What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Strange Academy #3! Yet another book out there which fell into the void when the pandemic hit comics in March. It was anyone’s guess when things would pick-up again with Strange Academy, though glad it is back on shelves now. Especially because as I have said before, this is a book which we have needed a long time now.Up to now we have been learning the rules of magic and the way that magic works in general. Though now is the time to see what the experience is like when this is being taught to kids.
Their first lesson in this issue was a good one. When that first run of Doctor Strange came out where we were exploring the world of magic? The first thing we experienced was the kind of sight which allowed Strange to see the magical entities which walked the same grounds we do, invisibly. It was good to see what could come of these students attempting to see through that same lens. This created a sense of wonder that was nostalgic of that moment, yet unique to the student who was able to accomplish using that sight to see parallel realms.
Now that scene was also important for the fact that this was our chance to see what kind of students we were dealing with. This isn’t to say that we didn’t get a good idea of this in the first issue, but most of what we saw from these students was seeing what they were like outside of the classroom. Through this third issue it became more apparent as to which students were going to be problematic, which students were going to have an easier time, and which ones might face more struggles than others. Finding that distinction between these students early on is nothing to overlook. This is a pretty big cast of characters, which means there is a lot of ground to cover to address what each student has to offer.
Of course with a book like this, not everything is going to take place within the classroom either. So I appreciated the room that these kids were given to at least explore the world around the school. In other words, New Orleans. Given their first opportunity to explore the scene, it was interesting to see where they would all go to spend their time. Not only this, it was cool to begin seeing who and where they all gravitated towards. Specifically in terms of the who. This early on it is also important to establish dynamics between these students. The ones who click, those who don’t, and the ones who might find themselves caught in that inevitable trap that is love. Aside from this, who would have thought that their night hitting the streets would lead to some trouble? One way was expected, the other not so much. Though it was endearing to see how they overcame some of these situations they got sucked into.
That said, I think the best takeaway from this issue was the growth that these students were able to experience. This book may focus on helping kids who have potential with magic, but at the end of the day this is no different from a young hero book. There is a responsibility to the power they have, and an unspoken rule to the power they have which this issue addressed perfectly.
Visually there are some things which I enjoyed seeing transitioned over from the Doctor Strange series. The first is the style change which comes when you are seeing magic on another plane. That fade to white in the background, while everything else magical is in color is a cool effect. It was commendable that we have a penciler who also is creative enough to open the doors to that parallel realm and create so many creatures we have never seen before. From there, it was the exploration of New Orleans which was visually appealing for the magical side to it that they shined a light on. There was the part of New Orleans which captured the world of voodoo, and then there was the parts which are more suspect. It was good to know that we have an art team capable of changing settings, atmosphere, and tones effortlessly to adjust to what this place has to offer. Aside from this, it was both appealing and refreshing that the layout design for the interiors was something they are willing to toy with each issue.
Strange Academy #3 was a lot of things upon this book’s return. Though this is an experience unlike any you’re going to get from Marvel right now.