Comic Book Review: Doctor Strange #17


It really has been no walk in the park for the Sorcerer Supreme. Since the world lost most of its magic, Doctor Strange has evolved into the ultimate underdog story for a hero. ‘Blood in The Aether’ was indeed an epic story with a great end to it. Doctor Strange went against the worst of his rogues gallery, and somehow just barely made it out against what should have been an impossible win. The way it ended certainly had you anticipating this issue as our favorite new villain finally takes off the gloves.

Mister Misery has been one of the most creative villains created in some time for Marvel if you ask me. He breaks the mold of many we tend to see pop up reoccurring. He struggles fighting against his nature, and unlike many doesn’t lash out against the population for it. He only has one clear target, and that is Doctor Strange. He extent he goes to now without a doubt makes this personal. Crossing that line of no return was pretty much what we needed to see from Mister Misery to crush any assumption that he could probably be redeemed. Helping to defeat The Empirikul and Dormammu was nice, but as we all know what he had to do if he were to be the one to kill Doctor Strange.

There are a number of ways in which Mister Misery could have taken his first act of vengeance upon Doctor Strange, and I have to say Jason Aaron did not pull punches in how far Misery would go. It was a tough pill to swallow, but this was a sharp reminder of the dark place we should have been prepared for this story to take us. I’m glad that Jason Aaron was able to keep up on his end to push those boundaries the way he just did.

It was nice to see that some time has passed since the events of ‘Blood in The Aether’. At some point we would have to make some sort of progression that would show us what this new world of magic would look like for Doctor Strange. Unfortunately enough so for the weight of Wong missing to do a number on the Sorcerer Supreme. If there was one thing we missed during this run of Doctor Strange so far, it has been the addressing of importance between him and Wong. For Wong, we have seen him throughout both story arcs go to great lengths to help Strange see his problems to the end. Even putting his own body on the line to do so. So this was the right time to get into what someone like this mean to Doctor Strange himself. The connection between him and Zelma is strong, but nothing like the years he and Wong have spent together fighting supernatural threats.

I admit I was not expecting Frazer Irving to be the artist for this issue of that begins ‘State of Misery’. If anyone they could have brought onboard for this story, I’m happy the choice was Irving. His style is perfect for where this issue takes us. Frazer Irving has his dark approach to what he paints that is fitting to what they are capturing here. They say that with magic slowly returning comes all the bad things, and Iriving is the kind of artist who can really conceptualize those dangers. Which brings us to Mister Misery. I loved the way Bachalo draws drew him, but Irving blew me away. Everything gross and evil about him felt so much more believable between the things he did to other people and the way he twists Wong to his whim. Not the kind of creature you want slithering inside of you. Aside from this, the magical elements in general look beautiful in the way the colors mesh and clash with each other. The hyper realism to his art takes this story to new heights because it is all right in your face. The horrors, the spectacle, all if it in high-definition. Before, a lot of the artwork was seen in white and grey scale, so this was the best opportunity to be able to see these things like Mister Misery and so forth looking fully rendered.

Doctor Strange #17 is where things really get dark. I know that is something they said this book would be as a whole, but this was the first time you could really look at a villain and say that is a problem that needs to be taken care of immediately. Mister Misery is beyond the cliche, and he takes personal to the next level. It should be fun to see what happens when Doctor Strange is done giving out chances for this monster of his own creation.

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