With Doctor Strange’s body attacking his friends, thanks to the manipulations of Mephisto, one question remains unanswered: Where is Stephen Strange’s soul? Your Major Spoilers review of Doctor Strange #388 awaits!
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Niko Henrichon
Colorist: Laurent Grossant
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Editor: Nick Lowe
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 11, 2018
Previously in Doctor Strange: “Doctor Strange has tried playing it straight and he’s tried cheating – is the only way to win Mephisto’s game not to play? While he tries to check out of the Hotel Inferno, Wong and the Midnight Sons try to break in! With the souls of the living and the dead on the line, is the Sorcerer Supreme willing to follow his former assistant’s lead?”
OUR HERO IS POSSESSED BY THE GHOST OF A BASSET HOUND
We open with Strange’s body (along with several of his Avenger comrades) possessed by Mephisto, attacking the Las Vegas strip, fighting against Strange’s manservant/pal Wong and a makeshift team of heroes… and Bats, the dog. Being a ghost, Bats realizes that he may be able to turn the tide and possesses the Sorcerer Supreme (“Oh, hey! Thumbs! That’s fun!”) and manages to contact Strange’s soul in the afterlife. While the heroes and allies fight it out to stop the Lord of Lies, Strange and Bats have a conversation about mortality and such, and realize that they’ve found a way out of his astral trap. It’s a trap. of course, but one that gets them back together with the souls of his possessed compatriots, all of whom team up only to come face-to-face with… SHUMA-GORATH! That’s not the end of it, though, as Shuman-Gorath is blasted away to his home dimension by a burst of energy from Dormammu himself.
Out of the frying pan, as they say…
HAWKEYE, FALCON, CAPTAIN MARVEL AND BLACK PANTHER
It’s an all-star cast of heroes, including Scarlet Spider (whom Bats refers to as “that Spider-Man in a hoodie guy”) and Iron Fist, featuring a massive battle for the souls of everyone in Las Vegas, but the story still focuses on our hero and his travails. It makes it feel very personal and helps us to get into the mind of the once-again Sorcerer Supreme, showing us his bravery and unusually for this character, a sense of humor. Niko Henrichon’s art is intricate and fascinating throughout the issue, working with the strange dream-like nature of the story in which it’s hard to tell what is and isn’t real. (I suspect that much of what we are seeing as the “real” story may be additional levels of illusion by Mephisto, as well, but it’s presented as the story and so I’m treating it as such.)
BOTTOM LINE: WEIRD, BUT KINDA LOVEABLE
This comic balances a very difficult task in making me believe that the fate of reality and an entire city are at stake while keeping the story very focused on our hero, while not underplaying the threat. Doctor Strange #388 is a fun, quirky book with an unconventional art style that really works and a story that keeps the reader guessing from beginning to end, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall. Whether Clea is actually in danger, whether things are as they seem is still up for grabs as we move into part four…
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