Mark Waid and Barry Kitson join forces on an epic Doctor Strange story collected this week in Doctor Strange: Herald. It’s a story that forces Doctor Strange to fight an alien Sorcerer Supreme, to feed Galactus, and in the end to become a god. It’s a story that has never pushed Doctor Strange so much!
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
It’s the incredible fallout from Doctor Strange’s blockbuster 400th issue, and the Sorcerer Supreme is finally face-to-face with the man who controls Earth’s magic! But what chance does Stephen have against a foe who can literally turn his spells off with the flick of a finger? And Strange’s problems only get bigger when he discovers that Galactus has been set loose on other dimensions! What effects will consuming other realities’ planets have on the World-Eater? Dimensions are destabilized as the cosmic balance is upset…and now it’s up to the good Doctor to make sure this bout of interdimensional indigestion doesn’t destroy all that is!
Why does this matter?
This collection houses the six-issue arc taking place in Doctor Strange #12 through #17. There is so much in this story from Doctor Strange rekindling his greatest love to Galactus becoming an entity of science and magic as one.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This series starts thoroughly recapping how we got here for the first four pages then drops a bomb on Doctor Strange who does his best to fight. The writing team of Mark Waid and Barry Kitson does a good job fleshing out a new magic-wielding race and gives this threat an interesting twist which makes their representative very formidable. The personality of this villain is great too since he’s all shouting and force. This new magical enemy serves as a good reminder Doctor Strange isn’t always supreme in his duties and skill, but by the end of the series, there’s a lesson for both Strange and the enemy about how to win.
It’s nice to see Doctor Strange’s new forging abilities are coming into use. It’s one of the most unique elements to the character and it’s a reminder he’s always changing. And change he does as the story shifts further and further into the big cosmic storytelling Marvel is known for. Doctor Strange must make pacts with some of the most powerful creatures in the Marvel universe from Mephisto to Eternity. Waid and Kitson make these interactions feel momentous and important while also reminding us Doctor Strange is only getting to interact with them because of the very unique scenario the story has put him in. There is so much to see in this book too like Doctor Strange being a herald to Galactus, to a fight between the two, and eventually, a clever conclusion that involves Strange doing some surgery on the universe.
The art throughout is by Scott Koblish with colors by Brian Reber. The visuals have an old school feel which is honed, but not super detailed. You can see the 80s vibes in a good double-page spread featuring all sorts of characters Doctor Strange has tangled with recently in the first issue. Galactus looks great whenever he pops up and longtime fans are going to want to see the Steve Ditko inspired Mystic Realm backgrounds. There’s also a slick design of Galactus when he gets his magical abilities that are not to be missed.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
This story revels in Marvel history which adds context and weight to the tale, but it can also feel a bit redundant if you’ve read Doctor Strange closely. The art style is another element some might not love since it’s not your now typical hyper-realistic style we’ve come to expect from superhero comics.
Is it good?
Starkly unique as the story takes Doctor Strange to places we’ve never seen before. The story here also can be read on its own as it recaps all that you need to know and finishes in such a way that it feels final in its statement.