DOCTOR STRANGE #14 (LGY #404)
As Strange leaves Umar to find a more permanent solution, he takes up his role as Galactus lunch monitor he finds a planet to sustain the World Eater that harbors no risk to sentient life. However it seems that his journey back with his charge is filled with more resistance than previously encountered. As Galactus does his thing there is a backlash and Strange realises the return journey was a distraction designed to set a trap. Dormammu has formed a pact with Mephisto in a plot that is mutually beneficial to both. With Strange at the mercy of Dormammu he is unable to help Clea and Umar, similarly trapped in the Realm of Mephisto.
Characters: On his continuing mission to explore strange new worlds….sorry, couldn’t help it. But I did at first think, as Strange again leaves Bleecker Street and the comfort of the Sanctum Sanctorum in this latest arc, that Mark Waid could bring us nothing new to this story. Given we’d just covered this fish out of water scenario and his trip to space with Kanna. But this return to unknown realms so soon afterwards has yet managed to bring new challenges to the life of the Sorcerer Supreme. He has interacted with entities that far outstrip him and conversed with many beings, in an example of networking that would put Tony Stark to shame. And I hope when this is over there may be some chance for recognition by them all of his efforts. Especially Umar and the likes of Nightmare.
And although Dormammu attempting to take control of Galactus is of course foolhardy, I anticipate the unfolding of what will obviously be his own downfall with pure glee and wonderment. And it will of course be a delight to watch him bluster when he realises he has bitten off far more than he can chew, as well as the inevitability of Strange having to fix everything. And who better to join him than Clea, who brings a little hope that she may be coming back for good as Strange muses on their past relationship and thinks on wherehe went wrong. If we can’t have a return of Kanna or, as I’d much prefer, the strong willed and challenging Zelma Stanton, then there can be no better foil for him than his ex. She has always had the wonderful side effect of softening the edges and making him seem a little more approachable and relatable as a character.
Art: Once again the cover by Jesús Saiz is a stunning depiction, giving us the team up we all miss and the return of the magical missus. I loved the mystical energy bands each generate, emanating from their fingers to form the spells they wield. Each circle looking similar, but in a markedly individualised style unique to each of them. Also the interior artwork, with Barry Kitson on layouts and Scott Koblish on finishes, makes for a great team. From the vast panoply of the staging areas, to the deliciously inventive range of sentient forms that both Strange and later Umar converse with. Nothing is shown to be the slightest bit mundane, and the images seen are clearly not recognisable as a style depicted by anyone else. As everyone deals with the plight of allowing the anomaly that is Galactus to co-exist in their dimension, it is clear that he is a threat to the very existence of some pretty mind bending people and places. And the diverse arenas that the characters are playing in is also staggering in visualisation, with wonderfully vivid colors by Brian Reber that render the settings and inhabitants with their own striking identity.
Writing: There were one or two tiny niggles though. It’s Zolox now, not Zoloz? Because the introduction clearly calls him Zolox. I know he’s ultimately forgettable, but come on with the attention to detail please! And also later within the story there seems a misprint of the word gauntlet. Although here the word gantlet COULD have been deliberate, as it was the original spelling of the word gauntlet, derived from the ancient gantlope. And though it’s not been in common use since the 18th century, I find it highly unlikely it refers to train tracks. It is used without any frame of reference other than to ‘run the gauntlet’ so here I’m going with deliberate, but it’s a little distracting even so.
Aside from these little blips I found the writing this issue to be very well paced and it kept me invested in the plot throughout. Despite the fact we watched Strange run the…gantlet….twice, it was not the least repetitive and both times kept it relevant. And the twist of having Galactus subsumed by the energy is becoming as intriguing as any other version of Galactus we have seen before, be it Ultimate or the more recent Lifebringer. And definitely more so than the MCU Galactacloud, because nobody needs to see that again, EVER! This image alone refutes that idea.
This story is becoming a fast favorite for me, not least because we get to see the return of the wonderful Clea, but because Mark Waid has taken what could have been a completely banal plot point and made it intriguing.
Doctor Strange #14: To Boldly Go
Writing - 7.5/107.5/10
Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
Art - 8/108/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
User Review( votes)