|DOCTOR STRANGE No. 3, February 2016|
Initially penned as a seemingly fun, light-hearted romp which goes quite a way to illustrate just how “super thrilled” Jason Aaron was to be writing the series, Issue Three of “Doctor Strange” increasingly turns more serious with each passing scene until it almost inevitably ends with the titular character travelling to Fandazar Foo and discovering that the world and its entire magical population are dead. Indeed, not even the Magister Miracle from the Eighteenth Dimension, Zelatrix Lavey of the Lower Aether or the Lords of Wyrd from Beyond the Purple Veil, “sorcerers supreme” all, have managed to survive whatever mysterious disaster has befallen the "nexus point between dimensions.”
Such an incredible transition from the farce of an entirely naked Master of the Mystic Arts running through Central Park to a sad-faced Stephen mourning beside the remains of his former supernatural friends as they dangle speared to a group of trees, is tremendously well-written by the Alabama-born author, and few of this book’s 57,135 fans would have perceived the subtle darkening in tone as the twenty-page periodical progressed until it’s depressingly bleak conclusion; “What in all the Cosmos has the power to execute the most powerful sorcerers known to man?” Certainly none would have anticipated such a chilling climax to “Eaters Of Magic” when they first encounter the former “preeminent surgeon” enthusiastically slicing his way through hungry Een’Gawori slugs with the Axe of Angarruumus before both his physical body and Wong have been consumed by the “creatures that aren’t native to this dimension.”
Indeed, apart from “an increasing number of incidents involving rare mystical creatures crossing dimensional borders and an enigmatic interference with his magical abilities”, there’s little suggestion that such a calamitous event has befallen Fandazar Foo until Doctor Strange and his valet (once again) open the door to supposedly “a world overflowing with magic” and instead find it desolately lifeless and looking remarkably similar in appearance to when C.S. Lewis’ Jadis, the White Witch, “froze Narnia in the Hundred Years Winter”.
Just as masterful as Aaron’s script are Chris Bachalo’s wonderful colourful pencils, which stunningly support and dramatically emphasise this storyline’s de-evolution into a somewhat morosely macabre tale. Bright and bouncy despite the primary protector of Earth’s “full front nudity”, the Canadian illustrator’s vibrantly warm palette turns increasingly cold as the comic’s plot thickens until its bold blues and pulsating purples are unreservedly replaced with inert whites and gloomy greys.
|The variant cover art of "DOCTOR STRANGE" No. 3 by Tim Sale|