Written by: Donny Clay Cates
Penciled by: Gabriel Hernandez Walta
Colored by: Jordie Bellaire
Covers by: Mike Del Mundo
Loki has inherited the title of Sorcerer Supreme, Stephen Strange has retired and now works as a vet. Loki is trying to find a powerful spell that in the wrong hands could spell disaster. Frost Giants are marching toward Midgard, there’s a talking dog. All caught up? Good.
Now, I don’t usually start a comic book review by talking about its cover art, but in this case I think it’s necessary to start here. Even before the story begins, Michael Del Mundo’s cover art raises the tension and sets the stage, immediately drawing us into a story that Donny Cates undoubtedly delivers on.
In a prologue that has Doctor Strange scaling a mountain with his bare hands, we see Strange desperate and out of options. In this first scene, Cates builds suspense and mystery that he masterfully brings full circle at the end, in a reveal that nobody will see coming.
Doctor Strange #382, according to Cates, begins and ends with a dog. In a stark contrast to the cover art and the prologue, the story opens with humor and levity. Cates uses Bats the talking dog to start the story off on a comedic note. This on the nose humor from Bats allows the character to play well with Doctor Strange, making him an ideal companion for the Ex-Sorcerer Supreme.
Between the light-hearted humor and wit, Cates reminds us of the gravity of events that are unfolding. Loki is adamantly searching for a spell that Doctor Strange believes could be catastrophic should he find it. The story builds with an unexpected plot twist that immediately raises the stakes, and ends with a heart breaking conclusion that pays off on all the emotions Cates has allowed the reader to build up so far.
I mentioned earlier that everything comes full circle in the end, and with it, comes the return of a fan favorite Marvel superhero. However, how will this hero tie into the story that Cates has built up so far? What will their presence mean for Doctor Strange, Loki, and the fate of the world?