Doctor Strange #381
Writer: Donny Cates
Art Team: Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Jordie Bellaire
Release Date: November 15, 2017
Cover Price: $3.99
Times They Are A Changin
Dr. Strange has been through hell and back lately losing most of his abilities and connection to magic, suffering in the Dark Force Dome during Secret Empire, and now possibly, apparently, no longer sorcerer supreme. So let's dive into Dr. Stranges first Legacy issue to get the scoop on what's up.
The issue starts with a narration from Dr. Strange himself flat out telling us things have drastically changed. We see the Sanctum Sanctorum is floating just above the streets of New York. Zelma, former librarian turned Sorcerer apprentice, takes a gentlemen with a problem of haunted eyeballs into the house via ladder Where things continue to be strange for example the snakes are nice, there’s a general sense of chaos with being everywhere not exactly in their usual place per se, and it's at this point the bombshell gets dropped ... if you aren't picking up the subtle hints, the gentleman and his haunted eyeballs are looking for Loki!!!???!! Quite an interesting development if I do say so myself.
Flash to a splash page of Loki who is fighting off a horde of deadly vampa-cabra warriors from dimension blood. We then checkin in on the ol’ Lokster sitting down and chatting with the other magic users at the Bar with no Doors … who seem rather concerned by Loki’s perceived carelessness using ‘magic’.
Loki confesses he wants to start going about things a new way, that he's tired of the rules that bind magic, and is seemingly going about this with the mantra of “NO MORE RULES, NO MORE PRICE” … which makes me think Loki is either being very careless, knows something other doesn't, or a little of both columns.
Loki offers the same deal he subscribes to, to all the other magic users at the bar. It boils down to this “perform your magic duties and then come to me …. I'll eat your price for you” offers Loki. However in turn he wants the fellow magic users to help him learn the little tricks and things he hasn't quite figured out yet. For example, he wants a door in Dr. Strange’s place opened.
Loki’s mention of a specific long lost spell however leads to some mocking that eventually leads down the path to pissing Loki off. He, in his anger, does away with the Bar with no Doors but tells everyone his offer still stands as he walks off …. Albeit mildly ashamed of his actions judging by the texts he sends to Zelma.
At this point of our issue Thor pops out of the sky and confronts Loki about his latest doings. Loki insists he simply just wants to help and to prove it to Thor he takes her to the setup for an invasion planned by Frost Giants on Midgard. These Frost Giants were able to stay hidden from everyone using Dark Magic except the new Sorcerer Supreme. Thor, now very surprised, thanks Loki, but says she'll continue to keep an eye on him as she heads off to stop the Frost Giants planned invasion.
Next Scarlet Witch confronts the new and improved Dr Strange at his new job. They have a back and forth about his sudden ‘retirement’ (which is a conversation that's happened more than once) with Dr. Strange claiming he is completely content with his new Dr. Doolittle-esque position. Wanda storms out of the office pissed as Dr. Strange is left to contemplate his latest life choices.
Overall Donny Cates has put out a pretty intriguing start to this new Dr. Strange featuring the namesake character and whatever Loki is now up to. The book is friendly to new readers, while at the same time continuing where Jason Aaron has taken our hero in recent years, finding that unique sweet spot to make this a great jumping on point and issue that moves things forward at the same time. I would fully give Dr. Strange my recommendation to anybody interested with a strong vote of confidence.
The art, while remaining true to the style and tone of the past series issues, continues to be worth the price of admission. Gabriel Hernandez Walta and Jordie Bellaire take over duties at this point, and come through big time with some great splash pages and perfect color scheme for this book going forward.
Bits and Pieces
Dr. Strange comes out firing with a strong Legacy issue by Cates, Hernandez Walta, and Bellaire and one of my favorite single issues efforts so far for this latest Marvel Comics marketing initiative. While Loki takes the title of Sorcerer Supreme Dr. Strange still has a presence and both characters are more interesting for it.