Doctor Strange #2 Review

Written by: Jason Aaron

Art by: Chris Bachalo

Publisher: Marvel

Say what you will about Marvel’s attempts to make the comics more like the films, but it does allow some lesser-known characters the books they deserve, and if they end up being as good as Doctor Strange, then it’s worth it in my mind. Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo continue their fun, inventive, and distinctly MCU series, acting as a perfect introduction to Dr. Strange and setting up some intriguing stuff for the rest of the run.

Jason Aaron proves to be the perfect writer for a contemporary Doctor Strange series, able to balance both the imaginative mystic stuff that gives the character his niche, but also his smug sense of humor too. This issue continues on from the first, wrapping up the story of the mysterious girl with demons in her head. The story gives a good excuse to explore Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum and introduces new readers to a good bit of the Doctor Strange mythos without feeling like an on-rails tour of this universe. Everything springs organically out of the story, and it looks like Aaron is having a lot of fun exploring the potential of this series, even taking time to set up future arcs to keep potential readers interested.

What really proves to be the winning ingredient of this team, however, is Chris Bachalo. With Aaron rattling off a whole host of paranormal, extra-dimensional strangeness, you need an artist with an equally huge imagination to visualize it all on paper. Bachalo ends up being just the man for the job. While his hyper-kinetic, cartoonish art can be polarizing, it ends up being the perfect fit for this title, complementing Aaron’s oft-comedic script perfectly. It’s a book that doesn’t take itself too seriously, focusing on fun, but one that still manages to feel fresh and inventive when it comes to creature and environment designs. The Sanctum Santorum certainly does carry a beautifully Lovecraftian edge to it, but with a Marvel twist. I know on paper that sounds horrible, but it really works when trying to set Strange apart from the other Marvel books and other supernatural comics.

The team behind it really is perfect and has only offered a glimpse of the possibilities to come in this opening story.

Doctor Strange has the title he deserves in modern Marvel books. While he may not be quite the lovable asshole we saw in The Oath (though he is still pretty arrogant), and the very MCU style may be off-putting to some purists out there (I personally don’t mind it, but I know some aren’t fans of a more comedic marvel universe), there’s plenty of charm and imagination in this opening story arc to make it very easy to recommend. If you’re on the fence, these first two issues act as the perfect sample of what’s to come, so I’d highly recommend checking them out.