Doctor Strange has been overtaken by the Void, the demonic entity formerly bonded to the Sentry. The Void attacks Loki. In an attempt to spite Strange, it reveals the location of the Exile of Singhsoon. This is the spell which Loki has been seeking, and it is within the soul of Zelma Stanton. Loki takes hold of the spell and enacts his plan.
This issue brings the climactic battle between Loki and Doctor Strange against the Void, though that is only about half the issue. The remainder is the immediate fallout to Strange and Loki’s actions.
The two primary supporting players in this drama, Sentry and Zelma, are far from happy about what these two have done. Strange and Loki have gambled with Zelma’s life, the immensely dangerous Void, and the fundamental forces of magic. Both appear to have had some good intentions, but neither comes out of this looking great.
Despite everything, Loki still manages to keep all of his cards close to his chest. You’re not sure what his overall endgame was here. He also foreshadows a lot of upcoming events, which gives me a little Bendis nostalgia.
Zelma finally being able to shove it to Loki and Strange is great. She is the biggest victim in this mystical pissing match, and she has every right to never want to see either of them again. Sentry gets some great lines too.
Gabriel Hernandez Walta is an all-star in this issue too. His depiction of the Void is delightfully unnerving. He looks genuinely frightening, and I love it. Sentry gets some appropriately Superman-esque panels too, which is quite appropriate of course. Once Loki and Doctor Strange start doing some of the more powerful magic stuff, the visuals get creative and wild. Jordie Bellaire plays off these well, providing great color art that reinforce the otherworldly demonic atmosphere of this book.
Doctor Strange under Cates, Walta, and Bellaire is becoming one of Marvel’s strongest books once again. With a great narrative full of arrogant yet well-meaning protagonists, it has been providing a consistently absorbing, fun, and visually creative experience for these past few issues. Hopefully that will continue through Damnation. In any case, this issue comes highly recommended. Give it a read.
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