Shopping List: forty pounds of fresh meat (beef, NOT pork). Forty-five pounds of ribs and other assorted bone. Having checked these items off of his list, just having purchased them from the Pathmart and which Wong now carries in over half a dozen packed bags, Strange considers the next items on the list. One pair jeans, one black T-shirt, one pair boots…
Shortly after, Strange, still clad fully in his sorcerer’s costume, walks through a general store, reading off the list while Wong pushes an already brimming shopping cart. One large tin of white pain. Lipstick, red. Wig, back. Glasses, dark. False teeth, he says, examining a pair. medium.
Later, in Doctor Strange’s mansion, the contents of the list are laid out on the stone floor, arranged in a manner reminiscent of a woman’s body. Regarding this sight, Dead Girl asks Strange if he is sure it isn’t pork. Rejoining that he is quite sure, he then asks what the difference is. She’s not going to eat it. Floating nearby and surrounded by spectral energy, Dead Girl replies that she doesn’t like the idea of sharing a body with a pig. Why share a body with anything, Strange asks back. They’re communing perfectly well as they are, man to spirit. Dismissing the doctor, she informs him that he has no idea what a pain it is shouting across the great divide. Besides, when she does business with a man, she likes to be able to kick him in the nuts. Fine, Strange relents, inhabit your new body then.
Without further delay, Dead Girl dives toward the meats and pieces, which begin to float around in the air. The meats begin to coalesce into the form of a torso, limbs and head, with the wig forming hair. As this occurs, Doctor Strange averts his eyes, by raising his cape over them. Noticing this as she continues forming her new body, Dead Girl tells the doctor that he doesn’t need to turn his head. Some guys get off on watching a girl dressing. Raising his eyes above the cape, Strange replies that he’s not some guy. Can say that again, she remarks.
The process finished, Dead Girl tells him so. Though clearly not quite human, Dead Girl now possesses a body, made of meats, blue jeans, a T-shirt, wigs, sunglasses and lipstick help to cover most of it, with the white paint coloring what is not clothed. Her arms are drumsticks, her palms steaks and her fingers sausages. Asked how she looks, Strange replies that he has gazed into the baleful orifices of Dormammu… but they were pretty compared to her. And her breath… Bad, she asks. An open grave, he answers.
The pleasantries over, Strange tells Dead Girl that he needs her help. Later, she quickly replies. She’s been dead a long time. She wants to enjoy being flesh and bone a little. Of course, he replies. Perhaps the smell of flowers? The gentle play of an evening breeze on her face? Regarding this with incredulity, Dead Girl produces a dry, right.
Some time later, Doctor Strange finds himself and Dead Girl at a bar, with him enjoying a glass of red wine and Dead Girl downing beers. Having had enough, Strange finally asks her his purpose: she wants her to go to Hell. Swigging down a mouthful of beer, Dead Girl replies that she thought he said that’s what this place was. Ignoring her sarcasm, he tells her that he means Hell. Hades, inferno, Gehenna. The somber land by the River Styx. Oh, Dead Girl replies innocently. You don’t need her to get him there. In agreement, he tells her that he wants her to go to Hell… and come back again.
Producing an “Ahhh,” Dead Girl tells him that that’s tricky. They don’t like tourists down there. That’s where she comes in, he replies. She’ll help him assemble a small band of heroes. Dead heroes. And with their help… they’ll deal with… the Pitiful One. Lifting her glasses to reveal her eyes, or her lack of them, she tells Strange that that’s a very stupid name. Who is he?
“If you must know,” the Pitiful one answers to the Anarchist, as they walk through a demolished shopping mall with dozens of dead, “I gave myself that name.” Pretty stupid, if you ask him, Tike replies. Continuing, the Pitiful One tells the Anarchist that he thought it was pretty fitting, for a guy who’d been beaten and humiliated so many times by so-called super heroes.
Nearby, Miss America regards the female mannequins, displaying the current fashion of women’s skirts, which are quite short. Calling back to their leader as she considers them, she tells the Pitiful One to change the broken record. She suggests they make the most of being there… She’s just itching to get at those stores. Now drawing the others attention to the skirts, she asks if that is what the living are wearing now. Uninterested in fashion, the Pitiful One tells the group that looting overpriced designer gear isn’t going to drag Doctor Strange to the bargaining table. They must focus!
As the Pitiful One stands by the exit door, Tike comes up behind Miss America, flushing his body with hers and cupping her bottom. You wanna make the most outta being alive, he asks her, Tike can help her. Disgusted by his actions, Miss America tells him to get his hand off of her, you ******! Hearing this, the Anarchist recoils in shock.
Opening he exit door, the Pitiful One instructs his compatriots to smile for the cameras of the reporters outside. Smile nothing’, the Anarchist cracks. Did he hear what this racist called him? Taken aback at this, Miss America defends that he had his hand on her derriere. You still can’t go around saying that to people of color, the Pitiful One informs her. Times change.
