Tag Archives: superhero

Scarlet Witch: Issue #04 – The Symbolic Fork in the Road

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As I was reading this issue, I came across an interesting quote.

Yes, but there are forks in the road… some lead to light and others to darkness.

The fork in the road is a powerful symbol for me. On the path through life, there are points where we come to a fork and must choose a direction, the outcome of which is often not clear at the time. Choosing the wrong path often has consequences that become apparent later on. But as the song goes, “Yes there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there’s still time to change the road you’re on” (Stairway to Heaven). So yes, you can learn valuable life lessons from taking the wrong path, provided you are subtle enough to acknowledge your mistake and change course. Sadly, some people are not able to do this and tenaciously stay upon the road they have chosen, and this ultimately leads to the dark end.

Looking back on my life, I have faced the fork many times. Sometimes I have chosen more wisely than others. But regardless, I have been willing to change directions when I needed to. If you have chosen a wrong road, don’t fret; instead, summon the courage to alter your course. Doing so may lead you to your true path.

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Scarlet Witch: Issue #03

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Hmm. Now the creative team is tying in James Joyce and W.B. Yeats, and drawing on Irish mythology. I really like the direction this story is going.

Dublin… is not what I imagined. Based on my first impression, anyway. This Airport. All very modern. I suppose it’s the tourism industry wanting everyone to think it’s still like that old John Wayne film, The Quiet Man. All green fields, drunken poets, and old ladies in shawls. But if these surroundings are anything to go by, the Ireland of Yeats and Joyce are long ago and far away.

Even here—this modern airport, I feel the old ways—the country’s always been rife with magic… at least in terms of story and legend. I wonder what they’d say—people here—if they knew so many of their myths had a good amount of reality to them.

That’s all I’m going to share for now. No spoilers!

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Scarlet Witch: Issue #02

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Wow! I’m completely sucked into this story. I’m totally impressed with the way the creative team has woven occult symbolism and mythology together.

In this issue, set on the Greek island of Santorini, Wanda converses with the goddess Hakate and is tasked with facing the Minotaur, who roams the dark labyrinthine streets.

The first thing that struck me about this issue was the artwork. The panels are structured in a circular fashion, divided in a way that represents the labyrinth. The curvature of the story’s graphic structure starts out subtle (the outer area of the maze) and gets tighter and more intense as the tale progresses, just as a labyrinth’s turns get closer and tighter as you near the center. The reader must focus, figure out where to turn next when reading, and follow the pathways. It works really well and fosters the sense of confusion as the reader navigates the tale.

As Wanda and Hekate talk, Hekate says something interesting.

“Of course, we of the Pantheon never stay dead for long.”

Gods and myths are recurring all the time. Gods die and are reborn in a continuous cycle. This is essentially expressing what Frazier asserts in The Golden Bough, albeit in a much shorter way.

As the witch and the goddess continue their discussion, Hekate offers another pearl of wisdom.

“The people’s faith in a god—this one or that—often that belief is what makes the god strong. It’s been many summers since I’ve smelled the kiss of iron in the air from a blood sacrifice in my name. Oh, there’s blood in the air, all right, but not for me.”

This made me think about our current global violence, where people of one faith are killing others in the name of their god. But it is not just religious fundamentalism that is adding to the blood in the air; it is also the blood from people who worship material things—money, oil, property, power—the modern gods of our industrial and technological society. There is always a sacrifice required in order to gain those things we covet.

So far, I am very impressed with this graphic series. I encourage you to check it out.

Cheers!

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Scarlet Witch: Issue #01

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I was recently talking on the phone with my friend Miriam who is a comic connoisseur extraordinaire. While we were discussing various graphic novels, she suggested that I read Scarlet Witch, that it was right up my alley. I had a little bit of a challenge finding the first issue, but persistence paid off. And she was correct—this tale is right up my alley.

The writing and artwork that comprise this tale are outstanding, and the story draws you right in. The Scarlet Witch, whose name is Wanda Maximoff, is a pagan living in New York City who uses her mystical powers to assist police and fight evil. While this sounds like a hackneyed premise, the quality of the writing and the art makes this worth reading. In addition, there are also some intriguing mystical concepts woven in that piqued my interest, such as the following.

“You and I both know there’s no such thing as bad dreams. They’re messages our subconscious sends us, if we only cared to read them as such.”

I have the next three issues queued up and ready to be read. Expect my thoughts on those shortly.

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Doctor Strange: Issue 03

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Wow! That’s about all I can say… Wow!

This is everything that I love about Doctor Strange. It is the perfect blend of mysticism with a touch of humor, all woven together with artwork that is surreal, psychedelic, and vivid.

The installment begins with Strange musing about “weird feelings” that people get and chalk up to the imagination. But the truth is, we sometimes get impressions of a reality that exists beyond the reach of our ordinary perception, and that the universe is populated by things which we cannot perceive with our senses, but exist nonetheless.

You know those weird feelings you get sometimes that you can’t explain? Like when you’d swear there’s someone watching you, even though you’re alone? Or maybe you think you see something move in the shadows for just a second, just out of the corner of your eye—but when you flip on the lights, there’s nothing there? Usually when people ask for my professional opinion on those sorts of feelings, I tell them they’re nothing. Odds are, your home isn’t haunted. I’m sure it’s a lovely house and all, but I doubt it’s so amazing that people would literally come from beyond the grave just to hang out there. And you’re probably not possessed. Or a mutant or inhuman. Or someone who was bitten by a radioactive anything. You’ve just got a healthy imagination is all. But that’s not entirely the truth. It’s what I tell people when I figure they can’t handle the truth. The truth is… you’re never alone.

