Sunday, 1 May 2016

Doctor Strange [2015] #1 - Marvel Comics

DOCTOR STRANGE No. 1, December 2015
One of “as many as sixty new Issue One titles” released “in tandem with All-New All-Different Marvel” this extra-long twenty-six page periodical featuring “the return of the Sorcerer Supreme himself” proved immensely popular upon its first printing in October 2015, shifting a staggering 145,456 copies in order to become the fifth best-selling book for the month according to “Diamond Comic Distributors”. Such evident success was undoubtedly due in part to the fact that “Marvel Studios” have “a movie coming out” about Doctor Strange in 2016. But besides this obvious marketing ploy, it is equally as clear that “The Way Of The Weird” proved such a triumph on account of it containing a thoroughly entertaining and somewhat inventive storyline by Jason Aaron.

Indeed the Alabama-born writer’s decidedly disconcerting tactic to demonstrate to his audience just how the New Avenger perceives the everyday world, complete with interdimensional bacteria colonizing people’s souls, makes for a genuinely enthralling read and additionally gives the title an interestingly fresh approach to the “surrealistic… disorientating [and] hallucinogenic” domain of Steve Ditko’s master of magic. It certainly causes the former disciple of the Ancient One to get very messy as he is swallowed whole by “a malebranchian psyche-leech” who “seemed rather reluctant to leave.”  

Sadly not all of the Harvey Award-winner’s innovations are quite so palatable however, as Aaron imbues his version of Stephen Strange with a disquietingly discernible eye for the ladies, and despite the fact that the half-arachnid half-serpent woman had just moments before tried to feed him to “Spurrgog, the Hell-Breather” even has the “powerful wizard” canoodling “a soul-eater from the Sixth Dimension” at the start of his script. The Sorcerer also seems to have picked up a penchant for transforming the Cloak of Levitation into a scarf to go with his modern jacket and slacks, as well as a ruddy great two-handed battle-axe for when occasion demands he “roll up… [his] sleeves and get… [his] hands dirty.”

Proving a perfect fit for this publication’s bouncy narrative is Canadian comic book illustrator Chris Bachalo’s “quirky, cartoon-like style” artwork. “Well known for stints on DC Comics’ Shade, The Changing Man and Neil Gaiman’s two Death series” the California State University graduate almost effortlessly creates a hauntingly detailed interpretation of a young boy’s ectoplasmic soulscape, complete with giant cuddly teddy bears, at the start of this book and then later fashions an equally mesmerising, if not “a little weirder”, street scene packed full of all manner of colourful, exotic-looking monsters for the magic-user to stroll through…
The regular cover art of "DOCTOR STRANGE" No. 1 by Chris Bachalo


  1. I am yet to work out whether I like Dr Strange yet. My only experience with him was in one of the games that appeared on facebook. The movie coming out looks interesting though.

    1. This series is a great 'stepping on' point if you are interested Simon, as hopefully my review suggests. Its far more accessible than the Seventies series; albeit I happen to like those comics as well myself.