Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Mark Waid
Artwork: Javier Pina & Andres Guinaldo
Colours: Brian Reber, Jim Campbell & Andrew Crossley
Lettering: VC’s Cory Petit
Release Date: 7th November 2018
Doctor Strange’s past has caught up with him. Many years ago, when Stephen Strange had resigned as the Sorcerer Supreme, he found a girl with a gift for the mystic arts called Casey, and the pair had several adventures together until she ultimately gave her soul for Strange. Many years later, Casey is back and she’s impersonating Doctor Strange, her bitterness and rage towards him absolute. Can the Doctor right this wrong, and who’s really pulling the strings here? Maybe it’s time for an old foe to appear.
Mark Waid continues to bring his previous Strange mini-series back into relevance almost 10 years down the line. We’re dealing with a Doctor Strange who has made a lot of mistakes over the years and who is trying to make amends for this particular one. If the first arc was about Strange’s arrogance, then this arc is clearly about his compassion. He just wants to save Casey, even if this issue suggests that might not even be possible anymore. As usual though you can sense that pieces introduced in these issues will pay off far later down the line. It’s one of Waid’s greatest strengths, his ability to weave a long-term narrative while writing individual arcs that work really well.
As well as Waid producing the quality writing expected of him, Javier Pina and Andres Guinaldo fulfil the art duties really well here. Despite the occasional weird facial expression from our characters, the fight scenes are well choreographed and look suitably dynamic throughout. The colours in this book are also well handled by Brian Reber, Jim Campbell and Andrew Crossley. All the magic on display has its own unique lights and effects (even though despite Stephen using new magic, we’re back to the same old blue blasts and pink lines from the old days), and the art compliments the story here even if it’s clear that this issue is more focused on character than anything else.
This latest arc has been pretty good so far, finally answering a long-standing question from Strange’s history. However, without that prior knowledge, there’s really not much here at the moment. The context from reading Strange: The Doctor is Out! is pretty much essential, and even Kanna’s backstory is only covered briefly. Read it if you’re a long-term Strange fan or if you’ve started reading this run from issue 1. For every one else, issue 400 is coming in January, and I’m sure that’ll be a better jumping on point than right here.
The writer of this piece was: Jonathan Mullen
Jonathan Tweets from @JonathanDMullen