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  1. #16
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Taylor View Post
    The issue made me think of OMD, absolutely. And it was poignant that Strange and Cleo were just starting to maybe get back together just prior to her slipping away. So very much like OMD in the way that was built up, too.
    In the case of Strange and Clea, this bargain won't stick. Clea is a Steve Ditko created love interest and was a major part of the Eternity Saga, Strange's greatest ever story (better than all of Waid's output combined), and she was always intended to be Stephen's one and only. If for only legacy reasons, people are gonna want a status-quo where that's never off the table entirely.

    So eventually someone's gonna come and retcon this and happily so.

    But this issue actually felt like the kind of bargain Mephisto might make, and he actually implied that in the process he was given a small piece of Clea's soul. So in that sense, this was way better and more demonic than OMD. In OMD the devil gets absolutely nothing in the deal and Peter gets everything.
    I honestly don't think there's any way to make this kind of story work in a superhero setting. Even with Waid's Superman 2000 idea, the entire premise rests on the idea that Superman can't find an alternative other than accepting Mxyzsptlk's deal. Nobody will buy that. People can accept that Superman can maybe fail, maybe be fooled and so on, but they will never accept, nor should they ever accept, Superman making a compromise with Mxyzsptlk. I remember the (justified) outrage people had with Frank Miller's The Dark Strikes Again since one of its main plot beats was that Luthor blackmailed Superman and other Justice League working for him because he had hostages. People felt that was ridiculous and demeaning and I agree. Faustian stories have always centered on extremely flawed individuals, very human individuals, as being susceptible to take that bargain. If you read Marlowe and Goethe's play Faust, at times the story centers on Mephistopheles as being more sympathetic than Faust because Faust made a choice to take that deal whereas Mephistopheles has no choice but to enforce that and so on.

    Whereas superhero stories are about people who are of higher moral fibre. Basically Superhero stories are like Job. Job never once said yes to the devil. Never gave in and never quit no matter what the world threw at him. He had doubts yes, he had difficulties, and there were points he could give in, but Job didn't quit and I think superheroes should be held to that standard. People bring up Peter being flawed and so on...well John Constantine is even more flawed than Peter and when placed in a situation where he has to make a deal with demons, Constantine outfoxes and outthinks his way rather give in. Doctor Doom of all people would never give in to Mephisto.

    I am saying this from a literary perspective rather than a religious one.

  2. #17
    Astonishing Member Ptrvc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Taylor View Post
    Especially fans that liked MJ. Mephisto walks away clean, Peter gets every divorced man's dream and MJ got the blame.
    Fixed it for you!

    I guess I should be grateful PAD just killed Betty off rather than try to retcon half his run.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    In the case of Strange and Clea, this bargain won't stick. Clea is a Steve Ditko created love interest and was a major part of the Eternity Saga, Strange's greatest ever story (better than all of Waid's output combined), and she was always intended to be Stephen's one and only. If for only legacy reasons, people are gonna want a status-quo where that's never off the table entirely.

    So eventually someone's gonna come and retcon this and happily so.
    Only a very naive reader or one who's never read a comic before would believe this deal wouldn't be undone eventually and not understand that the whole purpose of telling this story in the first place is to set the groundwork for a future story in which Strange must find a way to undo Mephisto's handiwork.

    This has nothing to do with Clea being a Ditko created love interest and therefore indispensable to his mythos and everything to do with basic patterns of storytelling.

    I feel like the whole idea of serialized storytelling is completely lost on many comic fans who tend see every obstacle and every loss as being an endpoint rather than a just a preamble to yet another story.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    I honestly don't think there's any way to make this kind of story work in a superhero setting. Even with Waid's Superman 2000 idea, the entire premise rests on the idea that Superman can't find an alternative other than accepting Mxyzsptlk's deal. Nobody will buy that. People can accept that Superman can maybe fail, maybe be fooled and so on, but they will never accept, nor should they ever accept, Superman making a compromise with Mxyzsptlk. I remember the (justified) outrage people had with Frank Miller's The Dark Strikes Again since one of its main plot beats was that Luthor blackmailed Superman and other Justice League working for him because he had hostages. People felt that was ridiculous and demeaning and I agree. Faustian stories have always centered on extremely flawed individuals, very human individuals, as being susceptible to take that bargain. If you read Marlowe and Goethe's play Faust, at times the story centers on Mephistopheles as being more sympathetic than Faust because Faust made a choice to take that deal whereas Mephistopheles has no choice but to enforce that and so on.

