Saturday, October 10, 2015

REVIEW: Dr Strange #1

Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Chris Bachalo
Review: William R. Davis Jr.

The Marvel Universe is filled with infinite possibilities – infinite possibilities that are left unexplored far too often in my opinion. My favorite titles from the publisher have always been Silver Surfer, Dr. Strange, and The Fantastic Four (RIP), so my tastes definitely lie in the realm of fantasy and science fiction – books focusing on making the impossible possible. When Marvel does this well, their story arcs can rival any publisher in the medium of sequential art.

About a year ago I wrote a pretty vitriolic review of Silver Surfer. We all know that Mike Allred knows his way around a pen, but what left me disappointed was the wasted potential and the wannabe Whovian garbage after all of that anticipation from Dan Slott. Since issue one the book has found its legs to an extent, but I wanted to be the one to pen this review to see if Marvel could really speak to their hardcore fan base with their re-launch of Dr. Strange, and hopefully in some way make up for their Surfer sacrilege.

I have been a Dr. Strange fan for years, rummaging through stacks of hand me downs from my brother who may be the biggest Strange fan in the history of the world. Seriously. It’s true. Even at a young age I thought that “Sorcerer Supreme” sounded a bit like a Taco Bell value item, but other than that each issue was fuel for the imagination.

Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo are the perfect creative team to re-introduce Stephen Strange to the Marvel Universe. Starting with a backdrop that served as a great homage to Steve Ditko, issue one was non-stop action with a brief respite at a magician’s only pub that may have been my favorite part of the entire book.

Although Dr. Strange wields great power after his transformation from crippled surgeon to magical guru, his human flaws still remain keeping him grounded and searching for balance. While the “ladies man” trope used by Iron Man, Daredevil, and Dr. Strange tends to wear really thin, Aaron adds just enough to show human vice without being overly cringe worthy.

The fact that Bachalo pencils and inks his own books gives the issue a distinct feel that makes him a great fit. Stylistically he is a great choice for the re-launch. With an ominous warning at the end of issue one that left me wanting more, I for one am definitely excited to see where this series is headed. It is way too early to tell if Aaron and Bachalo are going to be able come to give us a run that could rival the fabled Brian K. Vaughn miniseries or Steve Ditko’s early work, but the first issue has given me hope that this new incarnation of Stephen Strange will be a welcome addition to the already rich legacy of Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme.

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