We are shown a previous showdown between Doctor Strange and an other-dimensional elder god before jumping to the present, where Stephen Strange’s connection to the magic of the world has begun to gradually fade. It is gone completely before long, and he must either face life without magic or find a means of remedying this problem.
To get this one out of the way, yes, it seems like every Doctor Strange story since Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo’s All-New, All-Different Marvel, launch of the character has been about the Sorcerer Supreme gradually losing and regaining his magical power. Aaron and Bachalo’s Empirikul story comes to mind, as does Donny Cates and Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s “Loki, Sorcerer Supreme” tale, though it was arguably a fallout of the Empirikul story.
That said, Mark Waid and Jesus Saiz tell an exceedingly good version of this story, and it approaches the issue in a slightly different manner. It seems to happen naturally here, and the gradual nature as well as the presentation allow it to be especially emotional. Small details are highlighted, like Stephen’s ability to peer into the magical ether that surrounds our world and his ability to navigate the Sanctum Santorum.
Oh, it also ends with Stephen Strange going into space with the help of Tony Stark. That’s a decidedly cool detail too.
Jesus Saiz does some incredible work in this comic, crafting highly detailed and excellently textured worlds that truly look like you could reach out and touch them. He also highlights those small details that the comic focuses upon well. Saiz is a talented artist, and this still may be some of his best work I’ve seen. His color art is similarly incredible, giving brilliant shades and astonishing balance to the world.
Doctor Strange #1 is a simultaneously familiar and fresh excursion into the world of the mystic arts. While the inciting incident of Strange losing his magical abilities may be a little tired, its presentation and the consequence of Strange going to space make it interesting. Jesus Saiz’s art is incredible, to add to the comic’s numerous positives. This one earns a strong recommendation. Give it a read.
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