Doctor Strange is dead, but what about the little things Stephen Strange took care of day to day? Enter The Death of Doctor Strange: Spider-Man, Jed MacKay and Marcelo Ferreira’s one-shot tie-in out this week to cover those bases. It’s not just about Doctor Strange’s many tasks, but also a good check-in with Black Cat and Spider-Man that serves fans of both those series.
This book serves as a great complement to MacKay’s Black Cat, the Beyond Board writing crew’s Ben Reilly Spider-Man, and as a testament to Doctor Strange since his passing. The story opens with Black Cat letting Ben Reilly know she’s not happy with him taking on the mantle of Spider-Man. Given her complicated relationship with Peter Parker and the fact that she’s still upset over him being in a coma, her anger is natural and well placed. Meanwhile, Ben certainly thinks he deserves to be Spider-Man and will fight her over it.
As you can see in the preview, and this review won’t spoil anything outside of that, Black Cat and Spider-Man are forced to stop arguing as a vision of Doctor Strange appears. Apparently Doctor Strange had set up some magical messages to specific folks in the case of his death. Naturally, Spider-Man answers the call and Black Cat follows in order to keep tabs on him. It’s an interesting dynamic to take their list of tasks on the road with.
Given MacKay has written multiple story arcs for Black Cat, it’s nice to see her used here. Fans of MacKay’s other books will also delight in a cool cameo. If you enjoy MacKay’s work so far, you’re going to love this.
This book effectively develops the relationship between these two characters through some rather clever last-minute Doctor Strange requests. While their relationship and mutual respect grows for each other, MacKay supplies plenty of imaginative magic-related monsters and New York issues to handle. In that respect, this issue further shows how incredible Doctor Strange’s life is as a protector in New York City.
Folks who care about continuity might be scratching their heads around Ben’s ability to tackle Doctor Strange’s list of things to do since the Beyond Corp has been breathing down his neck in the main series. It’s a minor gripe, but it does seem like a missed opportunity to at least refer to it since it’s such a big point in Amazing Spider-Man.
Ferreira is a great artist for a book like this, as his style suits a darker tone, especially with inks by Wayne Faucher. All those clever magical enemies and tasks look great throughout the book and make this go beyond a Spider-Man or Black Cat caper. You can feel the weight of these characters on the page too, as the lines capture the form of these heroes and the villains they fight well.
Colors by Andrew Crossley with Peter Pantazis do well to capture the sunset light in the opening or the city streets as the heroes swing along with the skyscrapers.
The Death of Doctor Strange: Spider-Man is a great example of how tie-in stories can build off an event in clever ways while developing characters. In a book that’s about Spider-Man, Black Cat, and by association Doctor Strange, the creative team has captured the heart and soul of these characters very well.
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