By Patrick Ehlers
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
“Okay, sounds cool.”
-Blade, Doctor Strange Damnation 3
There’s a lot of heady framework supporting Doctor Strange Damnation. Writers Nick Spencer and Donny Cates are playing with some of the most amoral and immoral heroes in the Marvel Universe as they navigate the fallout of the biggest heel turn in comics history. Plus the goddamn devil is there collecting the wages of sin. So, y’know: a lot of loose morality to sort through. Issue three of this miniseries lets all of that set-up take a back seat. For 20 glorious pages, Spencer, Cates and artist Szymon Kudranski just let cool shit happen.
This is bound to sound like my least articulate piece of comic book criticism. But, like, can you blame me? A soul-less Stephen Strange is possessed by the ghost of Bats the bloodhound. And Wong calls him “good boy!” That’s comic book pay-off — the follow through on countless pages of wind-up. Honestly, just about everything that happens in this issue seems like it’s the result of a “wouldn’t it be cool if” session.
There’s a moment in here where Blade rides Mjolnir as it returns to demon-Thor and stabs her in the eye with an exploding sword.
That’s some totally dope spectacle, and I love Kudranksi’s inky panel boarders that simply can’t maintain their integrity in light of the awesomeness they contain.
Probably the coolest part of the narrative is when Mephisto plays his trump card against Ghost Rider by simply removing his curse and kicking him out of the tower. Mephisto’s solution is so elegant. All he has to do is snap his fingers and Wong’s ace-in-the-hole transmutes into a dopey white dude with no chance of stopping him. Whether or not that’s all part of Wong’s longterm plan, and the moral flexibility needed to undertake such a plan, is a question for another issue. This one’s all about kicking ass.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?