Suddenly, the reporters and police holding them back begin to fade. Realizing that this means they are returning to Hell, Kraven laments that it’s happening again. When Mysterio acts it anyone else feel sick, Miss America remarks that, with her, it’s more of a headache. Voicing his own thoughts, the Pitiful One suggests that they remember this Hell is what they’re working to be free of. For Good, and not just twenty-four hour passes.
Welcoming Strange and Dead Girl back to the mansion, Wong reports that master have many messages. Government want help with these dead guys, say the whole panic panic, they wanna negotiate. And, there’s a woman in Los Angeles who says she uses Doctor Strange’s magic anti-aging cream, now she look like burn victim and her lawyers sue… The usual, Wong, Strange replies, interrupting him. Tell them you know no one by the name of Doctor Strange. A day in the life of an occult master, mocks Dead Girl. How exciting.
Humphing at this, Doctor Strange approaches a framed wall painting and walks through, causing it to ripple like a disturbed pond of water. Following through it, Dead Girl emerges into the chamber where her body had been assembled before. There, in the middle of the floor, stands a three-legged stand, upon which rests a beaker of purple liquid. Referring to it, even before Dead Girl has completely entered, Strange instructs her to behold the fermented sweat of Morpheus. One sip of this liquid, he tells her, will render him temporarily dead. A little death, as it were.
Continuing, he tells her that his body will stay there, secure, in suspended animation. She will be waiting for him on the other side. Waiting by the entrance, Dead Girl folds her arms across her chest, and points out that they still haven’t discussed what’s in all this for her. Apart from the satisfaction of doing good? Strange asks. To this, Dead Girl dryly states that he knows if he laughs too hard her body’s likely to fall apart.
All right, Strange relents. She’ll have a chance of being alive again. Oh, she’ll still be Dead Girl, but she’ll be Dead Girl in the land of the living. Asked how he is going to swing that, Strange replies that he is about to let her in on a secret. The marvelous secret of how the dead live again. Why is it that some super heroes – and even some villains – die… only to be reborn? What mystical process is at work? Asking her own question, Dead Girl inquires why does it always seem to happen to the popular ones?
Walking down the hallway of paintings, Wong carries a tray of tea and cookies, accompanied by a single rose. The world is blue… like an orange…, he says to himself. Approaching the painting in question, Wong takes a moment to regain his stoic composure, and then presses his torso through the portal. Emerging on the other side, Wong begins to ask if master and mistress will be wanting tea and biscuits, but stops himself as he takes stock of the situation. Strange lies prone, though some distance over the floor, his cape lying downward, perpendicular to his body. Meanwhile, the former body of Dead Girl is now in its component forms. Viewing this, while still only halfway inside, Wong allows an exasperated “Oy” to escape his lips.
In a library in the realm of the dead, Moira MacTaggert sits at a table with Mockingbird and Gwen Stacy. With a book tucked underneath her chin, Moira announces that she hereby convenes this meeting of the Dead Sisters’ book club. Has everyone read this week’s title?
Funny how we cling to terms like week and day, Gwen Stacy begins, when they don’t exist there. Guess they’d go loopy if they didn’t. Stretching herself out across the table in near boredom, Mockinbird , still in her costume, states that she almost went loopy trying to read the book. Who chose Ulysses? Death is too short.
Och, dismisses Moira, play the game, Mockingbird. After nice Mr. Joyce spent all that time writing the whole thing from memory for them. “Ineluctable modality of the visible,” she means, Mockingbird adds.
Looking around, Gwen asks where Dead Girl is. Just like her to skip the difficult books. Oh, she’s fine with the Chick Lit… Interrupting, Mockingbird says she doesn’t believe for a minute that she read War and Peace. Actually, corrects Dead Girl, appearing from nowhere, she flirted with Count Tolstoy and got him to give her the gist of the plot.
Changing the subject, Dead Girl tells her three friends that she would like to introduce a new friend. Pushing past Dead Girl, the tree females are fascinated with the sorcerer. Where have you been hiding this gorgeous creature, Gwen asks. He could put salt in my porridge any day, remarks Moira. Can I touch him, Mockingbird asks. A little?
Moving between the three and Strange, Dead Girl excuses her three sisters to Strange, explaining that he’s the closest thing they’ve seen to a real live man for ages. Now speaking to the girls, she tells them to lay off. He’s hers. Turning to Strange, Dead Girl adds that it’s in a totally non-sexual, non-possessive, easy come, easy go kinda way, of course.
Trying to change the subject as quickly as possible, Strange and stammers a request for her to ask them if they wish to join them. Right, Dead Girl says. Turning to the three girls, she informs hem that they’re on a recruiting drive. Then they’re going to the lower depths, where some of the condemned types have been causing trouble. Asked by the incredulous Gwen that they want them to go with them, Strange concurs behind the safety of Dead Girl, explaining that she would be in Dead Girl’s team, while he advances with his dead super heroes.
The lower depths, asks Mockingbird to Dead Girl. Honey, it’s nasty down there. She takes that elevator, and she’ll never come back. Aye, agrees Moira. It’s easier to go down than it is to come up again. Defending the offer, Dead Girl reminds Mockingbird that she spends all her time whining about having nothing to do. This is her chance for action. Unless she’d rather stick to her book-clubs for the next ten millennia.
First, Strange interrupts, trying to salvage the situation, he needs to gather his heroes. Does anyone know where Ant-Man is? Upstairs, Gwen answers, still trying to get near the sorcerer, cleaning the carpet probably. Say they do help him, Moira asks, what do they get out of it. Hearing this, Dead Girl suggests to the doctor that he tell them about the secret. Agreeing, Strange asks the threesome to remember Colossus. Remember how he died? Thoroughly and indisputably dead. So how is it… that the same Colossus now walks among the living, with warm blood pumping through his living heart?
Some time later, in another section of the realm of the dead, Strange and Dead Girl find themselves is a spacious series of corridors. On each block of wall are three doors, with no label of any time. Unsure of where to proceed, Dead Girl calls out to whom they seek. “Ant-Man!” she yells at the top of her voice. Eyeing the place, Strange asks Dead Girl if she thinks her dead sisters will help them. Probably, Dead Girl answers. If it means being close to him, “oh sexy one.” To this, Strange offers only a stammering “Y-yes.”
Suddenly, one of the doors opens, revealing a man in a yellow costume, with white wings from his temples. Without prompting, he informs the two visitors that his nurse said he could play with his model soldiers. That’s cool, Robert, Dead Girl replies. Has he seen Ant-Man around? Receiving only a slammed door, Dead Girl guesses not aloud. When Strange inquisitively repeats the name Robert, Dead Girl informs him that he is Robert L. Frank, also known as the Whizzer. When Strange suggests that perhaps he will help them, Dead Girl informs him that he can hardly help himself. Some of these guys’ brains turn to peanut butter after a while.
Suddenly, a clip-clopping noise fills the air, causing Strange to forget about the former World War II adventurer. A moment later, a white-clad figure appears from around the corner in a cloud of dust and riding a pure-white horse. Recognizing this individual, Strange asks Dead Girl for confirmation. The Phantom Rider? Receiving an affirmative uh-huh, he finds it interesting.
Rather than stopping, the Phantom Rider charges by Strange, quickly picking up Dead Girl and pulling her onto his equine without even stopping. Not missing a beat herself, Dead Girl introduces the Phantom Rider by his name, Carter Slade, to Doctor Strange, to which the Rider replies with a “howdy.” Calling out to the quickly departing Rider, Strange informs him that he’s looking for heroes to fight a bloodthirsty gang of villains. A quick pull back on his horse’s reigns stops the Rider abruptly, which has the added affect of throwing Dead Girl forward and onto her back. Tipping his hat back at the sorcerer, the Rider asks if he means… a posse?
Climbing over a giant fiber of carpet, the diminutive Ant-Man calls out to the towering Dead Girl that he can’t help her. There’s so much to be done there. Does she have any idea how many monsters lurk in this one carpet? Come on, Scott, Dead Girl begs. Help them and there’s a chance he’ll get to b alive again.
In response, Ant-Man defends that he never should have died. Does she think he would’ve been killed if he hadn’t had a size issue? Uh, oh, he then announces, noticing an approaching flea. Here comes another one! Wasting no more time, Strange picks up the finger sized Avenger by his costume. Pointing forefinger at him, he tells Ant-Man that he is bigger than this.
A young black boy enters a hospital room, containing a bedridden old woman, with an IV drip inserted into her. Calling out to her, as Gran’ma, he asks her if she is awake. Leaning in closer for a better look, he repeats in a more quiet voice. Gran’ma? Suddenly, the old woman’s explodes in a horrific sight, her flesh scattering like fallen leaves.
Running outside, the young boy sees other horrific sights. Three white men hold a fire hose at full power, using it to spray three black people. Nearby, two dog handlers approach, their canines snarling with fury. Suddenly, tiny plant shafts, which have begun to grow into cotton plants, begin to wrap around the boy’s legs. Shaking them off, the boy begins to run. However, the hospital corridor has vanished and he is now running through a field of cotton, in which several slaves stop picking the crop long enough to watch him racing. However, the boy comes to a dead stop before a burning cross, which is accompanied by a host of Klan members, dressed head to toe in white robes… Next seeing a burning noose, the boy lets out a weak and stammering “N-No…”
Wracked by this, the dreaming Tike Alicar curls in a fetal position, his face contorted in pain. Crouched next to him, Miss America remarks to the others that he’s having a bad one. “Leave him!” orders the Ancient One, joining the Pitiful One’s group in the land of the dead. If he’s awoken to suddenly, the Ancient One warns, he could be plunged into an even lower depth of Hell. Now turning to the Pitiful One, the sorcerer asks if he might have a touch of his crème du profundis.
