Doctor Strange (2018-) #4
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Jesus Saiz
A few months ago, Doctor Strange lost his connection to magic. He decided to look to the stars in hopes of renewing that connection, and launched himself into space. He crossed paths with an arcanologist called Kanna, and the two decided to travel together. For months they looked for new spells and magic artefacts, before Kanna asked the Sorcerer Supreme to assist her in freeing an old friend of hers – Eoffren, one of Nidavellir’s most accomplished craftsmen. Eoffren is being used by the Majosdane Empire to build magic weapons for them, as they have nefarious plans.
The rescue mission isn’t a simple task, as we see during the issue, but Stephen Strange’s arrogance and ego have grown with every new spell, and he jumps right into it. This ends up costing him dearly.
Mark Waid’s story goes back and forth between the rescue mission and Strange and Kanna’s time prior to the mission. It’s a neat narrative structure as it constantly switches up the pace, and every moment builds nicely on top of the previous one. Kanna has been a cool character so far and a neat addition to the book. It’s nice to see a genuinely nice character that doesn’t have any ulterior motives…for now.
Strange gets some nice character development. His arrogance and ego get a major boost, but it’s not long before he gets a reality check and it all blows up in his face. This sets up the next issue nicely, with a couple of different cliffhangers to lure us back next month.
The general Star Wars-esque feel of the book has been quite enjoyable so far, and most of it is due to the artwork. Jesus Saiz is doing a stellar job, with the locations feeling otherworldly and ethereal, yet strangely familiar. The second-to-last set piece – with the shattered ground and many suns in the sky – is especially striking. It’s a shame we didn’t get a full page splash of the place.
The letterboxes are the worst. Waid uses them a lot, and they are mostly in a small, handwritten font which is really hard to read. This slows down the otherwise nice flow of the book. I understand the artistic choice, but the word spacing is off, and it makes the whole affair really hard to read.
Another problem with the book is the colouring. Not all of the time and not everywhere, but some scenes look really rushed and poorly done. It flattens the otherwise nicely detailed book. This is a problem I’ve had with another Marvel book, Thor. It feels, at times, like they are going for an Esad Ribić feel, but without much success.
Despite some minor objections, Waid and Saiz are doing a great job with Doctor Stephen Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme. Taking him to the stars has been a fine experiment with a good payoff. Putting the character in a completely new setting, with completely new supporting characters is a great way of luring some potential new readers and, all things considered, everything is working just fine.
Doctor Strange #4
Waid and Saiz are doing a great job with doctor Stephen Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme. Taking him to the stars has been a fine experiment with a good payoff. Putting the character in a completely new setting, with completely new supporting characters is a great way