Comic Book Review: Doctor Strange #9
I’ll admit, I was a bit on the fence about if I was really looking forward to this next issue for the Sorcerer Supreme. It was a tough pill to swallow that the space adventure didn’t go on longer for the sake of exploration and discovery in magics. Then it was disappointing when cycling through a villain we’ve seen way too often, and on top of that we cycled through Stephen going through the same habit of betraying friends, and them leaving him. The hope this week was for an issue that would help me overlook those things that I found problematic about the current direction.
As the start of something new, I didn’t know what to expect from this issue. All I knew was a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach because of the thought that this would center around a villain from his past coming back. It would have turned me off it that happened the way I thought it would. We are at a point with Doctor Strange where the big draw-in is doing things new. For the most part these stories should be a refreshing experience for reader. Fortunately the past chapter was only a small stagger when this villain who has returned threatening Greenwich Village and the Sanctum offered a new kind of problem for him to deal with. The form that this danger took was creative for Stephen. This was not one of those things were you could simply wave a finger and the problem was gone. It took more of Stephen at work than the sorcerer to get the job done. We haven’t gotten too much of that in a long while.The flashback to his first encounter with this enemy was relieving since all of this was new content. It was only from Stephen’s point of view that this was an old face returning.
What was appealing about this story was the way that the people of Greenwich Village were involved with this danger. When the last issue focused on the problem that Stephen faces when people are close to him, his relationship with his neighbors says differently. It made a world of difference to address the way that he has helped these people. Some solutions to their problems required a firm hand, while others required him simply being a decent person. That is part of the expectation that readers should have met from solo series like this. It doesn’t have to always be saving the world. You can have a story that shines a light for what these heroes are able to accomplish in their own neighborhoods. That says a lot about who they are than a million other strangers that you might only see once.
How Stephen solved the problem of this new foe was invigorating for the future of our investment in this series. Sometimes you also just need to see the guy in his element. Not for being powerful, but for being who he is at the core. The kind of guy who is not bullied easily, scared away from doing what’s right, or incapable of handling a problem surgically. What he also revealed about his home in the process was worth the build-up and execution at the very end.
Jesus Saiz worked his magic once again with the interior work for this issue. There was something to appreciate about the way he was able to capture the more grounded aspects of Stephen’s world. All these people of different races, ages, genders, really added to the investment that Stephen has in the people he surrounds himself with in this neighborhood. It was also refreshing to have an issue since this run began where we could see Stephen in a more causal setting. You get to know your heroes much better when you can see them in regular clothing, a casual state of mind, and so forth. The highlight of this issue was the reveal of this enemy from the past. A very creative creation from Saiz that was both parts equally intimidating and powerful in presence. I’ve never been more impressed with alien/demon creations in a Marvel book lately than when Saiz took over as artist for this book. Aside from that, he clearly had fun with the small tour of the Sanctum Sanctorum that we were given. Who doesn’t enjoy drawing a house that plays by its own rules on the inside?
Doctor Strange #9 restored a lot of faith in this series that was slipping for me. It’s all about the new right now. New enemies, new situations, bold solutions. You have to keep on this and execute with consistency for the best results.