Doctor Strange is coming off his milestone 400th issue which certainly tested the character. That’s good, because in the first part in the new story arc “Herald Supreme” he has some new things to come to grips with. Namely, he may not be the most powerful mage in all existence. But that’s typical for Stephen, isn’t it?
So what’s it about?
Read our preview.
Why does this matter?
Galactus is on the cover so you know it’ll be another cosmic adventure for the old Sorcerer Supreme. This is also a great jumping on point issue since it recaps what has happened over the last 11 or so issues.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue thoroughly recaps how we got here for the first four pages then drops a bomb on Doctor Strange who does his best to fight. The writing team of Mark Waid and Barry Kitson does a good job fleshing out a new magic-wielding race and gives this threat an interesting twist their representative formidable. The personality of this villain is great too since he’s all shouting and force. Ultimately the conflict of the issue knocks Doctor Strange down a peg, but that’s par for the course lately.
It’s nice to see Doctor Strange’s forging abilities are coming into use. It’s one of the most unique new element to the character which even he points out in captions early on. The overall vibe of the issue suggests Stephen is a bit sick of the circular life he’s lead from losing powers over and over to losing girlfriends. That makes his forging of weapons an empowering element that gives him a bit of confidence and steers him in a subtle new direction.
This issue is drawn by Scott Koblish with colors by Brian Reber. I think Barry Kitson is doing the layouts too, but he’s listed as a storyteller. The visuals have an old school feel which is honed, but not super detailed. You can see the 80s vibes in a good double page spread featuring all sorts of characters Doctor Strange has tangled with recently. Galactus looks great whenever he pops up and longtime fans are going to want to see the Steve Ditko inspired Mystic Realm backgrounds.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
The plot reads a bit formulaic. Opening recap. Conflict. Underestimates enemy. New discovery. Accepts new journey. Uh oh. Newer readers might get more out of this issue due to the forging of weapons and of course the 3 pages that open the book with recap too.
Is it good?
For the first issue in a story arc this a great success. It lays out the groundwork for new readers and supplies us with enough cosmic wonderment via a brand new villain with Galactus hanging over it all.