Dr. Strange #6 Review

by Charles Martin on August 05, 2020

Dr. Strange #6 Review
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Kev Walker
Colourist: Java Tartaglia
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Let me start off with a confession: I do love arms-dealing villains. I'm a card-carrying fan (maybe the only one?) of Kashmir Vennema, for example.

So when Dr. Strange #6 kicks off with Madame Masque detailing her magical gun-running schemes, I'm in hog heaven. She's been using Dr. Strange's fancy magical forge as her warehouse of choice, shipping magical WMDs to monstrous badguys all across the multiverse.

And she's doing it all to make Tony Stark notice her! Awww. Or possibly, more realistically, ewww.

Doc Druid starts the issue in her clutches, and Doc Strange has to catch up with them and free his questionable ally before saving the day. Strange's plans are appreciably clever, twisting the premises of the magical setting (Kryll) to work in his favour.

I'll give Mark Waid full credit for his script: It relates a straightforward magic fight, but it has space for a little meta-fictional commentary as it gets down to business. Dr. Strange is surveilling Masque's little TED Talk about magic arms-dealing, for example, and he doesn't hesitate to call it a "pompous monologue."

Kev Walker does a fantastic job of illustrating Strange's fight. He preserves plenty of Kryll's exotic background sights while also throwing Doc into furious action. The characters are illustrated with strength and clarity, and they stand realistically in even the most fantastic settings (Strange dives into Masque's mind at one point, with brief but memorable visual weirdness supplied by Mr. Walker).

Java Tartaglia delivers capable colours throughout. This fighty climax involves a lot of magic, so that calls for plenty of maximum-intensity hues. Mr. Tartaglia balances the vibrant magic-zaps nicely with more grounded colours. He's also not afraid to alter the whole palette to indicate specific magic effects; Doctor Strange's use of astral projection in the climax is boldly illustrated with vibrant blue.

To turn back to writing matters, this story resolves with some classic Dr. Strange audacity. It's not enough for him to defeat Madame Masque (that's not a spoiler, is it?), he has to try to cure her madness. 

While I've had issues with some of the plots Mark Waid has arranged for Doc Strange in his tenure, I'll be the first to admit he gets Stephen in a way that's ideal for a solo comic. Strange's decisions in this comic are perfectly in-character.

He handles antagonists well, too. Masque's reaction to the Doctor at the climax -- and here I definitely don't want to spoil things -- is perfect. 

Dr. Strange #6 brings the good doctor's latest adventure to a wholly-satisfying close. At its core, it's a basic "hero vanquishes villain" story, but both of the parties involved enjoy an admirable level of insight thanks to solid scripting. Tie it up with some splendid art and you have a fulfilling climax for a strong (if not all-time great) Doctor Strange adventure.

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Charles Martin's picture
If nothing else, this issue is a bulwark against transferring Masque permanently into Hawkeye's rogues' gallery. She is definitely not over Iron Man.