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Comics 411: Thoughts on Marvel’s ‘Death of Doctor Strange’ Plans

June 9, 2021 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Death of Doctor Streange

Welcome back! I’m Steve Gustafson and if you enjoy discussing anything comic book related, you’ve come to the right place. Each week we cover something in the industry and I always enjoy your input in the comment section below.

Previously on…

Last time we asked Who Has the Better Supervillains? Here’s what some of you had to say:

Vince Basile Jr.: “DC wins pretty easily.”

Defective: “DC has better characters overall. More interesting heroes, far more fascinating and complex villains.

marvel has okay-ish heroes but are more boring than anything else and maybe 1-2 villains worth my time, but not much else.”

R. Hoffmann: “DC..its not even a contest. Marvel’s antagonists are usually rather bland / shallow.”

Richard McMullen: “Gotta go with DC. That doesn’t mean that Marvel doesn’t have awesome villains. But, how many Marvel villains are -frightening-? Take Dr. Light from Identity Crisis. Or the Anti-Monitor from Darkseid War- I mean, he KILLED Darkseid easily. And then there’s the Joker (running Gotham City- yikes).

IMO, The problem with Marvel is, they just stack a bunch of overpowered shit to their villains because most of their big-bads are played out and have become uninteresting. Red Skull, Carnage, Dr. Doom, it’s all kind of the same. They get augmented with some stuff that make them REALLY powerful, and then it’s not really the core of the character anymore, nor is it very interesting.

The best Marvel villain right now is Hickman’s Professor X. Even though they have messed with that character for a long time, they got it right this time around. He’s complex, manipulative and at any moment, that fucker can turn sideways and the Marvel Universe would be in big trouble. That’s the kind of “frightening” I want to read with villains. Those crazy moments that make you have to put the book down for a second to pick your jaw up off the floor.”

Les Steamed Hams: “Can’t remember where I read it, but I saw an argument that stated, in general, Marvel has the more interesting heroes whereas DC have the more interesting villains.

Obviously there are exceptions like Spiderman’s rogues gallery, but I think there’s something to that idea. For example, I can’t think of a good Batman adaptation where he wasn’t outshined by whichever villain was also there (think how much stuff from Joker and Bane you remember from the Dark Knight films, for instance.) Hell, it’s why a Joker solo film was readily accepted as a classic, whereas Venom got a mixed reaction with mutterings of “But where’s Spiderman?”

(note: I’m saying that mostly from a perspective of the cartoons/live adaptations, rather than comics.(”

Mike Minutaglio: “The Legion of Doom (especially from the Challenge of the Superfriends cartoon) is all that needs to be said.”

Papa Emeritus: “Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman are the Four Horseman of villains.”

Spacecowboy: “DC and i dont think its really close. Forever Evil is one of my favorite comics and its because DCs villains are so good. Hell, Batman’s villains alone can compete with most of Marvel’s.”

Benjamin Kellog: “For me, this comes down to how each company’s characters are presented and developed. Marvel’s top-tier villains, like Doom, Magneto, Loki, Norman Osborn, etc., have had extensive backstories and complex motivations to give them a richer life than just planning and executing grandiose universal domination bids. Just Magnus alone remains a huge gamble (Jewish Holocaust survivor who somehow still thinks mass murder in greater numbers than what he himself went through is the best path to mutant salvation?) that has paid off in considerably interesting ways. DC has plenty of those, too, but Luthor, Joker, Cheetah, etc., are more known for things they do than any particularly clever bits of “inner life” they’ve been given over the decades. I respect the DC monoliths, but Marvel’s guys have definitely had far more life invested into their characterizations and I’d rather follow them consistently from tale to tale.”

wondercoolguy: “Out of Marvels villains who is bigger than DC’s Joker? A crazy mad man with no super powers and its not even close. One could argue Thanos but his popularity is recent, Green Goblin, or Magneto. As long as DC has The Joker then the contest isn’t even close.

DC easily”

Mojotheclown: “For total, overall villains, I’d probably go with Marvel. But for top tier alone, I’d go with DC.”

Ken Wood: “My vote goes to DC. Their villains are just more memorable and noteworthy, in my opinion. I sometimes struggle to think of decent Marvel villains.”

Some awesome comments last week! Thanks for the input and keep it coming!
This week we discuss our…

Thoughts on the Death of Doctor Strange
Here we go. Another “death” in comic books meant to jolt the status quo and grab attention from casual comic book readers. We know how it will eventually end so the big question is what kind of journey will this storyline take?
Writer Jed MacKay and artist Lee Garbett are delivering ‘Death of Doctor Strange’, a five-issue limited series that will…kill off Stephen Strange. In fact Strange will be murdered, with the “who did it?” being the central mystery to the book.

So far the only sorta clue as to which villain may be involved are the tentacles crawling across the cover of Death of Doctor Strange #1.

The official description reads: “Able to defeat supernatural and interdimensional threats no other hero is equipped to handle, Strange was the only hero standing in the way of powerful new villains eager to claim Earth as their own.”

“When he unexpectedly dies, who is left to protect Earth and keep the mystical evils at bay? And most importantly…who killed Stephen Strange? If he couldn’t stop them, who can?” the description continues. “This rousing journey will dive into the mythos behind Doctor Strange, showcasing his unique—and vital—position amongst Marvel’s heroes and ultimately transform the future.”

“‘What happens to the world if Doctor Strange isn’t in it?’ It’s a question that I’m excited to show people the answer to in Death of Doctor Strange,” MacKay stated in Marvel’s announcement. “Strange has been a Marvel fixture from the early days, but now, his time has run out and as a Strange fan, it’s been my bittersweet privilege to shepherd him through his last day and the effects that snowball out of it. We’ve cooked up a whale of a story to send Strange off with, and I can’t wait for people to join us on it!”

“Doctor Strange has long been at the top of my ‘most coveted character’ list. To finally get the chance to draw him in such a momentous series is… well, magic,” stated series artist Lee Garbett. “I couldn’t be more excited for the project and for everyone to see what we’ve got in store for Stephen and those closest to him. Jed’s conjured the perfect finale for Doctor Strange – and it’s a real third eye-opener! See you in September!”

Look, like I said, we know “death” is…subjective when it comes to comic books. Doctor Strange had died before so this isn’t his first dance with death. But this gives Marvel a chance to tell some different stories in the magic realm and I’m OK with that. Plus, thanks to the cinematic universe, we know Strange isn’t going anywhere. Or is he?

So here we are. Doctor Strange is on his way out but who did it and who will take his place? Give your thoughts below! 

That’s all the time I have. See you next week!