A globe-travelling, ghost battling adventure from the earliest days of Doctor Strange’s training in the mystic arts. Part Indiana Jones, part Lord of the Rings, a brand new tale of how a selfish arrogant surgeon collided with a hot-headed martial artist to become the greatest team the mystic arts has ever seen. If only they can stop hitting each other and figure out how all this magic stuff works.
I was initially going to post this review the day after my Doctor Strange Movie Review, but then I decided against it, not wanting to overload you all with all the Doctor Strange. Also while there are some similarities (which I will touch upon further on) they are very different from one another. I also wanted to approach this with a some-what fresh mind, not wanting this review just being a comparison to the movie. This graphic novel is Doctor Strange’s origin story, but retold for the modern day reader.
I never had much interest in Doctor Strange before the movie came out. To the point where I have had this graphic novel for almost six months prior to me actually reading it, it has taken the release of the movie and me going to see it to become interested in the world of Doctor Strange and who he actually is. As it turns out, he’s pretty frickin’ cool, arrogance aside. He reminds me in many ways of Tony Stark. No, not just because he has similar facial hair, but because of his personality. Doctor Stephen Strange was the best surgeon around, had more money than he knew what to do with, and then before he knows what’s happening he has been taken down a notch, brought down to our level and has to start from scratch. OK, so he might not have come out of it with a hole in his chest or a fancy suit of armour, but who needs that when you’ve got hands covered in hundreds of surgical scars and can cast fancy magical spells beyond your wildest beliefs.
Doctor Strange gives us the story of how he came across the Ancient One and how he started learning the mystical arts. We get a condensed version of his ‘tragic’ car accident that decimates his hands and his career as a surgeon, and instead we skip straight ahead to the part where he’s arrogant and naive about all things magic and being accepted by the Visanti. We then meet Wong, his soon-to-be trusty side-kick. They don’t exactly get along to begin with at the start, with Wong believing Strange to be some sort of Demon of Dormammu. They end up being bound together by the Ancient One to go on a mission that will end up bringing Wong and Strange closer together, if they don’t kill each other first. Who doesn’t love a good buddy story, eh?
It was a good graphic novel overall, great for those who, like myself, are not 100% familiar with the character, his story and the supporting characters. If there was something that I were to pick out about the graphic novel, it would be that it’s not very fluid. I found it very hard to move from panel to panel and page to page, and keep my concentration. Normally with graphic novels this is very important, and if you’re not too familiar with them, let alone the story you’re reading about, it might be hard for those who don’t read graphic novels to keep their focus while reading it.
I would recommend this graphic novel for anyone who has seen the Doctor Strange movie, and are interested in learning a little more about the character. You might not learn too much more than what you learned from the movie, but it’s a great starting point, especially if you’re not familiar/used to reading comics or graphic novels. For those of you who are seasoned graphic novel/comic book readers, this is great for fans of Grek Pak, or if you’ve read Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue deConnick and Emma Ríos you might enjoy this too!
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