DOCTOR STRANGE #9
We revisit the early days, as Strange battles an unscrupulous corporation bent on grasping the real estate, only to find what Strange has really been hiding all these years. And an Ancient ally returns.
Art: It’s the Second Coming of Jesus…literally. I have enjoyed the previous art of Javier Pina and co. but have severely missed the style of Saiz since Strange returned to Earth and had wondered if he was only going to be there for the first arc. Here we are rewarded with not only the stunning art on the cover but also the epic visuals of Jesus once again in the pages within. From the first understated image of the realtors advertisement to the explosion of the dry cleaners it is crisp, clean and once again shows great drama and depth.
And the scenes of Strange in discussion, first explaining his absence to Mr Matsumo as we are treated to his first encounter with Nightmare, then to describing his job to the realtor, as all the while conflicting images reveal themselves to us. Almost as a conspiratorial wink, giving us a contradictory, informative and witty sidebar to the subtext.
Characters: This new threat of first Falston, then Achona and finally the true mastermind in the form of the head of Eldrichan is an interesting one. Reminds me a little of Devils Advocate or even Wolfram & Hart from Angel, in that a demonic entity is disguised as a corporate one. And it cleverly ensured the issue avoided the pitfall of coming off as filler, with some magical sleight of hand that avoided revealing Strange’s true motivations for ensuring the building remains intact in the first place until the very end. And the thought of Strange as neighborhood protector is something of a new angle here too. Not often we get to see the feelings of those who live around him in such a positive light, especially the heart warming way everybody knew of his true nature all along and yet still backed him all the way. They give a reassuring feel to the story in their trust and help to underpin the true hero status of Stephen Strange, something that is needed after his last dilemma with Kanna and Casey.
Writing: The underlying humor of Mark Waid is also on point this issue, with some delightful scripting, as well as the striking visuals. The way he casually invites Windermere Falston in for a cuppa and shocks him with his catering facilities was a breath of fresh air and made it clear Strange is a force to be reckoned with in the way he can so easily summon such forces….And can we just talk about Windermere a moment. That’s a persons name, really? On a note of more relevance however, we all need a teasmaid like his.
The way Strange is written throughout this whole narrative has shown him in a light that hasn’t been too clear in this series so far and so this is a relief to finally see. Here we have a confident and erudite Strange, someone who is the pillar of the community and centred, self assured and clearly in his comfort zone. No doubt here, no faltering and second guessing his own motives. And Mrs Feldstein trying to set him up with her daughter was priceless. As was the visual of Strange as babysitter.
But most interesting was the underlying plot throughout the tale, giving the impression that the reason he was protecting the block was for self serving purposes, even to the point the sinister Eldrichan company believed it was to protect a secret gateway from being accessed and controlled by them, when in fact he was simply ensuring his neighbors and friends security.
I could only wait with baited breath as the finale and epilogue kicked into high gear with the shocking change in status between master and pupil and now fully anticipate the full impact that is to be the big 400th issue.
A great insight into the motives of Strange and the delightful way he is perceived by those around him.
Doctor Strange #9: Your Friendly Neighborhood Sorcerer Supreme
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 10/1010/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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