REVIEW: ‘Strange Academy,’ Issue #7

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Strange Academy #7

Strange Academy #7 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Skottie Young, art by Humberto Ramos, with colors by Edgar Delgado, and letters by Clayton Cowles. In the aftermath of the student’s confrontation with The Hollow, there is a lot of pain to go around. But as Emily awakens from her brush with death she may find that the price of some victories is more than she can bear. And that not all wounds can be healed through magic.

Ever have that writer that no matter how many times they send your heart through the wringer they can always manage to surprise you when they do it again? Somehow, Young is that writer for me. After going through the emotional devastation that was 18 issues of Middlewest, you’d think I’d have learned not to let my guard down. Alas, as Strange Academy #7 clearly shows me, Young is still able to tear my heart out.

For the first time, this issue allows the ensemble nature of the book to take a back seat as the narrative comes to focus squarely on Emily. As she awakens from a nightmare, she finds herself in the school’s infirmary, under the watchful eye of Zelma. As the reality of her situation, particularly the death of Doyle, comes crashing down on her, Emily lashes out at anything within striking distance. In an attempt to calm her, Zelma walks Emily through the events that transpired during her unconscious. The lengths Strange went to save her, and why the same couldn’t be done for Doyle.

The confusion of emotions that permeates the scene where Strange is trying to save Emily in the past is delivered with the utmost skill. Young does a magnificent job of blending all the conflict and confusion within each individual while managing to not simply label anyone as the “bad guy” in the moment. Everyone is trying desperately to do what they believe needs to be done. And there is more than enough blame for what has happened to go around.

Once the catch-up story is down, Strange Academy #7 sees Doctor Strange return to the infirmary, and Emily’s anger is renewed with who she perceives to be the embodiment of the lies that caused her, and her fellow students, to behave so rashly.

Throughout all the emotional roller coasters, and magical might that is employed through this book, Ramos’ art never fails to make every panel land with resounding power. The raw naked emotion within many of these panels never fails to feel just as powerful as the most impressive magical might.

Helping give the visuals their amazing power is Delgado’s colorwork. Every magical effect and transdimensional locale is vibrant and leaps from the panel. It is the final element that the art needs to achieve its transcendent delivery.

Finally, we have Cowles lettering. The emotions within the story are given a strong emphasis here, as Cowles uses a good sense of scale to push some fonts bigger, delivering that extra impact the moment needs. Part of me would’ve like to have seen some of the fonts pushed even bigger. But with how much is going on within these panels, I think Cowles’s discretion is the right call.

Packed all together, Strange Academy #7 delivers a powerful, emotionally charged story that doesn’t let up. As the book closes, the final page is home to one of the most impactful moments I’ve ever read in a comic. The heart, the passion, and the magic of this book cannot be denied. If you have been on the fence about this story, you do yourself a disservice by staying away. Young and company are crafting something truly special here.

Strange Academy #7 is available on January 27th wherever comics are sold.

‘Strange Academy,’ Issue #7
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TL;DR

Packed all together, Strange Academy #7 delivers a powerful, emotionally charged story that doesn’t let up. As the book closes, the final page is home to one of the most impactful moments I’ve ever read in a comic. The heart, the passion, and the magic of this book cannot be denied. If you have been on the fence about this story, you do yourself a disservice by staying away. Young and company are crafting something truly special here.