Mind Capsules – Doctor Strange #11 and Birthright #19

Doctor Strange #11

Writer – Jason Aaron
Artist – Kevin Nowlan, Leonardo Romero
Colours – Kevin Nowlan, Jordie Bellaire
Letters – VC’s Cory Petit

After the rollercoaster ride that Jason Aaron took us on with the last arc in the book, Doctor Strange gets a bit of a break, though only a small one. With the magic on Earth being decimated, though not fully annihilated, he now needs to find his place within it and learn how to use it. The most interesting thing to take place within this issue are the little tweaks to Strange’s history that are made. They are small, but they add a little colour to the story that most readers already know. While one leads to Strange’s taking up magic, at least partially, the other puts some perspective on his long-standing nemesis Baron Mordo who is shown to be jealous of Strange from the very first. Mordo, as readers may or may not know, thought he would be the Sorcerer Supreme after the Ancient One. That obviously did not come to pass and he has been holding that grudge for a very long time. As to what is going on presently, magic is making its return to the world. It is a slow process, but Strange can see it and a part of him is happy for it, for without it, what would he do? With the return of magic, so too does the bad along with the good and while his magic may not be in top form, he is still able to do something about those pests who need taking care of. Overall, this issue represents a nice bridge between the previous arc and the next. It shows us a little of what was and establishes what is and just what might come about. Magic in the Marvel Universe is no longer what it was and it could be some time before it is ever the same again. One thing of note that takes place is the disassembling of the Temple of Secret Defenders. It was a place used by Wong to help bolster Strange’s power and to offset the risks when using it. If there are aftereffects to this will remain to be seen, but one cannot help but think about the creature that was formed out of Strange’s magic that lived in the cellar and how that cannot come to pass again. With the return of a long-time foe, Strange’s trials are not yet over and things promise to get very interesting, very quickly.

4 out of 5

Birthright #19

Writer – Joshua Williamson
Artist – Andrei Bressan
Colours – Adriano Lucas
Letters – Pat Brousseau

Thanks to Brennan’s bit of sorcery that reunited Mikey with Lore’s little creature, Mikey feels stronger than ever and it is a good thing too as there is a literal army at the door of Sameal’s keep. Though it might have been a long time coming, Joshua Williamson and Andrei Bressan finally delve into the origins of the mages and their decision to flee Terrenos for Earth. It is a fascinating story that is somewhat logical when you look at it from their perspective. Being as strong as they were, the magic users noticed that though they would eventually win every fight they were in, they were in fact losing each one simultaneously and it was continuously getting worse. As a villain, Lore had no care for losses and so would send ever-increasing numbers against them, something they could not compete with. So why not leave Terrenos for Earth, save some of the people in their realm by doing so and shut the gate behind them, thereby saving at least one world. It made sense at the time except it failed to stick which then led to their current predicament. For the most part, Williamson has painted these characters as the villains for quite a long time. Perhaps they were not straight-out bad guys, but a group of people whose motivations were unknown and were at the very least, very ambiguous. Were they good, were they evil and just what was it that they wanted on Earth? You had to realize that once Mikey was found to be harbouring the Nevermind – that everything he thought and had said had to be circumspect including his revelations about the mages. The thing of it all is, that even though this group of magic users are essentially the good guys, they should have worked together to find some way to save their realm instead of simply abandoning it. They may not be all that bad, but they are not all that good either. Little else is shown in the book other than a little action in the present and that is all well and fine as we finally get a few answers to some long-standing questions. With the ever-present artwork by Bressan which gets better all the time, Birthright continues to be a most exciting read.

3.5 out of 5

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