Doctor Strange is getting his second movie in just a few weeks and you know what that means: One-shot comics for casual readers! This week, Marvel editor Ralph Macchio and artist Ibrahim Moustafa team up for an adventure that features Nightmare, Baron Mordo, and the Darkhold. It’s an adventure with enough elements to account for an extra-sized issue, but is it good?
There’s nothing bad with this one-shot and by all means, it’s a good purchase for casual comics fans. That’s because this issue features a full origin story recap told via a nightmare Dr. Strange is having. It’s hard to believe there’s anyone interested in reading comics who doesn’t know the origin, but it makes this issue a good pickup for new readers.
In general, this issue has an old-school feel thanks to Macchio’s scripting. Characters are a bit more verbose and captions don’t skimp on flowery language. Macchio’s greatest strength might be the fun spell names, with many uttered throughout the issue. Strange has a lot to overcome, too, making for an experience that’s never boring.
Nightmare ends up getting less play, but if you dig Mordo you should have a good time. Wong and Strange are written well as their bond is clear throughout. The preview prominently features Mordo and Nightmare concocting a plan.
Having an origin retread along with a slower pace doesn’t help the overall package, though. The issue ends up feeling too slow for its own good as it leans into Dr. Strange suffering self-doubt. It’s the kind of psychological distress we’ve seen way too often in superhero comics.
It’s also unclear when this story takes place since Dr. Strange is dead currently and he also had his hands fixed. There doesn’t seem to be editors notes explaining how it fits into canon, either.
Moustafa draws a good issue with a great level of detail throughout. Considering how much dialogue is on the page, the art mingles amongst the word balloons well. There are two full-page splashes, although nothing mind-blowing aside from scene setting.
Neeraj Menon colors the issue with great spell casting effects and glow effects over Moustafa’s pencils. Many pages are jam-packed with dialogue and Menon does his best to keep shadow and light looking effective.
Doctor Strange: Nexus of Nightmares is an okay adventure that looks good even though the art must contend with a lot of dialogue. The one-shot has an old-school feel thanks to the scripting that should please older readers with a full origin for newbies as well.
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