Kit is taking over the weekly comic book review because Adam is in the unenviable position of attempting to finish off his PhD.
“So now I walk alone through the nameless reaches of the netherworld. Each day weirder than the last. Each new challenge liable to end with my doom or damnation or final descent into screaming madness. But you know what? I’d be lying like hell if I said I didn’t love this.” – Doctor Strange
Warning: minor spoilers.
While Adam struggles to maintain his sanity with his thesis, I’ll be stepping in to have a go at the weekly comic book review! And boy was I spoilt for choice this week! Marvel are getting into their ‘All New All Different’ series with a load of new issue #1s, designed for people to jump in on and become hooked. It certainly worked on me… Today I’ll be reviewing Doctor Strange #1, written by Jason Aaron and pencils and colours by Chris Bachalo, with inks from Tim Townsend, Al Vey and Mark Irwin, and letters from Cory Petit. This is one of the comics there’s been a bit of fuss and hype about in certain parts of the internet. Partially because Benedict Cumberbatch has taken up the role for the MCU and partially because the Sorcerer Supreme has been depicted wielding a massive axe along with his magic. This can only be a fun development.
Anyway, onto the main review. I picked this up only having a rough knowledge of Doctor Strange: He’s the Avenger with magical powers who isn’t the Scarlet Witch. That was about it. And considering the massive expansive history behind nearly every Marvel character it could have been easy for this comic to be impenetrable to new readers. But no, the first page is one of the best openings I’ve seen in a first issue for a comic book (Saga would also stand out… for very different reasons…), it gives you a narration from Doctor Strange with the background decorated with panels from his old comics. These panels are unedited so they have that cool vintage comic look about them. You get a good feel for the type of guy Steven Strange is and an overview of his backstory. Oh, and unlike Doctor Fate for DC Doctor Strange is an actual Doctor.
The art style naturally shifts to a more modern tone right away, Chris Bachalo’s art is top quality as you’d expect, although you rarely see the character eyes in the way they’re drawn! The story itself is pure set up, the migration before the storm as we see Strange deal with a variety of supernatural entities. We also get a feel for his place in society, unlike say Captain America he walks down the street and nobody takes notice. At least until he appears to start talking to himself and shuffling/moving in a weird way, then people just avoid him or are weirded out by him. Actually, if you see him doing that he’s likely going toe to toe with some big horrible magical nasty that feeds on our souls, but he’s treated like a crazy drunk. He makes the point that he isn’t surprised by this, and in fact if you see a drunk or a homeless person talking to themselves, give them a bit of cash, they could actually be saving you from soul devouring monsters!
We also get a look at his magical allies, his supernatural hang out bar and a feel for how magic works in this world (warning for anyone wanting to give it a go: you’ll need to drown a lot of bunnies! This is the price you don’t see Harry Potter pay on screen…)
Finally, we get an epilogue that sets up the direction of the rest of the series. Which looks very cool.
If you’re a long-time fan of Doctor Strange though, I could see this being a bit of a slow comic. It’s designed to get the new readers in and there’s a lot of getting to know the Doctor, who long term fans of course already do. That being said, it’s a very good set up and I’m sure will rock as a series, so read it anyway!
Well done Marvel, I’m hooked. I’ll be following this series and if you want to get hyped for the upcoming film, like Doctor Strange or just want a superhero with more magic and less muscles then this is perfect for you!
Final Score – 9 Psyche Leeches out of 10!