Comic Review: Doctor Strange Volume 3

There are many comic runs and series I enjoy but don’t get too very often.  One of those is the Jason Aaron run on Doctor Strange.  I last read and reviewed one back in July of last year.  I would think I should get to this book more often than annually.

But here we are, and I finally got to volume 3, subtitled Blood in the Aether.  Dr. Strange barely survived an assault from the Empirikul.  Who might be coming for him after that?

Short answer:  everybody.  Everybody is coming for him now.

The Empirikul were a science-based cult, out to wipe all magic out of existence.  Defeating them was costly.  Nearly all of the world’s magic is gone.  That’s bad when your job is Sorcerer Supreme, and even minor supernatural parasites blow you off.  Stephen Strange gets by largely with minor spells and enchanted tools.  His own magic isn’t doing much these days, and as Aaron’s run keeps reminding us, big spells have a big cost.

Naturally, this would be a bad time for Strange’s many enemies to come looking for him.  Well, not quite.  It would be bad for Strange.  It’s the perfect time for the baddies.  At the forefront is Baron Mordo, doing some sort of work for Dread Dormammu.  Both of these guys managed to maintain their powers.  So did others, and all of them seem to be coming for Strange over the course of a week.  Mordo and Dormammu may be the toughest, but they aren’t alone.

My biggest concern with Aaron’s run is artist Chris Bachalo’s art.  It’s good to look at, but doesn’t loan itself well to action scenes.  Fortunately, there aren’t that many in this trade.  Strange gets by more with his wits than his fists, though he does seem to favor them a bit over his spells.  Plus, Strange’s remaining attacks come from visually interesting settings from demonic entities Nightmare and Satana.  Sure, the Orb is there, but he’s not so much mystical as he is cosmic and crazy.  And not only are these guys all vying to kill Strange, but they’re attacking each other for the right to kill him, Mordo in particular.

So, really, this was a fun book.  Maybe I’ll get to volume 4 before 2020.  8.5 out of 10 hell diners.

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