Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Kev Walker, Java Tartaglia, VC’s Cory Petit, and Phil Noto
Release Date: December 25th, 2019
The impossible has happened! Doctor Strange’s hands have been healed, restoring his surgical skills – but now he’s being torn between his obligations as the Sorcerer Supreme and as a neurosurgeon in this week’s all-new DR. STRANGE #1 by Mark Waid. And when he’s forced to choose which vows to uphold, who suffers most for it, especially since magic always has a cost. By the Mystic Melodies of Milli Vanilli, let’s jump into this opening tale and see what’s happening with the Good Doctor now!
Mark Waid gives Doctor Strange fans quite an intriguing, distinctive, and rejuvenating take on the character as his new series DR. STRANGE: SURGEON SUPREME #1 arrives in stores this Christmas Day. Now, readers need to keep in mind Waid was already on the last DOCTOR STRANGE series. And, the fascinating twist to all of this is, that this series is also different, refreshing, and unique just like its predecessor. Heck, the prior series had Stephen Strange gallivanting around space searching galaxies for techno-sorcery and mystic items from other planets… until things got REAL cray-cray and the Good Doctor basically became a Herald of Galactus. But, I digress. My point is: how can the same author who just wrote the same character have what appears to be two distinctively different looks at the identical character? Well, that’s easy! Readers, it’s the sheer experience and expertise of an outstanding storyteller who knows how to approach narratives from different angles in such creative and imaginative ways. And that my friends has always been a feather in the cap of Mark Waid.
Old fans of Waid’s most recent run will love this down to earth take from what we reaped as the last series closed. Simply put: Stephen is a brain surgeon again and juggling his duties of Sorcerer Supreme with that of being a brain surgeon. Waid uses the first couple of pages to throw readers into the hot seat, give the premise of the series moving forward, catches fans up from the annual, and lets the series rip! This seems so easy to the average fan but let me tell you from experience reading hundreds of comics… this is hard for a writer to do all in one issue and Waid nails it masterfully!
Not only does Waid capture this reviewer’s attention, but Kev Walker’s illustrations add a different spice to this stew that helped make this inaugural issue unique. My taste buds are normally attracted to very real, sharp, and vivid illustrations that pop off the page. In my humble opinion, the more detail the page has the better the art overall. Well, it’s not to say Walker’s art isn’t detailed. It’s just that his lines are thicker and his characters appear more cartoony in nature. This isn’t meant to be a knock on Walker by any stretch. And truthfully, this reviewer totally digs his illustrations throughout the narrative and thinks they fit really well with the tone of the piece! Again, everything about this new series is different and refreshing even down to the artistic license on each page. Plus, Walker shines the most when Java Tartaglia’s colors were bright and clear. However, towards the end of the issue, the dark tones blended in with the line design making it hard to distinguish exact detail within the character battles taking this reader out of the issue. In my humble opinion, Walker needs to work a bit with Tartaglia and continue to make the colors pop more like the first three-quarters of the issue.
Ultimately, new and old readers of Doctor Strange will love diving back into the character. However, the ending of the issue’s art not only gets a bit dark and undefined but the villain, who I believe ties in nicely to VALKYRIE: JANE FOSTER, is a bit lackluster. This reader was selfishly expecting something bigger and badder than what we got. That said, there is still tons of room for this critic to be proven wrong since we are only one issue into the series. And, I sincerely hope I am. However, right now, the ending just didn’t hit the mark and I hope it doesn’t “wreck” what started as an amazing opening to a new series.
Waid finds a way to magically entertain his audience in a cleverly refreshing way that portrays a completely different tone than his last series. The issue has elements of wit and charm however sprinkles in a few creepy moments to keep readers on their toes around the mystic arts. This series really is a great place for any fan interested in jumping into the character to take that leap while still moving forward for older fans to continue where they left off. This reviewer genuinely feels there is something for almost everyone in this issue to appreciate and would highly recommend adding this series to your pull list. Let me know what you think!