26th Jun2017

‘Doctor Strange #20’ Review

by Dan Clark

Written by Jason Aaron | Art by Chris Bachalo, Kevin Nowlan | Published by Marvel Comics


Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo’s run on Doctor Strange is finally coming to an end. Oddly since issue twenty-one has already been released we have an idea of what the future holds for the character. Currently, in retrospective, it is safe to say this is one of the best runs, if not the best runs for the character. Chris Bachalo’s creative artistic style fits the world of Doctor Strange perfectly, and Jason Aaron’s vision for the character added a level of stakes that have never been there before.

Typically with a final issue, the norm is to reset every major change you set in place so the new team can come in fresh. That does not happen this issue as not only is the world still without magic, but Strange’s life is changed in a way that will have lasting effects. In a way, this could have been just as effective as the beginning of a run as the end of one. Leave it to a writer like Aaron to accomplish such a task.

Not many writers would choose to open the final issue of an epic run with an image of their titular hero as a cute puppy dog, but this is not just any creative team. Oddly Strange takes a backseat in this issue as his librarian apprentice takes center stage. We did get a welcome return to Weirldworld, which was an unexpected surprise. Much of Aaron’s run has been focused on the necessary sacrifices Doctor Strange has had to make and how close to the edge he would go in order to accomplish his goals. In this issue Strange is faced with his most difficult moral quandaries yet as he had to decide to either let someone die or ruin someone’s life forever.

As a writer, Aaron excels at placing his characters in no-win situations and actually following through with the consequences. In the world of comics, heroes use whatever deus ex machina they can in order to find a solution where everyone wins. With this series and especially this issue that is not the case. We got a Doctor Strange book without magic and somehow it ended up being one of the best superhero titles since its release. Doctor Strange tends to work best when he either has a special appearance or is part of a team, but Aaron and Bachalo took away his magic to look at the man behind the sorcery. Many writers have tried to write a Doctor Strange story but most have failed.

Now let’s see if it can happen all over again.

****½  4.5/5


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