Robbie Thompson has breathed a lot of new energy into the MCU for awhile now and Doctor Strange is one of those series. Mixing up new ideas, toying with the comic storytelling format, and infusing his work with the right amount of humor has made his series a joy to read. We dive into this week’s “Time After Time” trade paperback release which wraps up the Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme Storyline.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Marvel’s craziest comic gets even more mind-bending! After being betrayed by one of their own, Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme are banished to a dark dimension where everything is out to kill them! And you’re trapped with them! Can you and the Sorcerers escape this mazelike madness? Meanwhile, the gravity of Sir Isaac Newton’s actions will reverberate in the present day -and put him on a collision course with the Avengers! For the Sorcerers Supreme, magic plus history makes mystery!
Why does this matter?
This trade collects issue #6 through #10, dropping readers into a world-ending battle, sending them to hell, and finishing the story arc for Yao. This volume also contains a ton of characters like Spider-Man, Luke Cage, and Howard the Duck.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
That is one weird looking beastie.
Thompson is always good at inserting some humorous dialogue to add levity to even the most dangerous of situations. You can see he has a proclivity for Spider-Man, who gets some of the best quips, but he utilizes Howard the Duck in a similar way for good comedic relief. This helps when the heroes are fighting against giant alien godlike creatures and flying through time to save lives. The story is epic in nature, but never loses sight of the characters in part due to the good dialogue and funny reflections in the moment.
This comic continues to show how Thompson and Javier Rodriguez like to play with comic book storytelling. Take for instance a sequence where Doctor Strange and his compatriots are moving across the pages of a book, turning the pages at the corner, and discovering a way to turn this book into a weapon of sorts. It’s a clever way of using the pages to mimic the pages of the comic and it’s something I’ve never seen before. Later in this volume readers will be forced to turn the entire book vertically to read it. That gives the story a scroll like vibe that suits the Merlin-centric story.
The first half of this trade is drawn by Javier Rodriquez and the second half by Nathan Stockman, both of whom have a similar layout style and level of detail to their art. It’s not jarring when the art switches hands. They get to draw some fantastic stuff, like the page turning sequence mentioned above, a fantastic moment where the panels get crumbled into paper, and an excellent fight sequence involving Wiccan’s X-Men team fighting Brood.
Truly, an awesome sequence.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The book opens in the middle of a battle so you might be a bit lost when it starts. Isaac Newton is a character and gets little explanation as far as why he’s there, but that’s what the first volume is for.
I have to wonder if this series was canceled early because Thompson seems to have a long game story that ends sooner than it was planned. There’s a quick one issue aside to Wiccan helping the X-Men fight off Brood that seems out of place amongst the rest of the story in this volume and that might be because he didn’t plan on finishing off the story so soon.
Is It Good?
Time travel and magic are a bitch and this volume captures the bitchiness well. If you like fast-talking quips, big magical deities, and a series that takes chances with the comic storytelling format this is for you.