Doctor Strange #12-13 (1989-1990): Acts of Vengeance; Dracula’s origin

The main story is an Acts of Vengeance tie-in, pitting Dr. Strange against Enchantress.  She tries to seduce Dr. Strange, but he was hip to her game so the dude she is kissing in the panel above is actually Rintrah using a disguise spell. Clea and Strange then team up and fight Enchantress. And afterwards, Strange and Clea reaffirm their love.

That’s a nice way to bring Clea back into the book, and I like the sleight-of-hand against Enchantress.  It’s sort of like pulling a “Loki.” 

Enchantress is understandably mad that she got tricked into kissing Rintrah, so she brings Arkon to attack Strange.

Arkon knocks out Stephen and kidnaps Clea.  

You’re probably thinking that this is a shame, because in issue #12 she was a powerful force without whom Dr. Strange wouldn’t have been able to shrug off Enchantress’ powers, but here’s she’s just a hostage.

But that’s not the case.  

In fact, after she is taken by Arkon, she uses her own powers to send him back to his home dimension.  

With no help from Strange.

Clea’s actually the main hero in these issues!

I don’t usually write about the back-ups in this book, but for these two issues they are pretty important. I mean, I don’t want to suggest that I’m a fan of the upcoming Darkhold series, which is set up by the backups that run across these issues (and others) of Dr. Strange, but they do something kinda cool here.

As Marvel ramps up the return of vampires, we see the formal entry of Varnae the vampire into the Marvel Universe.  He first appeared in black-and-white in Bizarre Adventures #33, and then moved to the Epic Comics line for an appearance in Timespirits #4.  We see Varnae creating Dracula in this story.

It also tells the story of the Montesi family and, for the first time, identifies them as the managers of the Darkhold, and links the Book of Darkhold and the Montesi Formula to the Hyborian Age.  I won’t be including Conan on this site, because it’s clearly not a Marvel Universe book, but interesting to see the tie-in and the possibility that Conan actually is canon?

The Thomases wrote all of this, and did a good job. Guice drew the main story and David Day pencilled the back ups.

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