A Strange New World: Reviewing ‘Strange’ #1

by Scott Redmond


‘Strange’ #1 kicks off a whole new emotional and character-rich journey that brings Clea a bold new spotlight that the character hasn’t had in some time if ever, and it’s a wonderful decision. Magical energy can be felt through every single page as we journey into various new unseen realms and situations that bring new depth and richness to the Marvel Universe and New York in particular that is a great thing to see.


The Sorcerer Supreme Strange is dead. Long live the Sorcerer Supreme Strange.

The Marvel Universe was rocked in various ways when Doctor Stephen Strange was brutally murdered in the straight-forward named The Death of Doctor Strange event mini-series. Thanks to a younger time-locked Strange duplicate of sorts, the murder was solved, Strange returned, and they turned back an invasion by powerful magical forces. Death, though, could not be so easily beaten as Strange was taken back to her realm.

Not before he did one last thing to protect his world, giving all his magical items and his powerful title to his wife Clea, the new Sorcerer Supreme Strange for the Earth realm while still remaining the Sorcerer Supreme of the Dark Dimension.

Clea is a character that hasn’t had the same type of profile in the last decade or more that she once had when it came to Strange related stories, but one would never know that after reading this first issue. Jed MacKay is a true master at creating engaging plotlines/stories but perfectly nails capturing all the elements of emotion and character beats that help us become attached to these fictional beings. We saw this with the recent Black Cat series and the also currently running Moon Knight, and we see it here fully.

I can’t think of that many stories that I’ve read with Clea in all the time I’ve read Marvel Comics, the old school Strange books being a hole in my reading resume, but with just this one issue I fully love the character. The strength, the sass, the power, the firm determination with a side of vulnerability and honesty about her situation and her goals and a good sense of humor are a winning combination. I mean watching Clea utterly verbally destroy Doctor Doom is worth the price of admission alone, not to mention the great moments between her and Wong.

Also, the ending is exactly the sort of tied to the past but done in a whole new way situation centering around a sadly forgotten but formerly pretty big character that MacKay does so well, yet still wonderfully catches one off guard.

Marcelo Ferreira returns to the realms of magic after diving in with the recent The Death of Doctor Strange: Spider-Man #1 tie-in issue. Much like that issue, his work has a lot of great magical and emotional, and fun vibes to it, perfectly capturing the body language/facial expressions. On one hand, there is a ton of detail work at play but on the other hand, the focus is often on the moment/emotion rather than capturing every detail which works. Our focus never leaves the characters or things that we need to have our eyes upon, the backgrounds and people are out of focus as their not part of this story.

Don Ho and Roberto Poggi handle the inking of Ferreira’s work this time and comparing the art between the two issues there are certainly some noticeable differences. On some of the pages, it can be somewhat seen when the inking changes. None of this is a bad thing whatsoever, let’s just tackle that right away. It’s all perfectly natural and flows together pretty smoothly, with the same depth and weight found in the one-shot but with a different focal point.

The paneling style that Ferreira uses is really great as it’s very mixed across the pages slipping and sliding around into the shapes or spaces that are needed or wanted. No two pages really are matching in how the panels are set up, which is fun and very artistically pleasing. Standard type of paneling is fine and great, but a lot of the visual work that is being put on the page today is just top-notch and fantastic to see happening.

Java Tartaglia and Felipe Sobreiro’s colors are overall toned down a bit from some of the bolder brighter colors one might see around some of these characters or their counterparts, which is fitting for the tone of this story. Not only is this darker in many ways, one but has to look at how Clea deals with an attacking force in the issue for that, but it’s a heavily emotional one about how grief and loss are handled or in some cases not handled. There are still some bright parts, as this is a magic book, but overall, they feel nicely earthy or muted and grounded.

One thing that is nice about covering so many books is getting to keep seeing the work of a lot of the same awesome folks, like Cory Petit. This is the second book in as many days where I got to write about how great his lettering work is across so many books. From how great and easy it flows around the pages for reading purposes, to the great care put into making sure that dialogue feels natural in the sense of clear intent (whispers are whispers, yells are yells, etc.). Tons of great and colorful and immersively fun SFX that are dotting the pages.

In that vein, seeing the loud and incessant knocking SFX on the opening pages leading to a Doom reveal brought a big smile to my face and got a good chuckle. Very well done.

Strange #1 is now on sale in print and digitally from Marvel Comics.

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