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Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #31: Review

Jul 1991
Roy Thomas, Tony De Zuniga

Story Name:

A gauntlet hurled

Review & Comments

4 stars

Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #31 Review by (March 5, 2021)
This issue is cover-bannered as part of the Infinity Gauntlet event.

Dann Thomas is co-writer with husband Roy.

The other Fear Lords in the 2nd tale are the better-known D'Spayre, Nightmare and a new char Nox.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #31 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
In Infinity Gauntlet #1 Silver Surfer crashed through the famous roof window of Dr Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum and collapsed from the effort of getting there. When revived he warned Stephen Strange that Thanos had found the 6 Soul Gems (which he renamed the Infinity Gems and embedded in an Infinity Gauntlet) and he intended to wipe out half the population of the universe. Later in that issue Thanos did make half the population vanish with a snap of his fingers, and the impact on Surfer's cosmic senses was to render him unconscious again. And Stephen's manservant Wong was 1 of the disappeared.

Stephen dismisses his worries about an argument with his love Clea that we saw just the beginning of at the end of last issue (but which we'll learn more about next issue) and about missing Wong, and instead worries about his new patient. Now his alien apprentice Rintrah bursts in, fully-immersed in his favourite human disguise as James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause. He's been out shopping with Wong's fiancée Imei Chang, and she's gone too along with lots of other people. The Doctor is unsure how to cure the comatose alien Surfer but he feels that SS's help will be vital to dealing with the crisis. So he risks entering the Surfer's mind to get him out of his coma.

Inside is a starscape but SS's home planet Zenn-la is nearby. Silver Surfer on his Surfboard (astral version of both) bars the way saying that opposing Thanos or trying to get back the missing souls is hopeless. Sunk in despair he adds that his whole life as Herald of Galactus has been a waste of time. But Strange finds Surfer's blows strangely weak and it is easy to banish him out of the way.

On the planet he locates Norrin Radd with his love Shalla-Bal. She points to the Zenn-Lavians' perfect world where their needs are all provided for by an automatic system, freeing them to pursue whatever life goals they wish. But Norrin wants to be challenged by life. Then Galactus arrives to grant him his wish. In order to stop the World-Eater from devouring Zenn-La, Radd persuades Big G to make him his Herald to seek out suitable worlds for him. And the Silver Surfer is born.

Now Surfer returns to confront Strange and says that his sacrifice was pointless because Galactus destroyed Zenn-La later anyway (as he found out in his 1982 1-shot, but he gave Shalla-Bal the power to restore it). So DrS decides to let the Eye Of Agamotto show SS a timeline where he acted differently.

In this version Norrin Radd can't take the pain of transformation and begs for it not to continue, so Galactus atomises him instead. Then he hoovers up the life-energy of the world leaving it barren. Along the way all the inhabitants die of course, and Shalla dies asking Galactus what happened to Norrin. Eventually the G reaches Earth, and there is no rebellious Surfer to stop him consuming that world as well. And without the example of Silver Surfer he doesn't create later Heralds to continue softening his impact on the universe.

Surfer has been brought back to his senses. He now realises he did make a difference, and he takes back the mantle of responsibility for what he can do with his power in the future. (Maybe Strange should have just brought an astral Spider-Man to talk to him.) Now it's Stephen's turn to snap his fingers and they're back in the real world. And Norrin Radd girds his loins for IG#2.

This issue also sees the return of the irregular Book Of The Vishanti backup revealing background facts about the Marvel mystical universe. This time it's part 1 of a new chapter A Gathering Of Fear.

It has some different creators from the main story:- Jean-Marc Lofficier is Roy's writing partner here, Larry Alexander does the pencils, and Clem Robins letters.

There are 7 Fear Lords in the Marvel Universe and they recently gathered for a meeting in the Halls Of Fear, home of the Dweller In Darkness (from Thor #229-230 and Dr Strange (1974) #30-37). After apparently several days of a silent staring contest the host finally suggests someone should speak.

1st goes the Lurking Unknown who boasts of feeding off the fears of worlds, but admits to 1 defeat in Asgard where Odin summoned him to test the worthiness of Jane Foster to become an immortal Asgardian (Thor #136). Jane *was* afraid but Thor and Sif drove him away.

Kkallakku is lord of the Kkallakki Fear-Eaters, 1 of whom failed to instil fear in Silver Surfer but was led to Earth where he also failed with the Captain (Steve Rogers), Thing, Thor and then Daredevil (the Man Without Fear). He then died from lack of sustenance. (These things happened in tales in Marvel Comics Presents #1-4.) The Kkallakki have stayed away from Earth since then, but would welcome any alliance for revenge.

The Scarecrow is a resident of Earth who *aided* Thing against the demon Kallumai. (Scarecrow's previous career encompassed Dead Of Night #11, Marvel Two-In-One#18 and Marvel Spotlight #26. He claims the Scarecrow who débuted way back in Tales Of Suspense #51 is a mortal imposter.) He warns the others to stay away from his planet before leaving the group. But the other 6 intend to continue with their plan (which we'll find out more about in upcoming issues).

Tony De Zuniga
Tony De Zuniga
George Roussos
Chris Marrinan (Cover Penciler)
Mark McKenna (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Rick Parker.
Editor: Mike Rockwitz. Editor-in-chief: Tom DeFalco.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)
Silver Surfer
Silver Surfer

(Norrin Radd)

Plus: Dweller In Darkness (He Who Dwells in Darkness), D’Spayre, Kkallakku, Lurking Unknown, Nox, Rintrah, Scarecrow (Straw Man).

> Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme: Book info and issue index

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