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Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #35: Review

Nov 1991
Roy Thomas, Dan Lawlis

Story Name:

To Hela and back

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #35 Review by (May 14, 2021)
Roy and Dann Thomas continue to share the scripting.
Sam de la Rosa and Donald Hudson do the in king this time.

Ginnungagap between Muspelheim and Niflheim being the birthplace of Ymir and Buri is straight out of Norse mythology. It was described like this in Thor Annual #5. The earlier account in the 1st Tales Of Asgard in Journey Into Mystery #97 was the same but without mentioning the places by name.
Marvel tends to use the more Anglophone Niffleheim but I believe the Norse verison is Niflheim. Roy Thomas uses that here so I've followed his lead.
Frostlings and Fire-Trolls were invented here by Roy and this is their only Marvel appearance. (DC has Fire Trolls but they live in volcanoes on Earth. The name Frostlings has been used in later games and books.)

Eric Masterson was merged with Thor as his new human identity in Thor #408. But then Thor was banished by Odin for killing Loki and Eric was left as Thor in #432. The Infinity Gauntlet event takes place between Thor #435 and #436. He's already revealed his identity to Captain America in #434.

It seems to be unrecorded when Hela won Cerberus from Pluto, or when she gives him back. He was with the Olympians in Marvel Super-Heroes (1990) #1 and will be back with Pluto in Thor #462.






 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #35 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Last issue saw Dr Strange locating heroes who weren't actually killed by Thanos in Infinity Gauntlet #4. He retrieved the glass shards that Thor was reduced to. He also saved Scarlet Witch and tasked her and Clea with figuring out how to recreate the Thunder God from them. He got hold of Dr Doom, seemingly a blasted statue, and spent most of last issue with Dr Druid returning Doom to life with the help of the Tibetan monks who created his armour and taught him much magic. They left Doom there until Adam Warlock should need him.

Now Strange and Druid are in another dimension where DrS conjures a portal to bring Hulk here from the end of his #384. Thanos actually shrank Hulk in IG#4 and sent him back to Earth (where he finished his ongoing conflict with Abomination while in miniature form). Now Stephen Strange has brought him here and returned him to the proper size. Currently Hulk has Bruce Banner's intelligence but the combo is still itching to go fight Thanos again. So he's not happy when the Dr's leave him in this dimension to stew for a while.

They portal back to the Sanctum Sanctorum where Wanda Maximoff and Stephen's lover Clea have had no luck with Thor. Clea says the fragments don't feel as Asgardian as she expected, and Wanda tells them that the Avengers think the current Thor (now with a beard, a helmet that masks half his face and non-Asgardian speech patterns) isn't the original. (We know he's the stand-in Eric Masterson.)

But Scarlet Witch also reminds them that Thor claims that Asgardians came from a mystical land of fire and ice. Dr Strange recognises that as Muspelheim and Niflheim and reckons that's where they need to take Thor's bits. Anthony Druid is ready to accompany him but Stephen says he must be exhausted after the last 2 issues and so he elects to take Clea and Wanda. He uses the Orb Of Agamotto to reveal the Ginnungagap between the between the 2 Asgardian Realms, which is where the Norse Gods were birthed. And they wrap the shards in a cloth and off the 3 portal.

Dr Druid also exits the issue at this point, presumably for a kip. That leaves Pip The Troll and Stephen's apprentice Rintrah. The horned alien is once again left cooling his heels (or hooves). His master never trusts him with anything important, nor has any time to train him. Pip notices that the Orb is still active, presumably continuing searching for heroes for DrS to rescue. Suddenly it shows them Drax The Destroyer and Firelord facing a dinosaur (in the deep past where Thanos sent them in IG#4). So they decide to go on a quest of their own.

DrS and co find themselves not where they intended as Strange detects interference. Suddenly they are confronted by the 3-headed dog Cerberus, a denizen of Greek mythology not Norse. Scarlet Witch throws a hex which fails to bring the dog bad luck, and the other 2 have to generate mystic chains to keep it off her. Her mutant 'magic' doesn't work here, only 'real' magic. Then the agency behind their side-trip reveals herself, Hela Queen of the Norse Hel, who wants to know why they have invaded her realms of Hel and Niflheim. They explain about seeking Thor's life-essence and she says he's not here nor in Valhalla because he's not dead. And the shards they carry are simultaneously him and not him.

Dr Strange then tells her to let them go on with their quest. Hela says the last person to try to give her orders was Pluto, lord of the Greek afterlife, and it cost him (temporarily) his guard dog which she releases from its mystic chains. Clea holds it off with the Flames Of The Faltine while Stephen battles Hela directly. The Death Goddess is amused and impressed by his heroic but futile attempt to force her to let them go. So she calls off Cerberus and allows them to portal to their destination. But she tells Stephen that when he dies she may claim him for her realm for the pleasure of his company.

Meanwhile, if that makes sense in multiple eras, Drax and Firelord are defending themselves against 3 dinos when Pip and Rintrah fall on them from a slightly mis-aimed time portal in the sky. The newcomers tell the stranded pair that they're here to rescue them. But then the time-hole closes up, and Rintrah says he can't create another 1 without the Orb Of Agamotto. So now all 4 are trapped in the Jurassic.

DrS and his companions arrive at their destination, the misty Ginnungagap between the fires of Muspelheim and the ice of Niflheim. This is where the 1st Frost Giant Ymir arose, and after/from him the 1st Asgardian Buri. Strange magically suspends the bag of Thor-shards over the Gap and repeatedly chants a spell from the Book Of The Vishanti.

But the local inhabitants come to investigate what's going on - Frostlings from Niflheim and Fire-Trolls from Muspelheim. Strange tries to appease them by assuring them his group will stay in Ginnungagap and not invade either of their lands. However they somehow know he's here to revive Thor, and both sides have reason to prefer that the Thunder God remains dead, so they throw fire and ice at him. Stephen has difficulty defending himself and keeping the bag of Thor safe, but Clea flies to his aid and diverts the missiles onto the opposite groups. Then they form a defensive duo, but nobody's keeping up the chanted spell ...

... but Wanda Maximoff dodges between foes and reaches the suspended bag. She has a good memory for spells after her training with Agatha Harkness and she takes up the chant, ignoring a Frostling creeping up on her. She feels that something's happening even as he raises his fists to smash her to the ground ...

... when a flying hammer hits him in the chest. And then returns to the revived current Thor. Faced with Thor and 3 magic-wielders the Frostlings and Fire-Trolls retreat. This Thor owns up to being a replacement named Eric Masterson, but he's still ready for another round with Thanos. Dr Strange welcomes him but asks him to remain here until called upon.

Then he senses a call for help from Rintrah, and portals himself and his 2 companions through time and space to where his assistant is with Pip, Drax and Firelord. He takes everybody back to the present and stops off to leave Drax and Firelord with Thor. Then it's back to the Sanctum for everyone else. And along the way he apologises to Rintrah for not giving him worthwhile tasks, and commends him for finding the missing duo and then contacting him across the ages. He promises to spend more time making him a master magician.



Dan Lawlis
Sam Delarosa
George Roussos
Dan Lawlis (Cover Penciler)
Chris Ivy (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Pat Brosseau.
Editor: Mike Rockwitz. Editor-in-chief: Tom DeFalco.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Doctor Druid
Doctor Druid

(Doctor Droom)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)
Drax
Drax

(Drax the Destroyer)
Hela
Hela

(Goddess of Death)
Hulk
Hulk

(Bruce Banner)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

Plus: Pip the Troll, Rintrah, Thor (Eric Masterson).

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

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