Comic Book Review: Doctor Strange #390

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Its new story arc time for the Sorcerer Supreme as he seems to be getting back to what can be considered normal, for him that is. Up to this point it has been one cataclysmic disaster after the other for the guy, and he has been given no room to catch his breathe from enemies who would see this as their opportunity to find success. Now is the time for us to see what can finally come of this story after Doctor Strange has that time to now pick up the pieces of his broken life.

As far as new story arcs go, this one was the most intriguing for the way it began. First you have Zelma making her return, and in the same moment you have Spider-Man making his appearance. Now with that said, neither you find in the position you would expect from them. Instantly we are left with many questions wondering how we started off at this point and where this is all leading to, especially with Spider-Man guest starring. Till the time for answers came, I was just enjoying the circle of associates and friends that Strange surrounds himself with. A book-case, a comedian, and a talking ghost dog. Not the combination which comes to mind when you think of supporting characters for a hero. Regardless, Spidey and Bats in particular you have to enjoy for their ability to thin out what could easily be tense and depressing moments. There’s no dull moment once they start talking, because it doesn’t end until you want them to be quiet. Bats in particular I continue to enjoy for how he brings out varying responses from Strange through humor alone.

It goes without saying that no mattered what happened here, a true explanation of Spider-Man’s presence was much-needed. I’m not going to lie, I was not prepared for that explanation. It began as something genuine, then turned into what can only be described as a Strange moment. Donny Cates dug deep there to remind us that one of the appeals of this book is venturing into the obscure for this corner of the Marvel Universe.

That aside, this just leaves Strange and his attempt to repair his friendship with Zelma. The dialogue from Zelma was beautiful. She finally found that voice inside of her to express the way these past events have made her feel. She has taken a more mature approach to fixing things than Strange ever could have in the past. It was picture perfect to have this moment to get inside her head and see that at the end of the day she is just like us the readers who are entertained by the things that can’t be answered so easily. The end of their conversation may not have gone the way you hoped, but it was the heart put into it overall that left the lasting effect.

Frazier Irving I always admit is one of my favorite artists, and the most fitting for stories like this. This wasn’t one of those issues where Irving was able to run wild with his style of art, but all the same he made this his own from start to finish. I don’t think anyone else could have better captured the personality and emotion that went into each scene whether it was the shared humor between Spidey and Bats, or the more serious attitudes of Strange and Zelma. I really enjoyed the effect he used as well to add a sense of enlightenment to what each of these characters brought out in each other. What truly shocked me was the cartoon style that this story broke into. Again that came out of nowhere, it was so different, and so many emotions were experienced from it all at once. Defininitely the kind of scene that Chip can break into so easily. It was a classic moment for both Doctor Strange and Spidey.

Doctor Strange #390 I’m going to assume is where they hand this story off for the next person, and to bring Doctor Strange into the next phase of the Marvel Universe. I don’t know if this is going to be a book worth picking up still after, but I can speak for what Doctor Strange has been up to now, and the only word that comes to mind is astonishing. I don’t think we’ve ever been this engaged in Strange’s world whether it was Jason Aaron or Donny Cates writing.

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