Doctor Strange #5
Strange saves the day in truly spectacular style and manages to achieve the impossible, creates some new weapons, saves the girl and single-handedly defeats an alien invasion against his home planet. But speaking of home, someone is sat in the safety of Bleecker Street wondering just how he is doing what he is doing.
The dual storytelling method of having the narration be about his past while showing his progress in the present was an interesting one, which had both an informative edge as well as an entertaining one. We learn that this is a whole new Strange, who has overcome all of his obstacles admirably and gained some invaluable tools in this new venture he is on. And the style change is dramatic as it is dynamic. The mask and apron look isn’t easily carried off but he seems to do it well here.
Not just one new look either but two. And some nifty tools in the shape of some snazzy looking gloves, which make his old ones look prosaic and a little dated and a sword. Except it’s not a sword…
Yes, sorry Stephen. And as we can see, he has a whole new can do attitude, some confident tough guy talk with some snappy one liners, inspirational words to his allies and stylish entrance to boot. While all the new gadgets and skills run the risk of overshadowing the writing, Mark Waid manages to keep his voice strong and adds some valuable dialogue as well as some dynamic narration of the thoughts of Strange, the lack of which have been my one bugbear through this first arc.
My one slight grumble now though, is that the narrative leads us to believe it’s been days since he entered the forge and began work making the tools he needs to save Kanna. Yet suddenly, with just one message from her, it’s done and we are ready to rock and roll and everything just happens to go full throttle and even Kanna has completed the task set her whilst a prisoner and they are also already on their way. However, this is a small price to pay to actually get into the meat of the action and drama. Speaking of meat….Stephen as a blacksmith? Never seen him in the same league as many other superheroes before as he deals mostly with casting spells and such, but here he looks like he could stand toe to toe with Cap himself. And it’s all so believable as well, not in the least over sensationalised.
And even if it is, so what? It’s what a hero is about after all. Not content with playing the damsel in distress Kanna also manages to hold her on and I’m almost ready to forget I ever heard the name Zelma as she gives as good as she gets.
With Javier Garrón & Dean White doing a more than admirable job of turning in a cover that grabs both Stephen and us by the throat, it frees Jesús Saiz up to concentrate on telling the story, and boy does it make a huge difference. I never seem to tire of saying how much the art of this series just blows me away. I can’t do, because it’s all I seem to be able to say about it. And who could blame me? The visuals are utterly breathtaking and even the simplest of images of a close up of Strange’s eyes has such depth and photo-realism. And when it’s topped off by some showy examples of power usage and the ephemeral hands which give a startling visual of the power at his command, what’s not to love?
Okay, some of us are all too familiar with a giant space bullet headed for earth… and yes we’ve heard it all before, well at least those of us who’ve been Astonished before, but it still manages to impress. And at least he has a totally different trick up his sleeve and we can feel some…pride…in the method of his victory against the Majastanian weapon.
And he sends a chill down the spine as he looks ready to execute Roxnor, but instead throws him through the casually created rip in space back home, to face his people in shame. And after all the affirmative action, all that’s left to wrap up is how this whole thing began, why he has no memory of it and the question we are asking ourselves…who is the other Strange back home?
Being as this new, confident space-bound version has scars on his hands and the one hiding in the shadows back in Bleecker Street is dressed how we remember him from last year, just what has been going on all this time? Are they even separate entities at all? Or both aspects of the same man, the spacefarer going off to face the dilemma while his less confident aspect stayed home licking his wounds?
COMING NEXT: Doctor Strange returns home to find…DOCTOR STRANGE?! Something bizarre happened since Stephen took off into the cosmos – and it doesn’t bode well for him. With art by Javier Pina and cover by Kevin Nowlan.
Doctor Strange #6 On Sale 3rd October 2018!
Stunning finale to the first arc with some truly spectacular visuals, which might have overshadowed the writing a little, but not much.
Doctor Strange #5: Charge of the Strange Brigade
- Writing - 7/107/10
- Storyline - 6/106/10
- Art - 9/109/10
- Color - 8/108/10
- Cover Art - 8/108/10