REVIEW: ‘Death of Doctor Strange: X-Men/Black Knight,’ Issue #1

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Death of Doctor Strange X-MenBlack Knight - But Why Tho

Death of Doctor Strange: X-Men/Black Knight #1 is a one-shot comic published by Marvel. Written by Si Spurrier with art by Bob Quinn. The colors are from Israel Silva and Cory Petit is the letterer. This is part of the Death of Doctor Strange event. Doctor Strange is death. As the Sorceror Supreme falls, so do all of the barriers that he created, unleashing many mystical horrors upon the world. London has been covered by a dark cloud, swallowing the X-Men inside. Dane Whitman sends his daughter Jackie, who is now the Black Knight, into the storm to investigate. Inside, Jackie discovers that mutants have been changed into something completely different. With an old friend, Jackie must defeat and save her heroes.

The concept of this one-shot is chaotic but brilliant. Completely unexpected before jumping in, it is high-octane from the first page. The issue moves at a fast pace as our hero and the reader are flung head-first into a very changed world. Spurrier brings terrific energy to the script. There are a lot of different elements involved even before this comic begins, but the writer controls them well. There is a lot of exposition unloaded over the first half of the comic, needed as it forms the crux of the themes for the one-shot. Interestingly the X-Men are slotted violently into the world of Black Knight, not the other way around. The battle is intense and whilst the ending contains a more traditional team-up, the conclusion leaves us surprised and with questions for the future.

The Mutants are very much the second fiddle in Death of Doctor Strange: X-Men/Black Knight #1, actually serving as an obstacle. Instead, it is Jackie and Dane that are the key figures of the comic. More specifically, the new Black Knight is incredibly written in this book. What makes her brilliant is that there are shades of her father in her personality, but she possesses an original voice as well. She is vehemently hot-headed, galloping into battle with a heat that would make Sunfire sweat. Still new to adventuring, she is also starting to be affected by the curse of the Ebony Blade. 

Dane’s recent stories have all been in one-shots like these, a fascinating method of keeping him current. Now he is like Jackie’s Oracle, offering advice and guidance. This notion that he is still a vital character is very important for readers that adore him, whilst also stepping aside for the powerhouse that is his daughter. The other character in this book is a very welcome inclusion, and it is nice to see Spurrier bring them back.

The art within this comic is absolutely superb. Quinn’s art style brilliantly fits the mystical nature of the book. High-fantasy and superheroes are blended gorgeously. The backgrounds are a flurry of dark clouds and large shadows whilst faces are sharp and detailed. The buildings and weather effects have a charcoal/chalk effect, almost existing in a different style to the heroes themselves. This helps suggest that Jackie is out of her death. The design of the changes to the X-Men is sensational, grotesque, and disturbing. They look like brand new beings whilst still recognizable for what they once were. The chaos that Spurrier scripted is captured excellently.

The colors are stunning. The sky is this constant fiery red that makes the inside of this storm resemble a hellscape. The vibrant colors that come with the X-Men and Black Knight costumes have remained but are dulled to better represent a fabric. Metal glints in the light and magic glow beautifully.

The lettering is a clever combination of the traditional X-Men font of the Krakoan era and Black Knight’s word balloons. 

Death of Doctor Strange: X-Men/Black Knight #1 is an adventure of the highest order. Loud and intense, Spurrier, Quinn, and Silva deliver a terrifying fantasy tale that still contains lovely moments of hope. It successfully combines two groups of characters that are not guaranteed to mesh together, yet that abrasive factor actually helps. It is part of a larger event, but personal and specific to this one particular comic.

Death of Doctor Strange: X-Men/Black Knight #1 is available now.


5

TL;DR

Death of Doctor Strange: X-Men/Black Knight #1 is an adventure of the highest order. Loud and intense, Spurrier, Quinn, and Silva deliver a terrifying fantasy tale that still contains lovely moments of hope. It successfully combines two groups of characters that are not guaranteed to mesh together, yet that abrasive factor actually helps. It is part of a larger event, but personal and specific to this one particular comic.