    Whereas superhero stories are about people who are of higher moral fibre. Basically Superhero stories are like Job. Job never once said yes to the devil. Never gave in and never quit no matter what the world threw at him. He had doubts yes, he had difficulties, and there were points he could give in, but Job didn't quit and I think superheroes should be held to that standard. People bring up Peter being flawed and so on...well John Constantine is even more flawed than Peter and when placed in a situation where he has to make a deal with demons, Constantine outfoxes and outthinks his way rather give in. Doctor Doom of all people would never give in to Mephisto.
    Marvel's characters have always had feet of clay. Their flaws are what define their struggles and make them compelling as people.

    In this particular case, Strange's acceptance of Mephisto's deal is perfectly understandable - especially as he is ultimately tricked into paying the price he does.

    Having read the actual issue now, I feel that Waid has crafted a fine conclusion to this arc. This really is a magnificent showing for Strange, allowing him to perform arguably the single greatest feat in his history - surgically repairing the entirety of the universe. That his victory is undercut by Mephisto's deception is a fitting yank back to humility after having a brief taste of godhood.

    The purpose of drama is not to give the protagonist everything they want. Victory must be balanced with loss. New obstacles must continually frustrate them. Where we leave Stephen at the end of this issue is not the end of his story. It's a dramatic obstacle that will provide fodder for future stories in which Stephen has to win back what he's lost.
    Last edited by Prof. Warren; 08-15-2019 at 02:58 PM.

  4. #19
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prof. Warren View Post
    Only a very naive reader or one who's never read a comic before
    We've read OMD and that was a story with a deal that wasn't ever meant to be undone. In the words of Michael Corleone, "Oh, who's being naive?"

    I feel like the whole idea of serialized storytelling is completely lost on many comic fans...
    And I feel that dislike of a stale plot point and weak premise and the effect it has on overall readership is also lost on some people.

    Marvel's characters have always had feet of clay. Their flaws are what define their struggles and make them compelling as people.
    Having feet of clay doesn't mean anything they do is fine and okay. Job had feet of clay and he never accepted such bargains. In the Faust stories, Faust is not a good guy or a moral person...and the entire premise is that no person of real goodness would make that deal. At the end of the day, Marvel heroes and so on, as "flawed" as they are advertised to be, are on the whole good guys or intended to be.

    It's a dramatic obstacle that will provide fodder for future stories in which Stephen has to win back what he's lost.
    Is that true for OMD, in your opinion?

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    We've read OMD and that was a story with a deal that wasn't ever meant to be undone. In the words of Michael Corleone, "Oh, who's being naive?"
    We knew ahead of time what OMD was and why that story was told.

    This is a whole other instance. There's no reason to believe that this is never meant to be undone.

    In this case, driving Strange apart from Clea seems clearly a dramatic device that will serve another story down the line.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Having feet of clay doesn't mean anything they do is fine and okay. Job had feet of clay and he never accepted such bargains. In the Faust stories, Faust is not a good guy or a moral person...and the entire premise is that no person of real goodness would make that deal. At the end of the day, Marvel heroes and so on, as "flawed" as they are advertised to be, are on the whole good guys or intended to be.
    Good guys can still make mistakes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Is that true for OMD, in your opinion?
    As previously noted, OMD was a whole different thing. In that case, it was a editorially mandated tool to undo the Peter/MJ marriage. It was presented as such and Marvel made no bones about the purpose it was meant to serve. This, despite surface similarities, does not appear to be done with the same type of mandate.

  6. #21
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    Well, sucks to be a fan of Strange and Clea it seems...

    Although if Waid is still writing Strange in the future I would like to think he'd address this and undo it at some point, if only to not carry the connotations of a connection to OMD (and despite his support or possible involvement in OMD, he's a much more idealistic and romantic writer).

    Otherwise this is just another excuse for writers to not bother addressing Clea.

  7. #22
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prof. Warren View Post
    We knew ahead of time what OMD was and why that story was told.
    Okay, on one hand some people need to re-learn the norms of serial storytelling but on the other hand OMD can't be brought in because it has no internal meaning as a story-in-itself and can only be understood by external factors.

    So which is it?

    This is a whole other instance. There's no reason to believe that this is never meant to be undone.
    IF Strange can get out of a deal with Mephisto, it stands to reason that no deal made by Mephisto is binding or permanent. That means that OMD can be undone too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    Well, sucks to be a fan of Strange and Clea it seems...
    A lot of writers had issues with that relationship. There's the fact that Clea on account of being a relative of Dormammu isn't really human. Roger Stern had issues with Clea being a student of Strange and also in a relationship, which was valid. Of course Stern introduced his own new OC love interest for Strange but that story he wrote breaking Strange and Clea, "To Have Loved and Lost" is pretty great.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Okay, on one hand some people need to re-learn the norms of serial storytelling but on the other hand OMD can't be brought in because it has no internal meaning as a story-in-itself and can only be understood by external factors.

