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Doctor Strange #4 Review

The sci-fi action adventure of the year continues.

Doctor Strange is in outer space (Echo: space, space, space) and he’s trying to find his magic. His mojo is missing, but with the help of a new magic collecting alien he’s slowly getting it back. Mark Waid is writing a heck of a series so far that’s entertaining for a variety of reasons — and the European style art by Jesus Saiz is nothing to sneeze at either. In this fourth issue Doctor Strange does something very dumb, gets a friend back, and learns a few lessons.

So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:

Doctor Strange’s interplanetary power trip continues! But now there’s a secret between him and his alien companion — can she fight by his side if she can’t trust him? Can a former member of the Illuminati trust himself with an INFINITY STONE in his possession?

Why does this matter?

The Marvel “fresh start” comics have been successfully making each character interesting in new ways. Most didn’t need to fly off into space to get more interesting, but here we are with Stephen Strange.

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

The book is very good at dropping you into the heat of action. Credit: Marvel Comics.

This issue plays around with flashing back and forward in a short period of time rather well. This sort of time displacement is usually a means to increase the excitement in an otherwise boring narrative by punching you in the teeth with action and then slowing things down to show us how we got here. It makes sense here though because Waid is shining a light on Strange’s defects. He’s not a perfect man and he shows it in his actions. This leads to a rather abrupt and salty assessment from a character Strange saves that is done in a way that feels earned and true. This book has been quite good at dropping readers into action and adventure and this issue continues that, but in a different way because of the tether to Strange’s emotional journey.

It’s also very pretty with a painterly look Jesus Saiz continues to excel at. I’m continually shocked at how well everything is rendered and there hasn’t been a single delay in the schedule. There are a few epics reveals and well-crafted action scenes that back that up, all of them looking very clean and believable similar to a sci-fi epic like Metabarons.

The issue ends well too with not one, but two big cliffhanger moments. It’s a clever way to end the book because Waid basically gives us the answer to how the stake raising reveal will be quenched by Doctor Strange.

The design of the villains is quite neat. Credit: Marvel Comics.

It can’t be perfect can it?

There’s a dialogue heavy moment near the end of the issue Doctor Strange has that’s very good, but also dropped on the reader in such a way that it interrupts the pace of the book. The flashbacks are over at this point and the narrative plops these two characters down for some hard lesson sharing. I like the message, but the plotting leaves you stunted.

Is it good?

This is a fantastic sci-fi adventure that continues a highly entertaining personal journey for Doctor Strange. It’s almost shocking how good it is while using no mainstay Marvel characters aside from Doctor Strange.

Doctor Strange #4
Is it good?
One of the best sci-fi epics from any publisher. Period.
Continues to be a fun sci-fi adventure for the ages
Painterly art is impressive
Interesting character work on Stephen Strange
The plotting takes a hard stop at one point killing the momentum
9.5
Great
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