Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Doctor Strange [2015] #2 - Marvel Comics

DOCTOR STRANGE No. 2, January 2016
Those 65,091 readers who bought Issue Two of “Doctor Strange” in November 2015 must surely have been pleased that Jason Aaron had “campaigned for a long time…” to become the writer of the Sorcerer Supreme’s “solo spotlight”. For whilst more than a few of them doubtless got a little lost within the twenty-page periodical’s somewhat overly-cluttered narrative, the Alabama-born author’s general storyline provides plenty of thrills and spills as a suddenly impotent master of the mystic arts tries to clear the Sanctum Sanctorum of Mind Maggots, whilst at the same time keeping his latest ‘patient’ Zelma alive; “If it’s perfectly safe, why do I need a sword? Just how dangerous are those little monsters?”

This comic book’s action-packed plot also demonstrates just how much genuine “interest in the character” the Goodreads Choice Award-nominee has by providing Miss Stanton, and thus the audience, with an enthralling, occasionally humorous, trip through the numerous rooms and floors of 177A Bleecker Street, Greenwich Village, New York. Indeed, having explored a living room complete with talking “snakes on your coffee table”, a bathhouse containing interdimensional viral corpses, a haunted therapy room and the residence’s kitchen. It actually comes as something of a disappointment for the engaging excursion to come to an end in the library, courtesy of the former “preeminent surgeon” trapping the parasites within his psyche and starving them to death.

Admittedly Aaron’s penmanship isn’t perfect, as Zelma’s disorientating expulsion from the Library mid-comic attests. Just why an especially stony-faced Mind Maggot hurling the Grimoire of Watoomb at the “young librarian from the Bronx” seemingly transports her elsewhere within the house is never properly explained and as a result it momentarily appears that the woman has simply been knocked back out of the heavily-populated book-filled room. In fact it’s only when the bespectacled academic stumbles upon a doorway to a world inhabited by cannibal ape-men that the confusion is arguably cleared up and it becomes evident she is in a completely different part of the building.

The success of this comic book also owes a lot to Chris Bachalo’s incredibly detailed, and comically-timed, artwork. Whether it be his wonderfully animated depictions of cyclopean, gangly-limbed interdimensional virus’s running en masse throughout Stephen Strange’s home, or the brief glimpse of a world which is littered with the bleached bones of the dead, the Canadian illustrator imbues it all with vivacious vitality.
The variant cover art of "DOCTOR STRANGE" No. 2 by Alex Ross

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