Writer: Jed MacKay
Art: Marcelo Ferreira, Don Ho and Java Tartaglia
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: April 6th, 2022
Enter the Harvestman! Clea, seeking to bring Doctor Strange back to life, has brought The Harvestman calling in Strange #2. He’s Death’s own Sorcerer Supreme and emissary, and he’ll use all his power to keep Clea from interfering with his master’s work, including resurrecting Eric Masterson (the first Thunderstrike) from the dead to fight beside him. Let the battle begin!
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Most of Strange #2 shows Clea’s battle with The Harvestman, in all its crackling, flashing and exploding glory. Where Stephen Strange would mostly use defensive spells in battle, Clea is all about the offense. Page after page, she hurls eldritch swords, spears, and blasts with epic vocal spells, my favorite being “Sarnios’ Storm of Swords!”.
The Harvestman gives as good as he gets, matching her volley for volley, and controlling a zombified Eric Masterson (complete with his hammer), raining down lightning strikes. With so many comics these days spending issue after issue in deep conversation or moving the plot along at a snail’s pace, it was nice to get an issue with a good old-fashioned slobberknocker.
The Harvestman’s design is fascinating, mysterious and a bit chilling as well. With his gold facemask, fur costume and scythe, he looks like a combination of Psycho-Pirate and Kraven the Hunter, though physically, he’s far bigger than Kraven. Like any mystical being working for Death, he talks in omens and riddles. He’s particularly disturbing when he describes how Eric Masterson was resurrected. It seems like it’s all psychological warfare, an attempt to rattle Clea.
As for Clea, she continues to be a wonderful counterpoint to Stephen Strange. She’s passionate, furious in combat and brutal, 180 degrees different from Stephen Strange. Where Stephen would have probably tried to open a dialogue with the Harvestman and find a common ground with him, Clea just sees the Harvestman as an obstacle in the way of her getting what she wants, an obstacle she’s happy to eliminate.
Wong and Bats (Clea’s pet ghostly bloodhound that talks) also make appearances this issue, as Jed MacKay builds Clea’s supporting cast. Clea and Wong have a great repartee, with Clea’s more laid-back manner complementing Wong’s stuffiness. As much as I loved the action this issue, I wouldn’t mind an issue of Clea, Wong and good old Bats sitting around having a long chat.
The issue ends with a doozy of a cliffhanger and I can’t wait to see next issue. Can Marvel put this book out twice a month, please?
Marcelo Ferreira’s art on Strange #2 magnificently captures the magical battle between Clea and The Harvestman, with energy crackling around Clea’s hands and her hair turning to flame as she strikes. In one full-page spread, Clea blasts The Harvestman with energy from both her fists, and the page is drawn as if we’re standing behind Clea, so we see the energy shoot from her fists as the air around the two opponents lights up with dancing electricity.
The quiet scenes are drawn well too, with Bats the dog drawn adorably well, and Clea’s regal manner coming through in her posture and every one of her gestures. The zombified Eric Masterson is drawn in a chilling gory fashion also. Great work!
Strange #2 is the second issue of my new favorite Marvel series. I’ve always been a fan of Clea from decades back, and it’s great to see her finally front and center in a book. I hope Marvel keeps the book focused on Clea for a long time to come. Jed MacKay writes her completely different from Stephen Strange, and her personality, her power and her history open up a ton of new story directions that have brought a new excitement to the mystic side of the Marvel Universe.