If you need a quick and cheap way to catch up on Marvel Comics characters, Marvel-Verse may be what you need. It’s a short 120-page collection of some of the title character’s greatest hits and this week Doctor Strange is in line for the Marvel-Verse treatment.
Similar to previous Marvel-Verse collections like Shang-Chi, Captain Marvel, Deadpool & Wolverine, Iron Man, Venom, Thanos, and Black Panther, this collection has a few hits, a few head-scratchers, and a generally good intro for the character. This collection actually harbors more classic Doctor Strange tales than most — maybe because more modern tales aren’t great for new readers — with a majority of titles released originally prior to 1985. This collection includes Uncanny Origins (1996) #12, Doctor Strange (1974) #55, Marvel Adventures Super Heroes (2008) #5; material from Strange Tales (1951) #126-127, and Marvel Fanfare (1982) #5.
The opening story is a fitting start for readers by Len Wein and Marc Campos. It’s a clever way to retell Doctor Strange’s origin by starting with his reflection of who his father was. It’s revealing to see his dad was obsessed with making money and spending every moment towards that goal. This dictates how Doctor Strange became a total jerk, which leads him to his journey of finding a solution and becoming the Sorcerer Supreme. The expressionist style by Campos with classic coloring by Bob Sharen makes this story kid-friendly, which also makes it a good fit for younger audiences.
Following this is a story by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko which sees Doctor Strange face off against Dormammu and meet his ongoing romantic partner Clea. Read this one for the fantastic ideas Ditko infused into the mystical realm, but also to see Dormammu’s first appearance. Considering he’s currently messing with the Guardians of the Galaxy, this is a character with legs!
This is followed Doctor Strange #55 by Roger Stern and Michael Golden, which features a dimension-hopping story. This one is serious fun, with Doctor Strange meeting the creators of his own comic and seeing the sequel to his own movie! This tale shows how topsy turvy and wacky Doctor Strange stories can get.
— David Brooke (@Nosocialize) August 20, 2021
Marvel Adventures Hulk #5 by Paul Benjamin and David Nakayama is a fairly flat superhero fight comic between Doctor Strange and Hulk. Nakayama’s art is large and in-your-face, but the story is fairly simplistic. Stay till the end for a decent gag.
Wrapping up the book is Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #5 by Paul Tobin and Jacopo Camagni that opens with some great mystical realm scenes. The best part of this tale is how Spider-Man gets amped up by Doctor Strange. They team up to stop some mystical shenanigans and Tobin cleverly has Doctor Strange wrap up Vulture, literally, with ease. You get a good sense of Doctor Strange’s power, and yet he has plenty of humility along the way. Seeing Spider-Man feel a bit outmatched, but with some upgrades by the end, shows how much bigger the enemies are that Doctor Strange can take on.
Marvel-Verse Doctor Strange is one of the better Marvel-Verse trade paperbacks on the market. It opens with a more accessible origin story, features classic Doctor Strange tales, and modernizes him a bit with the multiverse and a Spider-Man team-up too. It’s fair to say new, young, and old readers can enjoy this collection.
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