Doctor Strange (2015) No. 6 Last Days of Magic Chapter 1
The good Doctor and the other arcane heroes of our dimension took a beating with the Empirikul's first salvo but they managed to beat back the foe. The Empirikul continue to press the attack however. We come upon the Doctor very badly beaten and in the middle of an encounter with the leader of the Empirikul, the self-styled Lord Imperator.
All over the world magic is failing. References are made to mystic K'un-Lun, the home of the Iron Fist, and Darkmoor, birthplace of the mystical Captain Britain. Even stranger references are made to Thor crying (?) and the Ghost Rider screaming.
The ongoing battle is occuring in front of Strange's Sanctum, a nexus point of magic that is irresistible to the Empirikul. Stephen has been beaten within an inch of his life but the Sorcerer Supreme remains impressively defiant.
This bravado is even more impressive than it looks. The Imperator has described Strange's current condition as a 'burning'. I know something of this having just come from an allergic reaction that had the same burning sensation in my upper back and ribcage area. Believe me the pain was intense - I spent the night literally writhing in pain, for a few agonizing hours it was all there was - I could do nothing else. I imagine Stephen is feeling the same way here but he still manages to taunt his oppressors. Impressive.
At which point the Doctor orders the Sanctum to defend itself.
A tree coming to life and strangling the would-be invaders. I love the druidic nature of this defense.
The fight is far from over though.
A quick montage is shown of other sorcerers being besieged by the Empirikul like the Scarlet Witch and Daimon Hellstrom in Paris.
I am happy to note the among the sorcerers is shown Wong, finally acknowledged as what he is - a wizard.
This is a very informative panel.
It shows that the Empirikul are invisible to the non-mystic inhabitants of our planet. This is confirmed later on, when Doctor Strange's allies tries to make a case for asking help from Tony Stark and Strange says Stark isn't even aware a war is happening.
Ah some good news at last.
The last time we saw Chondu and Monako they were fighting a desperate battle at the Bar With No Doors - a battle that they seemed to be steadily losing. I'm very thankful that that was not the case. They seem to have won that fight and are now on Earth and have won yet another skirmish with the Empirakul. I liked Monako the first time I saw him and the panel below just makes me like him even more.
"Die with a wand in my hand" - that's the spirit!
Back to the Doctor's fight with the Lord Imperator and this baffling little panel.
This is pretty creative, actually. What Strange is doing here is he is collecting people's despair and coalescing that into some kind of dark energy which he then throws at the Lord Imperator and his robots. Here is the effect.
It almost works but the Lord Imperator reveals that he is the victim of an even deeper trauma, rendering this 'wave of despair' ineffective against him.
it is also the first time we become aware of a motive to the Lord Imperator's witch hunting. And yes, it is his witch hunting and his alone. The others with him are evidently constructs - the Imperator is essentially one man with a robot army.
Keeping in mind the Atlantean Black Magic he dished out some issues ago, I'm beginning to notice Doctor Strange increasingly calling forth the darker side of magic.
While the battles are raging, the Empirakul are slowly leeching away the magic from Earth; effectively depriving the sorcerers of the their energy source. Stephen Strange has been fighting a losing battle but the Sorcerer Supreme will not give up. Here he taps so-called Dragon lines - summoning the last bits of magic for one last counterattack.