Doctor Strange #1
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Jesus Saiz
Growing up I absolutely loved superheroes. So of course, when the had the chance, my parents would pick up “mystery” comic bundles from discount and department stores. Mostly, those bundles were filled to the brim with early 90’s image comics (You guys know the ones), and occasionally there would be something from the Big Two. I found though, and maybe this is a common experience, that almost anytime I’d get something from a Marvel hero I wanted to follow through harrowing adventures they were always depowered for some reason. “Captain America loses his powers! Trapped!”….now I wanted to see Captain America do what he does best, toss his shield around and beat the tar out of HYDRA agents. Did I get that? No, I got a young, scrawny Steve Rogers trapped in some kind of evil summer camp.
Doctor Strange #1 by Mark Waid and Jesus Saiz dredges up some of those feelings of childhood disappointment.
We meet up with Doctor Strange and he is losing his connection to magic (again). Wasn’t this a major plot point within the year? Does anybody want to see Stephen Strange having an adventure with zero magic and his car crushed hands? I can understand it to be heavy if built up to, or as the result of something that happened along the way, but to start out a new series with powerless Stephen seems cruel, and almost lazy (Especially so soon after Earth’s magic was threatened by a previous writer). To be fair, the whole thing is a set-up to send Strange into space to find other sources of magic in the galaxy. Doctor Strange in space? Great idea but magic deprived Strange in space? I’m not sure. To be fair, him losing his ties to magic could have just been a set-up to get him into space fast, and he’ll be waving his hands, shooting psychedelic magic bolts at aliens in no time. At least I hope that’s the case.
With all that said, the execution of it is extremely well done. Mark Waid makes a strong choice is using a third-person narration technique that fits the world of Doctor Strange so well. It’s written so eloquently I could imagine a Michael Cane or Martin Freeman reading it, and making it sound as whimsical as it should. There is an exchange between Stephen and Tony Stark that is fantastically well written. While it is short, it provides a view into the current relationship between Strange and Stark. The real hero of this issues is Jesus Saiz, who’s art really brings this comic to life, even with its shortcomings. There’s also a beautiful, heartbreaking page of a broken, naked Doctor Strange clutching his cloak of levitation that will make the toughest of people crumble like Doritos in a tightly clenched fist.
There is a lot working for this series so far, and it has potential to be great, but it kind of starts slow with the always frustrating “No powers for you!” trope. If Waid and Saiz get Strange his magic soon or at least provide some high, high stakes, I can see this series coming around.
Doctor Strange #1
Yes, it has beautiful art, greatly written dialogue and narration, but who wants Doctor Strange magic-less? Hopefully, that changes soon.