Alright, let’s just get the obvious out-of-the-way upfront. Niko Henrichon is the perfect artist for this series. Bar none. Hands down. Game Over. If you haven’t had a chance to feast your eyes on the amazing work that Henrichon is doing with the good doctor than you are missing out on the best Marvel artistic addition in ages. Part Kubert, part Lee, part unadulterated genius; this is an artist for the new age of comics that I am fully in support of. While his previous works like “Pride of Bagdad”, which received wide critical acclaim with writer Brian K. Vaughn, have made him notable within the comics industry, it is his current work on Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme that will solidify his legacy in comic’s super stardom.
Readers of Doctor Strange have been spoiled since the book re-launched around the same time the master mystic’s movie hit theaters. The former creative team of Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo had set the bar of expectation ridiculously high with a run on the title that will be talked about for decades; a tough act to follow for sure, but somehow Marvel must be in league with their own brand of dark arts as they have somehow found a creative team talented enough to take up the mantle of this series and make readers forget all the amazing work that came before.
In this issue Stephen Strange is on the hunt with his newest apprentice (Zelma) in tow, for magical relics. Anything magical has become a rarity after the latest events within the series. The search leads the pair into the heart of NYC’s subway system and the discovery of a mystical temple under the borough of Queens. Once inside the pair faces off against a trio of possessed spirits of ancient magic users from the past.
While the plot is simple; Strange and Zelma face and defeat three evil spirits, the pacing and dialogue of the issue are excellent. The characterization is on point. Strange is arrogant, all-knowing, and it’s this haughtiness that Zelma excels at poking fun at. The teacher-student dynamic works well between these two. It makes for a compelling story and it’s also a great narrative tool to walk the reader through the story and explain why Strange does what he does. (There is also a great Dr. Doom joke as well)
This is what I expect from Dr. Strange. It’s magic and straight forward action wrapped in a weird, kooky façade. It’s a comic that you can read at a break-neck pace and then immediately go back and re-read to enjoy the subtle nuisances with the story and the art. Highly recommended!
Final Score- 4 1/2 out of 5 Mystics
Dr. Strange #26
Story: John Barber
Art: Niko Henrichon
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics