The Secret Wars event isn’t quite over yet, but that doesn’t mean Marvel is going to hold back their new post event series! Let’s see how Dr. Strange, or in this case Doctor Strange fared in his first issue…is it good?
Doctor Strange #1 (Marvel Comics)
This issue opens with Dr. Strange doing some work for some innocent folks who need to be rid of spirits. Strange still lives in New York and he even has a group of wizard types to hang out with. Apparently he isn’t the loner he used to be back in the 616, but that doesn’t mean his life is easy. A threat is coming (isn’t it always?) and it’s making even the darkest demons run for their lives.
Why does this comic book matter?
Doctor Strange has to be the hottest character at Marvel right now. No, not because of this series, but because he’s getting a new movie in the works as we speak. Benedict Cumberbatch is going to star and new actors are being revealed as his supporting cast and villains. Heck, Marvel producer Kevin Feige has even confirmed the film is going to be an origin story, which in some ways this comic is doing. We’re introduced not just to the man, but the world he inhabits. Doctor Strange #1 reveals the wonderful and not so wonderful world of seeing spirits, casting spells and ridding innocent people of soul eating monsters.
Love this intro page!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Writer Jason Aaron does a fantastic job setting up the world of Dr. Strange here. In some ways I’m reminded of the god themed Noragami as evil spirits appear to be roaming around us always; thing is, you need to be a wizard to see them. Aaron not only introduces this horrific idea clearly, but sets in motion the ever increasing threat very well here. By the end of the issue you’re going to fear for Strange’s life, but also the potential devastation of the threat to come.
In fact I probably haven’t cared about Dr. Strange this much since Brian K. Vaughan wrote his impeccable miniseries a few years ago. Aaron makes Strange likeable and fun, but also caring. He truly wants to do good for the little guy who shows up on his doorstep. He’s not some pompous wizard but a guy who wants to do his part everyday.
Because he’s the most powerful wizard in the Marvel universe he’s a bit of a loner too. Aaron effectively makes him appear to be on his own against the world, but at the same time introduces a circle of friends who are all different. I won’t ruin who they are here, but let’s say it’s going to be fun to see him interact with each of them.
The art by Chris Bachalo is top notch and reminiscent of his quality work on X-Men in that there’s a lot going on in every page and panel. From monsters turned into flowers to weird creatures sucking on humans and growing right into them you’re going to get shivers. They’re rendered in so much detail, yet in his customary cartoon style, which makes it equal parts fun alongside the horrific. That said the design of the spirits and monsters that inhabit this issue are fantastical and show a keen sense of the imagination.
Teddy bears and monsters should go hand in hand more often.
I’m also loving Bachalo’s layout designs. In one sequence we see how Dr. Strange see’s the world and Bachalo decides to make things black and white with souls and such still in color. It’s a great way to make things pop and helps convey just how twisted Dr. Strange’s life is everyday. So often artists try to lock down what Dr. Strange deals with in Dali like scenes, but here Bachalo brings us a little closer to the creatures as they fill the screen. This makes things feel chaotic, but also rife with life. In a way he’s showing us the magical realms as a place you can’t pin down.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Sometimes the chaotic nature of Bachalo’s art is hard to follow. It suits this character, but there were times I had to sit and figure out what was happening as things are so close up.
I bet he’s great at hurdles.
Is It Good?
Doctor Strange #1 is a lot of fun as it sets up the weird world, the dynamic character and the impending doom in a balanced and well paced way.