Taking the green substance, the Ancient One wipes a little on the lips of the Anarchist, who begins to stir. Grandma! Alabama! The Crosses- O-oh, the crosses! Gently touching the Anarchist’s knee, Miss America wakes him up, telling him to take it easy. It’s over now. Crouching nearby, the Pitiful One asks Tike how long it lasted. Removing his goggles, the Anarchist replies that it felt like it all went on for about ten years. That’s not so terrible, the Pitiful One replies. He once experiences two hundred years; subjective time of the Thing sticking his head down a toilet.
Replacing his goggles and rising, Tike counters that he shouldn’t even be this low. He did good when he was alive. He was a hero. He was on Letterman. In reply, the Ancient One informs Tike that he has tried breaking the rules of life and death. The higher powers take a dim view of such actions. “An’ who are you,” Tike asks back. “Ol’ Man River?” He’s the Ancient One, the Pitiful One explains. In explanation to this, the old sorcerer adds that he was the mentor of Doctor Strange… before their paths took different courses.
Looking around, Tike sees Miss America sitting nearby. Angrily, he asks her what she is doing there. He told her he didn’t want to see her racist face no more. Defending herself, Miss America replies that she is sorry. What she said was awful words that just came out. It’s been explained to her how things have changed, for the better. Leaning in toward Tike, she promises him tat the next time he places his hand on her butt, she’ll just punch his nose, and won’t say a racist word. Hearing this, Tike reluctantly guesses that that’s progress…
Changing the subject, the Pitiful One tells Tike that the Acient One has bad news. It seems his old protégé, Doctor Strange, is out to stop them. But he has a weakness… While he searches the afterlife for heroes, his body must remain in he physical plane. Spoiling for a fight, the Anarchist states that he heard of Strange, a B-lister. They gotta be able to handle Strange.
Elsewhere, Strange and Dead Girl stand on a remote plain, accompanied by the Phantom Rider, who rides upon his horse and Ant-Man, who rides upon the brim of the Phantom Rider’s cowboy hat. Surveying the desolate horizon, Strange notes that he can’t see anything. There’s nothing there. That’s the way he likes it, Dead Girl explains. No distractions. Peering down from the brim of his hat, Ant-Man tells the Phantom Rider that he’s very sensitive.
Still waiting, Dead Girl tells Strange that this ain’t easy to say but… it seems like she’s been dead an eternity. And being with him… it’s like it’s the first time for ages that she’s felt anything. Yes, Strange agrees. And since he’s been with her, he hasn’t given one thought to his hemorrhoids. Jesting at this, Dead Girl notes to Strange that he’s a little out of practice with this soft stuff, ain’t he?
Suddenly, Ant-Man yells out an alarm. There he is! Just a short distance away, Guy Smith, formerly known as Mister Sensitive floats in a cross-legged position, lost in meditation. Calling out to Guy, Dead Girl tell him that it is she. His back still to her and the others, he tells her to go away. Undeterred, Dead Girl presses. She tells him that there’s trouble. They’re getting together to fix it. It’ll be like the old days, X-Statix. Remember? A memory stirred, Guy asks where Tike is. In somber reply, she informs him that he is in the other place.
Trying to get Guy’s attention, Doctor Strange leans in, introducing himself. Rather than reciprocating, Guy launches himself at the sorcerer, yelling that he doesn’t need a doctor! Who says he needs a doctor! He hates doctors! Though he has Strange at his advantage, lying on top of the surprise man, Guy’s attack is halted by the words of the Phantom Stranger, who hold a white six-shooter at his back. Easy, partner, the Rider tells him. That’s the sheriff you’re manhandling.
In the realm of the living, Wong leaves a 24-hour deli, taking advantage of the late night service. With a bag in one hand, he walks down the sidewalk with his mobile phone in the other. I’m sure the Baxter Building would present an interesting challenge, he tells the person on the other line, but his life with Doctor Strange is one long interesting challenge.
His decision made, Wong tries to end the phone call, but it is ended for his, when a group of hands cover his mouth and pull him into a darkened alley. The hands belong to the Pitiful One’s group, who quickly subdue him. Snarling with both his teeth and a knife bared, Kraven the Hunter tells their prisoner that they know he works for Strange. He’s going to take them to his body.
Noticing Wong’s ethnicity, Miss America point out to the others that he’s Chinese. Is it alright to hurt him? “You can hurt him all you want, Madeline,” the Pitiful One informs her. “Just so long as you don’t call him names.”