Comic Book Review: Doctor Strange (2015) Issues 1 through 20

Details: Published by Marvel Comics. Mostly written by Jason Aaron and drawn by Chris Bachalo.

I’ve never been a big fan of Doctor Strange. I’ve enjoyed watching him interact with other characters in the Marvel Universe, like when he was in the Illuminati or when he was god Doom’s sheriff. That changed with this series. They invoked one of my comic book weaknesses; they got Bachalo to do art.

First and foremost, I must confess that I will read anything Bachalo draws. I just love his cartoon-y, frenetic, action packed art style. I’m constantly trying to figure out the order of panels in which I’m supposed to read the books he draws. I’m never lost. I’m just trying to keep up with Bachalo’s crazy art. And given the subject matter Aaron has given Bachalo in this Doctor Strange series, there’s a lot of crazy to draw.

This book is pretty much a jumping off point for any new readers. It tells us who Doctor Strange is and establishes the rules of the magical side of the Marvel Universe. As Aaron wrote in his farewell letter in issue twenty, the primary rule of magic in Marvel is that everything has a price and that price will inevitably be paid. It’s a common theme throughout the books and plays a major role in the plot.

Lots of characters from the magical part of the Marvel Universe make an appearance. It’s fun to watch Doctor Strange jump dimensions and try to have normal conversations with demons and other inter-dimensional beings.

The only complaint I really have is that Doctor Strange is written as if he’s a magic Tony Stark, rather than a technology Tony Stark. I get the appeal, but that is not how Doctor Strange was written historically and is kind of jarring given that history. Strange is usually a sage-like wise man who others in the Marvel Universe go to when they have problems involving magic. He has none of that here. Here, he’s kind of a bumbling guy who fumbles his way through his problems. It’s entertaining, sure, but it ignores decades of Doctor Strange history.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The story was fine, but it was honestly mostly due to Bachalo’s art that I stuck around. With Bachalo’s exit, I’m probably going to drop the series and look forward to whatever Bachalo works on next.

Score: 7.2/10

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