Written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Chris Bachalo
This was my first taste into Doctor Strange’s lore. (About time right!)
Luckily then, what I had was the perfect introduction to Doctor Strange. This isn’t exactly an origin story, however some of his earlier time as a magician and his training under the Ancient One is displayed, but only to help us readers understand Doctor Strange’s revelations and the story itself.
Normally I get straight into the story, but I feel I should first comment on the art. It’s fantastic! I can only imagine how fun though frustrating it would of been for Aaron (the writer) to convey his mind’s eye to Bachalo (the illustrator).
The title for this volume is called “Way of the Weird” and if you skim through almost any page in the book you are bound to find some highly unusual imagery.
We see characters with mouths and eyes protruding out of their heads, and Strange himself isn’t just an observer to the weird.. he is often at times the one doing it.
One page has him eating what is described by another character as ‘culinary afterbirth’. The book isn’t afraid to go strange (no pun intended) and I have to give both the writer and illustrator the thumbs up for that.
The story was highly enjoyable. We are introduced to Zelma Stanton, a librarian who comes to Strange for reasons she can’t well explain. After an unusual first meeting, Doctor Strange offers her the job to be his librarian.. of sorts. He shows her and us as readers the side effects of being earth’s Sorcerer Supreme and the outright crazy world he has to contend with on a daily basis. We see glimpses into magical horrors that lurk in some of his hidden rooms and it becomes clear how much Doctor Strange is sacrificing to keep the world we know from being destroyed from the face of existence. The weird he has to deal with face on would drive almost anyone mad. He even warns Zelma at one point not to think too much about it all otherwise it could turn her mind crazy.
Though we are not shown too much of the main villain in this first volume, it seems his mission is this: To rid every dimension of magic. It isn’t long into the story that we learn whoever this antagonist is, he means business and is well on the way to his dream becoming a reality. His reasons and motives so far are unknown, but in order to stop him Doctor Strange has had to assemble every magician and every Sorcerer Supreme he can to help stop this destroyer before magic is taken forever. No magic means every existence would just collapse in itself. Thus ending many if not all universes.
The story isn’t all doom and gloom, there are parts that had me smiling and parts that had me squirming.
I genuinely could not have picked up a better first read of Doctor Strange. Almost 100 percent of what he does in the marvel universe is unseen by others. He really is in some ways Marvel’s biggest unsung hero. The weird isn’t just something he faces, it’s something that has taken its toll on him and yet, there he is doing all he can to keep the earth from being destroyed. The book does a wonderful job of explaining Strange’s personality without giving us a history lesson.
If your new to Doctor Strange, do what I did.. pick up this comic and delve deep into the weird.
Reviewed by Tyrone Burns.