All these many decades, the one character trait that had Doctor Strange standing apart from other characters was the tremendous restraint, the personal control he maintained over his awesome powers. He often suffered for this, especially in his relationships with the fairer sex, and his angst was part of his charm.
In this unique solo Stephen Strange story in New Avengers Annual #1, it’s no holds barred for the Sorcerer Supreme as he displays the new power he has sacrificed for so much in New Avengers. And it is quite a different Doctor we see in writer Frank Barbiere’s wonderful take on this character.
Strange’s origin is one of the best and most prophetic in early Marvel history, and during this 75th anniversary of the House of Ideas it seems especially timely to take it out of moth balls and add to its brilliance. This Barbiere does in this issue, using it as a framing sequence to give personal meaning and depth to the character in the world of “Now.”
Believe me, if you are a new reader and do not know Doctor Strange, you will be well introduced – to the character we have known, to the new iteration of Marvel
Not only is the script mesmerizing and the penalty for such power as Doc has poignant, but the issue is visually stunning under the wonderfully mystic and wacky artwork of Marco Rudy. The swirling panel arrangements reminds this old timer of the creative use of same by Colan & Palmer in the late 1960s, a treat which still withstands the test of time if you ever read those Doc tales. It is hard to do in and out of time sequences without captions, and a dangerous thing, but the artwork of Rudy guides the reader through this tale of urgency and, let’s face it, like Colan this artist does great people!
And that shot of Doc performing the Blood Magic? Spectacular!
I give this annual my highest recommendation, and hereby call for more solo Doc tales by the same team.