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Doctor Strange #381

by Michael D on November 15, 2017

Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Publisher: Marvel

            This week, Doctor Strange gets the Marvel Legacy treatment and it’s the perfect opportunity for new readers to jump on board. A new superstar team comes on board with this renumbering and it’s a match made in heaven. Writer Donny Cates is an up and coming writer that you want to keep an eye on. He is best known for his work on God Country and Redneck but this week marks the start of his Marvel exclusive career. Doing art is the talented Gabriel Walta, best known for his incredible work on last years The Vision. To round out the team is superstar colorist, Jordie Bellaire.

           Cates manages to make this debut a really easy jumping on point, recounting very quickly what the cast has been up to. He then proceeds to take the story in a completely different direction. Doctor Strange is no longer the Sorcerer Supreme; instead, that title now belongs to Loki. We are immediately thrown into this development and Loki has already been Sorcerer Supreme for months. Despite taking this new direction, the previous cast and elements are still part of the story. Zelma is still here and working for Loki, Loki pays a visit to The Bar with No Doors, and magic still has a cost.

           It’s a treat to see Cates write Loki. The reveal and Loki’s interaction with Doctor Strange’s cast is handled so well. He claims to be doing all of this for a good reason, out of a duty to protect Midgard. No one else sees it this way and he’s constantly called out on his bullshit. His motivations are still ambiguous but you can’t help but feel that there is some good in Loki’s action. I am sure there is still some twist and turns to come. While Loki might take up a majority of the issue, it is still a Doctor Strange book and he’s definitely in an interesting place. He considers himself “retired” and has taken up an new career. Cate’s has a strong handle on Strange. We get inside Strange’s head a little and can’t wait to see how he reacts to all the new changes. Although, I’d love to read a book titled Doctor Strange Veterinarian Supreme.  

           Walta’s art is a perfect fit for a Doctor Strange book. As we saw with The Vision, Walta knows how to slow it down and hit the character beats. His Loki is particularly well done with him appearing conniving and wicked one moment to sincere the next. We didn’t get a lot of action this issue but the one page spread we did get hints that the weirdness of Strange’s world is in safe hands. On colors, we have Jordie Bellaire. Of course, Bellaire knows exactly what she’s doing and her colors perfectly bring to life Walta’s art.

           Doctor Strange is in incredible hands with this new team. After meandering for a bit, the book finally feels like it has a direction and sense of purpose. Cate’s has knocked it out of the park, writing a compelling Loki and Doctor Strange. Walta and Bellaire make the book a treat to look at. Don’t sleep on this book. Even if you have never read a Doctor Strange book before, you’ll find that this is going to be a book that everyone is going to be talking about and you don’t want to miss out.

Our Score:


A Look Inside