Doctor Strange #1
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Jesus Sais
Some of the greatest stories in Marvel comics revolve around marooning a hero (Planet Hulk) or cutting them off from their power (M-Day). The new Doctor Strange looks to tackle both classic tropes in one. The book opens with Doctor Strange defending the reality we know and love in a delightful flashback, then brings us snapping back into the present, as magic begins to leave the good doctor’s life. Illustrator Jesus Sais’ panels at these points are maudlin and combined with Waid’s pacing of the disintegration of Strange’s powers, one can’t help but remember “Flowers for Algernon”. Thankfully, there’s a story arc to carve out, and to this end, Strange eventually picks himself up and seeks out Tony Stark.
Stark sets Strange up in a flashy intergalactic cruiser and Strange reluctantly sets off to get his groove back. While he’s no stranger to hopping through dimensions, Strange isn’t much at hopping galaxies. Generally speaking, the illustration is bright and fantastic, even hopeful- a counterpoint to Strange’s trepidation. While rebuilding a character’s mythos from the ground up is an old trick, it’s one that rarely fails to lure in readers old and new. This first issue doesn’t establish too much so it will be interesting to see just how much of the cosmos Doctor Strange ends up exploring.
Justice League #1
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artists: Jim Cheung
Quite possibly the most awaited book since the conclusion of Dark Nights: Metal, Justice League #1 has brought the band back together for the beginning of “The Totality” arc. For fans of the lower-tier members of the league, it feels like Scott Snyder wrote much of the dialogue with them in mind, and it’s wonderful to see the Earth’s greatest heroes sit at a literal roundtable, where everyone gets a turn. King Arthur would be proud. Jim Cheung’s illustration is crisp and dynamic and gives the whole book a very fresh feel. No small feat, considering the fact that most of these characters are eligible for Social Security.
For those unfamiliar with the kitchen-sink conclusion of Metal, the TL;DR is the walls of our universe have broken, and our reality and universe are now adrift in an infinitely larger and more dangerous ocean. Some of that danger is on a collision course with Earth, and the homegrown dangers of Earth’s villains aren’t asleep at the trigger either. Mysterious primordial forces, a shiny new Justice League and, spoiler alert, the menace of an ascendant Legion of Doom. This Justice League arc might be one for the ages.
Crossed +100: Mimic #2
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Emiliano Urdinola
Full disclaimer: Crossed is not a comic for the faint of heart. It is not a comic for children. It is not even a comic for most adults. Even for the brave, it’s still likely to induce nightmares. Originally created by Garth Ennis, Avatar Press’ Crossed has since been re-spun by Ennis-approved creative teams into a handful of stories in an anthologized universe. Equal parts horror, global pandemic thriller, and post-apocalyptia, the stories are at turns terrifying, bloody disgusting (literally), and even darkly humorous at points. This complex mix is underpinned by some hefty existential questions, using a horrific lens to question our own daily lives.
Crossed +100 takes place 100 years after the initial civilization-ending pandemic was unleashed upon the world. Those infected pursue the darkest impulses in the human mind, but 100 years later the dust has settled, and humans, both the infected and their less bloodthirsty counterparts, are an endangered species. Mimic, a story within this world, focuses on an infected who is able to ‘pass’ as a regular, uninfected human. Writer Christos Gage has hit the ground running with a story that hits on myriad issues, wrapped around a tale of sabotage, military intrigue and Stockholm Syndrome. For those with the stomach for it, Emiliano Urdinola backs up the writing with compelling and disturbing illustration. Crossed +100: Mimic is not light reading, but it’s nothing if not entertaining, and certainly thought-provoking.
It was a pretty light pull for this week, and we’re always looking for new books to add. What are you reading? Let us know in the comments!