Doctor Strange #3
A DAY WITH DORMAMMU! Stephen Strange has no short supply of enemies, but none are more fearsome than DORMAMMU…master of the Dark Dimension! When a cult summons the Dreaded Lord to New York, Stephen has to risk everything in order to defeat his most dangerous foe! But is he truly up for the task? Plus, a backup story featuring Doctor Strange and Sister Grimm of the Runaways!
The best part of this series has to be the relationship between Stephen and Clea. A weaker writer would dive straight into the issues in their relationship and immediately break them apart. Jed MacKay builds on this relationship purely based on love and trust. Clea and Stephen are consistently portrayed as two different people with very different ideologies on life; however, their bond is unbreakable. This is also a double-edged sword, as they overlook the aspects of each other that otherwise should be discussed. Clea is definitively a suspect for the murderer of Aggamon, and rightfully so. Strange takes her word when she promises she didn’t kill him, but there’s more to the story.
This issue features a stellar faceoff between Strange and Dormamu, although it plays a lot like a Constantine tale, where Strange uses deception to defeat his foe. The relationship between the two sworn enemies is explored in depth here, with many references to past issues. Dormammu is presented elegantly, with the constant bickering between him and Strange appearing more cordial than in prior iterations. This creates a fun dynamic between the two, with Strange ultimately tricking Dormammu into apostatizing the man whose body he is taking over. This is more of a moral win for Strange, symbolically showing Strange’s newer desire to solve conflicts in more morally acceptable ways.
Pasqual Ferry’s art may not be for everyone, but his unique style will grow on you. The main thing with his art is that he doesn’t use heavy inks. A lot of the pages still look like sketches. This gives the book an artsy feel that may or may not fit everyone’s image of a comic book, but your mileage will vary. The most controversial part of this art style is its pressure on the colorist. Heather Moore does her best to work with these confines, but unfortunately, the pages sometimes look a bit muddled without compatible inks. That being said, the art is the strongest in the backgrounds, where Ferry and Moore let loose on all of the fantastical and magical stylings that are consistent with a Doctor Strange title. The characters are what fall a little flat. The exception to that is Dormammu, whose floating head and flaming body look otherworldly in comparison to everyone else. This helps mystify one of the strongest beings in the Marvel Universe, presenting him with a gravitas unlike ever before.
Cory Petit does double duty on lettering the main story and the backup. Petit’s versatile style works in both tales. You can tell he had a lot of fun working with Dormammu’s speech, using an orange color and adding flair to certain words. Overall, the lettering here is excellent and creative, with Petit working well with each section he is given.
Alex Ross has been doing a great job with the covers on this series, with this issue focusing on Dormammu. The cover harkens back to classic character iterations, with what appears to be homages to Steve Ditko. The painted style reflects much of his more popular work while the background is reminiscent of his work on Fantastic Four earlier this year. The colors are bright and vibrant, with unique designs around the page.
The backup from Amy Chu, Tokitoroko, and Fer Sifuentes-Suto features everyone’s favorite Runaway, Nico Minoru, as she recovers from a loss in her life. Conflict arises when Dormommu shows up demanding her staff. The story itself is bare bones but does a great job showing off Nico and her powers with the staff. Oddly enough, the story shows her being very conflicted about her use of the staff and not knowing how it works very well. This was addressed back in the Runaways books, so having it here also feels a little redundant.
Tokitoroko’s art style here has some Japanese influence, with many manga and anime influences. This contrasts Ferry significantly, with the story looking dramatically different from the main comic. Fer Siguntes-Suto does a fun job building on this art style with a similar manga and anime-influenced design in colors. Everything is bright and depicted entertainingly, with the story coming across as one long fight. The art lends well to this, and Petit’s shift in lettering style works as well.
Doctor Strange #3 features some fantastic interplay between Strange and Dormammu with the relationship with Clea and Stephen continuing to be the high point. The art is a mixed bag with it being very divisive in nature. The backup story is fun in its execution and art style but seems to retread ground already explored in other series.
Doctor Strange #3: Let’s Take A Walk With Dormammu
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 10/1010/10
- Art - 8.5/108.5/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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