To commemorate 65 years at Marvel, the company has decided to put out a series of one-shots of characters Stan Lee has had a hand in creating. Following Stan Lee Meets the Amazing Spider-Man, Lee's creation of Dr. Strange assumes front and center. Dr. Strange has always had a cult following among Marvel and Lee devotees.
Strange is not a traditional super-hero. He fights demons and wizards in far-off, psychedelic dimensions while tutoring his kindly student, Wong. His black magic powers come from the Vishanti, a group of entities known as Agamotto, Hoggoth, and Oshtur. Some of his trademark spell phrases include: "by the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth, by the Ruby Rings of Raggador, by the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak, by the Flames of the Faltine, and (my personal favorite) by the Hoary #%*-ing Hosts!"
Story #2 of this issue (written by Brian Michael Bendis) focuses on the Impossible Man and his search for Stan Lee.
Please note that the main story did not contain any references to Spider- Man. Hence, it is not reviewed on this site.
The Impossible Man proudly proclaims that he is back. Bendis tells the reader to look him up on Google if you don't know who he is. Impossible Man visits the Baxter Building and is surprised to find out that Johnny Storm is its lone occupant. Johnny brings the Impossible Man up to speed on the current Marvel Civil War.
Next, Impossible Man journeys to the ruins of Avengers Mansion. A street vendor recalls the events depicted in Avengers: Disassembled and offers Impossible Man a souvenir t-shirt.
Our intrepid investigator descends upon the X-Mansion. However, the X-Men are in outer space and Wolverine has joined the New Avengers. Also, there's a small problem being that Scarlet Witch declared no more mutants in House of M. The lone student explains to Impossible Man that the damaged Sentinel is there for mutant-kind's own protection. Impossible Man reaches his breaking point when he finds out Spider- Man has also joined the New Avengers.
Impossible Man teleports to Marvel offices and demands to speak to Stan Lee. However, he must navigate through a bureaucratic food chain of Marvel editors and writers. Tom Brevoort and Joe Quesada shows up to thwart our impish friend. Eventually, Impossible Man finds out Stan no longer works at Marvel. Instead, he must wait in a Hollywood autograph line to meet Stan. Impossible Man is mistaken for Bruce Willis and is rudely trampled upon by gossip mad fans and paparazzi. Fortunately, Stan Lee rescues the downtrodden imp. Stan argues that change is good and reassures Impossible Man as they walk off into the sunset.
Bendis's moral of the story: change is good. This seems like an apologia to Marvel fans for all the character changes over just a few short years rather than a tribute to Stan Lee. I do agree with the sentiment of the story...to a certain point. It just seems kind of disparaging that this would come in a Stan Lee tribute comic book. Why not insert this into your precious current New Avengers storyline, Bendis?
Apart from that, Stan Lee remains the patriarch of all things Marvel. His fatherly qualities remain endearing in this short tale. Another part I particularly liked was the decision to make the Impossible Man the eyes and ears for the reader. Using such a bizarre and underused character is a testament to Stan's creativity and passion. It is kind of startling that Lee was the main figure behind an entire universe of motley characters.
This is a decent enough tale for a one-shot issue. It was a rather whimsical tale that captured the spirit of Stan apart from Bendis's thinly veiled groveling to displeased fans. I also rather liked the satire of Joe Quesada's larger-than-life persona.