What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about the debut release of Strange Academy #1! As a reader who enjoys the fantastical side of the Marvel Universe, this book right here was a LONG TIME COMING. I honestly can’t believe that in a world where you have mutant academy books, Fantastic Four academy books, and even Avengers Academy books, it took till 2020 for us to finally find a creative team bold enough to give us a magic school. In other words, Strange Academy #1.
I wouldn’t say that the Marvel Universe has mysteriously changed in such an alarming way as they describe considering we know already some of the more drastic changes the rules of magic have gone through before opening to this first page, but all the same it was important that this matter is being addressed on a grand scale. That is rather than only really existing as a thing within the pages of a Doctor Strange solo.
Now as with most books that I have mentioned above, it’s never as simple as taking a bunch of kids who share a similar trait and throwing them under one roof. There needs to be a reason for the institution coming to be, how these kids are sought out, and what is to be gained from these kids taking the chance in going to an academy for magic. All of this was answered and more, which is exactly what we needed to know more than anything else in the first issue. Off the bat it made a big difference that the opening scene gave us a prime example of the kind of students they were bringing in. The kind who can also have the aptitude for magic and never truly understand what it means. This was perfect considering some of the more prominent magic users currently like Magik and Scarlet Witch took time to grasp that their powers were magic at the source.
When introductions rolled around for the students, it was very interesting to see where they were all plucked from. Some places obvious, other places a nice surprise. Nothing was held back in terms of how some of them would even react to each other from just from seeing each other. You don’t put some of these people together and not expect some tension because said student comes from a place you would consider evil. The fact that there was no discrimination there was crucial to address quick. With that said, it was enlightening how much we could learn from first impressions and interactions too. All it takes is one solid conversation to get a good idea of what to expect from some of thee students. There is some self-discovery to anticipate, secrets to unravel, and plenty of growth to experience.
One thing I personally appreciated about the cast for the book is the way that Zelma has not been forgotten for the role she now plays in the magic world. Working with the school in her capacity is a huge step up, and even better when we actually see that there is much more to her capabilities than simply reading books or being a Librarian. When it came to the rest of the staff, it was also good to know who we would see more of, and who we knew to look out for as the story progresses. Brother Voodoo, the Ancient One, the Scarlet Witch, Magik, and Hellstrom were all good choices. The oddest was the Mindful One. Not sure what the deal is with that one, but hope they don’t tip toe around how that one works.
Overall, I’m impressed that the writing was this good for Skottie Young being the writer. Not that he isn’t experienced with this kind of writing, but in some cases a few other names might come to mind before you would consider him for something related to Doctor Strange.
A big draw-in for this book was definitely the art team they put together to breathe life into this book’s interiors. Humberto Ramos and Egdar Delgado did fantastic work in this first issue om start to finish. Whether it was Ramos’ stunning detail in the way that these characters and settings are penciled, or the glow from Egdar Delgado’s colors you expect to make a book convince you of its magic. They made every flip of the page full of wonder. Every one of these students looked like they came from a different walk of life. When it came to the colors in particular, it went a long way that most of these youngsters carried their own aura to them. Keeps things colorful and distinguishing. And speaking of distinguishing, it seemed like Clayton Cowles was given a lot of room to play with so many different voices that these characters have based on where they come from. There was a strong variety in fonts, word bubble shapes, and even the colors to them.
Welcome to the Strange Academy! Hope you survive the experience! If you are looking for magic with a sense of wonder, then look no further than Strange Academy #1! This was the book you always wanted from the magic corner of the Marvel Universe. Even in this book the lure of discovery does not end when there is still much to learn about the way that magic works in this world. Especially after some of the more significant changes magic has gone through in recent times.