Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Mark Waid
Artwork: Javier Pina & Andres Guinaldo
Colours: Javier Pina & Andy Owens
Release Date: 21st November 2018
Doctor Strange vs Baron Mordo! Years ago, Stephen Strange had an apprentice called Casey who sacrificed her soul for Doctor Strange. Now almost 10 years later she’s bitter, she’s free and she’s working with Strange’s nemesis Baron Mordo. Can Strange defeat Mordo and save his old apprentice, and even if he does will the thing Strange did at the start of the story doom him and all he has achieved since leaving Earth?
With our villain revealed, this issue sees Mark Waid serving up a truly awesome fight scene as Strange desperately tries to stop Casey before she is lost forever. While Mordo is trying to force one to kill each other, Kanna and Bats look for a solution to this crisis but doing so threaten to split our team apart. Waid’s skill in setting things up early only to pay it off later works well here, as some of the events from the first three issues have massive effects here which fundamentally change the story. Strange himself in pushed to the limit of his abilities with Casey wielding some of the most powerful magical artefacts, as well as the limits of his morality as he refuses to kill his adversary. It’s a true battle to see if Strange can save his friend while simultaneously saving all that she has endangered.
Javier Pina and Andres Guinaldo are on art duties this issue, and they bring the fight scene to life in a truly engaging and dynamic fashion. Spells are cast left and right all of different shapes and sizes, keeping the fight unique and constantly escalating with green dragons and fire engulfing the pages. The visuals also really help to show just how much Strange is trying to keep control of the situation, with his magic effects being controlled and precise while Casey’s blasts take up half the page on occasion. Also, it’s worth noting that without Pina and Andy Owens’ colours the art wouldn’t have half as much punch as it does here. Blasts of pink and green fill the pages with awe-inspiring colour that makes this issue a real treat for the eyes.
This is the beginning of Waid’s massive issue 400 story and he has certainly kicked things off with a bang. Strange is on top form here as he’s pushed to his limits, finding himself left with very few options as a new and lethal enemy closes in. Pick this one up, folks. It’s only going to get more and more epic and we inch towards issue #400 in January.
The writer of this piece was: Jonathan Mullen
Jonathan Tweets from @JonathanDMullen