After learning how to open their third eyes, the students of Strange Academy see the sights in New Orleans. Do you remember in the Harry Potter books when the kids went to Hogsmeade? That’s basically what we’re getting into with this issue. The bulk of their time is spent at a museum between the living and the dead where we’re reminded of how close these kids are to the dark side.
While this is good for some fun character moments, Strange Academy #3 doesn’t break any new ground. When we’re dealing with people like Dormammu’s son, we know that they could turn to evil. The interesting bit is how they rebel against that destiny. What sets this book apart from something like Avengers Academy is that most of the kids are fully aware of that path and how close they are to it.
Writer Skottie Young accomplishes some character development in Strange Academy #3, further uniting this rag-tag group of magic users. They realize that the world sees them as outcasts and the only people that really understand what they’re going through is each other. Again, the thing is, we already know this. We’re three issues into this series and we’re still establishing the foundation instead of moving forward.
Artist Humberto Ramos brings an expressive style to these characters. Each one has their own unique design that says quite a lot about their personality. While we’re still getting to know them, we have a good idea of where they’re coming from and who they are based on the designs alone.
In addition to the unique design, letterer Clayton Cowles gives each character their own voice. I love the variety of fonts used. This really drives home the magical nature of them all.
Doyle Dormammu has a slightly more prominent role in this issue than his classmates. Ramos manages to make a character with essentially a flaming jack-o-lantern for a head look like a sympathetic kid. There are times you really feel for him as we realize the incredible pressure he must be under just because of the blood that runs through his veins.
Colorist Edgar Delgado creates a nice texture in Strange Academy #3 that works very well with the New Orleans field trip. There’s a gritty quality to it. This changes when the students tap into magic. That’s when things really come alive with a burst of bright colors. It’s like these things were sitting just below the surface waiting to come out. When given that outlet, they explode forward.
Strange Academy is sitting on a tremendous amount of potential. These are brand new characters with so many possibilities ahead of them. Now that we’ve met them all and have an idea of what their immediate future is like, I’m anxious for their stories to really get going. Here’s hoping we get some additional movement soon.