DOCTOR STRANGE #11
Strange confronts and bluffs Dormammu and succeeds in defeating him and expelling the Faltine, with some help from his friends. Despite his victory he still heeds a warning from Wong that he must still soon face the prospect of dealing with the initial threat of Hothran, as well as the debt he has incurred with the Faltine. But for now all is well and he has secured the freedom of his friends and Zelma joins a restored Ancient One as his librarian.
Art: The lettering wouldn’t ordinarily be the standout part of the art for me, especially in a book with Jesús Saiz in it, but this issue has some clever use of lettering once again from Cory Petit. Dormammu-text actually makes me hear his voice in an exotic accent, weirdly. And the sound effects as Wong takes out one of the Faltine is incredibly expressive and satisfying too.
Not to be outdone Javier Pina manages to make his own mark in the short flashback sequence, showing Dormammu and sister Umar, which informs and offers a different perspective to clarify it’s place in the ongoing story. Of course there is always something to say about Jesús and his mind bogglingly perfect art. And the peril of the destruction wrought by the Faltine is clear in the expressions of the bystanders and the imminent danger of the attacking enemy.The image alone of Zelma utilising the Sanctum Sanctorum as a weapon was epic in visual as well as impact narratively speaking. But the crowning achievement for me has to be the Ancient One showing us all what he is capable of in battle and sucker punching Dormammu. Rachelle Rosenberg also ensures some impactful eye catching colors, adding expression and heat to the explosions and the residual energy waves flowing from Tao.
Writing: The red herring of Hothran being the one to watch last issue, now being replaced with Dormammu was an interesting switch from Mark Waid here. Though now I am feeling a little let down by the initial set up, knowing he wasn’t as much a danger. Though we are assured he will resurface, which is reassuring. But Dormammu is always interesting to see return and here was no different. His smack talk threat during the final battle, threatening to leave Strange stranded wandering the Earth reminds me of Best Defense and was an inspired touch. Also the way Strange bluffs him is very much in keeping with the character of late. Remember this is the man who cheated Mephisto in a game of cards during Damnation. And as for being secretive? Not with his friends at least. Even with his hands behind his back, not today.
Characters: Team Strange were a wonderful addition this issue as well, showing that it doesn’t always have to be a solo mission for Strange and even though he isn’t always the most reliable person, he does attract those who can be relied upon, all of them showing their true mettle in eye opening ways. Wong using magic to back up his martial arts, Kanna her melding of tech and magical knowledge and of course Zelma was the best of all, using the Anomaly Rue in a way I can’t recall having seen before.
There was so much more going on this issue as well. The scene as Dormammu relates the origin of he and his sister, the chat with Kanna when the dust settles and the possibility of the door being open for her return in the future is a pleasant one and more satisfying than her last exit. All topped off with the cover, giving office administration an unexpectedly dramatic and powerful showing and a newfound niche as super villain. It is clear there is so much more going on than we expected.
A tidy finish with some resolution in the status of the supporting cast as well as peace made between Kanna and Strange. Perfect set up for the next stage in the drama.
Doctor Strange #11: It’s All Your Faltine Stephen
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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