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Strange 1 - November 09 by Mark Waid, Emma Rios and Christina

1/01/2010. Contributed by Ewan Angus

Buy Strange # 1 - November 09 in the USA - or Buy Strange # 1 - November 09 in the UK

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pub: Marvel Comics. 25 page colour comic. Price: $3.99 (US), 3.10 (UK).

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It's infuriating when you don't get what you want. I have been pining for a Dr. Strange series since, well...since I realised I liked this geeky, non-ass kicking, yet super-intelligent super-hero. Which I can say is a while ago.

So yes, I was ecstatic in June when I learned that this would be the case. Woo hoo, I thought in amongst a wave of wow! Nate Grey is coming back as well in Dark X-Men! All the whilst raising my eyebrows as to why they were re-numbering and re-naming the Moon Knight on-going (it's OK, though! It all makes perfect sense. In a Moon Knighty kind of way) series.

Dr. Strange. He's a bit of a loose cannon when it comes to actually giving him a series. He seems to get a critically acclaimed/panned series every few years and then there is this one.

I read somewhere that in the Marvel offices that they had been waiting for the perfect pitch, that's why there was no series.
Is this it?

Well for a first issue of four (why is it only four! Come on, he deserves more), it does not bode well. A supernatural baseball game? I'm sure that works in the States but I have no idea about baseball. The closest I've come to this sport is Wii baseball, which I'm rubbish at or rounders at primary school, feeling depressed for days on end because I missed a catch that everyone claims was simple.

Also, if it's a Dr Strange mini-series, it might be a deliberately misleading title but I'm ignoring the symbolism and overall cleverness it could stand for, should he not be the main character or at least have most the air time?

Then why is there this new character? Named...hold on...she was so uninteresting I'll have to go double check her name: Casey. Typical new age name nobody uses in real life. She's the spoilt brat of a baseball manager who made a deal with a demon. So the good doctor uses her to get into the swing of things. Get it?

But of course, as he's no longer Sorcerer Supreme, he's virtually useless, there's no point in having hands if you can only do mundane, normal things with them and not cast reality altering, potentially dangerous spells. Strange has been humbled once more, his arrogance kicked back in his face. So once teaching said brat a little bit of magic, Strange then goes on to compete in a game of baseball. Demonic baseball.

Come on. This is just getting silly now. I know that the character of Strange is more or less down and out after being kicked from his pedestal but this is just unfair. It's almost cringe worthy. He's meant to be one of the more serious characters, I'd expect this in Spider-Man or maybe Hercules or Deadpool. There was a baseball incident in Deadpool last year and it was brilliant. Sport and fiction, not a happy couple.

Art duties are handled by Emma Rios and Christina Strain and I'll admit this just adds to my depression. Yes, I know that the Ditko age Strange series were all bright colours and luminous swirls of magical irrelevance but this is a poor re-working of a concept that doesn't need updating or altering. Look at Lenil Yu's run on the 'New Avengers' when Strange was part of the crowd. It was amazing! There's a small caption of this art on the intro page, along with some older stuff and it gave me a tremble of excitement. Then I turned the page.

It's pretty drawings that do very little to mature a book that should be aimed at an older audience or at least for the fan boy. Meeeee! I would also like to ask the staff on this comic why it's so hard to keep Strange's hair consistent? One minute its grey at the sides like it should be, next it's on his mega long floppy fringe next its elsewhere. Why!?

The colours and art is almost manga-like and it does very little for the plot. After reading this I checked out Rios' 'Hexed', a mini-series about an angsty teen-age witch with demonic connections. It was all right, but it's clearly the reason she got this gig. It's more or less the same character thrown into the Marvel Universe with Doctor Strange tagged on. This is not what we want from a Doctor Strange comic.

It's written by the acclaimed Mark Waid, whose series 'Irredeemable' about an evil super-hero is apparently amazing and I keep meaning to buy it. Wish I'd bought it instead of this...
So if you like modern Doctor Strange, say in the last five or six years, then I would advise you to give this a look but overall it's a plot, art and overall product that doesn't do the character nearly enough justice, it's just leaves you saying the word why a lot. There's little things that could be good but the whole product is like an obnoxiously coloured sweetie that promises to be full of flavour only to taste of nothing but plastic. It wouldn't even taste of sweet plastic.

I'll follow this series, I'm hoping beyond hope that it gets better and willing to give it another shot. Mainly because its Doctor Strange and there's also talk that in the last issue something big will happen to Strange so that's another reason to keep my eye on it.
In the meantime, I will continue to glance at it every so often, pick it up and then put it down immediately until the next issue comes out.

Oh, and it wasn't a simple catch. It probably would have broken all the bones in my hand. Then I would have been like my still under-utilised hero!

Ewan Angus

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