Doctor Strange #1


Capsule Review

Grabbed me right with the first page, which frames the Doctor Strange against delightful panels from the character’s past by artists like Steve Ditko and Gene Colan. But then turn the page, and we are in a new era, with artist Chris Bachalo showing Doctor Strange casting spells and stealing kisses in a world unique for the way Strange sees it — overrun by microscopic monsters and unseen demons. Very nice use of color (and the absence of color!) by Bachalo, as well, although his line work isn’t as clean as in his recent X-Men work (which might have something to do with three inkers being credited on this book). Author Jason Aaron jumps right in and makes Doctor Strange his own, knitting him together with other Marvel sorcerers in a secret club, and hinting that a reckoning is coming for Strange’s reckless ways. The monster at the end of the story is genuinely creepy … and I would have left it there, because the little five-page backup story explains maybe too much, stepping on the mood of the main feature. Strange would have benefitted from a bit of internal conflict, but this is a quibble. Among the strongest books of Marvel’s new line.

Approachability For New Readers

Great! I can’t imagine a better reintroduction for this old favorite.

Read #2?


Sales Rank

#5 October

Read more about Doctor Strange at Longbox Graveyard

Read more capsule reviews of Marvel’s All-New All-Different rolling reboot.


Doctor Strange #1


About Paul O'Connor

Revelations and retro-reviews from a world where it is always 1978, published every now and then at!

Posted on November 20, 2015, in Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. I enjoyed it too but didn’t you find Strange a little too jokey and quippy? All Marvel heroes these days seem to constantly firing off smart ass remarks and it just doesn’t fit with the Doc Strange I remember


    • That’s a valid criticism, and one that slipped past me because I think I welcome a more light-hearted approach to Doctor Strange. It is a departure from the Ditko/Lee and Englehart eras that still define the character for me, but I’m OK with it. Strange had become dull, frankly. He was your dad in a flying bathrobe.

      I was also inoculated against all that quipping by a recent read of Brian Michael Bendis’ Avengers books, which is wall-to-wall quipping, and which features Doctor Strange front-and-center. I don’t remember him being an especially lighthearted character in those books — more often he is the adult in the room — but those scripts are such a verbal pie fight that he couldn’t escape unscathed, or unchanged.

      I think what I found more surprising and interesting about this Doctor Strange is that he’s under a lot of pressure, maybe even starting to crack up a little bit. He forgot the words to a spell in this issue … he recovered fast enough, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen him do that before. And he had his little PTSD bit with his outburst about how he isn’t sleeping and the protection of the entire world is in his shaking hands.

      As a first issue I think it ranks among the best in this Marvel reboot cycle, which has been surprisingly … not terrible at all!

      But good, bad, or indifferent, I will be off of Strange for at least the next six months or so. I’m not keeping up with any of these books in paper form, but if the series proves worthy in the long run, I will be there to binge them out when the books spool up in digital form in a year or so. Living as I do in 1978, it is no problem to wait twelve months to experience the balance of this 2015 series. I already feel exposed out here in the future, and need to scuttle back to my subterranean realm.


  2. I’ve been enjoying your reviews of Marvel’s latest, Paul. Haven’t been to the local comic store in many a moon, but I might just haul my cranky, grouchy middle-aged self in there to see what the hub-bub is with some of these titles.
    Just keep them kids away from my car while I’m in there!


  3. Really enjoying your Marvel reviews. I hadn’t bought new comics in years but you inspired me to run out and grab a big stack from my local shop. Keep up the good work.


    • Good heavens! Well, I hope you like the books … I will admit I am enjoying the hell out of this little mini-project, but my expectations are pretty low. Really I just wanted a couple boxes of comics to read with my pals. I’m like a fifty-year-old man child in a digital treehouse.

      (Come on in, but you need to know the password!)


  4. See I have heard the opposite about Bachelo’s art, with plenty of criticism about the current style he’s using. Personally his slightly and whimsically warped perspective does fit a character like Dr. Strange much more than it ever did the X-Men. I just wish he’d tone down on the cartooniness of his style a good bit. Otherwise, this sounds pretty good. I’m curious about Arron’s endgame and main intent with Strange, besides finally giving him a commercially successful solo series outside of Lee and Ditko’s run.


    • I’m OK with the cartoony approach … but I generally like it when artists employ that kind of shorthand, particularly in the service of greater emotional expression. I thought Bachelo was the best of the recent X-Men artists. Or maybe he just seemed the best compared to second-stringer Chris Anka, who might be the Don Heck of his generation.


  5. Bachalo’s X-Men left me cold. I like his art but I found him ill-suited for superheroes since his Generation X (which I bought despite being a mostly unreadable book).
    Doctor Strange, on the other hand… I say spot on and I’ll give it a try.

    I still long for a Keith Giffen or Michael Golden Doctor Strange… Hell, who am I kidding, I’m longing for anything penciled by Golden!


    • Would love to see a Michael Golden comeback at one of the Big Two publishers. I think he is unfairly regarded as a guy who doesn’t match the current style. He must be friends with all the wrong editors.


      • Paul, the way I understand it, Michael Golden would still be in demand but he purposely limits his comic output to covers. He enjoys working in the commercial field better than to commit himself to produce pages of comics.

        What’s a bit surprising is that he still prefers to be regarded as a storyteller rather than an artist.
        Covers, commercials… Does it ring a bell Michael?

        Ha, well… A great artist/storyteller lost for comics glory and fame, what a shame.
        Come back Michael, you are great!


        • Ah, well that makes perfect sense, of course … it is Golden who can choose to work in the comics business, and not the other way around. Good for him. And I do hope he chooses to do a book again sometime soon. Maybe at Image, where he can own his work?


  6. Just came back from my two regular comic shops and guess what? Every damn other books are filling loads of shelves but Doctor Strange, the only book than I find suitable to my taste is already out of stock.

    Bloody hell!


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