What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Dr. Strange – Surgeon Supreme #3! With more confidence in what this new creative team offers the world of Doctor Strange, I was very anxious to see what comes next in his corner of the world. From the looks of it this week, it was hard at first to say if this was going to be a chapter where they aimed for something a bit self-contained, or a story which would branch off into something bigger. Either way, I wanted to know what new madness the doctor would get himself into this time around.
Considering the version of the good doctor that we are now following, it was good that this time around the trouble would begin in the hospital room. The patient he now finds himself dealing with was definitely a unique case too. I mean, when was the last time Strange ever had to help someone who got the wrong tattoo? Let alone a case where this guy’s heavy metal tattoos begin coming to life. Not really something we have ever seen him come across as the Sorcerer Supreme before. These are the kinds of plots you appreciate since they are putting him in situations he wouldn’t have found himself in before.
What made this chapter a thrill was this was it being a situation where just about anything could have happened, and the enemy was something Strange has never encountered before. Off the bat, this took him to a new dimension, and that in itself was treading new territory. I only ever had one concern with this new run, and that was the idea that we might lose what made the previous so special. What is magic if there is no discovery or exploration? We got both of that in this third issue because Mark Waid took us straight into a form of casting that is never focused on nearly enough. We’ve explored casting, the cost of casting, the ease of making your own spells and tools, though never enough of the power which comes from tattoos and symbols. A great time to rectify this and allow us to see that the Doctor can even get resourceful in that area as well.
The sense of urgency to this made it exciting too. In Doctor Strange’s line of work, urgency should not be something he gives in to, but the rules do change when a life is on the line and the clock is ticking. This kept us on our toes because again this was a situation where just about anything could have happened, and the enemy was something new.
By the end of this chapter, we actually got to see that we got the best of both worlds. This was a self-contained story for the journey it sent Strange on. Yet at the same time the big takeaway from it was where it led him at the end. Now matter how different the situations seem at the moment, they are all connected. Taking us right where we need to be questioning how these powerful items are being created and distributed. As I said before, we know the answer to that already. It was only a matter of the doctor figuring this out himself. Fortunate for us that they did not beat around the bushes much to get to that point. It could have easily become problematic if he couldn’t put the pieces together.
With each passing issue I find myself loving the work from this art team more and more. Particularly when it comes to Kev Walker’s pencils. I didn’t mention how well he did with the detail he brought to the interior work, though that opinion has at the same time greatly improved through this third chapter. He knocks it out of the park being someone who makes a simple costume look like something amazing. I would say that he draws Strange the best between the wrinkles in the clothing, and the expressions on his face. Aside from that, there was of course the design of this dimension explored. That was beautiful work for the imagery created from what it looks like when tattoos come to life. The colors from Java really made a difference there because of the way he leaned into making these tattoos look like oddities. Not only that, but make the atmosphere feel like we were sucked into a dream. Where his colors really found their appeal was the boldness. The energy in this story was found in the way he made every spell pop. If it wasn’t natural, it was vibrant and in your face.
Overall, Dr. Strange – Surgeon Supreme #3 was an enjoyable experience for the unique situation that Strange was thrown into. Magic is engaging when you can explore it, and they did not fail to give us that one element to this series which should never be ignored. Where there was confidence before in this creative team, now there is appreciation for what has not been lost about key selling points.