“Once you give up trying to understand, you can start becoming comfortable with not knowing. And then your mind will be open to greater possibilities.”
Last night I went to see the new Doctor Strange film, which I highly recommend. Not surprisingly, I was inspired to read this new issue I picked up. The story ties in well with the film, exploring some of the challenges Stephen faced while attempting to master astral projection. But what makes this issue really special is the inclusion of two original installments from Stan Lee and Steve Ditko: “The Origin of Doctor Strange” from Strange Tales #115 and “Doctor Strange Master of Black Magic!” from Strange Tales #110. These reprints are beautifully rendered and provide an insight into the artistic beginnings of this enduring and inspiring body of work.
I’m glad to see a renewed interest in Doctor Strange. Please comment and let me know if you are an old or new Doctor Strange fan, if you have seen the movie yet, and if you think it lives up to the graphic tales.
With about a month to go for the new Star Wars film, reading this comic is getting me more excited. As with the first issue, I have to say, not great, but good enough to keep my interest. In this installment, Leia goes to Naboo on a diplomatic mission, but somehow the Empire has found out about it and sent a ship to wreak havoc on the planet.
This issue seems to generate more questions than answers, but I guess that is all part of the master plan. I suspect all will become clear once the film hits the screen in December.
This new series is dubbed “Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” My friend Nikki at the comic store told me it ties in to the upcoming film and recommended I read it. How could I refuse?
The story picks up at the conclusion of the Battle of Endor (that would be the “Return of the Jedi” film, for those who are wondering). The Galactic Empire is defeated, but it is discovered that there is a hidden base on Endor’s moon. The rebels attack, intending to finish off the Empire for good. But they discover something…
My feeling is that this is great if you are really into Star Wars; if not, you can probably skip it. The writing is mediocre. Lots of snippets of conversation where you do not actually know who is speaking. I give the writers credit for trying to do something creative, but it just didn’t quite work for me.
The story is definitely driven more by the illustrations than the text. Lots of interstellar fighting, which while I can appreciate the artwork (which is very good, by the way), there is only so much spaceship/lasers/explosions I can handle before my interest begins to wane.
I will say that this did make me more excited about the upcoming film. I’ll continue reading this arc (I believe it is only slated for four issues), mainly because I am curious how this will tie into the movie. I’ll let you know my thoughts on the second issue when it comes out in about a month or so.
I really love this series. Leia is such a great leader and we need more women leaders in graphic novels, literature, and in the real world. In this issue, Leia and Evaan locate another group of Alderaanian survivors, but they are suspicious of Leia. And when the imperial forces descend on them as a result of a traitor, then the group turns against Leia.
One section of this issue that stood out for me was a brief discussion on hope.
Evaan: Never seen you give up hope, ma’am.
Leia: Hope led me to the rebellion, and Alderaan paid for that. Now my hope has led the empire here. I don’t think the galaxy can survive much more hope from me.
I have grappled with the question of whether hope is a good thing or a bad thing. Hope can cause people to remain in bad situations, thinking that they will change. Hope can create expectations which can lead to disappointment and disillusion. Hope is one of the plagues in Pandora’s Box. But loss of hope can also lead to apathy, to despair, and to the diminishing of the determination needed to face challenges. Hope has certainly carried me through some dark times in my life. I think hope is one of those things that transcend good and evil, since both good and evil can result from it. At least, that is how I feel about hope right now. I suspect my feelings will change again.
One last word regarding hope as it relates to this tale. I do not think it is a coincidence that hope focuses prominently here, since the original Star Wars film was subtitled “A New Hope.” What are your thoughts on hope? Feel free to share them below. Thanks for stopping by!
This issue concludes the two-part “Portals” story. As I expected, it is packed with action and excitement as Sara battles Katarina (a former Witchblade bearer), a crazy little gangster named Toio Mulranny, and even a dinosaur. It makes for very entertaining reading, especially when combined with the lavish illustrations.
There was one part of this issue that I found particularly interesting. Mulranny captures Lady Auslinn, an elfin princess, who he plans on executing. Auslinn seeks the halting of illicit importing of contraband from our world, particularly weaponry. Mulranny expresses his love for human technology, which he sees as part of evolution.
No. Goods that make our lives better. Easier. Wondrous devices and technology that spur this stagnant world to greater heights. Evolution at work. An evolution you would halt with your appeal to the council of wizards.
This made me think about one of my favorite movies when I was a teenager: “Wizards.” It was very cool back in the 70’s, but the animation is pretty dated compared with today’s. But the story was what haunted me with that film. There were two brothers who were wizards in a post-apocalyptic world: Avatar and Blackwolf. Avatar represents the forces of magic while Blackwolf represents the forces of industrial technology. Blackwolf discovers old film footage of the Nazis and uses the propaganda to terrify his enemies and inspire his troops. There is a great twist at the end. The movie is on YouTube. If you’ve never seen it, I suggest you check it out. Click here to watch it online.
On that note, I will leave you with the trailer for “Wizards.” Like I said, it’s pretty dated, but was one of those films that had an impact on my life.
This series is really starting to come together. Even the inclusion of the Lone Gunmen (who usually do little more than annoy me) worked well in this issue.
This installment takes place in Saudi Arabia, which ties in nicely with the return of the “black oil.” Essentially, the black oil is an alien virus that enters a human host and takes control of that person. It was featured in several series episodes, as well as in the original X-Files movie. Click here if you are interested in reading more about the oil.
There were no quotes that need to be highlighted here. Not that it is poorly written or anything such as that, there was just nothing in the dialog that struck me as extraordinarily profound or contemplative. Regardless, I felt intrigued when I finished. The strength in this episode is that it does an outstanding job setting the scene for subsequent installments. I have to say, I’m already eager to read Issue 12.
Now, I generally try to avoid spoilers in my posts, but doing so for this issue is impossible, so if you want to you can stop reading here.
At the very end of this issue, we have the return of another supposedly dead X-Files character: Alex Krychek. I don’t know why, but his reappearance did not bother me like the other resurrected characters in the series did. Maybe it was because Krychek had actually made a post-death appearance in one of the television series episodes. Anyway, I’m curious as to how the writers will spin this. For those who are interested, here is a good page that provides a lot of background information on Krychek.
My review of Issue 12 will be up as soon as I get my hands on the issue. Cheers!
So I found this issue to be kind of silly and I have to say that it appears that the rest of the six-part miniseries is heading down that path. That’s kind of disappointing to me, especially since the first installment was really promising. But the truth is, I did not have high expectations. Once I saw that the Lone Gunmen were the main characters, I suspected that it would meander into the realm of the ridiculous.
In this installment, the Gunmen interview the Ghostbusters in an attempt to gather clues regarding the pandemic viral outbreak. The events are as silly as the Ghostbusters film, complete with an ectoplasmic scientifically modified pink ghost. Now don’t get me wrong—I love the Ghostbusters. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen the film, and if I was flipping through channels and it was on, I’d watch it again. I just don’t see how a comic that calls itself an X-Files comic can have Ghostbusters but no Mulder or Scully. To me it feels like a marketing ploy.
So what do we have to look forward to in the next couple issues? The Lone Gunmen meet the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. After that, the Lone Gunmen meet the Transformers. It’s true; I can’t make this stuff up. Yeah, I’ll keep reading the series, but only for amusement’s sake. I’m OK with reading for entertainment once in a while.