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Subj: Re: Question About Doctor Strange: Wasn't There A Time When He Killed A Human Or A Child? About Dark Magic, How Was The Gillis Run
Posted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 at 04:18:51 pm EST (Viewed 86 times)
Reply Subj: Question About Doctor Strange: Wasn't There A Time When He Killed A Human Or A Child? About Dark Magic, How Was The Gillis Run
Posted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 at 02:17:45 pm EST (Viewed 95 times)
Peter B Gillis was a very good writer who seemed to come and depart very quickly with the late 1980s. In retrospect he, and his rather sophisticated style of writing, was perhaps well before his time. Largely forgotten now sadly he wrote the final year of The New Defenders as I recall, and that was such a dark but tauntly plotted read it was bound to be divisive as it was so different to the tone of the book previous to his arrival. But it WAS very readable, if not exactly a likable book by the time it ended, and there is the success of it I think. Characters like Manslaughter and Interloper deserved to go on to further use in the Marvel universe, and his reinterpretation of Valkyrie into something more ancient and wise remains one of my personal favourites in her many revisions since.
Gillis was the writer who handled the final issues of Doctor Strange's 1970s title, concluding with issue 81 he had introduced the memorable alien Sorceror Urthona and a convincing background for him on a distant homeworld that seemed to take heavy inspiration from Ridley Scott's approach to science Fiction. At the end of the series Urthona has taken his sanctum from earth and a pursuing Doctor Strange is forced to destroy his talisman's and books to prevent Urthona's taking their power.
The aftermath of this is picked up in the short-lived Strange Tales series which was a book split between Doctor Strange and Cloak & Dagger. Here we have very dark stuff as a spiritually depressed Strange is no longer as powerful as he was thanks to the loss of his talismans and the consequences of his actions has meant mystical evil which those talismans had kept locked from earth are now gaining freedom. The Eye of Agamotto no longer works for him thanks to his impurity and he takes possession of another amulet - the Wings of Needless Sorrow, a Black Magic object he has acquired in an encounter that also cost him his eye. Into his life returns old Frienemy Kaluu from way back in the original Strange Tales series, and Kaluu sets about helping Strange in his own way. Preparing him for what is to come. Along the way Strange descends further into black magic and in the process is forced into the difficult decisions you query above... by the end of this journey we learn that Kaluu has been readying him to take on one of the greatest evils the Mystical world has ever seen, one Doctor Strange is very familiar with - Shuma Gorath!
In one of his single most memorable confrontations ever Doctor Strange succeeds in defeating this elder god, but in arriving at the point where he has both the power and the ruthlessness to do so Strange realises he has too far passed a moral and spiritual point and the only proper thing to do is kill himself now that Gorath has been defeated. And so he impales himself.
What happens next I'm foggy on as I haven't read any of this since around the time it came out, but if I remember rightly the deceased aand spiritually moribund Strange is met by The New Defenders, whom went off into limbo at the end of their series and are now nominally led by old friend of Stephen's Valkyrie. Val and her companions intercede to rescue Strange, endeavour to restore his humanity, and ultimately work to return him to the world off the living. The Strange Tales series then ends with Stephen Strange reborn and regaining a measure of his old purity, and so begins for him a journey to return to humanity, and a relative sense of normality.
From this series Peter B Gillis then takes the character back into his own ongoing series, still with only one eye, still not as powerful as he used to be, but determined to return to New York and his Sanctum and watch for further mystical threats. That next main threat comes in the form of Dormammu, who takes over Strange's body. Once that challenge is met and dealt with Peter B Gillis departs the book and in come the impressive team of Roy Thomas and Jackson Guice, who set about restoring Strange's health and rebuilding his character into a more positive and relaxed figure to the Doctor Strange of old. A new Doctor for a new decade.
Strange has his talisman's returned thanks to the genorosity of Agamotto, who we learn rescued the talismans from their destruction and they have been stored in his realm ever since. The final pages of Stephen Strange departing Agamotto's realm and discovering his benefactor has left him a further gift of a new eye remain touching to this day... one of my personal favourites in fact.
Back in the day Doctor Strange was blessed with superb writers - Peter Gillis and Roy Thomas, along with the underappreciated Roger Stern, and of course Steve Englehart who came before him...
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