A Survivor’s Story: Reviewing ‘Death Of Doctor Strange: Avengers’ #1
by Scott Redmond
Earth’s Mightiest Heroes face a magical threat that tests all their might, but also gives them a chance to showcase that often the most heroic thing someone can do is stop and listen. A truly solid and beautiful story that showcases the more personal side of what is happening in the aftermath of Doctor Strange’s death which has left the Earth open to magical threats.
With the recent murder of Sorcerer Supreme Doctor Stephen Strange, the magical barrier that has protected the Earth from a variety of threats has fallen. Multiple dimensions are invading the Earth and heroes of all types are having to rise to answer the call, including the Avengers.
Already the Avengers got a taste of dealing with powerful magical threats that are using the death of Strange to attack within The Death of Doctor Strange main mini-series. That taste left them reeling and defeated, but now they must put that aside to deal with a whole new Juggernaut-like threat that is coming for our world.
The Juggernaut, usually an avatar for the other-dimensional god-like being Cyttorak, has been a thorn in the side of the X-Men and others for years. Alex Paknadel found a way to turn that notion on its head and present something different and interesting for this issue. Getting to see the Avengers, and namely Tony Stark here, handle a threat that requires them to use their hearts, minds, and empathy far more than their fists and extraordinary powers is always a welcome change of pace.
Iron Man is a character that can often be hit or miss in how fans feel about him, sometimes falling back into being the sarcastic narcissistic billionaire type personality. Here though Paknadel gives us a bit of that Tony wrapped up in a man that is skeptical of magic and those realms but recently (in the Death mini) been profoundly affected by magic. We get a really well-done callback to the early days of these heroes, and the formation of the Illuminati group they kept secret for so long.
The young individual behind this new Juggernaut-related threat is one that comes with a compelling backstory and a truly heartbreaking origin, the climax of the story being tied to the idea of survivors being able to share their stories with others. Hopefully, this is a character and concept that we see explored more in the future. These are the types of stories that we need more of sometimes, where the heroic thing to do is actually just listen to others as they share their experiences, sorrows, and traumas.
Ryan Bodenheim and Rachelle Rosenberg are a great pair to tackle this issue artistically, being able to easily alter their style just a bit to reflect the flashback era pages before slipping back into something a bit more modern as well as some really out there strange and beautiful realms. Bodenheim has a very detailed style that also skews a bit into the fantastical realm to give it that comic book fun look to it all. This is highlighted by the almost glow that Rosenberg’s really bright but still muted and down to Earth colors have to them.
Telling stories around magical and fantasy elements needs to come with a certain sort of touch, and they definitely have it here. There are some powerful and kinetic panels and pages with the action scenes, making each blow and powerful moment hit. Even with that sort of fantastical edge to the artwork, the emotional moments still hit just as hard as the action moments, as all the anger and sadness, and other emotions are captured perfectly.
There are a few panels where some of the faces are a bit off with the angle and view, but it’s only here or there and doesn’t take away from everything accomplished within.
With the lettering, Cory Petit has a lot to bring to the table here from the variety of caption boxes that change for each character to a ton of dialogue and even a few thought bubbles that fit through the issue. The little touches that make each character’s dialogue different from each other, both in subtle ways and in bigger emphasized ways, is always great. Not only does it make tons of dialogue easier to follow but just adds more to the book because it reminds us how these characters are all different. Its not just a case where any dialogue could be coming from any character on the page.
The Death of Doctor Strange: Avengers #1 is now on sale in print and digitally from Marvel Comics.