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The Defenders: Doctor Strange #1 Review

An epic journey Doctor Strange fans won’t want to miss.

The upcoming new Defenders series already has a cool lineup that’s filled with powerhouse heroes. Hulk, Doctor Strange, Silver Surfer, and Namor are all capable of taking on massively strong villains, but together? Watch out. But why would such loners ever join up in a team? The one shot stories that have started last week and continue this week flesh that out.

So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:

Read our preview.

Why does this matter?

This issue reveals how Doctor Strange fits into the team, which is important considering Hulk found a skeleton of his body in his Defenders one-shot. It also establishes how high the stakes are for this team to succeed.

What a backdrop. Credit: Marvel Comics

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

The art in this issue will blow you away. Greg Smallwood’s art is incredible, layering great colors with textures making the world more vivid and real. It opens with an old Doctor Strange walking through a wasteland that is Earth. He’s the last hope for humanity that is already dead. Smallwood’s art captures the singular journey of one man all alone. Well, he does have his magical items, but he’s pretty much alone. As the story progresses Smallwood explores iconic moments between Strange and villains, depicts the magical realm Steve Ditko so perfectly revealed decades ago very well, and ties things all together. There’s an epic full page spread from space that will have you in awe. Seriously pick this up if you like this character or the space scenes in Marvel books. His use of light is incredible too and there’s some wicked monsters and villains too.

Gerry Duggan writes the script which draws you into Doctor Strange’s psyche. He’s basically putting all his chips on this final plan and Duggan does well to capture the bud of hope he has even when he should feel hopeless. There are some interesting connections to his past and a key relationship too to help hammer home his journey prior to this final journey too. There’s a big surprise too that is all kinds of heroic and badass, too. The fact that this wraps up into the Hulk issue is just icing on the cake.

Um, run? Credit: Marvel Comics

It can’t be perfect, can it?

The very start of this issue is a bit slow. I understand it’s establishing a quiet that builds towards the conclusion, but it’s drawn in a basic way that doesn’t help. You’re sort of left waiting for something to happen. Thankfully it picks up quick.

Is it good?

An incredibly well drawn issue that reveals the best defense might be our last. Duggan and Smallwood make magic with this issue and will make everyone who reads this want, nay, need to read the Defenders series once it’s out.

The Defenders: Doctor Strange #1
Is it good?
An incredibly well-drawn issue that reveals the best defense might be our last. Duggan and Smallwood make magic with this issue and will make everyone who reads this want, nay, need to read the Defenders series once it’s out.
Greg Smallwood's art here is spectacular, exciting, and deeply moving
Ties into Hulk's issue very well
Establishes the stakes for the main Defenders series
It's a bit slow to start and the art doesn't help
9.5
Great
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