Doctor Strange: Fall Sunrise #4
After escaping imprisonment and descending into the Body Engine, Doctor Strange approaches his final destination, the castle of Maria Mensa. There lies not only the baby he's been forced to deliver, but a death he has only just prepared himself to face. This is his last bout in this world of faith and surrealism, and he won't go down without a fight.
DOCTOR STRANGE: FALL SUNRISE is a series near predicated on the art. Before I can begin to dive into the themes and story that comes to a close here in issue #4, I have to talk about Tradd Moore as an illustrator. His work on this series has been nothing short of beautiful, impressive, and perfect for the story at hand. It is certainly a style many will hate, as its trippy nature and broken understanding of shape and anatomy makes it, at times, hard to follow sequentially. However, I couldn’t imagine a more perfect artist. The world in which Strange has fallen into feels alive with its conceptual theology, abstract buildings, strange creatures, and odd beings. There hasn’t been an artist as perfect for Doctor Strange’s brand of mystic chicanery since Ditko, and Moore certainly lives up to the lineage. Issue #4 contains some of my favorite pieces of art done for the sorcerer supreme, the colors that Heather Moore provides truly cementing this book as one worthy of awards. All of it, from the twisted figures to the spacey landscapes are something only the sweetest of dreams are made of.
Much like the art, the story presented is simultaneously simple yet complex. By the end of issue 4 it is clear that the series was about submitting to life in fear of death. Maybe I’m far off. The story is hyper impressionistic. Yes, it breaks down to a fantasy adventure through a strange realm, but the way in which that is told is at best absent of traditional substance. At a plotting level, the book was weak, but rich in themes and story. This is excusable, for the book was trying to achieve something along the lines of a fairy tale, but a lot is left up to the reader to interpret. A lot of the theology introduced winds up being the catalyst for messaging, a means to carry forth meditations on choosing life over death that are emotionally impactful. The language in which Moore discusses the pain of persevering through each day, saving ourselves from the empty void of death, is clear and present. There’s a line between intellectual exploration and pretentious indulgence that comes with writing about life, and Moore walks it with great balance.
Issue #4 is a fittingly stylistic climax that wraps up the little plot running through the series in a satisfying way. Nothing was forgotten, left behind, or finished off with cheap outs. Aeos, a character introduced in the second issue, receives a beautiful send off to his one mini-arc that could bring tears to the eyes of anyone considering the book’s concepts as they read. The battle between Strange and The Coin incites goosebumps alongside excitement with how epic its presentation is. That being said it suffers from putting style out front with weary bones holding up the book’s back end.
In a way, this book should have just been about Aeos or another, creator-owned sorcerer. Besides the iconography, there isn’t much here that screams Doctor Strange to me. It’s obvious the team had a concept they wanted to explore and they did so with excellence, but if you want to read something more focused on Strange’s mythos you will only find peanuts of it here. It is more additional to the mythos than exploratory, which I champion wholeheartedly.
Tradd Moore's latest dive into the Marvel universe is one of beauty, both in its themes and art. While I do have my gripes with the way in which it's written, those issues do not falter against the book's mastery over the fairy tale format. Art can wonder, and in the case of DOCTOR STRANGE: FALL SUNRISE, art is magic.
Doctor Strange: Fall Sunrise #4: Today is All We Have
- Writing - 7/107/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10
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