REVIEW: ‘Marvel Action Classics: Doctor Strange’

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Marvel Action Classics: Doctor Strange

Marvel Action Classics: Doctor Strange, published by IDW, was originally published by Marvel,and contains two stories. “A Very Strange Day” is written by Paul Tobin, with pencils by Jacopo Camagni, inks by Norman Lee, colors by Guru-eFX, and lettering by Dave Sharpe. “Contractual Discombobulations” is written by Paul Tobin, art by Jacopo Camagni, colors by Chris Sotomayor, and lettering by Dave Sharpe.

“A Very Strange Day” opens with the Sorcerer Supreme floating through the multiverse checking in on the state of things with a hot beverage in his hand. Breaking from the synopsis for a second, this image made chuckle. The polarity of perspectives here really stands out given that for Strange, this morning routine is most normal, almost mundane, whereas for the reader this is, well, it’s very strange!

As the Doctor completes his checklist, he finds that the fabric of reality has started to become shredded, as if someone, or something, has been feeding on it. Quickly, Doctor Strange realizes what could have done this and he decides to call in reinforcements, specifically, Spider-Man. Meanwhile, Spider-Man is engaged in a tussle with Vulture, who has just stolen a mystical artifact. During the battle, Doctor Strange pops in. That’s not just a funny turn of phrase, the Sorcerer Supreme literally pops his head in from a reality nexus. Together, the two must race through the multiverse seeking out the Zakimiya and defeat it, before it destroys everything.

This first story was really enjoyable. Tobin captures a highly hilarious story in this fast-pace reality-hopping tale. Pairing Doctor Strange’s mystical intellect and dry sense of humor with the quick-witted Spider-Man is a touch of class as the two personalities combine effortlessly.

The art, and colors, from Camagni, Lee, and Guru-eFX are very on point. Especially notable are the diverse images they are all able to capture as they jump around the multiverse encountering different species within unknown lands. It is noteworthy that trying to create art that honors both characters is incredibly difficult to do, but within this story, the visual arts team seems to speaking from the exact same space.

The lettering from Sharpe is really well balanced given the contrasting dialogue throughout the first story. Sharpe is able to capture different languages and vocal tones in a very distinctive way. “Contractual Discombobulations” features an extremely bizarrely crafted story in that Doctor Strange and Jason Wong, while discussing the pros and cons of abstract art, are attacked by a magic-wielding squirrel. Strange and Wong, attempting to thwart the attacks of the usually friendly rodent, have some sensational dialogue as they try to surmise how it is that a squirrel has come to possess magical abilities.

As the story progresses it is discovered that this is, in fact, a known demon from the dark dimension that has simply taken the form of a squirrel. The catch, however, is that this demon can only exist upon Earth if he follows very specific clauses that he is being held to based on a contract he signed with the Ancient One. This culminates in a wacky series of events that will cause many a giggle. Now it’s up to Strange to find a loophole in the contract and send this demon back to his own dimension.

This offbeat story from Tobin is oddly captivating and it is such a blast to read it. Placing a laughable superhero spin on contract language culminates in a battle of wits I never knew I even wanted. Tobin delivers his dialogue in this, and his first story, in an easily digestible fashion. A lot of his work parallels that of dialogue you’re likely to hear in Rick and Morty. Highly complex situations summarized into bite-size segments to give context without diving too deeply into the mechanics of the process. In the absurdity of this story, it is also riddled with abstract humor.

Camagni and Sotomayor deliver images of a most metaphysical nature, as paintings come to life and squirrels breath fire. The images are entertaining and capture the nature of the story that Tobin created. Sharpe continues with highly pleasing lettering and finds a style that befits every character and creates a unique personality for each person.

Overall, this is a fun and light-hearted sci-fi superhero story for all ages. It is a brilliant combination of one-shot stories that fans of all experiences within Marvel can jump into and enjoy.

Marvel Action Classics: Doctor Strange is available in stores now and at IDW Publishing.

Marvel Action Classics: Doctor Strange
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TL;DR

Overall, this is a fun and light-hearted sci-fi superhero story for all ages. It is a brilliant combination of one-shot stories that fans of all experiences within Marvel can jump into and enjoy.