When the veil between life and death at its weakest, Doctor Strange and his colleagues act as guardians for the spirit world. Come see how Stephen Strange spent his Halloween in Doctor Strange Annual #1 by Marvel Comics!


Writer: Tini Howard and Pornsak Pichetshote
Artist: Andy MacDonald, Lalit Kumar Sharma, and Sean Parsons
Colorist: Triona Farrell and Jose Villarrubia
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Editor: Darren Shan
Publisher: Marvel
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: October 30th, 2019

Previously in Doctor Strange: Doctor Strange is preparing his Sanctum Sanctorum from any spirits that may want to enter this world. Calling upon allies of Talisman, Doctor Voodoo, Scarlet Witch, and Agatha Harkness; they prepare to fight whatever may come their way. While this happens, Wong and Zelma are off trying to manage the rest of the manor.


Zelma heads into the Sanctum Sanctorum to find Doctor Strange calling upon allies and setting up a magical circle. As the ritual begins, Zelma is tasked with keeping watch and making sure nothing happens while the mages focus on the astral projection spell. Throughout meeting the spirits, Zelma finds herself corrupted by Daimon Hellstrom. As the heroes begin to exorcise Zelma and fight the evil, Zelma is then tricked by Aleister and Anton to open the door for nonexistent trick o’treaters. This opening of the door breaks a ward and allows Aleister and Anton to summon a lot of giant snakes. As Dr. Strange and company returns back after defeating Hellstrom, the phylactery of Aleister and Anton breaks and reverses the summon spell. Lastly, a spirit uses a pumpkin to cause mayhem and forces Dr. Strange to use dark magic to free the spirits inside the pumpkin and bring peace. The group then meet up the next morning for Pumpkin Pancakes.

The second story in this annual tells us about Trevor and Connor who have supernatural abilities to rob locations. One has the ability to sneak with and the other can find valuable objects and destroy any obstacle protecting the valuable item. They find the Gu BaoDao, a sword designed to kill a Sorcerer Supreme and it is revealed that they were manipulated by a demon spirit. However, Wong easily despatches the demon spirit and reveals that he himself is the Gu BaoDao and will kill Dr. Strange if it comes to it. 


With a new series coming out in the next few months, we are beginning to see some of the seeds of foundation being planted. We can predict the relationship between Zelma and Dr.Strange will be explored, a team up with these other magicians seems inevitable, and Wong may have to kill Dr. Strange at the expense of his own life. This last section is further developed because Dr. Strange is shown using dark magic to free the spirits in the pumpkin. Will the dark magic corrupt to force Wong to use his power? The books main intention was to have a fun Halloween story but these seeds that have been set foreshadow an interesting story of what is to come. If we take the novel as a stand alone book, it is a very fun read that doesn’t have a lot of depth. But if we consider it in the larger contintituity, the story comes to life and has meaning. 

I really enjoyed Zelma in this book. Seeing this young character who makes mistakes is a great foil for Dr. Strange. On Halloween night, she just wants to have fun and pass out candy to trick-o-treaters and Dr. Strange is here trying to protect the veil of reality. This contrast in characters is strong and this relationship can carry the story for many issues to come. While I would enjoy the relationship between Dr. Strange and Zelma, I want to see the dynamic between Wong and Zelma as well. This will be a great foundation of characters to build an entire series upon.


I think this was a great one shot adventure involving a Halloween twist. Seeing some of the potential story threads for future books is incredible to observe. I hope that they continue the story threads from this foundation and tell exceptional stories. With a good and consistent artwork I’ll give Dr. Strange Annual #1 a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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Doctor Strange Annual #1

7.0 Fun!

If we take the novel as a stand alone book, it is a very fun read that doesn’t have a lot of depth. But if we consider it in the larger continuity, the story comes to life and has meaning.

  • Writing 8
  • Art 6
  • Coloring 7
  • User Ratings (0 Votes) 0

About Author

Christopher Rondeau is a storyteller based in Pittsburgh. Finding himself with little work, he ended up creating a job as a Game Master full time on the internet. Chris spends most of his days reading everything he can, writing bad fiction, and watching old Digimon cartoons with his daughter. Sometimes you can find him Dungeon Mastering a podcast or streaming on twitch. Recently, he has completed his Master's degree with a focus on collaborative storytelling. Find out more at https://rondeaucreator.com

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