Boy, with Captain Fascist ruling the country, and this darkforce dome over New York, we sure could use a little magic, eh, Stephen??? But don’t you worry, in Doctor Strange #22, THE KINGPIN will take care of that for you. Is it good?
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Niko Henrichon
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Yes, here comes Big Willy Styles in his gilded golf cart to save the day! Don’t pooh-pooh his underground tunnels, they’ll save your lives! And he’s the one who will find an alliterative sorcerer with the last remaining magical artifacts, ones that might just turn the tide.
That is if snarky Baron Mordo doesn’t get to her first. He’s somehow able to track the whole group on closed circuit, as Chekhov’s Daredevil sits in a bubble with his lips zipped. See no evil, speak no evil, still has to hear Karl’s uncharacteristic banter.
If you ever wanted a wisecracking Baron Mordo, a Kingpin who makes Lord of the Rings jokes or an oblique Pinocchio reference by the Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange #22 is your book. Dennis Hopeless brings his signature humor to the title, and spreads it across the entire cast, even on those it doesn’t quite suit.
But this is a genuinely funny issue. Well-plotted and paced, too, as Strange, Spider-Woman, Ben Urich and Fisk spend just the right amount of time in each setting, and the proper amount of attention is paid to Mordo and Daredevil back at the Sanctum Sanctorum.
The art is borderline exquisite also, with great, meaningful panel transitions and nice, creative use of motion lines. Niko Henrichon colors his own pencils, making the grotesque monster renderings twice as impressive.
Doctor Strange #22 is a well-made and realized comic book. It just may not feel like Doctor Strange to some readers. The creative team completely and believably pulls off what they set out to do, but in a shared universe, how much does that count when the intent is something that doesn’t line up with anything that’s come before? Hey, it works for Brian Michael Bendis! Your mileage may vary.