I LOVE WEDNESDAYS is my weekly comic review. It’ll rarely be a title out this week, but will likely be something out of my latest shipment from the fine folks at Discount Comic Book Service.
This week, we look at an oldie, but goodie – MARVEL ADVENTURES SUPER HEREOES #9, featuring the titantic team-up of Dr. Strange and… Foggy Nelson?
Writer Paul Tobin has done fantastic work on a multitude of Marvel titles, including the very underrated DR. DOOM AND THE MASTERS OF EVIL, creating accessible tales that play in the mystical world of the Marvel Universe. So when I saw his name this issue of MARVEL ADVENTURES SUPER HEROES, I figured Dr. Strange would fit perfectly in his wheelhouse of magical adventures. Throw in Foggy Nelson, my favorite non-powered Marvel Universe attorney, and I had to give this issue a try.
The story opens with Dr. Strange and his intern, Jason Wong, visiting the Guggenheim Museum, debating the merits of modern art. Suddenly, they find themselves under attack by a flame-breathing squirrel, who is revealed to be Dormammu, Dread Lord of the Dark Dimension. Thanks to Dormammu’s braggadocio, Dr. Strange learns that this invasion of Earth is permitted by a contract drafted by his mentor, the Ancient One. Originally intended as a mechanism to banish Dormammu, a loophole in the contract actually allows him to invade our dimension. In order to find a way to close this loophole, Dr. Strange enlists the aid of Foggy Nelson, attorney at law. Foggy, however, discovers that the contract is nothing more than a series of insane clauses thanks to the amateur drafting of the Ancient One. As Foggy frantically lists the contents of the contract, Dr. Strange realizes that Dormammu violated one of the clauses and is able to send him back to the Dark Dimension.
Tobin captures two elements of legal practice perfectly. First, it’s the Ancient One’s attempt to draft his own contract that creates the initial problem. Had the Ancient One hired a law firm to draft the original contract, there probably wouldn’t have been a loophole to exploit. And if there was, Dr. Strange could have at least sued the attorneys for damages resulting from the mystical invasion. PROTIP: When you need legal help, go talk to an attorney.
Second, Dormammu causes his own downfall thanks to his own big mouth. Despite his attorney’s best attempts to shut him up, Dormammu continues to provide Dr. Strange with the keys to victory. More often than not, clients create their own ruin by simply talking too much. Often in depositions, clients begin to believe that they’re smarter than the questioning attorney. The unfortunate truth is that they’re not. PROTIP: When your attorney tells you to keep your responses to one word answers, you should probably do it.
I think my largest problem with this issue was the lack of agency for poor Foggy Nelson. The solution to Dr. Strange’s problem doesn’t arise from a clever legal stratagem or smart analysis of the contract. Instead, Foggy just happens to call out a clause that Dormammu had violated during his time on Earth. Then again, this title is an “all ages” comic, so it’s probably a bit much to expect Dr. Strange to send Dormammu back to the Dark Dimension using a breach of fiduciary duty.
Also, I can’t really dispute the fact that attorneys are basically paper custodians. So you’ve got me there, Paul Tobin.