[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
It is an indeterminate amount of time into the future. Doctor Strange wanders a scorched and desolated Earth. He is among the only human survivors of a planetary impact followed by an apocalyptic invasion from Dormammu. Stephen aims to defeat Dormammu and drive him from the world if it is the last thing he does…and it may very well be that.
Best Defense: Doctor Strange #1 can somewhat accurately be described as an “Old Man Strange” story. It follows Doctor Strange after an apocalypse and through a final battle against Dormammu.
It’s a solid one-off story, and, like Best Defense: Namor and Immortal Hulk, it could be read apart from the other Best Defense one-shots and still be a satisfying story except for a couple of loose threads.
It’s a very solemn and succinct read, too. Stephen doesn’t talk that much throughout, and he knows his mission will likely be his last. He has a sole companion which I won’t spoil, but there is a light allusion to it in another Best Defense one shot.
Dormammu is a little disappointing. He just goads and lords over Strange without anything more interesting to him here.
Greg Smallwood brings some excellent art to the table in this comic. The desolate surroundings are allowed to sink in and affect the atmosphere. Dormammu’s creatures are warped, animalistic, and outright eldritch creatures and aren’t like much I’ve seen before. The color work is also very atmospheric and interesting, adding a lot to the visual identity of the book.
The Best Defense: Doctor Strange #1 is another impressive showing from this loosely-tied together Defenders miniseries. It brings a well-crafted apocalyptic tale to the mythos of Stephen Strange, and we get some insight into what may be happening here in The Best Defense. Plus, Greg Smallwood once again proves to be an impeccable artist. This one earns a recommendation. Check it out.
The Best Defense: Doctor Strange #1 comes to us from writer Gerry Duggan, artist Greg Smallwood, letterer VC’s Cory Petit, cover artist Ron Garney with Richard Isanove, and variant cover artists Steve Ditko with Dave McCaig, Mike McKone, Christian Ward, and Skottie Young.