Doctor Strange has seen a lot of strange things and has been to even weirder places. But, when a new patient makes his way to the Sorcerer’s office, he soon finds himself in a place even he hasn’t seen. Your Major Spoilers review of Doctor Strange #3 from Marvel Comics awaits!
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Kev Walker
Colorist: Java Tartaglia
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: February 12th, 2020
Previously in Doctor Strange: Someone is selling mystical artifacts on the black market. Using his own mystic forge, Strange was able to create a special set of gloves to disarm the rogue artifacts, but the unknown dealer is still at large.
Doctor Strange #3 opens up in a hospital room. An elderly tattooed man is on the examination table when he reveals that he’s only 19. Doctor Strange investigates the man and learns that he had received a new tattoo recently from a really sketchy artist. Stephen recognizes the tattoo as being demonic in nature. He uses the hints of magic in that tattoo to travel to a different realm that turns out to be a 2d world filled with abstract creatures and structures that resemble the tattoos on his patients body. He spots a castle in the distance and goes to check it out but is attacked by a dragon. He manages to fight off the beast and make it into the castle. There he finds a barbarian hooked up to a vat of ink. The two fight with the doctor winning by cutting off the supply of ink. He is then confronted by Stygmata, who is the ruler of the 2nd dimension and the one responsible for the tattoo that is draining Strange’s patient’s life. Stephen learns that drawings have special powers in this realm and uses spilled ink from his previous fight with the barbarian to draw a powerful sigil on himself that disintegrates Stygmata. This heals Stephen’s patient. But, Stephen is concerned because he recognized some pieces of the tattoo machine Stygmata used. They came from his forge.
Medical Drama Feel Continues
Doctor Strange #3 continues with the “patient of the week” model and so far it still seems to be working for this series. On paper a mixture between over-the-top mystical adventure and sarcastic operating room drama doesn’t sound like it should work, but it really does here. Doctor Strange is written with a good balance between lightly arrogant, self-deprecating, and genuinely concerned about his patients. This issue in general was fun to read, right up until Stephen meets Stygmata. The villain here is just sort of bland, design and personality. Most damning thing though is that at no point does he come across as being a threat. At best he is a minor obstacle .
The Second Dimension Is Rad
The star, art wise, of Doctor Strange #3 has to be the world of the 2nd dimension. The way that Kev Walker manages to convey the idea that the world is made of drawings is simply wonderful. There was no difficulty in imagining that everything that shows up could be something sketched in a notebook during History class or a crappy tattoo that someone once thought was awesome. What really made this work is that there’s a consistency to the world that made the creatures and structures come across as more of a menagerie rather than pieces of different world slapped together.
Bottom Line: Mostly Strong, With A Hint of Lackluster
Doctor Strange #3 offers up a good adventure story that takes our hero to a new and interesting world. The one fault that this issue has though is a rather weak antagonist. But, Doctor Strange’s characterization here mixed with an intriguing new setting does a good job covering up that misstep. 3.5 out of 5.
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Doctor Strange #3
Doctor Strange #3 is a well made comic in both writing and art. Unfortunately the squandering of a new villain puts a damper on the whole proceedings.