REVIEW: ‘The Death of Doctor Strange,’ Issue #5

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The Death of Doctor Strange #5

The Death of Doctor Strange #5 is written by Jed MacKay, illustrated by Lee Garbett, colored by Antonio Fabela, and lettered by VC’s Cory Petit. It is published by Marvel Comics. After the events of the fourth issue, Kaecelius is revealed as Doctor Strange’s murderer and does battle with the past version of Strange. However, with the help of his fellow spellcasters and the combined forces of the Avengers and X-Men, Past Strange must also repel the Three Mothers and the Peregrine Child before the world is utterly destroyed.

The entire hook of this series is how Strange’s death affects the Marvel Universe and how the bonds he formed eventually lead to the world’s salvation. Perhaps the greatest comparison I can make is with The Death of Superman, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. In the same vein as the Man of Steel, this storyline has explored Strange’s history and shown that his passing has major ramifications. MacKay also brings things full circle; unlike other series, this is a comic that truly lives up to its name. And the final page hints at the beginning of a new story along with a new Sorcerer Supreme.

Those final pages also feature a beautiful reunion between the Strange we know and his wife Clea, and once again, MacKay bucks tradition. When they die, most heroes die epically, getting in one last hit against the seemingly unconquerable evil or succumbing to their wounds after the battle is won. The opposite happens here as Strange gets the chance to tell Clea he loves her and bequeaths her with a gift. Moments like these add genuine emotional resonance to the story and make it worth reading. Anybody can kill a superhero, but it’s the mark of a true writer when that death makes you want to shed tears.

Since this is the final issue, Garbett and Fabela go all out for the fight sequences. The Three Mothers are shown locked in battle with the X-Men and Avengers; Cyclops’ optic blasts and Captain Marvel’s energy bolts bounce harmlessly off their bodies. Past Strange and Kaecelius also engage in a battle of spells, summoning golden and reddish-orange bolts of energy, respectively. Another page features Wong backing up his friend, with the spirits of other sorcerers shimmering in the background. But perhaps the most impressive and terrifying imagery comes courtesy of the Peregrine Child. The Child is a massive being clad entirely in shadow; the only light comes from its sinister grin. Petit leans into the creepiness by giving the Child black word balloons that are as jagged and broken as its soul and will send shivers down the readers’ spine.

The Death of Doctor Strange #5 closes the book on the Sorcerer Supreme’s legacy while charting the path for a new age of magic in the Marvel Universe. This has been one of the best Doctor Strange stories I’ve ever read, and if you’re looking to read something featuring the good doctor before Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, you can’t go wrong with this one.

The Death of Doctor Strange #5 is available wherever comics are sold.


The Death of Doctor Strange #5
5

TL;DR

This has been one of the best Doctor Strange stories I’ve ever read, and if you’re looking to read something featuring the good doctor before Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, you can’t go wrong with this one.