Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme #1
Written by Robbie Thompson
Art by Javier Rodriguez, Alvaro Lopez and Jordie Bellaire
Lettering by Joe Caramagna
Published by Marvel Comics
‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
Stephen Strange is thrown through time and placed on a ragtag team of mages in Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme #1. As the world recovers from the “Last Days of Magic" arc in Doctor Strange, a terrifying monster rises to power in order to wreak further havoc on the wizarding world. Spidey writer Robbie Thompson wastes little time throwing readers into this crazy, team-based story, succinctly recapping Doctor Strange’s new status quo and quickly throwing him into the fray against the monstrous Forgotten.
Rendering Thompson’s fast-paced script is penciler Javier Rodriguez, inker Alvaro Lopez and colorist Jordie Bellaire, all of whom throw all sorts of insanity into the issue presenting readers with exciting character designs and a densely-packed Steve Ditko tribute to anchor the issue. Though Strange’s solo exploits have impressed so far, Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme #1 shows that the good doctor can still thrive standing beside other spell-slingers.
Opening in the Middle Ages, Robbie Thompson quickly establishes just how crazy this series will be. The legendary wizard Merlin faces a deadly threat called the Forgotten. Like all good team books, Merlin realizes that he cannot face this threat alone and leaps into time to gather a group of sorcerers in order to face the Forgotten and stop his crusade to destroy the world of magic. Meanwhile, in our time, Stephen Strange is still having trouble holding the line against magical threats but that doesn’t stop him from trying, axe in hand. Thompson’s choice to keep Strange’s characterization in line with the Jason Aaron/Chris Bachalo solo series is a good one, but he does this debut one better by opening up the scope in a big way.
Sidestepping the usual team-building that hamstrings the debuts of team books, Thompson drops Strange into a battle that has already been raging in the past, giving readers a good look at this team in action early. The inclusion of the diverse and likable team instantly sets this series apart from the singularly-focused solo series. By opening his story up to time travel and dimension hopping Thompson leaves the door open to explore all sorts of facets of the Marvel magical world as well as use any character he wants to put on the team. In this debut, Strange stands in battle with the likes of a grown-up Wiccan, a young Ancient One, Sir Isaac Newton, and two women sorcerers by the names of Kushala and Nina that steal every scene they are featured in. This Defenders-like squad coupled with Thompson’s scope makes Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme #1 a worthy and fun spin-off.
Also setting this title apart from its established solo title is the art of Javier Rodriguez, Alvaro Lopez and Jordie Bellaire. Rodriguez, whose wiry style suits the good doctor and his exploits perfectly, moves away from the over stylized, almost science fiction inspired look of Chris Bachalo and employs a much more surreal style for this spin-off. Backed by the heavy inks of Lopez and the black light poster-inspired colors of Bellaire, the pencils instantly call forth the spirit of Steve Ditko and pack each page with either action or psychedelic occult visuals. The time travel sequence in which Strange and Merlin travel to the battlefront via the Backroads of Time that makes up the title’s middle alone is worth the price of admission and is sure to please Strange’s fans, both old and new.
With its briskly-paced script and beautifully-weird visuals Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme #1 stands as a magically entertaining debut for Marvel’s newest line of magical defense. Robbie Thompson, Javier Rodriguez, Alvaro Lopez, and Jordie Bellaire all lean into the weirdness of this facet of the Marvel universe to deliver a trippy introduction to a new team while keeping Doctor Strange’s recent change in power set intact. He may not enjoy the same arsenal that he once did nor does he command the same respect in the world of magic as his title demands, but Strange is still in good hands and good company in Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme #1.