Doctor Strange: Damnation #1
Written by Donny Cates and Nick Spencer
Art by Rod Reis
In the aftermath of Secret Empire, Las Vegas was in ruins with untold loss of life. Many of Earth’s heroes come to the city to mourn with the survivors and promise to make sure nothing like this happens again. As Falcon gives his heartfelt remarks to the people of Las Vegas, Doctor Strange appears with a message of hope and something else.
Strange’s powers have been augmented and he decides to use that power to do something completely unprecedented. Something that Falcon tries to warn him against, but he does anyway. Doctor Strange resurrects Las Vegas, bringing back all of the buildings and recreating the strip. He doesn’t stop there. The power he uses not only resurrects the city, but the people lost when it was destroyed as well. There are reunions between loved ones, but Thor warns him of the cost of magic. A cost that Strange says he is willing to pay.
That cost seemingly comes in the form of a giant spire that breaks through from underground and transforms into a building in the middle of the strip; The Hotel Inferno. As Strange enters the hell themed casino, he is taken to the “boss” Mephisto. Stephen gets ready for a fight, but Mephisto tries to convince him that this isn’t his doing. Meanwhile, Falcon, Thor, Captain Marvel, Black Panther and Hawkeye are trying to deal with the city and specifically, the crowd forming around the tower.
Around the city, the resurrected that aren’t embracing their new lease on life are embracing the vices that they enjoyed the first time around and the city is happy to let them indulge. Something that Mephisto is finding more and more interesting. As he shows Stephen a secret he’s keeping in his casino, he decides to offer the Sorcerer Supreme a bet. A bet that will determine the fate of everyone in the city. Unfortunately, Mephisto is not one to play fair.
The road to Hell is definitely paved with good intentions in this issue. Stephen’s act is reflective of the arrogance of the character and his desire to do this noble act is a perfect reflection of one of the problems with magic in the Marvel universe. Cates and Spencer tell a great story with this first issue and I truly enjoyed how they incorporated not only events from Secret Empire, but also managed to weave in some discourse among the heroes stemming from that event and Civil War II. Damnation looks to be an interesting story with an ending that peaked my interest in reading the next issue.