Comic Book Review: Doctor Strange #384
The good doctor has gone through many things as the Sorcerer Supreme, though who would have guessed the day would ever come that he would lose his title to Loki of all people? Let alone in a tournament he was neither a part of or won. While this story and change of status quo came out of the blue, it has been a stunning story so far regardless. Particularly to see and understand why Strange would never allow Loki to stand in his place.
There’s one constant that even with this creative team that I am loving about the series, and that is the strong emphasis on the price of magic. Right now, this is the price of magic that Strange is paying by simply losing his title of Sorcerer Supreme to Loki, but everything else since then? You would think someone would fill their tab enough. Doctor Strange has proven time and time again that no price is to high for him to do what he thinks is right. Just about everything he said he did at the start of this issue summed up the lengths he is willing to go. I mean what is there not to love about this development? We’ve learned so many ways that one can acquire both magic and power. And that is a big accomplishment during a time where magic is in short supply on Earth.
Now after taking magic from Asgard, the only step to take next was confronting Loki once more. Loki is already a strong sorcerer, so the big question was what kind of foe he could be with the added power in being Sorcerer Supreme. At this point you expect the unexpected, and that is exactly what we are treated with when these two forces clash. To see the full power of Yggdrasil unleashed within Strange was a visual treat as well. I mean the spells he was able to pull off here was almost godly, which made it that much more shocking as to how he was able to pull them off. As exciting as the spell slinging was, it was the words as well which cut here. This was that opportunity for Strange to really get some things off of his chest, and for Loki to actually have room to speak his case for why he doesn’t quite understand the animosity.
The best thing this story has going for it currently is the unpredictability of Strange in this state of mind. We know what he is trying to prevent by taking his power back from Loki, but this is a situation where you have to ask if the end justifies the means. There are many things that this guy could do in an act of desperation, but none could have been as questionable as what he lets loose by the end of this issue. That twist right there flipped everything you thought about this story right on its head. Whether you want to or not, you know who are rooting for at this point.
Gabriel Hernandez Walta and Jordie Bellaire continue to show why they are a perfect pair together on art. Their approach to breathing life into this world of magic is unique to anything we have seen so far. What sticks with you more than anything else is what these two have to offer showing what Strange looks like with the full power of Yggdrasil on his side. His complete transformation transcended him past your average sorcerer. His hair, the staff, his clothing, all of it took on a new look that was never before seen. What he was able to do with this power was impressive to see in action, it was also cool to see that Loki does have some firepower to him beyond his usual tricks. That aside, the pacing here could only be felt through the artwork. From the minute Strange started this fight, the action didn’t stop till the end. The impact of their battle could be felt in many ways, and keeping things moving in the background was perfect for consistent engagement. Jordie Bellaire’s colors were admirable for how balanced and tame they could be in this issue. Normally one would expect colors flying in every direction, but she keeps things in perspective. That’s not to say that the colors she brought out from Strange and Loki weren’t appealing or didn’t pop, because that is how you make the statement that two strong forces are clashing.
Magic has truly taken on a deeper meaning through this volume of Doctor Strange. This story arc? That takes the price of magic and paying your tab to a whole new level. The events of Doctor Strange #384 probably proved why the Vishanti made the decision they did at the end of that tournament.