Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme
Robbie Thompson (writer), Javier Rodriquez / Nathan Stockman (artists)
As a trade waiter you sometimes experience the particular discomfort of carrying guilt for strong books that fail to launch. This is one such book, which like the short lived Mockingbird, deserved a fate better than the one it received. The title is of course cancelled, and I’m not sure if my indulgence on the monthlies would have helped it much, but I enjoyed this trade so thoroughly that I can’t help but feel a little guilty for its failure. And let’s be clear, this book is AMAZING! (Sung like Cheryl on Archer)
So Doctor Strange had a movie and Marvel rushed the market with some Doctor Strange product, and being unsure on which aspects of the character moviegoers would identify with, all the products had distinctly different tones. This volume introduces us to a power waned Doctor Strange, roped into helping a time jumping Merlin with a menacing problem not yet completely defined. To solve the looming danger Merlin and Doctor Strange work with a team of different magic users from across the Marvel timeline – introducing some of the best new characters I’ve seen in awhile.
I’m not 100% sure how each of the characters claim a hold to the title Sorcerer Supreme for their different time periods but each character is radically different from the types of characters we are used to seeing. They have this wonderful sense of seeming like perfect, natural additions to the Marvel cannon while being also tokins of untapped story potential. Thompson even uses Hickman’s wonderful take on Sir Isaac Newton and a de-aged Ancient One to create a team of fascinating characters steeped in the lore of Marvel’s long history. The Demon Rider and a Brazilian cadet top a pile of unique characters that I will forever mourn if they are left in limbo with this book’s cancelation. Another highlight is a flashback issue to the days of Doctor Strange and Clea, a relationship not seen in some time and sure to be part of his movie future. There’s even an issue broken down like a choose your own adventure that you can read over and over and over, depending on how clever you are to escape the loop.
The art here is great. It’s lively and filled with motion and detail, but clean, strong detail, it reminds me a lot of Marcos Martin, but with enough differences to feel fresh. This will be a strong single story in two volumes, and one of the better pieces of Doctor Strange related works to come out since the film. Well worth the purchase and since it’s cancelled it comes with satisfying closure, even coupled with a little of that lingering guilt.