The Death of Doctor Strange is a loaded sort of series due to the fact that superheroes die and come back to life so often. Given the cliffhanger in the first issue though, it appears series writer Jed MacKay and artist Lee Garbett are putting a new spin on superhero deaths. The second issue in the series is out this week and it further explores the wild twist involving Doctor Strange from a previous era.
SPOILERS AHEAD for The Death of Doctor Strange!
The second issue opens on chapter 3, titled “The Dance of the Warlords,” and immediately shows magical characters taking action knowing full well Doctor Strange is off the board. He’s been dead for a few seconds and characters are already aware they can get away with magical murder. Smash-cut to Doctor Strange from the past, who is unfamiliar with the people surrounding Doctor Strange’s corpse and love him dearly.
Right off the bat, MacKay is making it clear this Doctor Strange does not have the memories of the current version who just died. The book functions well with this dynamic, thanks to Doctor Strange being inexperienced and unfamiliar with his fellow heroes. It’s revealed how there’s a Doctor Strange at all and it’s thanks to a clever choice Stephen made that the best person on the case of his own murder is … himself.
There’s a key scene that allows this old Doctor Strange to familiarize himself with the situation and the various characters in the room. Before too long, the love of his life is falling into his lap, and the villains of the entire Earth should be very concerned about showing up. That allows for some action as well as casts a wider net of superheroes to enter the narrative.
Drawn by Lee Garbett and colored by Antonio Fabela, these contemplative scenes of characters figure out who this Doctor Strange is, and vice versa — Doctor Strange trying to wrap his head around these characters in this room with him. Garbett has a steady hand and a strong sense of capturing the various facial expressions and emotions of the characters in the room.
When the action kicks into gear, and the Three Mothers pop up, things get heavier on action and heroics. Fabela and Garbett do well to capture the immensity of the moment through double-page splashes as well as the somewhat haunting nature of the Three Mothers who are in no way concerned they’re fighting the Avengers. Garbett’s style is a touch less detailed than conventional superhero books, but it works to capture the dread of these heroes and their various powers.
Letters by Cory Petit mix things up quite a bit in regards to word balloons. In fact, between Iron Man and the Three Mothers, there are four different word balloon types. There are some fun sound effects too like a “klangg” and a “changgg” that add to the trouble Thor is having fighting the Three Mothers.
The Death of Doctor Strange #2 leans into the very clever twist on this new version of Doctor Strange very well. You’ll want to see how an old-school character riffs off modern Marvel heroes while soaking up the awe-inducing Three Mothers. It’s a superhero story that already feels bold, exciting, and even a little bit haunting.
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