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

Doctor Strange 2


doctor-strange-2 reduxToday, Mark and Spencer are discussing Doctor Strange 2, originally released November 4th, 2015.

Mark: Do comic books—straight up comic books—make money? Like, remove the merchandise licensing, remove the blockbuster movies and animated releases, are comic books a profitable business? Both DC and Marvel operate under the umbrella of their corporate parents (Warner Bros. and the Walt Disney Company respectively), and while the publishing of comic books probably continues to bring in a tidy sum, these books are really just generating intellectual property that the real money makers (the aforementioned merchandise and blockbusters) can continue to exploit. It’s with that lightly cynical viewpoint that I approach the relaunch of Doctor Strange. Like Ant-Man earlier this year, Jason Aaron’s Doctor Strange feels like a timely relaunch intended to bring Stephen Strange to a more prominent role in the cultural landscape after years of languishing on Marvel’s bench. Continue reading

New Avengers 27

Alternating Currents: New Avengers 27, Drew and MarkToday, Drew and Mark are discussing New Avengers 27, originally released November 26th, 2014. 

slim-bannerDrew: I suppose it’s no surprise that the phrase Deus ex machina is ancient in origin, but I was surprised to learn that it originally described an actual machine used to levitate actors playing gods in ancient tragedies. Of course, it’s more popular meaning as a totally lazy plot device are also ancient in origin — Aristotle took Euripides to task for using a dragon-drawn chariot to whisk suddenly Medea to safety — which speaks to just how long people have been hating it. I dislike unlikely reversals of fortune or sudden interventions by benevolent higher powers as much as the next guy, but the thing that really annoys me about the thought of meeting the man behind the curtain is the expectation that it will be in any way satisfying. I’ve had enough experience to know that the more interesting a question is, the less interesting its answer will inevitably feel, which makes the presence of a being with all the answers extremely unappealing to me. Jonathan Hickman manages to avoid this a bit in New Avengers 27 by answering some of the less interesting questions, though that unfortunately also doesn’t yield particularly satisfying answers. Continue reading

Silver Surfer 5

silver surfer 5Today, Suzanne and Drew are discussing Silver Surfer 5, originally released August 27, 2014.

Suzanne: What meaning can we find in our collective fascination with dreams, or rather nightmares? From myths about gods like Hypnos and Morpheus to the cult obsession with Sandman, these stories reveal our curiosity with the thinly-veiled world we enter each night with sleep. I catch myself searching for insights about my dreams — what does a dystopian future filled with giant monsters really say about my current frame of mind? Here’s hoping Norrin Radd and Dawn Greenwood break through to their subconscious in Silver Surfer 5. Continue reading