Dr. Strange #3 Review

by Jay Hill on February 12, 2020

Story told by: Mark Waid & Kev Walker
Colors by: Java Tartaglia
Lettered by: Cory Petit
Published by: Marvel Comics

A mysterious medical case creates a situation in which Stephen Strange’s two worlds must collide. This issue is where the comic earns the title "doctor" and the title "strange".

While at his day job as a supreme surgeon at McCarthy Medical Institute, Dr. Strange is given a patient who appears to be experiencing extreme aging. While the afflicted teen says he is only 19 he could easily pass for 90. This sickness turns out to have a supernatural origin and Dr. Strange journeys into another dimension to get to the bottom of this “disease”.

This story not only felt classically Dr. Strange, but it felt classically comic book. This was such a great way to bridge the surgeon and sorcerer aspects of the character. It is also well-paced and fun throughout with a nice mix of mystery, action, and suspense. And, by the end of the issue, we see Strange use all the tools in his arsenal to come out on top. The task takes strength, skill, ingenuity, and mysticism, and makes Strange look truly heroic. And, the story isn’t just a one-off side quest. The event of this issue plays into the “main mystery” introduced in earlier issues. I was slightly surprised by how soon we were given some answers to that underlying mystery. But, with that bit of information revealed, it will now move the story along at a greater speed which seems to be seen on the cover for the next issue (hopefully it doesn’t spoil the twist too bad).

The writing and story content left the doors wide open for the visuals to go crazy places and they didn’t disappoint. Even before the dimension-hopping, there were some striking visuals. The aging youngster in the hospital, the hospital ghoul, and the flashback of the “2d” man left me feeling uneasy (as were their goal). The coloring in those early scenes also helped establish the mood. Then, when Strange jumps into the “tattoo dimension”, we get some seriously trippy illustrations. The first landscape view with the cornucopia of weird drawings gave a real “over the rainbow” “departed from Kansas” effect. And, it was interesting that the world was one specifically of drawings, so the illustrations were meta. There were so many great touches to the art of the realm, but a highlight was the mermaid that suddenly spit forth eldritch like tentacles from her mouth. I was taken aback by that shot, which is a job well done. There were some seriously creepy looking things throughout this issue. The colors got to do some interesting things also. I particularly liked the use of yellow in the later scenes with the main villain. And, the climactic shot with the burst of colors that looked like a thermal sensor.

This was an issue that was simply fun to read. The adventure Dr. Strange goes through is exciting every (trippy) step of the way. And, Mark Waid knows what to sprinkle throughout to give it more substance than is noticeable at first glance. With this being just the third beat in this tale, it opens up what could come next.

Our Score:


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