Strange Continues to Damn Himself in Doctor Strange 387

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Spencer: Damnation is an appropriate title for this event in several ways. The entire city of Las Vegas was damned to Hell when it was destroyed during Secret Empire, and its revival has damned the soul of anyone who dares get near the city. Perhaps most significant, though — especially in the Doctor Strange tie-in issues — is the damnation the Sorcerer Supreme himself, Stephen Strange, faces. There’s the literal damnation courtesy of Mephisto, of course, but Donny Cates and Niko Henrichon seem much more interested in the self-damnation Strange has put himself through, the way he’s driven away his friends and allies, and the increasingly desperate and toxic ways he’s attempting to cope with this fact. Continue reading


Doctor Strange: Damnation 2 is Basically a Heist Movie

by Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Just as surely as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, Steven Soderbergh will reemerge from “retirement” now and again to make another heist movie. One can’t blame him for this: heist movies are fun, and Soderbergh has shown that he’s become very good at making them. Still, why is it that our thirst for these can’t be sated? Is it seeing familiar faces from different walks of life team-up? The notion of stealing for a just cause like Robin Hood? Or perhaps it’s serving comeuppance to someone who deserves it. Whatever the reason may be, the heist story is here to stay, and, as Donny Cates and Nick Spencer show, is easily transferable to the superhero genre. Continue reading

Underestimating Rock Bottom in Doctor Strange 386

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Spencer: Doctor Strange has had a rough year. Mind you, I don’t think superheroes ever get to have easy years, but Strange has still had it harder than most as of late, between the Empirikul’s magical genocide, Loki’s coup, and the loss of all his friends and allies. It makes sense that Strange might be looking for a win. It makes sense that his decision to raise and restore Las Vegas might not be entirely selfless. And, given the price he’s paying for this act, it makes sense that his attempts to make things right are only leading to more mistakes. Strange thought he’d hit rock bottom, but he didn’t realize how much worse things could get. Continue reading

Doctor Strange: Damnation 1: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Spencer: Since our audience has excellent taste, I’m going to assume that you’re all watching NBC’s The Good Place, right? Essentially a show about lost souls trying to earn their way into Heaven by becoming better people, one of the more interesting concepts percolating beneath the show’s surface is the idea that the rules dictating what afterlife you’re sent to are inherently flawed and unfair. It’s almost impossible to earn your way into the Good Place — only the most selfless and charitable of souls make it — leaving plenty of folks who led wholly mediocre lives (or whose greatest crimes were being born in Florida) facing an eternity of torture and punishment. I couldn’t help but think of this while reading Nick Spencer, Donny Cates, and Rod Reis’ Doctor Strange: Damnation 1, which finds the city of Las Vegas, the Avengers, and perhaps the entire world being judged by equally biased, unfair rules. Continue reading

Captain America: Steve Rogers 17

Today, Patrick and Michael are discussing Steve Rogers: Captain America 17, originally released March 25, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Patrick: Secret Empire has, thus far, been an intensely relevant crossover event. Exhaustingly so. If there’s anything that allows the reader a little distance between the democratic crisis within the pages of the Marvel Universe and our own, it’s that we can recognize the supernatural cogs at turning in Hydra’s machine. Cosmic Cubes, inter-planetary defense shields, the motherfucking Darkforce dimension — these are all superhero specifics that grant us some much needed distance from the tyranny of Steve Rogers. Captain America Steve Rogers 17 mercilessly grounds Rogers’ fascist techniques through the vehicle of reporter Sally Floyd, who is manipulated, bullied and ultimately imprisoned in an issue much more rooted in reality than fantasy. It’s enough to break my heart in real life.
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Suicide Squad 22

Alternating Currents: Suicide Squad 22, Drew and Mikyzptlk

Today, Drew and Mikyzptlk are discussing Suicide Squad 22, originally released July 10th, 2013.

Drew: Superhero team-ups are weird. Notions like marketability and synergy are taken into account over tactical utility, forcing writers to tie themselves in knots over why the Avengers would want the Hulk anywhere near them, or what value Aquaman adds to a team that already has actual superheroes on it. More importantly, a team-up often involves characters taking on specific roles within the team — which may not always “fit” their characters. Without any huge names on the title, Suicide Squad has a bit more flexibility in making the pieces fit together (and with the entire population of Belle Reve prison up for grabs, plenty of pieces to work with), but writer Ales Kot seems much more interested in how they don’t fit. Continue reading