DOCTOR STRANGE #8
Strange finally discovers the shadowy manipulator behind the scenes and with some luck and the help of his allies defeats him. But more is on the horizon as his past actions continue to plague him and retribution is at hand.
Art: Not sold on the cover, it just seems a bit rushed and shows no drama or impact to this arc, especially as since his time in space this arc has made Strange look far more buff as a superhero and this cover makes him look a little….spindly? I do miss Mike Del Mundo a tad. The same can’t be said for the interior art however, from the first image of Baron Mordo exhibiting such rage, to Casey venting as she targets Strange, the definition in the emotions is clearly expressed. Although Jesus Saiz was exceptional and gave the series a cinematic air, this is more in keeping with the style and is more true to the character and narrative.
Now we are back on Earth and done with the space adventure, there is a need for a different style and Javier and Andres have made it a comfortable transition, with Andy’s inks providing a suitable shift in atmosphere, especially within the scenes of Kanna and Bats in the Forge. And the colors of Carlos give a lively quality to the conflict between Casey and Strange, making the energy seem to crackle as she sets about showing her rage. Which all adds to the drama, greatly aided by the imagery of the various artefacts Casey uses to battle Strange, with Cory also contributing admirably with the lettering injecting drama into the battle.
Characters: Kanna leaving at this point is clearly going to make things more dangerous and by saying what she did she seems to have already forgotten Casey’s forgiving him, or not had enough faith in him. The reaction may also have been tied to her own past and betrayal by her own father of her mother, as we recently discovered. I felt there was a particular poignancy to the feelings of betrayal she expressed and her reaction to the revelation of Strange’s meddling were of course inevitable. Knowing the cost of association with him, does she wonder if it may one day be her used as a tool? She clearly sees in Casey the price of mixing with him and maybe in saving Casey she may be saving herself. And though her leaving was also inevitable, given she isn’t really connected to Earth and barely became part of his life, it will be a loss as she was an interesting foil for him.
Although Kanna does have a point. Strange does have a tenancy to manipulate people, it’s no coincidence that he was a member of the Illuminati with Xavier and Richards. And keeping secrets for the greater good always seems to keep coming back to haunt him. But is it arrogance as Kanna insists and does he secretly love the feeling of superiority? Or does he really believe he is doing it to protect others? The moment Casey breaks free of Mordo and deflects his attack on Kanna was most interesting and telling of Strange here. It’s clear he misunderstood and believed he had failed to get through to her and she was still under the thrall of Mordo. Which was good to see as it gives at least a little insight into his insecurity, how the people around him are the chink in his armor.
Writing: Which was the very point I was making in the first arc of this series. Without the inner monologue of the previous run and the Loki scenario, there is no real way to tell just what Strange himself is thinking, Although the writing does show more insight into other characters. Mordo for instance has impersonated Strange himself in the past, so it was natural he had Casey do the same. And also he is shown as being somewhat hypocritical as he berates Stephen about the cost of magic, while using Casey as a weapon.
He himself of course knows the cost, having sold his soul not once but twice to Mephisto and Satannish, so this is a good depiction of the typical failings of the villain and is also even compounded by his lack of understanding of the strength of Casey’s own moral values once they have reasserted themselves, which ultimately becomes his failing.
Mordo calling Strange out. Kanna calling Strange out. It seems Bats has the casting vote. A fitting end to the arc, with some closure to an old dilemma, but also some new wounds being opened.
Doctor Strange #8: She Forgives Me, She Forgives Me Not.
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 7/107/10
Art - 7/107/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 4/104/10
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