Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Strange #4 (of 4)

See, this is a comic that looked like it was custom made for me.

That's because I'm a huge Dr. Strange fan. Have been since picking up some of his earliest adventures in Strange Tales. How I loved those Stan Lee / Steve Ditko adventures!

I stayed faithful as the book weaved its way though other hands - sometimes to spectacular results (Steve Englehart / Frank Brunner and Roger Stern / Marshall Rogers being two good examples), sometimes to cringe-worthy results (I don't remember the names of these creators, but they know who they are).

So when I heard that Mark Waid was going to write a Strange mini-series, I thought I was in for a treat.


Boy, was I wrong. It's not that the mini-series has been bad, it's the disappointment of it being just... average. It's all in your expectations, I suppose.

Instead of a Master of the Mystic Arts (much less a Sorcerer Supreme), we get a Dr. Strange who seems virtually powerless against his foes, and if that's not bad enough, he endangers a young woman who shows heart and great potential in the mystic arts.

For this final issue, magic is having a seizure (of sorts), and it's up to Strange to set things right. But can he do that and save his young apprentice at the same time?

We can only hope they're planning a follow-up mini-series, or perhaps an ongoing one, because this issue leaves lots of dangling plotlines to be resolved.

I like the art by Emma Rios, though it's a bit muddy in places, and something of a struggle to follow the action at times. Still, she shows a lot of potential.

If they do bring the Doc back, I can't help but hope that they go back to the basics here. Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Thor, Iron Man, Captain America - all those characters, for whatever changes they've undergone, are still based on the original Lee / Kirby / Ditko concepts.

I don't understand why each new creative team feels like it has to re-invent Dr. Strange - there's a perfectly good version sitting on the shelf, waiting for the right team to put him back in the game.

Hopefully they'll figure it out eventually.

Grade: C+

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