Plot Synopsis: Dr. Strange: What Is It That Disturbs You, Stephen?
As a struggling young artist trying to break into comics 25 years ago, P. Craig Russell drew a Doctor Strange story on spec in hopes that Marvel Comics would be impressed by his work. He was right. Then Editor in Chief Roy Thomas accepted Russell's story of a trio of magical sisters and an otherworldly realm into which the Master of Mystic Arts was thrust. However, the work had to be greatly edited to fit Marvel's needs and only a portion of the full story made it into print (as part of Doctor Strange Annual #1). Now, Russell is able to bring fans of the Sorcerer Supreme his full story with the help of Manhunter scribe Marc Andreyko. To the uninitiated, P. Craig Russell's work is among the best of the surrealist artists employed in modern comics. In a style that would make Salvador Dali drool, Russell warps and bends the walls of perception and explores fully the potential of the comic panel to convey action and words. Captions trail off with strands of color to lead the eye from panel to panel. Visuals build and droop, pulling the reader along on a roller coaster ride of the fantastic. (For more fine examples of Russell's unique style check out Amazing Adventures - the Killraven stories - and Elric of Melnibone). Other practitioners of this vivid drawing style include Alex Nino, Rudy Nebres and Keith Giffen.

But as impressive as the work of those artists is, it's Steve Ditko that Russell is paying homage to here. Our story begins with our hero, Doctor Strange, receiving a cryptic message in an ordinary fortune cookie. "What is it that disturbs you, Stephen?" is the bizarre lure that pulls the magician into an adventure to the far end of sanity. Returning to his Greenwich Village mansion, Doc discovers his faithful man-servant Wong has been taken prisoner. Tracking Wong down through the dimensions, Strange encounters Electra, a green-skinned sorceress and proclaimed ruler of the other-dimensional city of Ditkopolis. Despite its alien beauty, however, the city is as bereft of life and compassion as Electra herself. The beautiful witch-queen insists that Dr. Strange assist her in retrieving the other half of her magic power now in the possession of her mute sister Celeste. Only in this way can she restore Ditkopolis and in return, she'll free Wong, Electra claims. But will Doc see beneath her deadly illusion before falling into her trap?

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1 (3.25) (6.75) (11.00) (17.75) 31.00 42.00


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