He’s back from the hoary netherworld, back to life, and back in business! Your Major Spoilers review of Doctor Strange #1 from Marvel Comics awaits!
DOCTOR STRANGE #1
Writer: Jed MacKay
Artist: Pasqual Ferry/Andy MacDonald
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth/Ian Herring
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Editor: Darren Shan
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: March 22, 2023
Previously in Doctor Strange: Stephen Strange is back! Reunited with Clea and Wong, it’s back to business as usual for the Sorcerer Supreme. Have your children fallen into a deep nightmarish slumber? Are demonic refugees invading your home? Is your husband possessed by a satanic entity? Then call Doctor Strange!
GET YOUR “COMIC BOOK DEATH” JOKES OUT OF YOUR SYSTEM
Having successfully been resurrected thanks to his wife Clea, Stephen Strange is once more the Sorcerer Supreme of the Earth Dimension. That means there’s work to do, even with Clea’s efforts during his absence. In addition to that, he’s hanging out his shingle as “consulting doctor” for the supers of the Marvel Universe, providing mystical support. Spider-Man quickly arrives with an emergency (he lost his soul in a game of Three-Card Monte), while Mayor Luke Cage requests an audience to discuss the new mystical refugees in the city. In between negotiating goblin wars and helping Daredevil defeat a garbage-monster, he takes the time to deliver a message to Doctor Doom, “You will keep a civil tongue in your head when you speak to my wife.” Victor threatens Stephen, with a clear message that the King of Latveria will regret it. Of course, there’s also the matter of Aggamon, one of the jerks who masterminded Stephen’s death, and who now stands in the middle of a diplomatic crisis…
…until he’s murdered.
A MULTI-FACETED MYSTERY
The mystery of Aggamon’s death is interesting, not just because of what we know about it, but what we don’t know. Clea’s rage at Aggamon during the issue makes it clear that she would have killed the jerk DURING the issue, so the question of whether or not she did it is less interesting than the question of what happens to the relationship if she admits she did. I like the idea of Doctor Strange setting up his own little shop for magic consults, but The Scarlet Witch’s new series has a similar premise, and (as the issue calls out) Moon Knight did something similar recently as well. The number of small businesses has jumped dramatically, which will make tax season interesting for The Avengers. As for the art, Ferry is quite good at the freaky world of the Purple Dimension, but also a quiet brunch for Doctor and Mrs. Strange. The backup story looks even better, giving us Wong in action as an agent of W.A.N.D., fighting off the Freaky Doctor Zee with… unusual tactics.
BOTTOM LINE: A NEW START
Even though parts of his new M.O. feel familiar, Doctor Strange #1 has the potential to be a new start for the Doc, ending with a shocking moment and establishing a lot of new things without bulldozing what has come before (which is my way of saying that Bats the undead basset hound is still here), earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. There’s a lot to like here, and I even found the Alex Ross cover to be well-balanced and attractive, so there’s not much to complain about.
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DOCTOR STRANGE #1
Ferry delivers on a very dangerous Clea Strange and a mostly pleasant week-in-the-life story, while the backup brings Wong into focus for the first time in forever. It's a nice issue.