There is a fairly substantial spoiler ahead. You have been warned… (Though, to be fair, this did come out in December and the spoiler has since developed into an ongoing series so yeah)
Whilst Loki has been living in large up at 177a Bleecker Street, Dr Strange has had to find new ways of supporting his friendless existence. What’s a former Sorcerer Supreme to do when he’s down on his luck? Befriend a old, sick dog, of course…
After a rather difficult morning at his veterinary practice, Dr Strange decides to take a leisurely stroll with Bats (The old, sickly dog mentioned above). However, a passionate kiss and brief clash leaves Dr Strange heartbroken, angry and determined to prevent Loki getting his hands on a dangerous bit of magic. However, he is going to need some help. Luckily for the Doctor, he knows a guy…
It’s safe to say Dr Strange has landed a real winner with Cates. The focus on the title character this issue was executed phenomenally, reminding me fondly of Aaron’s excellent stint on this book but equally providing a fresh perspective in a character who has been through a fair bit the past couple of years.
Whilst we’ve seen the Doctor at rock bottom a fair bit during this most recent run on the character, this particular occasion is particularly harrowing. Whilst being a vet leaves him in a comfortable position we find the good Doctor isolated from his friends with only a talking dog for company (I make that sound like a bad thing. Bats is, unfortunately, an incredibly endearing character…). The Doctor’s appearance is one of loneliness, leaving one compelled to want to give him a big hug. Such a feeling is simply amplified when even Bats taken from him. This rock bottom is arguably less “significant” than that of seeing the Earth’s magic destroyed by the Empirikul but this one is by far more relatable (Minus the Asgardian God and magical mayhem) making for an excellent human feel to an already excellent foundation.
The issue ends on an almighty cliff-hanger. Doctor Strange is decidedly miffed at Loki for the (accidental) part he played in the death of Ol’ Bats. However, Loki is also close to gaining access to the Exile of Singhsoon, “The Nuclear Launch codes of the Magical World”. Hence, Doctor Strange seeks out help from a former friend, The Sentry!
If that name means nothing to you then the best way to describe him is Superman but with one heck of a dark side. I must admit, it was one heck of a reveal and it left me desperate to read the next issue (Which, thankfully, also arrived in my shipment. Yay!). With the Sentry involved it means a certain someone (If you can call it that) won’t be far behind which promises to throw the good Doctor out of the frying pan into some serious fire. Just when I thought things couldn’t get more exciting…
On the Loki side of the things, his quest for the Exile of Singhsoon continue to excite despite it literally revolving around a conversation on how to open a door. The secret Zelma unknowlingly holds within herself is going to be one heck of a reveal for all parties and I can’t wait to see it unfold!
The art continues to be an absolute dream but one scene in particular was illustrated wonderfully. The tragic fall of Bats evoked genuine emotions of sadness (Not exactly an emotional I struggle with but from a comic, rather impressive). The death itself is terribly upsetting but Stephen’s reaction is almost enough to bring one tears. Despite the brief introduction we have to Bats, seeing the Doctor break down in tears is displayed with such a vivid intensity, that desire to give him a bear hug returns in a flash. That seen alone is why Walta and Bellaire are such a perfect fit not only for this arc but this book in general. I simply cannot get enough of it.
Del Mundo‘s cover have added some much needed vibrancy to my Doctor Strange cover collection. This one in particular is rather snazzy, the blue hue giving it a wonderful feel. There are some absolutely cracking covers still to come but this makes a fine addition to my collection.
Overall, another fantastic instalment in Cates‘ crack at the character. The primary focus on Doctor Strange has shown him to be in safe hands and the art, once again, is simply mind-blowing. I would highly recommend getting your hands on this arc, be it in comic or trade. With hindsight I can assure you that you will most definitely enjoy yourself if you are a fan of the character and have been following his antics since the All-new All-different reboot.
- Story – 9/10
- Art – 9/10
- Accessibility – Unfriendly – Whilst this issue is another exceptional instalment in this arc, I would recommend following this arc from beginning to end. It’s a fantastic rollercoaster ride of emotions and I was desperate to get my hands on each issue.
- Overall – 9/10
I’m incredibly behind on pretty much everything for which I must apologise. For the time being I think I’m just going to focus on reviewing comics as a much needed reprieve from the current pressures of academic and paid work. Come the summer, I will turn my attention back to Physics and the Time Travel Club (The latter in particular lying somewhat dead in the water at present). Thank you for sticking with me!