DOCTOR STRANGE: FROM THE MARVEL VAULT #1 (Marvel Comics, April 2011) “This Old House” Roger Stern, Writer. Neil Vokes, Penciler. Jay Geldhof, Inker. Lee Loughridge, Colorist. Jared K. Fletcher, Letterer.
This is Doctor Strange the way I remember him best = keeping the world safe from the intrusion of otherworldly or supernatural demons and entities. The front page of this one-shot tells the story behind this particular story. “This Old House” was a script in development by Roger Stern back in 1998, intended to become MARVEL UNIVERSE #8. However, the series was canceled before the story was completed. Thanks to the efforts of Marvel Editor Tom Brennan, it was finished this year and finds its’ way to publication now.
It’s worth seeking out for a number of reasons. One, its’ a flashback story that occurs in the early history of Doctor Stephen Strange, right after he completed his studies with the Ancient One and returned to New York City. Two, it reveals how Dr. Strange came to occupy the old brownstone in Greenwich Village, the manor that became his sanctum sanctorum. Three, it’s a great story “dedicated to the Masters – Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.” Story and art are respectfully done in the same style. Wow, Neil Vokes reminds me how much I miss the work of Steve Ditko and how great his work on this title was. Vokes has the trails of vapor and weird angles of the other dimensions down to a science, as if he was a devoted pupil of Steve Ditko.
Dr. Strange buys the mansion from a reluctant real estate agent who reveals the site has served as foundation for seven different homes in its history, all burned in tragic fires. The site is alleged to have been the one-time home of a satanic cult practicing human sacrifice. Stephen sets about to identifying the spirits that now occupy the premises and has his hands full trying to banish them from this particular realm.
If you long for some stories told in the good old days style of Lee/Ditko, this is the one for you.