There is another quote in this comic which resonated with me, and that is Strange’s definition of what it means to be a magician.

Being a magician doesn’t mean you create magic from thin air. You only channel the magical energy that’s already all around you. It’s a little like being an electrician. You have to know how to direct the energy where you want it to go, hopefully without setting the house on fire or shocking yourself to death.

For me, this is one of the basic tenets of magick and mysticism. Everything is a form of energy. Magick is the ability to manipulate energy to create an effect in accordance with your will.

I’m really excited about the upcoming Doctor Strange film. I know it will be a while, but that’s OK… I’m patient. In the meantime, I have this wonderful and inspiring arc to keep me occupied.

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Doctor Strange: Issue 02

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Prior to this arc, the only Doctor Strange I had read was the early Stan Lee and Steve Ditko incarnation. I have to say that this arc, while enjoyable, is somewhat on the silly side compared with those early issues. As I read this, I couldn’t help wondering about the upcoming Doctor Strange film which is in the works. Will it be more like the earlier Strange, or more like this newer version? Personally, I hope they lean more toward the earlier.

This installment is still laying the foundation for the story. Doctor Strange has treated a woman, Zelma Stanton, who was infected with Mind Maggots. Zelma is a librarian and Strange convinces her to help him organize his extensive collection of occult books. We also discover that a group called the Empiriku is seeking sorcerers across dimensions to destroy them. One does not need the powers of prescience to see that they will eventually come after the Sorcerer Supreme.

As is my wont, I like to include a quote or two from what I read. This one made me chuckle to myself. As a bibliophile, I was able to relate to Zelma’s reaction when she encounters Doctor Strange’s collection of books.

AAIEEE!!! That’s the most horrifying thing I’ve ever seen!!! Do you really put all your books in piles like that?! God, you’re a monster!

Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to read something today!

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Doctor Strange: Issue 01

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Last week when I went to the comic store, I chanced upon the first issue of the new Doctor Strange arc. I was not even aware that there was a new arc! I suppose I’m a little out of the loop. That tends to happen when your mind is preoccupied with other things, like work, family, music, and so forth. Anyway, I picked up a copy of this along with my regular cache of comics, and I am glad that I did. This first issue really bodes well.

I think the writing and artwork are both outstanding. I was immediately sucked into the story, which is unusual. Often, it takes a little while for me to get hooked in to an arc. Not so with this one.

I don’t want to give away too much of the story. Basically, Doctor Strange is becoming aware of an unusual spike in weird phenomena, which he senses is the result of a “coming storm.”

I’ll leave you with a quote from the issue that I really liked. Hopefully, you will pick up a copy and find it as engaging as I did.

If you ask me, it’d be an awfully boring life if nothing was ever weird. It’s the weird ones who change the world.

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Last Days of Magneto

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This is issue #18 in the Magneto arc, and this is where I discontinue reading. I’ve followed this series from the first issue and have enjoyed it, but now the story is merging with Marvel’s Secret Wars arc, which is probably a great thing for many Marvel fans, but for me, not so much. I read this and had no idea what was going on. To me it was just a choppy storyline that seemed to begin in the middle of another story, and included characters that I had never heard of before. Frankly, I wish I had not even read this. I would have been happier stopping at issue #17.

As I said, I’m sure the die-hard Marvel fans are loving this. I probably would be too if I were following the various arcs that converged together into this new series. But alas, Magneto was the only one that I was reading, so I will have to stop here. But that’s OK. It will free up some money for me to explore some new graphic novels. I’m open for suggestions. Cheers!

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Magneto: Issue #17

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This was a pretty cool issue. What I liked the most about it was what was not actually said or shown. Events were hinted at and implied, but not presented in detail. It leaves the imagination room to fill in the blanks. I like that in storytelling. I can really appreciate the freedom to bring my own ideas and interpretations to a story. As such, I will not give any details in this post. I suggest you read it, let the images inspire you, and then let your imagination roam.

The issue does conclude with a note that the next issue will be titled “The Last Days of Magneto!” This makes me wonder if the series is winding down. I guess we’ll see next month. Cheers!

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Magneto: Issue 15

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If the prisoner believes he is a free man… who’s to say he’s not? By the same token… if the free man serves the whim of hidden overseers… is he anything more than an unwitting captive?

In the previous issue, Magneto surrendered to S.H.I.E.L.D. As he is taken into custody, he muses about the reality of freedom and whether people are truly free. I have contemplated this myself on numerous occasions. Living in a country that prides itself as a “free country” and places value on individual freedoms, I can’t help but wondering just how free we really are. Americans like to believe they are free, but is it real freedom, or the illusion of freedom? Are we the “unwitting captives” serving the whims of corporations and governments? It’s a legitimate question and I don’t claim to have the answer, but I think it is something that each individual should ask himself or herself honestly.

Anyway, as I suspected, when Magneto allowed himself to be captured, he had a plan and this was part of it. I won’t tell you what happens, because I hate to spoil it for anyone. I will say that it is an excellent issue, the writing and artwork are impeccable as always, and it is definitely worth reading.

Cheers!

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