Friday, 28 September 2018

Doctor Strange #381 - Marvel Comics

DOCTOR STRANGE No. 381, January 2018
Whilst Donny Cates’ narrative for this opening instalment to “Loki: Sorcerer Supreme” makes it very clear straight from the start that this comic’s “new magical landscape” is going to be decidedly different from that which has gone before, its contents must still have caught many of this book’s 47,942 readers off-guard by landing them straight smack in the aftermath of Stephen Strange’s replacement as the Master of the Mystic Arts. In fact, considering this book's bamboozling beginning and that the title reverts back to its “Legacy” numbering on its cover, it is arguably hard not to imagine some within the series’ disconcerted audience scrambling around the spinner-rack looking for at least one or two missing issues for their collection.

Sadly however this bombshell was probably just the sort of reaction the former “Marvel Comics” intern was looking for, as not only does the twenty-page periodical’s plot quickly describe the good Doctor’s defeat in a mysterious tournament at the hands of the Asgardian trickster god. But his penmanship also strongly indicates that Thor’s adopted brother is both already partially settled into the role, coming “face to thousand faces with a horde of the deadly vampa-cabra warriors from Dimension Blood”, and apparently enjoying the prestigious honour to boot; “I should just give it up. No one wants me in this role. No one will trust that I have changed, and I seem to be unfit to prove them wrong… I just want to help.”

Interestingly, Cates also seems to somewhat invalidate all the finely-detailed, heavily-explored work of his predecessor Jason Aaron, by depicting Loki dismissing “this business about magic always having some sort of cost… some sort of price” and calling such a state of affairs “silly”. Of course, this contempt for “sin-eating” could well be one of Laufeyson's ploy’s to quickly win over his fellow magic users, considering that the "pretender" himself admits to the occupants of The Bar With No Doors that he would only bring about such a change in order to advance his “own self-serving needs.” Yet such is the speed with which the notion is introduced and subsequently demonstrated, courtesy of the “exclusive enchanted watering hole for the mystic and magical lot” being instantaneously evaporated, that it arguably feels a little disrespectful to the previously established lore…

Perhaps this comic’s biggest disappointment though is Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s artwork, which despite being competently pencilled, debatably lacks the dynamism needed for such a word-heavy, dialogue-driven storyline. Indeed, the Spanish artist’s depiction of Doctor Strange – veterinarian, seems remarkably lifeless and flat-looking when compared to this publication’s “three bonus Marvel Primer Pages” portraying the one-time neurosurgeon in his earlier days as illustrated by Niko Henrichon at the end of the book.
Writer: Donny Cates, Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta, and Color Artist: Jordie Bellaire

No comments:

Post a Comment