Comic Name: Doctor Strange (Volume 2)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Roger Stern/Peter B. Gillis
Artist: Sal Buscema/Chris Warner/Mark Badger
# of Issues: 7
Release Date: 2015
Reprints Doctor Strange (2) #75-81 (February 1986-February 1987). Doctor Stephen Strange is full of doubt…has he lost his way again? With failures to protect a former friend and a ward of patients, Stephen wonders if he is the right man to be the Sorcerer Supreme. When an alien being attacks Dr. Strange in an attempt to wrestle the title from him, Stephen must fight to protect his name, his friends, and the universe from the threat of Urthona.
Written by Roger Stern and Peter B. Gillis, Dr. Strange: Don’t Pay the Ferryman reprints the last seven issues of Dr. Strange’s second series. The series features art by Sal Buscema, Chris Warner, and Mark Badger.
This is a kind of weird collection…even for Marvel. With an upcoming movie, Doctor Strange needs to build some hype around himself and I’m guessing that it is part of the reason behind the release. The collection lacks a real hook though it does carry a tone throughout.
The story boils down to Doctor Strange’s doubt in himself. Before being the “Sorcerer Supreme”, Strange was a surgeon and kind of a jerk. This series question if he just traded surgery for magic and remained a self-centered jerk (the obvious “no” is pretty much the answer). It doesn’t hold much of a theme other than this and starts and ends weirdly incomplete. It does feature Strange’s first meetings with Topaz and Rintrah who both factor in to Strange’s life in the following series.
I will say that Strange is an artist’s dream. The style of his costume and the mystic powers really give the artists on the book a great base for fun art. I don’t however like the character designs of the demons in this book very much and Urthona resembles one of the Alien “engineers” (aka the creature they found in the first film which was later expanded upon in Prometheus). It feels more goofy than threatening…especially when fighting a giant cow (Rintrah).
Doctor Strange is a tough character for me. I think he is kind of interesting and almost an anti-hero in that he’s older and big and buff like most of Marvel’s characters. The problem of Dr. Strange lies in his abilities. Magic is always a hard sell for me in that there is no definition and no limits. If Dr. Strange is in a pinch, the writers can just make up some garbled language and say a spell saved him…it is almost like a cliffhanger with no drama.
The Doctor Strange series ended with this volume. Doctor Strange’s story continued with the second volume of Strange Tales (which he shared with Cloak and Dagger). The third series of Doctor Strange continued out of Strange Tales. Most of the storylines set up in this volume continued throughout Strange Tales and the new Doctor Strange series…which leaves this volume also “strange”-ly feeling unfinished.