Doctor Strange #14 Review

by Charles Martin on May 22, 2019

Doctor Strange #14 Review
Storyteller/Artist: Barry Kitson
Storyteller/Writer: Mark Waid
Finisher: Scott Koblish
Colourist: Brian Reber
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Poor Doctor Strange! Here he is, doing the full Herald of Galactus job, and he doesn't get any Power Cosmic or superfly transportation or even a shiny coat of chrome. Nobody said Sorcerer Supreme-ing was easy, huh?

While Stephen hunts frantically for a magic planet that's safe to feed to the Big G, Umar is trying to rally support for a Galactus-banishing alliance. And she's having a hard time of it.

As clearly foreshadowed, Galactus's presence in the Mystic Realms hasn't gone unnoticed. There's sinister plotting afoot to parallel Strange and Umar's efforts.

Is it a spoiler to say the antagonist is Dormammu? I don't think so; #13 unbagged that particular cat. To preserve some sense of mystery, I can safely refuse to identify Dormammu's co-conspirator or exactly how his plan plays out.

The pan-dimensional road trip plot works out very well for the art team. Barry Kitson and Scott Koblish revel in the opportunity to bring us "speed weird" as Stephen and Umar roam far and wide. Water snake people! Eyeball people! Talking dinosaur people! And so much more!

The human (and human-ish) characters are really put to shame by the wilder sights the Mystic Realms have to offer. The settings and backgrounds deliver a healthy side-dish of weird, too. The overall effect is Ditko-esque in the best possible way.

Brian Reber enhances the wildness of it all with a wide-ranging palette. He employs plenty of high-intensity colours to make sure the strangest denizens of the Realms pop off the page. And when the inevitable confrontation rolls around, throbbing reds and oranges add weight to the next stage of Galactus's evolution.

Mark Waid's script is heavy on plot. Stephen has a little narration to spare as he races around the Realms, and he spends on it on some (rather perfunctory) insights about Clea and Umar. 

The race to feed Galactus is first and foremost in his mind, though. This, of course, does not turn out well. Stephen barrels headlong into a huge trap. Though he recognizes the jaws and even identifies their maker, he doesn't do so until they're chomped securely around him.

Remember just two issues ago how Dr. Strange flat-out acknowledged that his adventures were too cyclical? How he had beat the same handful of baddies dozens of times?

Here he is again, face to face with Dormammu. Sigh. The plot railroads him into the confrontation with logic and a pretty enjoyable journey, but what a familiar destination! There will doubtless be some novel trickery in the victory to come, and the presence of Galactus will hopefully be decisive. But it is gonna be Strange v. Dormammu for the Nth time, and all the bells and whistles in the world won't erase the fact that even the protagonist is tired of winning that fight.

Our Score:


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Charles Martin's picture
The destination might not fully satisfy, but wotta ride!