If you listened to the best of 2016 episode of the No-Prize Podcast then you’ll already know just how highly I think of this series. If you haven’t listened yet, then get yourself over to the Undercover Capes Podcast website and check it out! Now enough shameless plugs, let’s get to this comic.
It’s impossible to ignore just how good this run is. Jason Aaron has taken Stephen Strange and ran wild with the character. For the first time we are getting a glimpse of just how bizarre and crazy the good doctor’s life can really be. From being abducted to another dimension, to fighting the Norse Goddess of Hell, to being kidnapped in a magical taxi cab being driven by a guy with a giant eyeball for a head.
The Orb was never a major player in the Marvel universe until he took center stage during the Original Sins cross-over. Then a guy who had a ridiculous custom and no motivation became on the most powerful and insane characters that Marvel has in their arsenal. We see multiple examples of just how unhinged The Orb has become in this issue. From running over an investment banker who stole millions in a pyramid scheme, to encouraging a mass murderer in his sleep, the guy with the eye derailed a long time ago. It only becomes more disturbing when you see that the Watchers eye has melded into this maniac’s chest. Talk about gruesome!
The Orb gives Doctor Strange the equivalent of the Uber ride from Hell when he takes the Sorcerer Supreme to see one of his old foes, Mr. Misery. By the end of this issue the Doctor finds himself in the middle of a fight between four of his most powerful and psychotic foes; all fighting amongst themselves as to who gets the honor of ending the Doctor’s life.
The plot is the perfect blend of action, humor, and oddball moments. Aaron takes the danger and turns it to a boil, and by the end of the story you’re not sure how Strange will survive. It takes some major writing chops to navigate a storyline this effortlessly. This comic proves yet again that it is one of the best titles Marvel is currently producing.
One major gripe I have about this issue is the art. While in the past we have been treated to Chris Bachalo, here we get the art chores split and it is very noticeable. So much so, that it took me out of the story at points. I’m hoping that this is just a single issue problem, because the division in art quality is jarring. If Bachalo needs some help on this title then Marvel needs to find another creator who can mimic his style, or at least compliment it. This installment was brutal.
The one knock against this comic aside, this is still one of the best books you can find on the shelves, so I’m keeping my final score high.
Final Score: 4 Stars
Doctor Strange #15
Story: Jason Aaron
Art: Chris Bachalo and Jorge Fornes
Inks: John Livesay, Tim Townsend, Al Vey, Victor Olazaba, and Jorge Fornes
Colors: Antonio Fabela
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit