Doctor Strange

With Doctor Strange due out in cinemas next year, has Marvel pulled a rabbit out of its hat with the new Dr Strange solo series?

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Casual comic fans rejoice! The new series is a comic with a weird and wonderful flavour, giving fresh readers a taste of what makes the Sorcerer Supreme so popular. Without a moment’s delay, writer Jason Aaron brings us up to speed, touching on the Doctor’s origins and backstory, before we’re taken right into the action.

Magic, the occult, and the supernatural continue to pique the interest of a fair section of society, and Marvel knows it! Imagine how much richer they would’ve been if they owned the rights to the whole Harry Potter franchise. And so, a movie about magic needed to be made, and a comic book to drum up interest for the film was another must, but that’s a separate issue.

The Way of the Weird was an enjoyable read, and an ideal starting point for someone like me, who wasnt particulary big on the Sorceror Supreme. I wasn’t ever a big Dr Strange fan, but I was a fan of Generation X back in the day. A huge factor behind that was the trademark penciling of heavyweight artist Chris Bachalo. Bachalo’s work in Gen X, showcased his skill at conjuring bizarre landscapes and characters, and luckily for us, there’s plenty of that kind of good stuff to enjoy here.

Meanwhile, Aaron presents Stephen Strange with a number of character traits that demonstrate the doctor’s congenial nature. He seems content in his role of steward of planet Earth, protecting the oblivious masses from otherworldly magic threats, but he also has a sense of humour, and an evident taste for women that his friends reference over some drinks.

Fairly early on, Bachalo’s signature style belies the darkness of Strange’s sense of justice. His art lends itself well to the part where he walks down the street towards the Bar with No Doors. Stephen’s third eye opens, and readers get a glimpse of what he sees, tastefully filtered with appropriate hues.

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The book has been paced perfectly, and we understand that even though weirdness is the stuff of everyday life, things are in flux, but even by the time Zelma Stanton shows up at Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum, we aren’t really prepared for the last-page reveal that had me eager for the next issue.

Dr Strange was a fun read, and Aaron’s words from within the issue mirror the situation that readers might find themselves in after picking up this book. “They’ve just been given their first glimpse of the unseen things that live in the shadows, of a whole spectrum of unimaginable existence.”

Bonus story The Coming Slaughter, meanwhile, adds another layer of intrigue to the book, with a look at shadowy hooded characters that do little to convince us of their placidity.

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What I dug :

The page of classic retro artwork that welcomes longtime readers in, before more is revealed. Personally, seeing Bachalo’s wonderful artwork again is just a delight, particularly his depiction of Scarlet Witch.

What I didn’t dig :

There was nothing I could really find fault with in this comic, but on occasion, Bachalo’s pencils nearly begged a step back, just to make sure I wasn’t in the midst of a hallucination.

Writer – Jason Aaron

Penciller and Colourist – Chris Bachalo

Inker – Tim Townsend, Al Vey, Mark Irwin

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