    So which is it?
    OMD was a story that existed to accomplish an editorially mandated goal. This was fully explained, in explicit terms, with the end goal of OMD being crystal clear.

    That means that it didn't exist in order to be later undone. It would be awfully stupid to put in the work to affect a change meant to (in editorial's mind) sustain the longevity of a character only to waffle on that decision.

    This however, is not the same circumstance. At all. Despite the surface similarities in regards to plot, they are apples and oranges. There is no editorial need to keep Strange and Clea apart. They haven't really been together much lately in the first place.

    Having Strange and Clea as a couple is no obstacle that editorial feels the need to remove in order to sustain the creative health of the book.

    Waid's move at the end of this arc is simply his way of having Strange pay a dramatic price. Whether Waid himself will undo it before his run concludes or someone else picks up the baton at a later date and does it themselves, there is no reason to believe this is meant to be a permanent split. If anything, just the opposite. This seems like a Round 1 situation that will result in an eventual rematch with Mephisto.

  9. #24
    Extraordinary Member Celgress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    Well, sucks to be a fan of Strange and Clea it seems...

    Although if Waid is still writing Strange in the future I would like to think he'd address this and undo it at some point, if only to not carry the connotations of a connection to OMD (and despite his support or possible involvement in OMD, he's a much more idealistic and romantic writer).

    Otherwise this is just another excuse for writers to not bother addressing Clea.
    This story is just another reason why I doubt Waid's talent as a writer. The other reasons were outlined by Ptrvc.

    I can't help but feel this is a jab at the fans due to the obvious OMD connection. I would like to think those in the Marvel Office are not so petty but I'm starting to have my doubts (they reference OMD far too often).

    Edit - As a fan of Pro Wrestling, the OMD situation reminds me of how WWE owner Vince McMahon use to book storylines which humiliated beloved announcer JR whenever RAW took place in Oklahoma. Oklahoma is JR's home state. One time many years ago McMahon booked JR to be beaten up by a group of heels in Oklahoma. Everyone hated the bit and the live crowd booed loudly, but Vince loved it. The next time RAW was in Oklahoma he had JR beaten up again. When fans complained Vince doubled down. For years whenever RAW or a WWE PPV took place in Oklahoma, sure enough, JR would be beaten up or mocked somehow to the point Vince had JR be forced to kiss his ass on one infamous occasion. Vince even made light of a serious operation JR underwent which meant he skipped an Oklahoma appearance. The only one who enjoyed this running gag was Vince and he kept it up until JR retired so he could spite the fans (he's since admitted such). I think OMD is the JR in Oklahoma for Joe Q & some of his buddies.
    Last edited by Celgress; 08-17-2019 at 07:00 PM.
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  10. #25
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prof. Warren View Post
    OMD was a story that existed to accomplish an editorially mandated goal.
    So why did they do a story over multiple issues rather than have Uatu the Watcher relate what the editor's intent and statement was in a single issue? Or for that matter simply do a wall of text in a single issue explaining everything. That would have done the same, been cheaper and maybe, since we wouldn't have to put up with Quesada's ugly art, better on the eyes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Celgress View Post
    This story is just another reason why I doubt Waid's talent as a writer.
    I have had doubts about Waid's talent since I read Kingdom Come.

    I can't help but feel this is a jab at the fans due to the obvious OMD connection. I would like to think those in the Marvel Office are not so petty but I'm starting to have my doubts (they reference OMD far too often).
    I am sure people in the Marvel Office are in fact capable of being very petty. There have been plenty of jabs at fans since the BND era itself. Not to mention that OMD in and of itself is insulting to fans.

    I mentioned this elsewhere, but among the other things ruined by OMD...Mephisto is himself ruined. It's not possible for him to be used anymore without OMD somehow being vaguely alluded to or in the mix. It's made him a joke villain and it makes stories featuring him impossible to be taken seriously or at face value.

  11. #26
    Incredible Member Jman27's Avatar
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    i heard Mephisto is getting an event in December does that seem likely?
    "He's pure power and doesn't even know it. He's the best of us."-Matt Murdock

  12. #27
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jman27 View Post
    i heard Mephisto is getting an event in December does that seem likely?
    Mephisto is not a big enough villain to headline an event. Remember for a good number of comics readers, OMD was their introduction to him. Before, Mephisto would have been remembered if at all as that lackey who hung around Thanos in Infinity Gauntlet and as that guy in hell who Dr(s). Doom and Strange humiliated.

    It's not likely for Marvel to feature Mephisto in an event if the payoff to that is some closure for an embarrassing story. If at all, Mephisto might be a villain in a Spider-Verse event...that I can see happening but not a general Marvel-wide event. Though of course I could be wrong. A Marvel-event would require tie-ins from a number of titles. And would say Al Ewing or Hickman in their runs on Hulk and X-Men want to tie-in to a story notable for making Marvel a laughing stock, I doubt it.

  13. #28
    Astonishing Member Inversed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Mephisto is not a big enough villain to headline an event. Remember for a good number of comics readers, OMD was their introduction to him. Before, Mephisto would have been remembered if at all as that lackey who hung around Thanos in Infinity Gauntlet and as that guy in hell who Dr(s). Doom and Strange humiliated.

    It's not likely for Marvel to feature Mephisto in an event if the payoff to that is some closure for an embarrassing story. If at all, Mephisto might be a villain in a Spider-Verse event...that I can see happening but not a general Marvel-wide event. Though of course I could be wrong. A Marvel-event would require tie-ins from a number of titles. And would say Al Ewing or Hickman in their runs on Hulk and X-Men want to tie-in to a story notable for making Marvel a laughing stock, I doubt it.
    Since Damnation last year, he has been the focus of/been teased in Scarlet Spider, Defenders, Avengers, Champions, Deadpool, Doctor Strange, and Superior Spider-Man. That's a fair bit of scheming he's been doing across a wide variety of titles. That's why it does seem more likely than not that they are building towards something fairly soon.
    Current Reading List: Amazing Spider-Man, Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider, Sonic The Hedgehog, Absolute Carnage, Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man, Gwenpool Strikes Back, Runaways, The White Trees

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ptrvc View Post
    Mark Waid's Indestructible Hulk had some interesting ideas in it but they were executed very poorly. No explanation for why Savage Hulk was back, why Banner was back to trying to cure himself, ( he dropped it in the first panels admittedly, but he'd given up on that back in the PAD days and explicitly after the House of M tie in. And admitted again in PAK days. And again at the end of Duggan's run. Which shared a lot of problems).

    There was no explanation or set up for this. He wrote the Hulk/Banner as if he was picking the character up from the Silver Age.

    Add that with a goofier light-hearted tone (at least for a Hulk book) and I just got the feeling he didn't get the Hulk. Or rather I got the feeling he just didn't care enough to try.

    Edit:. The armor looked dumb. I actually defended it from a practical standpoint to protect Banner, but it looked dumb.
    Well, Bruce trying to cure himself is the default setting for the character. They break from it every so often, but always revert to the status quo sooner or later.

    I agree that Indestructible Hulk had problems, though. It started well enough and I enjoyed it for the first 10 issues or so. However Prof hit the nail on the head by pointing out that the books main storyline got sidelined by constant tie-ins. It reminded me of how PAD's initial run on X-Factor got disrupted by having to tie into what was happening in the other X-titles at the time.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    Well, sucks to be a fan of Strange and Clea it seems...

    Although if Waid is still writing Strange in the future I would like to think he'd address this and undo it at some point, if only to not carry the connotations of a connection to OMD (and despite his support or possible involvement in OMD, he's a much more idealistic and romantic writer).

    Otherwise this is just another excuse for writers to not bother addressing Clea.
    Waid will absolutely undo it down the line. I mean, look at all the changes he made during his F4 run: Reed being disfigured and the Thing's death. Those changes were all undone by the time he left. His Daredevil run was slightly different as he left the changes he made in place for the next writer to undo (which is considered a tradition.)

    This change seems to be part of a larger tale being told. Strange may not have an out at the moment, but I expect it to be revealed that he pulled a fast one on Mephisto. If Mephisto had done the wiping, then the chances of undoing it become much harder. The fact Strange did it automatically presents a way for things to be retconned in the future.

    Even if that avenue isn't pursued, they will utimately find their way back to each other. In Spider-man's case, OMD rewrote a large chunk of history and didn't make sense given the characters involved. Strange's history is intact. He only wiped (or maybe blocked) Clea's love for him from her mind. Everybody else remembers. It isn't as gut wrenching as it was for Peter/Mary Jane or Wally/Linda/the twins.

    In saying that, Strange made the ultimate sacrifice for a noble reason: he did it in order to save reality and, by extension, everybody who has ever lived, is living or will live in the future. That is a complete 180 from how he was written under Aaron.

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