plot continues as the next Earth appears in the sky. It is quickly reduced to the subplot though as Thanos invades the planet with his army. The team is in a pretty tense situation at the moment and Black Panther is not able to get along with Namor. With enemies within and on the outside, this could be the toughest mission for the New Avengers yet!

The main plot was noticeably pushed to the backseat to make room for Thanos, but I give the series kudos for trying to keep it relevant. The planets are still coming, the heroes just have to worry about it while also trying to stop Thanos and his fleet. It’s a tough call and it one where you won’t find out how the heroes ultimately win since you have to read the main series. I may as well address that negative here. The series does cater to the main one a whole lot so you do end up missing huge chunks of the story by just reading this collection. It’s not very subtle so you can definitely tell when something is missing. There are even “previously” segments before each comic just in case you aren’t reading Infinity. I feel like the comics did a better job of that in the old days.

Still, tie ins are great to expand the story so getting to be a part of the event in any shape or form is still a lot of fun. It’s not like the series ended there so we’re still going to go back to the main plot afterwards so that we can see the Avengers get roflstomped again. In the main Avengers series, this happens constantly so I’m glad that this hasn’t been the case in New Avengers…yet. They’re hinting that this will happen soon, which brings up another issue similar to Dragon Ball Rebirth of F.

The classic Marvel heroes simply look way too weak nowadays. The aliens mention that the heroes would be doomed against a number of alien races that haven’t even appeared yet. After a while, you just gotta shake your head and say “No.” I just don’t buy the fact that there are so many more races that can wipe the floor with the Avengers. Dr Strange used to be able to take on the Tribunal and Iron Man’s new armor allows him to dish out Hulk levels of power. They shouldn’t be considered as lightweights anymore, yet it is hinted that they still are weak in the grand scheme of things. That’s really pushing it to be honest.

On the bright side, cosmic beings are not immune to this. The Living Tribunal was taken out in an off screen fight where he was likely one shotted. Now, that’s what I’m talking about! The hype has died and hopefully this will allow more people to realize that Goku could take him out. Of course, that is neither here nor there. It’s definitely an intense scene and you have to wonder who did that. The comic never says, but I’ll assume that a Dark Lord or Thanos managed to defeat him. It makes sense and his expression of fear suggests that it was a spooky villain!

From the core New Avengers, I’d say that Iron Man and Reed Richards get the smallest role. Iron Man is a little uncharacteristically serious, but it’s certainly better than constantly making puns when the stakes are so high. He just doesn’t help out. Reed gives Black Panther some decent advice, but he looked terrible during the beginning. He was threatening Dr Doom a whole lot while teamed with Dr Strange and you actually felt bad for the villain. The New Avengers did bring the fight to Latveria after all and they’re still trying to keep him in the dark. The whole scene felt extremely out of character for Mr Fantastic and he definitely didn’t act like the nice guy that I’ve come to know.

Black Panther and Namor get the largest role from the characters as their civil war intensifies. Both of them are willing to win by any means necessary although Black Panther’s tactics come off as more underhanded than Namor’s. It certainly depends on how you see it though and Namor has had his share of cheap shots. Needless to say, casualties are high and both kingdoms are essentially broken by the time this is all over. If Black Panther really does try to destroy Namor, it’ll be tough to accomplish. Namor should easily be able to defeat Black Panther after all. It’s hard to root for either one of them though since I dislike both characters at this point.

Black Bolt also gets a role and he decides to start bringing out the heavy artillery. The New Avengers show is really hitting us hard with the “Heroes can be corrupted” message as just about every member is hit. Black Bolt lies to the team and builds a weapon of mass destruction. He certainly can’t be trusted and nobody else can either so it is a tricky situation. Dr Strange is naturally nothing like how he used to be. Remember the Dr Strange collection that I reviewed recently? Well, you would never guess that he is the same character. They seriously sound nothing alike at this point and this Dr Strange is certainly less likable and doesn’t feel like the hero of old. It’s the modern comics effect at work. Needless to say, you’re probably better off just being in space right now and as far away from the Earth as possible. I think that the New Avengers goes a little too far in trying to make all of the heroes unlikable, but it has always been made to be the more down to Earth title. It just means that some characters will start to act out of character as a result.

Back to the Wakanda vs Atlantis subplot for a second. You will almost wonder why nobody is trying to get into the middle of this. I suppose that politics will keep a lot of heroes out, but the war is certainly escalating and someone has to put an end to it. Also, it’s hard to know who to root for since both fighters are willing to do anything to win. Hopefully, both lands are laid to waste so that America can come in and take over the countries. At this rate, joining the U.S.A. seems to be their best bet and then Namor and Black Panther can settle their differences in prison. They certainly shouldn’t be allowed to stay outside, much less be allowed to stay on the New Avengers.

As you can imagine, the art is really good for this collection. Each page is very detailed and that does wonders for the fights. Most of the pages are fairly dark to coincide with the theme of the volume, but not overly so. You can still clearly see what is happening and the art does a good job of setting the tone. I certainly have no qualms with the artwork here.

Overall, This volume of New Avengers is pretty good. I think that the heroes are certainly getting a little too corrupted through all of this and hopefully they start to remember why they became heroes in the first place. It’s more than a little embarrassing to see Dr Strange be beaten by telepaths and totally crushed, but that’s what the sorcerer supreme has become nowadays. I’m also hoping that Earth is recognized as a legitamite threat soon, but I realize that this may not happen for quite a while. Still, they just got to keep on fighting until they get their due respect. The tie in with Infinity does derail the main plot a bit, but it’s interesting and a lot of fun to see Thanos back so it is worth the intervention. We also get a cameo by the X Men, which is neat although I don’t think that the telepathy should have worked at all when the X Men already have a telepath at the ready. I guess we’ll see how the Avengers stop the Earth problem from continuing and if they ultimately decide to make the hero call or not. Ultimately, the biggest strength of this title has always been that it is simply very interesting to read and it never fails at that for a moment. You’ll never be bored as you’re reading this and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next time.

