Thursday, November 1, 2012

Review: Doctor Strange Season One

Marvel's Season One line focus on retelling of established superheros origin story. And this one retreads the penance path of Stephen Strange into enlightenment and magic.

Stephen will have to learn to deal with a witty Ancient One, a arrogant Mordo, a reckless Wong and mysterious Sofia Di Cosimo.

This adventure will take Stephen and the reader around the world and back, in search of 3 rings of power that together are able to control the Vishanti.

How good is it?

I went into Doctor Strange Season One with no expectations. I like reading comics that are Magic themed and also like the little I've read about Doctor Strange. It seemed a good choice.

Greg Pak brings us the retelling of the origin of Doctor Strange. Right out of the box it starts telling us some very important events in Stephen's life instead of showing us. If the reader isn't familiarized with Doctor Strange's origin, it will be hard to understand the meaning of the journey.

There are many leaps of faith the reader has to make during this story. Either Pak was to ambitious with his story or very careless, because the amount of events that happen just because is mind-boggling. For instance, the first time Mordo makes an appearance, and supposedly the first time he meets Stephen, he tells him about his plan to betray the Ancient One on the 5th phrase.

The rest of the book feels like a Where is Carmen Sandiego cartoon. Our heroes skip around the world on a quest for 3 rings of power. It is all very convenient and straight forward. The best aspect of the story is the 3 ring owners that they find. One a rotten apple, one a giving man and a crazy old woman. Cool mix of ideas but, like the rest of the book, not very well executed.

The absolute worst was how Stephen was able to beat Mordo in battle. Not going into details, but when I think Magic, and future Sorcerer Supreme, I don't think what happened in the book. Maybe Pak was trying to be funny or throw off the reader giving him something unexpected. He managed to do the latter but in a bad way.

Emma Rios's art still has a long way to go before its great. It does the job, every character is distinguishable, but apart from that it leaves a bit to be desired. Usually is too muddy and undefined, especially when magic is being practiced.

Clothes make the man
Most fights with Mordo are a mess of green streaks and yellow dashes that are meant represent something but in many panels are very hard to understand. In the non action panels however the art is considerable better. Characters are better defined and emotions are transmitted to the reader in a competent way.

Evil magic is evil

This hardcover also has the first issue of the new Defenders series. Well those pages would be better spend in the main story. Maybe that way Pak could have the time needed to flesh out plot.

Would I recommend it?

Unless you really have to read this, or are a die hard Doctor Strange fan, then I don't recommend this book.

The story is too convenient most of the time. Character motivations are far from believable, and Stephen method of defeating Mordo took me right out of the story.

Keep in mind that its not all bad, for example the dynamics between Wong and Stephen is a cool twist on the classic relationship. But if we put the good against the bad this book just isn't worth his price.

Publisher: Marvel Comics
Year: 2012
Pages: 136
Authors: Greg Pak, Emma Rios


  1. Hi Rui, you asked a question on my site about Hulk, Dr Strange and the Crossroads. I did some looking around for you but unfortunately I couldn't find a collection. The nearest thing I guess would be to get Hulk #300 - #313 and get the rest separately.

    1. Hi Ian,

      Thanks for the reply and the clarification. I've been searching for those stories a while now, but to no avail.

      Maybe in the future Marvel will republish that era.