Doctor Strange #20: A Difficult Farewell

After an extended wait, Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo’s last issue of Doctor Strange now sits in front of me. Before I get a little bit emotional, a review of this issue.

  • In the House of Infernal Glories an auction is taking place on magical items. The Fabled Wand of Xyggondo kicks up quite storm. One customer, Mr Dog, is particularly keen to get it, starting a fight.
  • Mr Dog is set to escape with the wand till a well placed shot from a Dark Elf reveals Dr Strange to have taken the form of Mr Dog. After a quick smooch with an old fling, Dr Strange bursts threw a window onto a Zelma-piloted Motorcycle.
  • They almost escape but the arrival of Magma man spells trouble. Doctor Strange is hit by a poisoned arrow as the bike arrives in Weirdworld. Out of her depth, Zelma attempts to help the Doctor. She accidentally casts a transfer spell, saving the Doctor but seriously endangering herself.
  • Back at the Sanctum Sanctorum, Zelma’s condition worsens. The Doctor can either let her die or inflict something far worse: A connection to the world of magic. Wong refuses to be a part of it and leaves, hoping to make up for a life spent in service.
  • Zelma is now a part of the Doctor’s world. Life has never been so exciting.

Aaron delivers a stellar finale to an absolutely brilliant run of Doctor Strange. This issue lived up to its title in being The Weird, The Weirder and The Weirdest. You had everything: a magical auction, talking goats, a trip to Weirdworld and utterly disgusting breakfasts. Simply spectacular.

Zelma’s new role as Doctor Strange’s apprentice is awesome if somewhat overshadowed by the departure of Wong. Wong has been a beloved character of mine and I hope his absence isn’t too long. There are few people as loyal, brave and loving as Wong. Wong aside, I’m glad that Zelma is sticking around. I can only imagine the fun a magical student will add to this already wonderful title.

Bachalo, as always, illustrates the world of magic and monsters perfectly. After an extended period of rather miserable circumstances, he goes out with a bang on this more upbeat, action packed issue from cover to cover. His cover is something else entirely. The explosion of colour and Easter eggs is a wonder to behold, better still because I only discovered that this was the cover upon coming across it in Forbidden Planet (My online shop used a variant cover picture). By far my favourite cover of the entire series, definitely one I would ask to be signed if I ever got the honour of meeting Aaron and/ or Bachalo in person.

  • Story – 10/10
  • Art – 10/10
  • Overall – 10/10

If you intend on reading Aaron and Bachalo’s run on Doctor Strange, definitely get #20 as an issue. Their messages at the end are worth a read upon finishing their arcs.

Having had to wait for this issue (No doubt caused by the Dread Dormammu’s scheming) I went into this issue a little detached from Aaron and Bachalo’s work. On the penultimate page the pair had written a small piece about their time on Doctor Strange. Upon finishing them I hit a brick wall of sorts (I had to take a moment, to be honest). I am genuinely saddened to see them go, more so than I expected and which I can truly express in words.

Doctor Strange was (and still is) my first ever proper ongoing title (I had been collecting British reprint titles before hand but this my first authentic US title, if you catch my drift). It was my springboard into the magical side of the Marvel Universe as well as my collecting days for which I will always be grateful. Aaron and Bachalo have crafted stories that never ceased to amaze me.

I guess all I have left to say is a huge thank you to both of them. They set the bar high for my collecting days and never missed a step with this book. Farewell and thanks for the most peculiar, enjoyable journey I have ever been on.

8 thoughts on “Doctor Strange #20: A Difficult Farewell

  1. By The Seven Rings Of Raggadorr!
    Can this b true?! Doctor Strange cancelled, again?!
    I’ve noticed that a lot of current titles have such limited life expectancy – is this really determined by poor sales figs, or were th co-auteurs of this awesomeness only contracted to do twenty ishs anyway?
    I have th first 3 ishs of this series, so will check out this difficult farewell ish – thanks for th recomm!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No no no! My apologies for the confusion caused.

      This difficult farewell is merely to the creative team. The series is still going strong, it’s getting renumbered for Marvel Legacy. Sorry again for the confusion caused.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Dennis Hopeless and Niko Henrichon have taken over for Secret Empire. I know Donny Cates is signed on to write come Marvel Legacy but I can’t for the life of me remember who is illustrating.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This was a wonderful tribute to the series. It seems to me (as I love his work on ‘The Mighty Thor’) that Jason Aaron really has a knack for writing the weird, wild, and mystical side of the Marvel Universe. I feel your pain too. It’s hard to say goodbye to a creative team that you’ve fallen in love with. Well, here’s to a great team on a great title and may the next iteration be exciting in it’s own way too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really didn’t expect to feel quite as upset as I did. I think their messages really tipped me, it was reminder of just how much effort they have put in to this wonderful series. They will be sorely missed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And that sentiment comes through beautifully in the piece you’ve written. Those messages at the end of a run can really get you! Most recently I had that overwhelming wash of feelings when I read Joe Kelly and Ed McGuiness’s parting words at the end of their last issue of ‘Spider-Man/Deadpool.’ It was so touching and made me appreciate what they’d put into the title even more.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Jason Aaron & Chris Bachalo on Wolverine & The X-Men
    was pretty amazing also. Bachalo is Marvels top artist by
    far, Marvel needs to pay him handsomely to keep him an
    exclusive, he is one of a kind & his work has evolved so
    much since he started drawing Generation X in the 90s.

    Liked by 1 person

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