Saturday, February 5, 2011

Dr. Strange: From the Marvel Vault #1 (One-Shot)

I almost passed this issue up, assuming it was a reprint of a past appearance by Dr. Strange. Imagine my surprise to discover that it was a never-before-printed tale originally written for the Marvel Universe comic.

That series was canceled before this story was completed, so it went into the Marvel Vault (which is presumably close to the Disney Vault). Now it's back, and it's a real treat.

There are several reasons why I liked this comic a lot. First, it's well drawn by Neil Vokes and Jay Geldhof. They manage to capture the feel of original Dr. Strange artist Steve Ditko without actually copying his style. The look is fresh, imaginative and lots of fun.

The second reason I like it is because it's a flashback to the earliest days of Strange's career. Here he has just returned to New York after training with the Ancient One to become a Master of the Mystic Arts. He's dressed in his original dark blue and black costume, which I always liked.

But the best reason to buy this comic is for the writing of Roger Stern. When I think of Strange's long history, there are four writers who come to mind as having the most impact of the series: Stan Lee, who originated the series with Ditko; Roy Thomas, who took over and guided Strange for years (mostly working with the legendary Gene Colan); Steve Englehart, who created some amazing stories that established Strange as the Sorcerer Supreme (working with the incredible Frank Brunner and Colan); and Roger Stern, whose run on the book was short but outstanding (mostly working with the terrific Marshall Rogers).

Now Stern is back guiding Strange in this issue, and I couldn't be happier. The comic tells the untold story about how Strange first moved into his Greenwich Village Sanctum Sanctorum, and the terrible menace that hides there.

It's a delightful (if all too brief) tale that's been hiding from us for far too long. More like this, please!

Grade: A-



Kyle said...

I was really dissapointed when they cancelled the Marvel Universe series. I enjoyed it alot. It was a fun look at some of Marvel's history, I especially liked the Monster Hunters arc, and was wondering where the series would go next...

This looks very interesting, For some reason or another I have never read much Dr. Strange, but I have always been a huge Roger Stern fan.

Chuck said...

Kyle, I enjoyed that series, too. Dr. Strange has had lots of ups and downs in his comic book career - some incredible stuff and some awful stuff. But stick with the writers I mentioned and you can't go wrong!