Comic Review: Doctor Strange Volume 4

I knew Jason Aaron’s Doctor Strange run wasn’t as long as his Thor work, but that didn’t make me any less surprised to learn the fourth trade of that run was also the last of Aaron’s work.

Well, It’s another short Marvel trade, but here we are with the fourth book, subtitled Mr. Misery.

One of Aaron’s reoccurring concepts for Dr. Strange was that magic comes with a price, and Strange, with an assist from Wong, has been putting off paying the piper.  Much magic comes from suffering, but Stephen has been shifting his pain and sorrow into an entity called “Mr. Misery,” a black, gooey thing that is composed entirely from the pain of Stephen Strange.

And since it got loose when the science-based Emperikul tried to wipe out magic, it has since gone on to possess Wong and wants to take revenge against its own reason for existence since its reason for existence is to basically suffer.

And with that, well, Aaron more or less wraps up whatever he was doing, complete with a guest appearance from Jane Foster’s version of Thor.  And once there, I am not sure what he was trying to do.  Was it to set up a new status quo?  Strange does have a new apprentice in the form of Zelma, and this trade decided to pad out the length by including a Annual with two stories, one of which had Strange’s ex-wife Clea come back and the other a story of the Ancient One as a young man for a spin-off series, but neither of which was written by Aaron.  And, as much as I like Aaron’s work, I didn’t see what the point he was trying to make about Dr. Strange here.  He eats weird stuff because magic always has a price?  I know future writers on Strange include talented fellows like Mark Waid and Donny Cates, so I may get a few more down the line, but I wasn’t sure about Aaron’s conclusion since it didn’t seem to say anything all that definitive about Strange and his, well, strange world.

7.5 out of 10 unexpected trips to Weirdworld.

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