Writer: Mark Waid / Artist: Jesus Saiz / Marvel Comics
Mark Waid totally took me for a ride this week as the new writer on Doctor Strange. We open with an epic battle between the good doctor and the “Elder God X’axal”. Strange vanquishes the entity and does a touchdown dance. Well, the superhero equivalent of a touchdown dance. It had a classic feel to it that was beautiful with Jesus Saiz’s gorgeous art. His shades and faces were amazing to look at. A close up X’axal was terrifyingly detailed; like a Resident Evil boss. The classical magic is short-lived, though.
Fast forward seven years and Steven Strange is losing all ability to use or even detect magic. We see him plunge into a depression, possibly on the verge of acceptance. This might have intrigued me a few years ago. The luster of this plot point is lost in the wake of Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo’s run centered on the end of magic.
Strange looks to Tony Stark, the Iron Man for guidance. Stark, after all, has “endured more falls from grace than anyone else in our community” (God Damn!). Stark turns Strange’s eyes to the stars. Maybe he’ll find some magic in space. Kudos, Waid. Setting Doctor Strange to explore the cosmos in search of magic rekindling space sorcery. The Doctor flies his new spaceship peacefully and gracefully to the planet surface where the friendly, magic adept locals quickly help him regain his power. JUST KIDDING! He totally crashes and the response he gets from the first lifeform he asks is, “What’s magic?”. Strange finds himself in a horrid position. Powerless and reaching for far-fetched respite.
This comic Waid and Saiz have weaved together took me through a wave of emotion. Excitement with the flashback introduction. Disappointment with the “Loss of Magic” plot device. Intrigue with the choice of space travel. Throughout it all, the art and dialogue are unmistakably impressive. I look forward to see where this creative decides to take Strange both physically and emotionally.
Reading Doctor Strange? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.