There are a lot of comics out there, but some stand out head and shoulders above the pack. With “Don’t Miss This,” we want to spotlight those series we think need to be on your pull list. This week, we’re spotlighting “Strange”, Marvel’s sorcery-based Sanctum Sanctorum comic book! Will Marvel’s newest Sorcerer Supreme live up the legend of Stephen Strange? Find out in our Don’t Miss This for Marvel’s “Strange!”
Who’s this by?
“Strange” is written by Jed MacKay. MacKay is currently writing lots of comics at Marvel but started in the Marvel Universe with “Spider-Verse” #2. The issue was also written by Dan Slott and a variety of other writers and artists. After writing a few more tie-in comics Jed MacKay worked on “Man Without Fear” #1 with artist Danilo S. Beyruth, which was a title transitioning into the new “Daredevil” run of comics. MacKay then started working on a “Black Cat” comic book with artists Michael Dowling, Nao Fuji and Travel Foreman. MacKay and Foreman’s “Black Cat” title became a critically acclaimed series that really fleshed out “Black Cat” as a leading lady. Following that series, MacKay switched over to “Moon Knight” with Alessandro Cappuccio. MacKay also started writing “The Death of Doctor Strange” with artist Lee Garbett that led directly to “Strange” with Marcelo Ferreira.
“Strange” artist Marcelo Ferreira also started at Marvel with a Spider-Man tie-in series called “Spider-Force.” This series was written by Christopher Priest with art from Ferreira, Paulo Siqueira and Szymon Kudranski. While the main feature in “Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man” #1 was drawn by Juann Cabal, the back-up feature was also written by core series writer Tom Taylor was illustrated by Ferreira. Ferreira started working with writer Gerry Duggan on “War of the Realms: The Punisher” #1. Next up, Ferreira moved over to “The Amazing Spider-Man” #46 written by Nick Spencer. Ferreira’s work “The Amazing Spider-Man” managed to land the artist the interior work for “Strange” with MacKay.
What’s it all about?
“Strange” follows newly named Sorcerer Supreme Clea Strange as she tries to pick up the pieces left behind by her husband Stephen Strange’s untimely death. The series spins directly out of “The Death of Doctor Strange,” picking up on lots of tiny cliffhangers left behind by that story. Clea runs into all sorts of odd problems as Marvel’s top magic cop. Clea is devoted to resurrecting her husband despite several warnings that this will cause massive problems in the near future.
What makes it so great?
Over at Marvel Comics it has been tricky to find series starring Stephen Strange for a number of years. Comics featuring Clea Strange are even trickier to find. Thankfully, the recent Marvel movies have bolstered the popularity of the character which led to this spin-off title starring Clea Strange. Clea’s grief is the driving characterization behind the series. MacKay makes the themes of this series so clear and continues to explore them through the villain, The Harvestman. The Harvestman keeps digging up obscure Marvel characters in a horrific manner that will appeal to hardcore comic book readers.
MacKay doesn’t stress too much about whether people will remember the zombified heroes as he ensures that the series carries a really personal characterization for Clea. “Strange” never forgets to explore Clea’s character and feelings directly while being careful to include a sense of action in each issue. When Clea returns to the Sanctorum like she has in the past couple issues, MacKay has Clea express her doubts and fears to Wong. The two have an incredibly strong yet platonic relationship that allows “Strange” to carry so much heart in each issue.
Artist Marcelo Ferreira is so great at getting all the emotion from Clea on any given page. There’s hardly a moment in the series when Clea isn’t feeling some sort of fascinating emotion on the page. When Clea changes her form to use Strange’s spell, Ferreira’s art comes alive. There’s a hyper-expressive element to the work here that is best utilized in the moments of action. The Harvestman wears a mask, but Ferreira is even able to make him emote or stand out on the page depending on the scene. Ferreira’s art is very expressive on the Sanctum Sanctorum scenes but the line work in these moments is not precise. I can see Ferreira improving from issue-to-issue on this title and hope to see even more explosive action moments. Ferreira does a great job switching the tone of the series to the narratively expansive script from MacKay.Continued below
MacKay and Ferreira are both doing a solid job exploring new aspects of Clea’s character from a villain perspective. The Blasphemy Cartel is running a large operation in Marvel’s New York City. The mix of crime comics and dark sorcery is an irresistible new direction for “Strange.” Ferreira’s art depicting The Rose, an agent of the Cartel is one of the most striking pages of the series to-date. Rose’s lips are visible through the mask he is wearing. The page utilizes shades from the blind to add some extra shading. From a narrative aspect, this scene is strong as well as it uses Clea’s fascinating inner monologue to explore the themes of the series.
How can you read it?
You can purchase “Strange” monthly from your local comic bookstore. The debut graphic novel “Strange Vol. 1: I Belong to Death” is slated to be published on September 27th. Get in on the ground floor of one Marvel’s best new comic books!