Overall 7/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Marvel Masterworks Doctor Strange Volume 6 Review

595139-l
I don’t think that I have read a Doctor Strange comic before now so it was great to get this collection from the library. He’s a character who used to be among the strongest in Marvel history as he has gone toe to toe with foes like the Living Tribunal in the past. This collection certainly sees him go up against some cosmic threats, but we also get to see him get used to being a weaker fighter. This comic is sound in all areas and makes for a fun read.

There are quite a few adventures to be found here. One of the mini arcs involves a test that Eternity decides to give Doctor Strange. Strange must defeat himself as he meta physically fights against all of his personalities to show that his strength of will has not deteriorated. If he fails, Eternity shall end the planet! Later on, Strange decides to take a field trip to the past to meet with Ben Franklin and other retro figures. Unfortunately, someone has been following him around and Strange must learn not to believe his eyes, but to feel the truth. Finally, Strange is stripped of his Socerer Supreme title and goes back to just being a good magician. This comes at a bad time as Xander has come to attack Strange on behalf of his masters. Clea has also been tainted with evil and she is on a rampage in the city. Life never gets dull for Doctor Strange!

Doctor Strange is a very fun main character. He was certainly someone that you could root for here and he was also interesting. Strange was certainly a deep character who had been through many experiences and didn’t feel like your average hero. As with many heroes, this was likely the best portrayal of him as it would be very hard to top. His abilities are so numerous that even he has trouble remembering exactly what he can do at times, which makes sense. Magic is essentially unlimited so once you know it, you can really do just about anything. It’s easy to picture Doctor Strange actually tangling with cosmic beings. He met the creator in an older comic and here he gets to meet Satan and Eternity. He really hangs out with the best of the best and it would be fun to see Dr Strange at his height go up against Thanos with the Gauntlet. There’s actually a good chance that Strange could do more than simply put up a fight.

Eternity is certainly a fun character to watch since he’s one of Marvel’s heavy hitters. He is literally the universe so he is everywhere and always knows what’s going on. How can he be defeated? Well, you’d be surprised at just how many other heavy hitters Marvel has stashed away! Eternity is bested in both of the fights that he engages in here. One of them was a little surprising while I suppose that I can buy the other one. Still, in a battle of hype, one character must always lose right? I definitely consider Eternity to be below the Beyonder and Living Tribunal in power after this, but he’s probably still ahead of Death even though they are essentially half and half. At the very least, you’ve got to love Eternity’s personality. He reminds Doctor Strange that he is not above anger and he certainly proves it. You simply don’t want to mess with him!

Those were the two characters who really stuck out for me. Clea is a supporting character who gets a bigger role in the second half of the collection, but it’s still relatively small when you really think about it. I think the writers sometimes forget that she is still a sorceress though. Sometimes, she’ll simply go down without a fight. It’s a little odd and even the foreward by the writer for the first half mentioned that she probably should have left already. Things just didn’t work out very well for her, but at least the ending shows that things are starting to look better. Dr Strange’s assustant’s role is even smaller than Clea’s though so things certainly could have been worse.

As for the villains, most of them are simply sorcerers or tricks by Eternity or Strange’s mentor. Nightmare appears and he gets a pretty incredible feat, but Dr Strange disposes of him rather quickly. This shows how strong Strange was at one point. We’ve also got Xander, but he looks surprisingly weak. I’m assuming that the writer wasn’t sure exactly what to do with him and just threw the villain in for the lulz. We also have the the two queens who fought in the annual, but there’s not much to say about them. The dynamic was similar to the two Queens in Friendship is Magic, but with less development of course.

The art is a little inconsistent. It’s not a problem of the artist I believe as they switch during the comics. For most of the graphic novel, the art is very good and it does a good job of capturing the cosmic scope of Strange’s adventures. Towards the end with the annual and the final issues, the art just takes a big dip. The faces tend to vary a lot and Strange appears to have a head of gray hair on more than one occasion. I probably wouldn’t think that the art was so bad if it had been like that the whole time, but there’s no comparison when you look at the first half and then the second. Still, the first half definitely keeps it in the clear and the art certainly won’t take you out of the adventure.

The writing is engaging and you’re constantly reminded of how they simply don’t make comics like this one anymore. The adventures were great fun and Dr Strange made for a good lead. His strange adventures into other realms and planets are what made his comics so unique back in the day. The current Doctor Strange is hard to pinpoint as I haven’t read many comics with him, but he’s certainly less impressive nowadays and he doesn’t feel quite as determined as this Doctor Strange. It’s something about retro comics that allows each character to dip deep and really give the battle their all. That kind of determination doesn’t show up quite as often anymore.

Overall, I definitely recommend checking this collection out! It’s a blast and a half. Moreover, it’s a good way to get you prepped for the Doctor Strange film that will be coming out at some point in the future. You may not want to expect the film’s version to be quite as awesome as the lead in this collection, but it’s very likely going to be a good film so it should not disappoint. Watching Eternity actually get into a physical brawl is very exciting and the stakes are much higher here than you would expect from the average comic. This version of Dr Strange could likely defeat the Avengers and the other teams of the day as long as he had enough time to think of his spells. He could really do anything back in the day. Hopefully I’ll get to read another one of these collections for Doctor Strange someday. That being said, there’s another graphic novel that I’ll be reading soon, which has Strange in it so that’s the next best thing.

Overall 7/10