What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Dr. Strange – Surgeon Supreme #4! For everything we already knew that we were going to get out of this book, it was a pleasant surprise that still the exploration of magic is engaging. As I said before, where there was confidence before in this creative team, now there is appreciation for what has not been lost about key selling points.
When it came to the previous issue of Doctor Strange, I know I had said there was no way Strange could go too long without being able to figure out where of these powerful tools and items are coming from. If there was any hint that they could have come from a forge, or his specifically, you knew exactly the next step he needed to take. It was only a matter of the writer treating Strange and us as though we aren’t dumb enough that we can’t put two and two together. Fortunately for us, that was not the case when this issue wastes little time taking us right into what happens when Strange follows the right bread crumbs to the answer.
It has been quite the development to bring Dr. Druid back into the life of Stephen Strange. Obviously they want us to question whether he can be trusted or not, though there’s nothing you can really go off of that could make you jump to any conclusions. Maybe in the case of his death and resurrection, but aside from that you are only met with suspicion when his appearance matches the point where things start going wrong. It didn’t hurt that this issue kept the questions going through involvement that challenged the idea that he could be behind it.
As early as it is in the series, there was no better time than now to really push the balance that Strange is trying to strike between being the Sorcerer Supreme and one of the best neural surgeons. If there was ever to be one concern about the direction taken with this book, it was the idea that you could truly get readers to care about both halves of his life. At the core you are always going to be a bit more interested in his work as the Sorcerer Supreme. So a little more work has to go into what ways that his work with the McCarthy Medical Institute will matter. The answer to that comes pretty clear when challenged to be there when patients need him most. What happens when he’s not there? This issue provided an excellent answer to that question.
That said, it was at the same time worth exploring what other relationships he could build upon integrating himself into a more grounded setting. The last person Strange formed any sort of bond with in the past was Zelma. So trying again with someone else was a good step to take forward. Particularly when there is actually room for there to be something more than friendship because of a closer gap in age.
Once more this art team knocked it out of the park with the interior work. I mean the cover itself was stunning, don’t get me wrong, though for a book like Doctor Strange it is just as important to flip open to that first page and be blown away from start to finish. That is how I felt through every scene which took advantage of what it looks like when the threat is big enough that the good doctor has to bring out the big spells to get the job done. So the colors were explosive, the monsters and demons, they were also fairly creative too. Though what really grabs your attention is the detail which went into the expressions of Stephen, and most of these characters as a whole. Strong work in selling us on every reaction shot whether it was fear, frustration, anger, or even surprise. This made a big difference when almost everything situation was leading to a close call.
This first story arc is going with momentum and hitting all the right notes. There’s nothing about this situation that doesn’t get the wheels in your brain turning because they want to believe it’s one person, when it could be something else entirely. Dr. Strange – Surgeon Supreme #4 accomplished that while also continuing to strike a perfect balance between both halves of Stephen’s life that he is fighting to keep from interfering with the other.