Friday, 13 January 2017

Doctor Strange [2015] #11 - Marvel Comics

DOCTOR STRANGE No. 11, November 2016
As ‘aftermaths’ go Issue Eleven of “Doctor Strange” must surely have come as something of a major disappointment to its 53,718 readers with its bizarre “100% pure mutant growth hormone” flashback sub-plot and the Sorcerer Supreme’s brutal battle with a giant winged parasite; “There was a time a thing like this would’ve been afraid of me, I swear, there really was.” Admittedly, Jason Aaron’s script for this twenty-page periodical quite admirably depicts the destruction of the world’s washed-out mystic arts following the “Last Days Of Magic”, and additionally brings about the return of arguably the former pre-eminent surgeon’s greatest competitor, Baron Mordo, in a terrific cliff-hanger reveal. But surely the Alabama-born author didn’t need to have the titular character waste away vast chunks of this comic either sipping a Mai Tai cocktail within the derelict remnants of Chondu’s magical bar, or mentally revisiting his time in Tibet when he studied the magic arts under the Ancient One alongside the Transylvanian nobleman?

Indeed, the majority of this book seems to be taken up with Stephen’s former obsession to repair his shattered hands, and the incredible lengths he was willing to take in order for them to be healed; a story any bibliophiles even remotely familiar with this franchise will already know. It certainly won’t come as any surprise to this publication’s audience that the gifted magician once turned down his rival’s offer to use a healing elixir on his wounds if Strange would just simply “forget the world of sorcery even exists” and go “back to your cities. Back to the only life you’ve ever known.”

Equally as perplexing is Editor Nick Lowe’s decision to utilise two quite differently-styled artists on the book’s breakdowns. Cover illustrator Kevin Nowlan does an extremely competent job of depicting a heavily bandaged, troubled soul purchasing drugs in a dingy back-alley on the oft-chance they’ll allow him “to wipe my butt without screaming in pain.” Whilst Leonardo Romero is similarly adept at pencilling the good doctor swinging “a baseball bat wrapped in enchanted barbed wire”. Yet the constant shifting from one penciller to the other consistently breaks any ‘spell of immersion’ which Aaron was presumably trying to weave with the comic’s writing…
The variant cover art of "DOCTOR STRANGE" No. 11 by Adam Hughes

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