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Strikeforce #3: Review

Nov 2019
Tini Howard, Germán Peralta

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

Strikeforce #3 Review by (November 30, 2019)
The flashback/dream art and colour is by Marco Rudy.

Wiccan and Dr Doom are connected by Scarlet Witch. Wiccan is the reincarnation of 1 of Wanda Maximoff's magically-created sons, which is why he refers to her as his mother here. Doom wasn't actually ever married to Wanda, but they were engaged in Avengers: The Children's Crusade. Wiccan presumably thinks Doom hates him because he and the other Young Avengers disrupted the intended marriage there and helped stop Doom's plan.

The 1st hint that Wiccan was destined to become the all-powerful Demiurge was in Young Avengers (2013) #8 in an alternate timeline where he already *was* that being. Then in #10 we (but not Billy) learned that Loki's plan was to gain control of all magic through him. And in New Avengers (2015) #4-5 a wizard Moridun possessed Billy and started turning him into Demiurge so *he* could control the magic.

This issue takes a bit of the pressure off Dr Doom appearing in several comics at once by revealing that it's only a Doombot in this series.

However Hellstorm still has a bit of a clash. His appearance and role here is consistent with that in recent Avengers issues. But in Savage Avengers Annual he has his more conventional look and is the ruler of Hell (whereas Hell is ruled by Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze) in Avengers).


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Strikeforce #3 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The Vridai have captured Wiccan and taken him to their Earthly base, the Temple Of The Three in Indonesia. They say they won't kill him because they need him. Then they bring in another prisoner, bound so he can't attack him. But that doesn't reassure Billy Kaplan. It's Dr Doom who can probably easily escape the bonds. And Billy says Doom was married to his mother and hates him. Wiccan starts casting a spell by his usual method:- chanting the desired outcome "Don't leave me here with Dr Doom" over and over.

We next see a tale of the youth of Count Ophidian, the Vridai leader, and his governess Birgit. She terrified him but always caught him and brought him back when he tried to run away. 1 night she crept into his bedroom. Guards heard him scream and investigated, but Birgit said he'd had a bad dream. However they say Obsidian was never the same after that. Then we see that it is Daimon Hellstrom (who's obviously been successfully resurrected since last issue) telling the story to Angela, saying he learned it while he was dead. The Vridai are from Svartalfheim, 1 of the Asgardian 9 realms, but the Asgardian says she's never heard that story before. But then her brother Thor doesn't even know about Vridai at all - she knows things he doesn't because she's the older sibling.

Then we see that they are in Hulkling's home, with their host blindfolded and tied up (by Angela's ribbons and her Blade Of Ichor in its whip-form). When the Vridai captured Wiccan this enabled them to send 1 of their number to impersonate him and contact his lover Hulkling. Our team are here to deal with the imposter. Angela tells their captive they can't trust him not to defend his 'boyfriend' against them. And besides setting loose a shapeshifter when they're fighting another such could get confusing. Then Blade is propelled through a wall followed by the Vridai-Wiccan. Blade kills him to stop his screeching. Now they release Teddy Altman who demands to go with them to free Billy. Blade pretends to agree but then electroshocks the ex-Young Avenger into unconsciousness.

Hellstorm teleports them with a spell to a train in West Java where they meet up with the rest of the team:- Spectrum, Spider-Woman and Winter Soldier. Then they all leap/fly off the moving train atop a viaduct near their target the Vridai temple ...

... where Wiccan and Doom are alone in a room. Billy is within a cage of magical bars and Doom just stands there doing/saying nothing. Wiccan tries to bolster his courage by reminding Doom that *he*'s just a sorcerer while Billy will grow up to be the Demiurge. When Doom continues to be dumb he wonders if it's the result of his attempted spell, but then when the Lord Of Latveria doesn't respond to being hit by a thrown stone Billy realises that it's *not* Dr Doom but a Doombot. And he also realises the Vridai don't know this!

Birgit is now Ophidian's right-hand advisor (as seen in the previous issues), and she now comes to let Billy out of the cage. She says that they found the master-sorcerer Dr Doom surprisingly easy to catch and now he's mockingly ignoring them by being asleep. She wants Wiccan to wake him up. (This is presumably what they wanted Hellstrom for but Blade sort-of-accidentally killed him in #1 (and last issue they took the body to his sister Satana to be revived).) Billy says he'll do it but pulls his Demiurge rank to say that Doom will then be *his* servant.

Meanwhile Vridai troops are massed to repel the attack by the Strikeforce (if that's what they actually call themselves). They are under orders to leave Angela to a personal duel with Birgit. Our team kill the foes in their various ways, but Winter Soldier warns some of them to be more careful because he's rigged the place with plastic explosives.

Then Birgit and Ophidian arrive with Wiccan who has 'Dr Doom' in tow pretending to be on their side. Birgit leaps in to fight Angela while Billy makes the Doombot fire blasts (which 'miss'). Spider-Woman gets up close to Wiccan and tries to use her pheromones to control him. Billy urgently whispers what he's really doing. Ophidian attacks SW with his sword but she easily downs him with a kick. He complains that Doom isn't living up to his reputation. The Doombot responds with standard Doombot response #5 "Who dares insult Doom?!" and starts to strangle the Count. Wiccan continues to control it and causes it to snap Ophidian's head off. Meanwhile Birgit's losing to Angela so she creates a magic escape route. And the 'Count' turns out to have been a fake.

Spectrum senses more of the vegetative Vridai 'ripening' in the walls. She also senses something stronger and leads them to a cellar where they find their target bricked into a wall. Daimon recognises it as the boy in his 'dream' (I presume we're supposed to deduce that Birgit hid the boy Ophidian and replaced him with a fake which she's been controlling ever since - but our team don't say anything about that). Angela carries the comatose youth as they exit the building. Daimon sets off Bucky's explosives and the temple is destroyed.

Wiccan has temporarily exhausted his magic power animating the Doombot and Hellstrom can't teleport them either so they end up tramping through the rainforest at night until they come across a spooky mansion ... but that's for next issue.

Germán Peralta
Germán Peralta
Andrea Sorrentino (Cover Penciler)
Andrea Sorrentino (Cover Inker)
Matthew Wilson (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Joe Sabino.
Editor: Wil Moss. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Eric Brooks)
Son of Satan
Son of Satan

(Daimon Hellstrom)

(Jessica Drew)
Winter Soldier
Winter Soldier

(Bucky Barnes)

Plus: Spectrum (Monica Rambeau), Wiccan (Asgardian).

> Strikeforce: Book info and issue index

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