I may have been a bit hard on the first issue of this new “fresh start” series, because now I’m loving where it’s going. The last issue was a great change of pace and it also brought in a new supporting character to give Doctor Strange someone to riff off of. This third issue opens with a montage of magic thieving delights and doesn’t let up till the very last page.
So what’s it about?
Read our preview.
Why does this matter?
Mark Waid and Jesus Saiz have basically set Doctor Strange on a journey where anything can happen. He’s a fish out of water in outer space and he’s nearly depowered. Only with his wits and his new magic collecting alien friend can he find his magic mojo again.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
There is a very important alien race that pops up in this issue which adds heightened drama and danger to Doctor Strange’s adventure. It’s an alien race you will recognize and it offers up a heroic turn for Strange who must stop them from potentially destroying entire galaxies. It’s an example of how this space adventure could go in directions you don’t see coming and it helps to add more magic culture to alien races we didn’t even know wielded it.
Before that though, Doctor Strange and his new friend Kanna (a self-dubbed Arcanologist) go on a two-page montage thieving and gaining new magical artifacts. It’s a great way to open the issue and it seems to propel the narrative in time, speeding up the relationship Strange and Kanna have. You spend enough time with somebody and they’ll start to matter. This adds up in a real way at the end of the issue as writer Mark Waid forces Doctor Strange to do something that affects him emotionally. It’s the start of something that will build between them I’m sure.
Saiz continues to draw a really good book. There are panels where the lighting, color, and angle of the scene give the moment deep clarity and moving purpose. The painterly quality can come and go, but when it hits it’s gorgeous. There is work being done here I don’t think people could do five years ago and it gives the book instant value.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There is another tease one-pager at the end of this issue like in the last two issues that doesn’t add much. It’s promising some Earthly threat is looming for Doctor Strange, but beyond that it really is pointless. We could probably figure that was happening anyway, right?
Aside from this Kanna’s character takes a step back in the character department. She’s duped too easily at one point, follows along too easily too, and generally isn’t as interesting or combative toward Doctor Strange as she was in the previous issues. Maybe there is a big time jump in the opening montage, but I find it hard to believe she lost some of her spark since then. There is a lot we don’t know about her and aside from a very brief moment we learn nothing about her — her character is more of an onlooker.
Is it good?
A good issue that weaves in a major alien race for Doctor Strange to fight off. It continues to be a visually striking series with a perfectly good fish out of water approach that works.
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