ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Strange Academy Presents: Death of Doctor Strange,’ Issue #1

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Strange Academy Presents Death of Doctor Strange #1 - But Why Tho

Strange Academy Presents: Death of Doctor Strange #1 is a comic published by Marvel Comics. Written by Skottie Young, with art in the main story by Mike Del Mundo. Colours are by Del Mundo and Marco D’Alfonso. The letterer is Clayton Cowles. This is part of the Death of Doctor Strange event. There are also one-page stories in this issue written by Young, featuring cameos from several high-profile artists. 

Doctor Strange was mysteriously murdered. As the Sorceror Supreme, he was the last line of defense against magical monsters, demons, and aliens invading his reality. With his death, the curses and blockades have fallen. At the Strange Academy, a school set up by the dearly departed Doctor, two Asgardian wizards are the children of Elora the Enchantress. Her firstborn was promised to an evil sorcerer, a vow that was paused by Strange. But now, the villainous Pulmari finds and kidnaps Iric. His brother, Alvi, is forced to request help from his mother, going on a trip to Weirdworld to find him.

The plot of this issue is a strange concept at first. With an expected heavy fallout, the ramifications of Strange’s demise should have been larger. The students are sent home as the imminent dangers are dealth with, and then the lives of two pupils become the focus of the tale. In that regard, the story is fantastic. The pace is swift as Iric is taken early in the comic. The reader is taken on an adventure that Young is exceptional at telling. The high fantasy aspect of the comic never dissipates. But there are themes of motherhood and family that create a personal, grounding heart to the one-shot. The magic and action is exciting, and Weirdworld is a very underused location in Marvel’s possibly holiday destinations.

The characters and the dialogue are extraordinary inside Strange Academy Presents: Death of Doctor Strange #1. The cast is relatively small in the main story, primarily featuring Enchantress and her two sons. There is a beautiful arc in a single issue. Avid readers will know Enchantress and what she is like as a character: arrogant, powerful, and ruthless. An early flashback shows her old self as she teams up with Doctor Strange. But in the present day, there is a vulnerability. She is cold towards Alvi when he goes to her, which is how readers know her. And her son matches her snarkiness, with cutting remarks showing just how much disdain he has for his mother.

The art is awesome within the one-shot, perfectly suited for the genre. Del Mundo acknowledges the high-fantasy aspect of the comic brilliantly. The artist uses very thin lines that allow for eloquent, beautiful details. There are some fantastic, silly character designs when Weirdworld comes into the equation, befitting a Young comic. Even the villain could be mistaken for an 80s wrestler at times with how he looks. But that madness is grin-inducing. It isn’t just magic included in the action scenes, as there are warriors inside Weirdworld ready for a fight. The sensation of motion is clear and fluid whenever it is visible. When the magic is cast, there are deformed, wavy lines that add chaos to the battles.

Perhaps the most stunning aspect of the artwork is the colours. Del Mundo and D’Alfonso use a painted, faint style that is lovely to see. The colours are light, but still have a life and vibrancy to them. This is especially the case when spells are being cast. Doctor Strange’s appearance shows him shrouded in golden light, showing just how powerful he was as a sorcerer. Each page has different colours and atmospheres, constantly fluctuating to keep the reader interested.

There is a montage sequence at the end of the comic, showing single-page snippets of what the other students are up to once they return home. Each story is written by Young, but with a different artist providing unique takes for individual moments. Names include Humberto Ramos, David Baldeón, and Peach Momoko. It shows that any one of these characters could have been the focal point of the issue.

The lettering is fantastic. For much of the issue, Cowles uses either a standard or the fantasy font for the word balloons, very easy to read. But there are moments when a monster shouts and the letterer gets to experiment with giant lettering.

Strange Academy Presents: Death of Doctor Strange #1 is a fun adventure comic that revels in weirdness. There is a heart to the issue as an absent mother begins to connect with her sons, but there is also brilliant comedic dialogue brought in by Young. The art is incredible and majestic, the whole comic celebratory towards artists. The main complaint is that although the kidnapping happens due to the death of Doctor Strange, the rest of the comic doesn’t focus on that at all. It would have been nice to see more of how the students were affected by the loss of the Sorcerer Supreme.

Strange Academy Presents: Death of Doctor Strange #1 is available where comics are sold from October 3rd. 


Strange Academy Presents: Death of Doctor Strange #1
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TL;DR

Strange Academy Presents: Death of Doctor Strange #1 is a fun adventure comic that revels in weirdness. There is a heart to the issue as an absent mother begins to connect with her sons, but there is also brilliant comedic dialogue brought in by Young. The art is incredible and majestic, the whole comic celebratory towards artists. The main complaint is that although the kidnapping happens due to the death of Doctor Strange, the rest of the comic doesn’t focus on that at all. It would have been nice to see more of how the students were affected by the loss of the Sorcerer Supreme.