Published by Marvel Comics
Over recent weeks I have reviewed a selection of excellent comics that are currently being released by Marvel. This week I cast my net a little further back into the mists of 2007 for this tale by future heavyweights Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin.
Doctor Stephen Strange is Marvel’s mystical protector of Earth, it’s Sorcerer Supreme, massively powerful and with an arrogance to go with it. Created in the 60’s by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, he is a surgeon who lost his ability to operate in a car accident. This drove him to climb a mountain and learn magic from a Tibetan mystic called the Ancient One. Strange has never managed to hold his own series for long, while still becoming a fan favourite and I at least would be happy to read more mini series like this one.
This is a comic that is not above dishing out a little bit of fan service but it gets the balance just right. The page below opens the book and right away it’s off to a great start by throwing a little Iron Fist into the mix. He’s pulled a hammy fighting ninjas and is waiting with Araña in the waiting room of the Night Nurse, sadly not named after the Gregory Isaac song but still wicked. She patches up the superhero community in NY and as the book starts she has to work on Dr Strange.
Unlike previous incarnations of the character this Dr Strange is unafraid to get his hands dirty and the story gives some much-needed depth and respect to his long serving man-servant Wong (hard to justify keeping a glorified Butler on in this day and age but Vaughan finds a way.) Stephen and Wong have a great relationship that is far more brotherly than Master and servant. There’s a fun scene where Strange has his head so buried in a book he fails to notice as Wong dispatches with an entire gang of thugs, it’s a ton of fun and shows how they complement each other, or as Wong says, “leave worldly concerns to me Master.”
The team keep the book wonderfully balanced between living and working in modern-day New York and then diving headlong into psychedelic inter-dimensional magic. Strange is a bad ass when it comes to Demons and spells and this tale illustrates well his growth in more mundane battles.
Vaughan’s script is highly enjoyable, with Dr Strange using his sharp wit while his friends and opponents give back as good as they get. There’s a great moment where Strange adapts one of his classic mystical catch phrases to, “… by the Hoary #%*-ing Hosts!!”
I might have mentioned last week how much I enjoy the art of Marcos Martín, this book is a great example of why. His storytelling is just so clear and there is a wonderful sense of movement in his pages. Again he mixes text in well and though the panels can be busy they are never cluttered and every face is distinct and has a great emotional range.
Should I buy it? Not only is this a wicked comic with a great take on a classic Marvel character but it’s by a creative team that are shaking things up in a big way with the launch of their own The Private Eye recnetly. This is a digital comic where you pay what you feel it’s worth and you get it straight from the creators. It might be what finally pushes me into getting a tablet. It’s a big shake up in the comics industry and if you buy this trade you can say you’ve been following since back in their mainstream days!
Next Time: I think it’s time to even up the scales and spend a month looking at some DC comics, it’s a chance for me to write about some of my favourites but I will also dip into their new 52, starting off with the monster hit that is Batman: Court of Owls by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo.