DOCTOR STRANGE #13 (LGY #403)
After finding Galactus trapped in the mystic realm Strange attempts to rescue the Cosmic Being but like any person lost and, dare I say, confused and a little scared, he reacts in a way that necessitates his being restrained. Temporary bindings will not hold forever though and despite the assistance of a very well known acquaintance Strange resorts to making a pact with the Devourer of Worlds to ensure the safety of all reality. And to make matters worse he receives dire warnings from the most unlikely of advisors.
Writing: Okay, so maybe last issue’s set up left me a little cold. And it’s possible I may have been overly harsh. After the previous waste of space that was Zoloz this entry is epic in scale, as it deals with the issue of a Cosmic Being of science invading the dimension of magic and also the battle of cosmic abstract combatants. And Zoloz actually proved of some use as Strange manages to mimic the very spell used against him to try to combat Galactus. Even if it is only to stall for time and actually save the World Eater. Also making mention of Misan-Ha-Gorath locking horns with the likes of the Living Tribunal gives credence to the impact of the story line here. The ease with which Galactus disposed of the demon just goes to prove how right Strange was to be fearful about his exile to the Nether Realm, as well as being dangerous to all life and balance. And the doubts people had of Galactus being thrown into the contradictory state is nothing new as the past face off with Hiro-Kala will tell us. But here it actually makes for intriguing reading rather than creating confusing paradoxes. It also sets up a bigger threat, as Galactus becomes once again transformed by the experience.
Art: I was worried that losing Jesús Saiz would impact the art of the title, but this is far from the case. In fact the differing style has showcased the story in a more traditional way that suits the narrative perfectly, especially given the subject matter. And we still have him to thank for the resplendent cover art, so that is some recompense at least. Barry Kitson rolls up his sleeves and provides the perfect backdrop and sets the stage. And with finishes by Scott Koblish & Scott Hanna they are a great team who deliver the fantastic realms we witness in a style appropriate to the epic sprawl of the arc. I loved the depiction of the battle of wills between Cosmic Entity and Sorcerer Supreme even as they clash and a mere look from Galactus shatters Strange’s magical shields. And Brian Reber’s colors add perfectly to the Kirby-esque wonder of wonderment they provide.Characters: And adding Clea was a stroke of genius. Not since her last minute arrival post Damnation have I welcomed a guest appearance as much. Being without Zelma or Kanna has made Strange slightly harder to empathize with, and without at least some influence from any form of support character it always makes Strange seem a little harder to connect with. Although even before she arrived here he was actually gaining my support and sympathy, which has been harder to fathom in his recent solo outings.
But nonetheless she arrived just in the nick of time. And not without her own strength, as she has allied herself with Auntie Umar and I do believe I spy…D’Spayre? How long has he been absent from the pages of a Marvel comic, not to mention Umar? I am actually happy to see him, despite the emotion his name is meant to incur. Misan-Ha-Gorath ending up in front of Dormammu, tail between his legs also sets up the next stage in the battle. And clearly Dormammu is in for a whipping too. And also I am reassured as Galactus goes toe to toe with abstract entities and is not simply trounced, as he has been in the past, in ways that should be impossible. Even if he is suddenly addicted to magic. Although if Strange has become the Herald I would at least expect some form of power up maybe?
Come on, it’s only fair.
A fitting return to classic style with a narrative that suits the traditional Doctor we all know and love.
Doctor Strange #13: Galactic Guardian Supreme
Writing - 7.5/107.5/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 8/108/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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