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Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #45: Review

Sep 1992
Roy Thomas, Geof Isherwood

Story Name:

Death's greatest hits

Review & Comments

4 stars

Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #45 Review by (October 9, 2021)
This is an official tie-in to the Infinity War series, specifically to #3 and #4. The opening scene where Galactus' spaceship is destroyed (by Magus) is in IW#3. The closing scene where the ship and it passengers are recreated is in IW#4.

Dr Strange's family were only introduced to us earlier in this series. Sister Donna was in a photograph in #9 in an excerpt from Morgana Blessing's biography of him, and the family of 5 were in a brief flashback in #11. Victor showed up in the present in #10 as a vampire. In #11 Stephen recounted Vic's story starting with the scene repeated here where he dies, and showing him being cryogenically frozen. Father Eugene's death was reported in #11 in Vic's story, but this issue is the 1st we learn of his mother Beverly's death, and especially that of his sister.

Then in #14 we learned how Victor became a vampire. Early on in Stephen's career as the Ancient One's disciple, when he didn't really know what he was doing, he desperately read spells from the Book Of The Vishanti in front of Vic's cryogenic casket hoping 1 would resurrect him. It turns out that 1 of those spells was the Vampiric Verses which is a counter-agent to the Darkhold's vampire-destroying Montesi Formula. When DrS used the Montesi Formula (DrS(1974)#62) to destroy Dracula and all other vampires it interacted with the previously-cast spell to turn Victor *into* a vampire, but still frozen. Then just before #10 the warehouse containing his 'coffin' burnt down and he awoke. Victor's story has continued in this series since then.

Jim Starlin created Lord Chaos and Master Order (1st actual apps in Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2 but he'd earlier created the In-Betweener as a servant of Chaos and Order). He defined them as a dichotomy in Thanos Quest #1 which also suggested there were others. He introduced another such pairing Master Hate and Mistress Love in Infinity Gauntlet #3. But I believe this is the 1st time that Death and Eternity have been linked together in such a way.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #45 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Dr Strange, Galactus, Nova (Frankie Raye) and Silver Surfer are in Big G's spherical spaceship getting very near to the target dimension where the energy they are tracking emanates from when they detect a cloaked craft following them (we know it's Dr Doom and Kang The Conqueror). But at the same time an energy flux destroys them and their ship.

DrS awakes to face skeletal Death who pretends not to recognise him and treats him as just 1 more mortal. But Death does offer the information that he and his companions were disintegrated by the Magus, and that the less-organic other 3 aren't quite dead yet - especially Galactus whose willpower will soon rebuild himself and then the others. But Death intends to prevent that to stop them helping the currently comatose Eternity. Death and Eternity are paired opposites and as 1 falls the other rises.

Stephen Strange can't let Death do that so he calls on all the Vishanti to power an attack which seems to kill Death. But of course that's impossible and Death freezes him in place and offers to personally escort him into the afterlife as befits a Sorcerer Supreme. All Strange has to do is let go of life. But Stephen is still defiant so Death chooses to remind him of others who Strange has 'allowed' to die.

The 1st scene is his 19th birthday back from college in the family home in Nebraska. His younger sister Donna persuades him to come to the swimming hole with her High School friends. They leave their even younger brother Vic behind. Donna swims away from the others and gets cramp. Steve dives in to save her but fails and then can't find her body at the bottom of the water.

Later when he's a medical intern he comes home to watch his mother Beverly die. Her last words to him are to look after Victor. However Stephen heads back to his distant hospital.

He becomes a successful and wealthy surgeon, and successful with the women too. When Vic phones to tell him his father Eugene was dying Stephen never even returns the call, using the excuse that the airports are snowed in. Death suggests he was afraid that he was a bringer of death to his family, deaths that he couldn't prevent.

Then we are reminded of Victor's fate. A few days after their dad's funeral Vic comes to Stephen's New York apartment to ask why he didn't come to Nebraska, but he storms out when he sees him with 1 of his female conquests. His brother follows him out into the snowstorm in time to see him knocked down and killed by a passing car. However physician Strange preserves the body hoping somehow to bring him back to life. Later as Sorcerer Strange he tries to complete that task but as a side-effect brings all destroyed vampires back to 'life' and revives Victor as 1.

Death has been wearing away at Stephen's will to live and DrS is about to give up and let Death take him. But then he remembers the car crash that ruined his surgeon's hands. He didn't die that time and he won't go easily now! He manifests a glowing ankh on his forehead which rekindles his life-force, asserting that in his role as Dr Strange he's saved many more lives than he did as a surgeon.

Angry Death tries a more direct physical attack. But DrS has realised that although his Vishanti incantations were useless against Death he *can* use them to aid Galactus in recreating himself. And he also now recalls the he died once before (DrS (1974) #4, where he also gained the ankh) but was reborn and now Death cannot claim him. Death is forced to release the bearer of the Life-Ankh.

Galactus reforms himself and recreates his ship and the 3 others. Strange returns to his body and doesn't mention the part he performed in their survival.

Geof Isherwood
Geof Isherwood
George Roussos
Geof Isherwood (Cover Penciler)
Geof Isherwood (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Pat Brosseau.
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: Nova (Frankie Raye).

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

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