DOCTOR STRANGE: DAMNATION #2/ Writers: Donny Cates & Nick Spencer/ Artist: Szymon Kudranski / Color Artist: Dan Brown / Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham / Cover Artist: Rod Reis/ Publisher: Marvel / March 7, 2018
My son walked up to me the other day and asked if I’ve heard of a movie called Ocean’s 11. I was excited to know that he had never watched the films and spent the whole weekend watching it. He told me that he was a big fan of the different characters, their backgrounds, and how they came together for a common goal. That sense of camaraderie and coming together to achieve a common goal is one of the reasons I loved The Avengers. And I’m starting to get that same feeling with Doctor Strange: Damnation #2.
OK, now we’re talking. Now that we got all that setup and rehashing of Secret Empire out of the way, Doctor Strange: Damnation #2 can let Cates & Spencer do what they do best: turning B-List characters into fun, engaging groups that we want to see more of. This time Wong is the “Ocean” and the Midnight Sons are the “11” in this mythical caper to stop Mephisto and save Doctor Strange. Wong brings together Blade, Elsa Bloodstone, Iron Fist, Moon Knight, Brother Voodoo, Man Thing, and the Johnny Blaze version of Ghost Rider. Hmmm, this team seems familiar. Why is that? Oh yea…
Ghost Rider Netflix
Moon Knight Netflix
Elsa Bloodstone Netflix
Midnight Sons Netflix also introduces Dr Voodoo.
— pettyWISE🤡 #DoYouEvenComicBook (@TASKvsTheWorld) May 1, 2017
(I gotta stop posting my ideas on Twitter.)
Anyways, after Wong *ahem* assembles the team he explains to them the roles in their scheme to save Strange and the city. Once they finally get to Las Vegas they realize that they may be in over their heads. This leads to another member joining, Scarlet Spider. If you read his monthly title you’d already know that he lives and operates out of Vegas, so him being there isn’t weird. However, Cates & Spencer do a great job understanding how random it still is to have a Spider character on the team.
I love it when I can tell the writers are having fun with the stories and the characters, and Cates & Spencer must be having a blast. From Blade and Elsa constantly bickering over who’s a better Monster Hunter (brilliant), to the jerkish Ghost Rider spewing angry rhetoric to the crew’s confusion of why Iron Fist is even there, I can almost visualize the writers laughing to themselves sharing ideas. However, the book takes a lot longer than I’d like for the team to finally come together. I wanted more of their banter, which just goes to show how well they were written. It’s just not enough of a good thing.
I must admit that it is a little strange to already be switching art duties, but man, is Szymon Kudranski a welcome addition to the story. If I was reading this as a trade, I could imagine being thrown off from the ethereal, almost paint-like drawings of Rod Reis to clean, tightly inked art of Kudranski. Also, Dan Brown’s coloring has a faded sense of wonder that makes all the magical properties in the story look better. I know that a lot of people will prefer Rod Reis’ art (and I can’t blame them), but Kudranski still puts in good work here. My only complaint is that he has some issues showing facial expressions.
If we don’t get a Midnight Sons book out of this, then Marvel is messing up. Personally, I’ve always like the name “Spirits of Vengeance” more but Midnight Sons is a more popular name. Overall, I’m enjoying this run. While some of the moments in Doctor Strange: Damnation#2 could have been placed in the first issue, I still found Cates & Spencer’s writing to be fun, engaging, and hilarious. When this series finishes I can’t wait to show my son another sort of Ocean’s 11—just a more ghastly version.
Verdict: 4 out of 5 Superman Neck Snaps
You are now in the presence of The Mighty Hands of Khonshu aka The Fist of the NorCal aka Infinity Knuckles aka Vibranium Clippers aka Terrigen Haze aka Vishanti Slippers aka Latverian Lamborghini aka Adamantium Triceps aka The New Comic Book Daywalker aka Unstable Molecule aka Beats by Pym aka Foster Child of the Atom aka Triple XXX-Gene aka the Walking, Talking Red 100 Emoji. Stop putting pineapple on a pizza.