Marvel Masterworks: Doctor Strange - Volume 2 Paperback – 5 Feb 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
this collection is from the strange tales comic of the 60s and has some classic stuff included.
you wont be disapointed with this as its marvel at its best. plus it will bring back memories of happier times of innocence and enyoyment which now seems like a distant memory,
I believe Mordo is taller than he used to be, not exactly important, but a change.
You get quite a lot of pages for your money, and they're in colour.
It's about a 4.25 to 4.5 out of 5 for me.
Strange Tales 142 - 168
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The stories in this volume, the second wave of Dr. Strange stories, include Steve Ditko's last work on the series, and after he bid a fond farwell to one of his greatest creations, the artwork was taken over by Marvel-Atlas vets such as Bill Everett and Marie Severin. I like both those artists, but have always found their work here to be a big stiff and uninspired. Likewise, the stories don't quite match the freshness of the early Strange adventures. In particular, there was a shift towards longer story arcs and to-be-continued issues, trying, I suppose, to match the epic grandeur of superhero books such as the "Fantastic Four," et al. However, the glory of Dr. Strange was that he was a hangover from the 1950s horror-genre days, and shorter stories suited him well. Also, this character was really Ditko's baby, and he brought a liveliness and zest to it that no one else was ever able to recapture. There's some fun stuff here, for sure, but the Marvel Bullpen was clearly straining itself trying to make the book become super-cosmic and boffo, although the results were sometimes more workmanlike and flat. Still, this is classic material and definitely requied reading for any student of the mystic arts... MAKE MINE MARVEL! (ReadThatAgain book reviews)
Vol 2. contains only the remaining 5 stories that Steve Ditko drew and plotted before leaving Marvel Comics and his loss was very noticeable unfortunately. After Ditkos final 5 stories, Bill Everett picks up the tale of the Master of the Mystic Arts. Everett basically carries on with the tools that Ditko had left. Under Everetts tenure we do see the introduction of the rather entertaining and malevolent villainess "Umar". Everett's style wasn't particularly suited to Dr. Strange, and many of the characters seem to look very similar to SubMariner. Marie Severin and Dan Adkins are even weaker on this title. Trying to mimic the Ditko style but not succeeding very well. The art is adequate but not stunning.
One can look at the first 5 stories in this volume and see the difference for themselves. One of Ditkos greatest creations was "Eternity". In Ditkos last story in Strange Tales 146 entitled "The End At Last", we see two pages that show Ditko's genius. On pages 5. 6 for example, we see two full splash pages of Eternity and a mystical, dimension shattering explosion that is nothing short of beautiful and epic. Pages 7 and 8 are also very lovely examples of Ditkos final work on this series.
The stories that follow are blander and less imaginative. Denny O'Neil does the writing and it's obvious that he's not yet the talent that he would be later on things like Batman over at DC. However, I still must suggest this to Ditko fans and Dr. Strange fans as they are stories that continue the characters mythos. While the series suffered a creative malaise after Ditko left, and before Gene Colan came on board, there are still a few bright spots that make this worth purchasing.
This volume contains Strange Tales #142 through 168. Only the covers that feature Dr. Strange are shown and are reprinted in the back of this book (Vol. 2)
This second volume of Marvel Masterworks Dr. Strange collects Strange Tales issues 142 - 168, and continues the rest of his shared stories with Nick Fury which took place between 1966 - 1968 across Marvel's title Strange Tales. After this series Dr. Strange would see his own title due to some popularity. For those who may not know, Nick Fury's stories are collected in his own Marvel Masterworks trade titled Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
This second batch of stories may not be as good as the first volume but they're far away from bad, and they still maintain a great amount of entertainment through some imaginative writing. The stories this time around are also longer focusing on actual story arcs which is a good thing, because some of the individuals Dr. Strange is forced to battle are indeed some tough customers, and through so much build up it would be quite lame for bit-sized stories.
Now one thing to point out is that these stories were written by a plethora of writers such as Steve Ditko, Marie Severin, and even Dennis O' Neil. Dr. Strange's titles weren't looked at in the same favorable light as Spider-Man, Hulk, or Thor for example. Therefore his Strange Tales title was like a testing ground for writers. Despite this revolving door of writers; I found a good enough consistency between the stories.
Dr. Strange engages in another confrontation with Dormammu which is nothing more than a set up to introduce newer and more powerful characters such as Eternity, The Living Tribunal, and finally Dormammu's powerful sister Umar; whom actually doesn't care for her brother, but considers it a duty to kill Strange and avenge her brother's defeat and apparent death due to a mortal. This is one of the better and quite possibly best encounters in the book. However, there's nothing afterwards I can consider to be boring.
Dr. Strange's title really is a lot better than some people give it credit for. One thing I still find interesting about his stories is how unique they are to him. As master of the mystic arts, Dr. Strange's world is strictly based on magic and even the occult. In these stories he faces sorcerers and demons with these battles taking place in different dimensions. It seems as if he's the only hero capable of performing these missions which sets him apart from everyone else. The cleverness needed to escape and confront many of his enemies is something only he can do, and it adds another dimension to the overall action. His fists are rarely the answer which provides a huge change of pace when compared to about 99% of the stories written around this time.
The artwork delivers some highly creative fantasy landscapes that fully develops Dr. Strange's world. When picking up this title and witnessing these highly colorful backgrounds and different demonic creatures, it's clear that a frequent comic reader will be getting something different. The different otherworldly settings reminds me of Thor's title during his trips to Asgard. There's a grand feel to everything that towers over the usual streets of New York Spider-Man frequents or the Hulk's desert stomping grounds. I find it to be a lot of fun.
The only real flaw besides the artwork and writing not being as tight as the first volume, is that I can imagine hardcore action fans, the fist to face types not really getting into this fantasy world where the characters battle through incantations and magic wielding; but if one can get pass those things then they more than likely may come away enjoying these stories. I definitely recommend giving this early Dr. Strange run a look. I enjoy these stories much more than when I was younger.
Pros: Very good writing at times, nice imagination
Cons: Could be too different from other titles, multi-arcs may bother some
Volume a resounding *5* stars!!!