Writer: Jed MacKay
Art: Marcelo Ferreira, Roberto Poggi, Don Ho, and Java Tartaglia
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: June 1st, 2022
Clea Strange, now firmly entrenched as Earth’s Sorceror Supreme, mercilessly hunts for the Blasphemy Cartel in Strange #3. They’re a heavily armed group of soldiers who target magic refugees, and Clea has targeted them after they destroyed a refugee village. And first on Clea’s list is…The Rose?
Anyone who has read my reviews of Strange #1 and Strange #2 knows I love Clea as the Sorceror Supreme. As written by Jed MacKay, she’s the antithesis of Stephen Strange. She’s impulsive, tough as nails, and never holds back. If Stephen Strange is Jean-Luc Picard, Clea is James Kirk. Her idea of diplomacy is kicking in the front door of a house instead of blowing it up.
Strange #3 is no exception. After the magic bazaar was destroyed last issue, and many of the magical beings there massacred, Clea’s going to stop at nothing to find where the Blasphemy Cartel is hiding.
Her first stop is with The Rose, a gangster and occasional enemy of Spider-Man. Clea thinks The Rose knows how to find the Blasphemy Cartel. It’s a Godzilla vs. Bambi-type scenario, and Clea refuses to make deals with him. It’s pretty refreshing to watch her mow over The Rose’s attempts to make an arrangement with her. She does something especially chilling to his henchmen to “convince” The Rose to talk.
Clea’s so intimidating and terrifying in this issue, she makes The Punisher look like My Little Pony. She’s confident, powerful (seemingly more powerful than Stephen Strange), and she’s fed up. She alternately slings Earth-based spells and spells drawn from the infernal realm of the Dark Dimension, something Stephen Strange always tried to avoid, but Clea embraces with glee. She’s the very definition of an anti-hero, and she’s so fun to read.
The highlight of this issue is her showdown with the Blasphemy Cartel, and it’s brutal!
The Blasphemy Cartel is an anti-magic group of soldiers with number designations, who use magic artifacts to take down magic users and refugees from other magical realms. They’re quite an odd group, at times seeming like they leaped out of a Grant Morrison Doom Patrol comic, with their numbered masks, their HQ called “Emerald City” and their leader called “Director None”. Their HQ is an interesting hybrid of the modern and the antique. In one scene, we see two Cartel operatives working on an advanced computer network, but the room is lit with candles instead of light bulbs. I hope we get to explore their group a bit further in the issues to come, they’ve definitely piqued my interest.
Marcelo Ferreira’s art on Strange #3 has an EC Comics-style feel, with many of the scenes in shadow, but with great detail.
Clea’s many expressions are portrayed perfectly, and I love that her eyes are drawn with a vivid magenta glow when she’s enraged. Her costume is drawn with flair, the huge upright back collar of her Clea’s cloak sweeping behind her head like flapping wings, giving her the appearance of a dark angel. The spell effects when she casts spells burn bright in the panels.
As noted above, the Blasphemy Cartel’s HQ is drawn with a wonderful mixture of the new and the old, and the soldiers in the Cartel are drawn to look mysterious and formidable.
Strange #3 continues Clea’s odyssey as Earth’s new Sorceror Supreme. The issue is filled with action and shows what a powerful force of nature Clea is. The issue ends with two great cliffhangers, and it’ll be interesting to see what happens next.