ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Doctor Strange The End’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Doctor Strange The End #1

Doctor Strange The End #1 is the Sorcerer Supreme’s final journey through a cyberpunk sprawl that forgot about magic. Announced at New York City Comic Con, Marvel Comics’ “The End” are one-shot comics that reveal how Doctor Strange, Captain America, Spider-Man, Venom, Deadpool, and Captain Marvel ultimately end their stories. In the case of Doctor Strange, this issue reteams a critically-acclaimed creative team with writer Leah Williams, artist Filipe Andrade, colorist Chris O’Halloran, letterer Clayton Cowles, and editor Chris Robinson.

In Doctor Strange The End #1, we see the Sorcerer Supreme as an old man, alone, and desperately holding on to the last bit of magic in the world. With his loved ones, other magical forces, and protege Illyana Rasputin all gone, Strange has been reduced to cheap parlor tricks, reading tarot cards in his shop and communicating with an AI that he tries to coax magic out of.

Doctor Strange The End #1

There is a bleakness in this issue from the start, a beautiful sense of hopelessness that Williams maps through Strange’s relationship with his AI and his rebuttal of a group of cyberpunk youths that come into his shop. As the issue continues, that sadness turns to hope as Strange decides to try and bring back magic. As the last of the mystics, he pushes himself to restore the magic the world has lost. The majority of Strange’s dialogue is to himself, or at least, we don’t see the other end of the conversation.

Having the main character talk to themselves is a difficult task and Williams pulls it off wonderfully and the lettering from Cowles helps this by alternating points between word balloons as he moves the conversation, breaking up the sentences in a way that causes you to pause as you read, building a realistic call and response cadence. Additionally, Willaims’ take on Strange’s loneliness, his sadness, and ultimately his hope makes this one-shot a quintessential Doctor Strange Story.

Doctor Strange The End #1

But, as amazing as the rest of the elements of this book are, it’s the art that steals me away into another world, another story, and another time. From the green “Flames of Faltine” that billow with dynamic movement, to Strange set against a vast background of emptiness as he presses forward, alone, a spec of red on a landscape, to the faces of Strange and the other characters, there is unrelenting emotion in Andrade’s work.

All of that said, Doctor Strange The End #1 is a success not only because of its lonely and hopeful beauty but because it presents us an end to Doctor Strange that is accessible to even the casual comic book reader. While there are deeper elements of relationships, which reading other issues will help inform some of these emotional beats to the story, you can feel the weight of this one-shot without knowing much beyond this singular story. Williams offers enough exposition through the AI’s interactions that you’re able to understand the final pages of the book and be hit hard.

Doctor Strange The End #1 is an emotional kick-off to watching our heroes end, and I’m excited about what other one-shots have to offer. Doctor Strange has never been so compelling as he is in his end.

Doctor Strange The End #1 is available where comics are sold on January 29, 2020.

Rating: 5/5

Doctor Strange The End #1 
5

TL;DR

Doctor Strange The End #1 is an emotional kick-off to watching our heroes end, and I’m excited about what other one-shots have to offer. Doctor Strange has never been so compelling as he is in his end.