A Most Intense Work/Life Balance In Dr. Strange #1

by Josh Davison

Mild Spoilers Ahead

Doctor Stephen Strange has regained the use of his hands and he’s using his regained abilities to recommit to his surgery practice. His honed senses as the Sorcerer Supreme still allow him to see all the spirits, demons, and extradimensional intruders inside McCarthy Medical Institute, but he’s vowed not to use his mystical abilities inside the hospital. He still needs to defend the Earth, so he only loans himself out to McCarthy when they need a surgery performed which no other doctor can accomplish. Tonight, a sudden influx of critical patients are brought into McCarthy. There’s a disaster of mystical nature taking place at Hudson Yards. The Sorcerer Supreme is needed.

Dr. Strange #1 cover by Phil Noto
Dr. Strange #1 cover by Phil Noto

Dr. Strange #1 relaunches the title with Stephen Strange as both surgeon and Sorcerer Supreme. He’s struggling to balance both careers and Doctor Strange is exhausted by performing both practices.

The comic spends much of its time explaining the new status quo. We see how this tightrope walk works for Stephen Strange. We learn how he aims to accomplish both tasks and, of course, how it all seems to fall apart from the get-go.

There is little action or sorcery until the final few pages when the Hudson Yards catastrophe takes place. It’s caused by the actions of a familiar Marvel villain with a new and deadly upgrade. It’s an exciting little finale and leaves a good cliffhanger for the next issue.

Kev Walker is the artist on this venture and his distinctive style is a good fit for Dr. Strange. Walker’s style is a bit cleaner in this comic and it does subtract some of his trademark grittiness. That grit would have suited Strange too, but the comic still looks pretty damn good. Java Tartaglia brings a vibrant color palette to the comic that emphasizes the mystical nature of our hero.

Dr. Strange #1 relaunches the Sorcerer Supreme’s title with a relatively tame opening that explains Stephen’s new “work/life balance.” It’s not particularly exciting, but it is an interesting change of pace for Strange. I’m not sure it necessitated a title relaunch, but it’s a solid read and worth a recommendation. Feel free to check this one out.

Dr. Strange #1 comes to us from writer Mark Waid, artist Kev Walker, color artist Java Tartaglia, letterer VC’s Cory Petit, cover artist Phil Noto, and variant cover artists Gerardo Zaffino; Inhyuk Lee; Frank Miller with Matthew Wilson; and Gabrielle Dell’Otto.

Final Score: 7.5/10

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