Written by: Jason Aaron
Art by: Chris Bachalo (Issue #1-5)
Penciller (cover): Chris Bachalo (Issue #1-3) Kevil Nowlan (Issue #4 & 5)
Variant Covers: Issue #1 – Scottie Young (Young Variant) Juan Doe, (Hip-Hop Variant), Kevin Nowlan (Nowlan Variant) Issue #3 – Mark Texeira (Texeira Marvel 92 Variant)
Editor: Nick Lowe (Issue #5)
Before we begin, I should warn you; prior to picking up Doctor Strange (2015) #1, I hadn’t actually read a Doctor Strange comic in quite some time. So if you’re reading this and you’re a diehard fan of the Sorcerer Supreme, following every Doctor Strange comic in the past couple years leading up to this, I ask that you bear with me and give me a chance. For those of you picking up Doctor strange for the first time in a long time; like myself, or for the first time ever, I look forward to going on this journey together.
From the very first page, Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo make it clear that this comic has something for everyone. We begin with a monologue from the Doctor himself that perfectly sums up Sorcerer Supremes’ origin story for those unfamiliar. For fans of the Silver Age however, the panels in the background are unmistakable. A collage of scenes from Doctor Strange Vol.1 #169, and others that when put together, perfectly illustrate the origin of the Sorcerer Supreme, like a vision from his own memories, planted in our minds from the Doctor himself.
During his opening monologue, Doctor Strange warns us that each day as the Sorcerer Supreme is weirder than the last, and immediately Aaron & Bachalo deliver on the promise of weird. And yes; it just keeps getting weirder, but more on that later.
Not only does Issue #1 give you clear insight into the origin of Doctor Strange, it also wastes no time establishing who Stephen Strange is as a person. Whether you’ve seen him on paper, in comic books, cartoons, movies, or even video games; this is the Stephen Strange most of us already know and love. He’s cocksure and confident. This is a Doctor Strange that has come to terms with the life changing loss he has suffered. By now he’s fully embraced the role of Sorcerer Supreme, and he loves it. Behind the arrogance and self-assuredness however, Jason Aaron gives us a glimpse of a lonely man, one isolated from the rest of the world by the burden he carries.
Going into Issue #2, Aaron gives us the perfect introduction to Doctor Strange’s home, the Sanctum Sanctorum. The most important location in Doctor Strange comics, and in fact one of the most important in Marvel Comics history. Even though we’ve seen the Sanctum Sanctorum hundreds of times before, Bachalo’s art masterfully takes us on a weird and wonderful (and at times down right horrifying) house tour that feels like a mini adventure all on its own.
The humor Aaron uses throughout this issue fits perfectly within the story of Doctor Strange, and only further exemplifies Strange’s character. He’s quick witted, crass and hilariously unapologetic. Being a powerful wizard capable of traveling between dimensions and controlling time & space could’ve alienated Doctor Strange from readers and fans. It’s this smart aleck sense of humor of his that helps keep him grounded and relatable, allowing us to connect with and appreciate him on a very human level.
Once the first 2 issues introduce us to the world of the Sorcerer Supreme, the conflict of the story starts to build up in the Issue #3. Once again, the combined talents of Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo create a perfect fusion of art and storytelling; allowing the tone of the comic to shift naturally and effectively, putting readers right in the middle of the action. Only a couple issues ago, Aaron had convinced us there was nothing the Sorcerer Supreme couldn’t handle. By Issue #4 & #5, the rug is pulled out from under us and Strange as well. We find him pitted against forces of evil the likes of which he’s never encountered before. The story that Aaron unfolds from there, is an instant Doctor Strange classic.