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Doctor Strange Epic Collection: Nightmare on Bleecker Street
Marvel Comics

Comic Books

‘Doctor Strange Epic Collection: Nightmare on Bleecker Street’ is inconsequential

A series perched atop the descent to Marvel’s most mediocre period.

For those following along with the releases of Doctor Strange Epic Collections, it has been a dispiriting journey. The 1988 series, Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme has been collected up to issue #61 (a tie-in issue to one of the final Midnight Sons crossovers), surpassing the halfway point of its 90 issues. It’s weathered all three Infinity events, cataloged the complexities of Marvel magic, neglected its friendship with a green minotaur, and gotten Marvel Comics sued.

The preceding three collections—going back to Vol. 8, Triumph and Torment—have fluctuated in quality in extremes (our reviews bounced from two 5s to a 7.5). Its lows have been due to a sort of airless density when it became an interesting but ultimately unexciting history text. The book struggled with overly rich but sadly character-dry content.

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Doctor Strange Epic Collection: Nightmare on Bleecker Street
Marvel Comics

The jump in quality of the last volume was due to the book finally coming into a sense of action; it retained its textbook ponderings on the nature of the Marvel cosmos while also providing forward momentum for its characters, tying into Infinity War but side-stepping all its failings to make an exploration with exciting co-stars like Galactus.

Sadly, all that sense of purpose falls away in the new volume, Nightmare on Bleecker Street. The dual narrative forces of Marvel master Roy Thomas and French culture historian RJM Lofficier, having finally hit their stride and balance on an issue about Frankenstein’s monster, are largely supplanted by pinch-hitting writers. Those writers feel wholly uninterested in their subjects, barely willing to keep existing narrative threads aloft while wandering into their own cosmic stumbling. While the series’ best artist, Butch Guice, was long gone, the ever-consistent Geof Isherwood remains the best and most caring part of Sorcerer Supreme.

Doctor Strange Epic Collection: Nightmare on Bleecker Street
Isherwood is then, of course, replaced.
Marvel Comics

 The most damning thing about Bleecker Street is that none of its 19 issues are particularly memorable. Despite dealing with two crossover events, a quick jaunt into Morbius: The Living Vampire, and a surprising commitment to its entry to the new characters of the 1993 annuals, nothing here seems to stick in the mind. Everything is awash in vague magics and meaningless cosmic beings; no villain, here—including Nightmare and the dread Dormammu—manages to incite excitement or challenging conflict.

Doctor Strange Epic Collection: Nightmare on Bleecker Street
We’re meant to care bout this guy. All eleven appearances of him.
Marvel Comics

It’s a sad turn of events and a rather telling sense of static holding pattern for Marvel books in the early ’90s (unless, of course, they had ties to the X-Men or Spider-Man); more tragic is that the series is perched atop the 1994 descent into Marvel’s most mediocre period.

Tragically, Nightmare on Bleecker Street drops Sorcerer Supreme below its bland average, losing any compelling myth-building or historic consideration to make way for emotionless and insubstantial mini-adventures.

Doctor Strange Epic Collection: Nightmare on Bleecker Street
‘Doctor Strange Epic Collection: Nightmare on Bleecker Street’ is inconsequential
Doctor Strange Epic Collection: Nightmare on Bleecker Street
With uninspired, forgettable conflicts, Nightmare on Bleecker Street loses even its dryest insights and heart.
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.9
Makes an earnest attempt to support a gimmick new character.
Nearly finds anchor points in various events and crossovers.
Lacks direction and purpose.
Feels as if the people on board don't see a reason to keep the book afloat.
4
Meh
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