Review – Doctor Strange #4 (Marvel)

Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Mark Waid
Artwork: Jesús Saiz
Lettering: VC’s Joe Sabino
Release Date: 15th August 2018

Stephen Strange: Sorcerer of the Stars? With Earth’s magic failing him, Doctor Strange has gone on a desperate quest across the universe to try and regain his connection to the Mystic Arts. But with his power returning will Stephen’s arrogance one again be his undoing? And what of his companion Kanna? Will the secret Strange hides from her shatter her trust in him?

I’ll fully admit I was really cynical about the idea of Doctor Strange going into space. Being my favourite Marvel character, I usually hiss at any attempt to flip his status quo, especially since this latest story revolves around Strange once again losing most of his powers – a which was the main plot of the entire Jason Aaron/Donny Cates run from 2015 to 2018. The latter half by Donny Cates in particular was exceptional so the idea of resetting Strange really annoyed me. Luckily my scepticism was unfounded because this book so far has been really damn good.

Despite seemingly working on at least five books at any one time, Mark Waid brings his usual high standard of quality here. He’s really good at getting us into Stephen’s head, giving us good character moments while setting up small things that will clearly pay off much further down the line. This is clearly the work of someone who knows their craft exceptionally well.

Waid’s Strange also follows in the footsteps of all great Strange interpretations before him by working in a grey area. Not to spoil issue three but Strange did something very bad at the end of that issue and this comic continues that, showing that while Doctor Strange is a hero but he’s also an arrogant manipulator that will frequently do what he feels needs to be done.

As much as Waid’s writing works really well here, the real star of this book is the artwork of Jesús Saiz. The style of Saiz’s alien worlds all look unique and beautiful. The colours on display are truly eye-popping, so much like Strange himself the reader gets to see the universe with a sense of wide-eyed wonder. Strange himself also looks great. A good mix of detail and style provides an almost painted look to all the characters, which is truly wonderful on a book like this.

If you enjoyed Doctor Strange in his solo movie or in Avengers: Infinity War, or if like me you’re a long-term Doctor Strange fan, then read this. We’re only on issue four so far so you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding all the single issues still in comic book shops, which is something I would strongly suggest as this arc so far feels like a set up for much bigger events yet to come. Give this a read and see the true wonder of the Mystic Arts.

Rating: 4/5.


The writer of this piece was: Jonathan Mullen
Jonathan Tweets from @JonathanDMullen ‏

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