They Said What? in Doctor Strange 3

by Taylor Anderson

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

If you’ve ever had the fortune (or misfortune as it might be) of being an English major, you’ve likely entertained the idea of being a writer at some point in time — probably college. So you penned a couple stories that were mediocre at best and realized along the way that writing is actually quite difficult. Specifically, writing dialogue is a hard part of the process, if for no other reason than it is difficult to make it sound natural. This being so, I don’t blame Mark Waid for having hard time writing conversation in Doctor Strange 3, but his difficulty in writing it sure makes this issue hard to enjoy. Continue reading

Science and Magic Reconciled in Doctor Strange 1

by Taylor Anderson

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

For some, there is a fine line to be drawn between the science fiction and fantasy genres. The former often focuses on technology and space travel while the latter often takes place on Earth-like planets and features magic, and it’s easy to see why the twain should never mix. While these differences are stark, many have come to recognize that enough similarities exist between the two for them to be clumped into one genre called “speculative fiction.” The Marvel Universe, with its huge amount of both space-age technology and mystical powers, certainly belongs in this classification. While this hasn’t hasn’t always been an easy mixing, in Doctor Strange 1 it not only works, but is explained elegantly. Continue reading

Doctor Strange: Damnation 4: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Taylor Anderson

Doctor Strange Damnation 4

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

Spencer: Big comic book events and crossovers aren’t exactly known for intimate, character-based storytelling — instead we read these stories to see dozens (sometimes hundreds) of characters all hanging out and mixing together in ways they never would at any other time. Damnation has been an interesting event because it’s the exact opposite — Donny Cates, Nick Spencer, and Rod Reis’ story works best when the scope remains small, and becomes weaker and weaker the more it tries to be an “event.” 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

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

Doctor Strange 384: Discussion

by Michael DeLaney and Spencer Irwin

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

Michael: This is the second week in a row that I get to name-drop the Sentry! I think I may be in the minority when I say that I like the Sentry, the Dr. Jekyll Superman analogue with a Mr. Hyde counterpart called The Void. I don’t think that he should be headlining his own book, but I do like him as a co-star or part of an ensemble. Donny Cates makes excellent use out of the Sentry in Doctor Strange 384. Continue reading

Collaboration Must Be Fun in Doctor Strange 24

by Taylor Anderson

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

To be a comic book writer you have to have a certain amount of trust in people. I say this because unless you’re one of those uber-talented and driven writers who can do it all, you have to depend on another person to put your words and directions into pictures. Aside from the loss of creative control this may represent to an author, there are also logistical worries involved in this process. When an artist is penciling Doctor Strange, for example, they are going to need pretty clear directions from the author given that a lot of what they draw has to be things that don’t exist in real life. How exactly do you tell someone to draw all those bizarre magical beasties Stephen has to fight? Continue reading

Doctor Strange 21

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Doctor Strange 21, originally released May 31st, 2017. As always, this article containers SPOILERS.

Taylor: Here are Retcon-Punch, we read a lot of comics. This is great in so many ways, but primarily because at no other time in history has their been so many quality options for monthly reads. However, the deluge of great comics can take its toll. Given too much of something good, even great comics, a person quickly becomes numb to their pleasures. Reading so many wonderful series means that it becomes easy, on occasion, to overlook just how amazing and unique some issues really are. It’s for this reason that Doctor Strange 21 stands out to me. Not only is it an excellent issue on its own, but it reminds me why comics are some of the most innovative mediums going today. Continue reading

Doctor Strange 11

Alternating Currents: Doctor Strange 11, Taylor and Drew

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Doctor Strange 11, originally released September 7th, 2016. As always, this article containers SPOILERS.

Taylor: To say that modern movie making has changed the course of comic books would be an understatement. Once wrongfully believed to be the bastion of solely nerds and misfits, the world of comics has now opened up to broader audiences with the wide appeal and easy entry point movies have offer. It’s easy to assume that the scripts for these movies are plundered from the rich depths of over a half a century of serial publication, but that assumption wouldn’t be entirely accurate. As the Civil War movie shows, movies frequently influence their panelled brethren. The Civil War II comic event, while totally independent from the movie, certainly has been influenced by the film, and that comes as no surprise. Marvel has money to make. And though it’s true that the Civil War movie was based on an earlier comic, it’s clear to see that movies, for better or worse, are influencing comics. There is no better example of this than Doctor Strange 11.

Continue reading

Doctor Strange 7/Doctor Strange: Last Days of Magic 1

doctor strange roundupToday, Spencer and Taylor are discussing Doctor Strange 7 and Doctor Strange: Last Days of Magic 1, originally released April 27th, 2016.

dr strange div

Doctor Strange 7

Spencer: Science vs. magic, in one form or another, has been a debate since the beginning of time. Those fighting this battle defend their side vehemently, probably because the conflict taps into a number of elemental aspects of the human condition, such as the origin of life, the idea of a higher power, and perhaps most fundamentally, the balance between order and chaos. The thing most people lose sight of, though — especially the Imperator of the Empirikul, villain of Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo’s Doctor Strange 7 — is that it isn’t an either/or proposition. Science and magic can, and should, exist side-by-side. Continue reading