‘Doctor Strange’ #25 Review: A Solid One-Off Tale

Doctor Strange #25
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Summary
Writer: John Barber, Artists: Juan Frigeri, Kevin Nowlan, Scott Hanna, Java Tartagua, Dexter Vines, Mark Morales, Terry Pallot, Tom Palmer, Dan Brown, Publisher: Marvel Comics, Release Date: Out Now, Price: $4.99
Cover to Doctor Strange #25 by Kevin Nowlan
Doctor Strange #25

It’s business as usual for Doctor Strange once more. However, that’s actually a pretty morbid and surreal day. As such, Greenwich Village is turning into a horde of murderous demons, and Strange’s apprentice, Zelma Stanton, is not excluded from this.

This exact scenario is actually really familiar for Doctor Strange, but he’s not sure why that is. Can he discover the cause for this mass-possession before he gets torn limb from limb?

We have another writer and artist shift for Doctor Strange, as John Barber grabs the writing wheel and a horde of artists, Juan Frigeri, Java Tartaglia, Kevin Nowlan, Scott Hanna, Dexter Vines, Mark Morales, Terry Pallot, Tom Palmer, and Dan Brown, take over the visuals.

Also, it’s a little longer, so $4.99 this time. I’m kinda annoyed by that.

You know Marvel, if you make a bigger issue and don’t mark it up, it creates this thing called “good will” with your readership. I know that’s an alien concept to your comics division at this point, but that really means you just need it all the more.

Anyway, financial griping aside, this is actually a really damn good issue of Doctor Strange. It’s a deceivingly simple plot with some mind-bending complications in the details. It jumps back in time quite a bit, and this actually provides some opportunities for some old-comics dialogue and narration which adds a nice touch of authenticity.

The story also makes Doctor Strange to be not quite as good at his job as he seems. The current crisis spins directly out of an older one which he mishandled. It’s a humanizing moment for the Sorcerer Supreme, and it shows how he has changed since his early days as the Master of the Mystic Arts.

Interior art to Doctor Strange #25 by Juan Frigeri
Doctor Strange #25 art by Juan Frigeri

The action sequences are tactile, with Strange still having to make do without his library of spells, still gone from the invasion of the Empirikul.

Kevin Nowlan handles the past sequences, which look really good and captures some of the aesthetics of old comic book art. Nowlan has been handling the covers to Doctor Strange off-and-on, and I’ve been wondering why they haven’t brought him onto the interior side yet.

Juan Frigeri draws the present sequences, and they’re very textured and detailed. Tartaglia’s color work supports the style well, with pale shades contrasted well with darker colors.

Despite my annoyance with the price tag, this is one of the best issues of Doctor Strange I’ve read in a while. With an intriguing plot, character depth, and great artwork, this comic won me over very quickly. Give it a read.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.