Friday, October 13, 2006

Comic Blog Part 2

It's been a fruitful week comic-wise at Meanwhile... HQ so I figured I wuld follow-up on my last post with an update on the Doctor Strange mini and some new stuff.

First up, the Sorcerer Supreme. I hummed and I hawed for, like, two days debating with myself whether to pick this book up or not. The artwork by Marcos Martin looked positively sublime and that first page between Araña and Iron Fist in the waiting room (pictured at right) was priceless. Still, when you look through a book and all you see are talking heads, short of reading the book on the spot in the store (instantly making it pointless to buy in the bargain) there's no way of telling if the writer (Brian K. Vaughan, in this case) has done anything truly worthwhile.

I knew I was going to be at the comic store again today to pick up a copy of Battlestar Galactica #2 and figured I would take one last gander at The Oath as well as another new book, Blade. Marc Guggenheim and Howard Chaykin have a new Blade comic book on the stands and seeing as how I recently acquired the first film on DVD (thus having pored over all of its bonus features) and begun watching the ill-fated television series, I thought it might be a good idea to check this one out as well. I mean, Howard Chaykin. Come on.

In a funny way, it was probably a good thing that I did decide to check out the new Blade because it looked pretty disappointing, to be brutally honest. I'd read some lukewarm reviews before leaving the house so I wasn't expecting a lot, but the final decision to axe the idea came down shortly after skimming through a few pages of the first issue. There was something about it that just didn't feel right. It was probably the main storyline with Blade going around killing a lot of vampires with very little point because the B story featuring previously unrevealed moments from Blade's past looked rather engaging.

Anyway, the overall crappiness of Blade (or at least the perceived crappiness) made Doctor Strange: The Oath #1 look all the better, and the previously cited character moment between Araña and Iron Fist had just the right amount of 'we're going to be a little bit the same, here, but also just a little bit different, too' to it. The rhythm of it just felt right so I took the plunge.

And a good choice, too, because I really enjoyed it.

Vaughan grounded the story well enough that it didn't just seem...well, beyond everything, you know? The role of Dr. STrange in the Marvel U over the last bunch of years was either as a Deus Ex Machina or as some form of comic relief. In The Oath, Vaughan portrayed Strange as a powerful mystic, sure, but still a man and still a medical doctor. It was a nice balance of what Lee and Ditko did with the character 40 years ago crossed with what an intelligent and discrimination comic audience might be looking for today. One of my favourite Dr. Strange runs of all time was the DeMatteis/Buckingham run just before the series was cancelled in the late '90s and it was for much of the same reasons. When you can connect with the character on some level, you can go that extra step beyond. The Straczynski reboot from a year or so back seemed to be trying way too hard and missing the mark, in my opinion.

To try and shorten an otherwise wordy review, I'll definitely be picking up the next issue - if not the next four - in the series and look forward to seeing what Vaughan has planned for the character and the dilemma he was left with on the final page of book one.

More comic talk later!


PS - In the credit where credit is due dept. all images were shamelessly cribbed from CBR. It was that or try and figure out my wife's scanner set-up.

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