Writer: Pornsak Pichetshote, Tini Howard
Art: Andy MacDonald, Tríona Farrell, Lalit Kumar Sharma, Sean Parsons, José Villarrubia, VC’s Cory Petit, and Ariel Olivetti
Release Date: October 30th, 2019
The Sanctum Sanctorum holds all of the bizarre and dark relics that Doctor Strange has accumulated on his voyage as the Sorcerer Supreme. But, in this week’s all-new DOCTOR STRANGE ANNUAL #1 by Pornsak Pichetshote and Tini Howard, when one of those relics awakens and begins wreaking havoc in the halls, will Doctor Strange be able to wrangle back control…or will his Sanctum be transformed into his own personal hell? By the mystic manifolds of Morgan Freeman, let’s jump into this issue!
If you’ve been reading Mark Waid’s DOCTOR STRANGE to date, this is nothing like it at all. It’s exactly what most annuals tend to be like; one-shot stories that can effortlessly be picked up by anyone, interpreted clearly, and recapped by the end of the issue. Inside this annual, one tale by Tini Howard concentrated on what appears to happen each Halloween Night and what Doctor Strange, as well as an assortment of other Sorcerers and Shamans, must do to preserve this realm from various spirits, ghosts, and abominations. That said, the follow-up story by Pornsak Pichetshote had very little to do with Doctor Strange. Nevertheless, it appeared to be the more interesting narrative of the two tales by the conclusion of the comic.
Each story had its highs and lows. Howard’s anecdote was certainly more lighthearted, entertaining, and easy to follow. It was easy to pick up and more carefree than the second story, which are great elements for any one-shot. However, Pichetshote’s short tale was a bit more imaginative, inspired, intriguing, thrilling, and unusual to the theme of sorcery and magic. Each writer’s style was extensively different but both found distinct approaches to share their personal take on the Sorcerer Supreme.
Howard’s story was a bit wordy and portrayed Zelma as a screw up making Stephen appear to look down on her immensely. This actually bothered this reviewer because the last time Zelma and Stephen were together, this critic thought the Good Doctor was in love with her. Now, throughout Waid’s run, things changed and Stephen rekindles/ unkindles his relationship with his ex-wife. However, Stephen still had feelings for Zelma recently. That said, Howard appears to forget all about that with the way she represents the two characters in her story.
Pichetshote’s tale was over the top, creepy, unique, and hard to follow. However, it was extremely interesting and brilliant, especially the way Pichetshote portrayed Wong and what he’s able to do to Doctor Strange if need be. This narrative was definitely fascinating but it was difficult to understand who the narrator was at times and what the point of this story was until the end. Even as it concluded, this reviewer still needed to go back through and reread it a couple of times to clear up the details and circumstances of the narrative.
Furthermore, this critic enjoyed Lalit Kumar Sharma’s art in the second story more than Andy MacDonald’s art in the first. MacDonald’s art appeared blurry, flat, muted, subdued, hurried, and out of focus at times. However, Sharma’s illustrations were a bit more crisp, lively, stimulating, polished, dynamic, and detailed. But, neither artist really grabbed the attention of this reviewer and threw me into the story. This critic feels like he has seen better work from both of them in the past.
If you came to this issue for a continuation of Mark Waid’s run, you came to the wrong place. If you were interested in unique stories that were reasonably entertaining, these will do the trick and wet your whistle. However, this annual is certainly not necessary and could easily be skipped. Now, if you need your monthly Doctor Strange fix, go pick this up. Otherwise, there isn’t anything overly exciting or interesting that would make this annual a must buy. Just wait until next month to get DOCTOR STRANGE SURGEON SUPREME.