REVIEW: Doctor Strange #386

Doctor Strange #386 Review Featured

Doctor Strange #386 / Writer: Donny Cates / Artist: Niko Henrichon/ Coloring by: Niko Henrichon & Laurent Grossat/ Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit/ Publisher: Marvel Comics/ February 28, 2018

How do you destroy a man?  Grant him his heart’s desire.  These words have been recently echoing in my mind while reading Doctor Strange #386.  Doctor Strange has recently been on a *ahem* strange journey as of late. He lost the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme, became a veterinarian, brought back a long thought dead hero, got possessed by a monster, regained the mantle and lost every friend he had except for his dog that died but is now haunting him.  Strange indeed. Stephen was willing to burn heaven and earth to regain the mantle, just to find out he never lost it(that ol’ Trickster Loki!).  But now he is alone in a destroyed Sanctum. So what do you do when you’ve lost everything? Well you get your groove back, that’s what! But when said groove involves literally bringing hell to earth, then maybe you should have done what Stella did and go to Jamaica instead.

And now we’re back to where we left Strange in Doctor Strange: Damnation #1, with him having a game of Blackjack with Mephisto. People always talk about how arrogant and cocky Tony Stark is, but he’s only a candle to the egotistical Stephen Strange’s Flames of the Faltine(that is the geekiest thing I’ve typed in months). He walks into a casino filled with demons, cutthroats and goblins like it’s just a walk in the park.  That is, until he sees the type of blackjack game the devil is playing. Not one to be thrown off of his game, Stephen Strange almost loses his composure as Mephisto baits him with insults. Strange uses this to his advantage and pulls a Hail Mary type move that will cost him dearly.

At this point you’re probably sick and tired of hearing about how great Donny Cates is.  Well guess what?  Prepare to hear it again because this man just can’t seem to miss.  One of the things that I hate about issues that tie-in to events is when they add nothing to the story.  Not only does Cates make this issue easily accessible for those who have not read Damnation, but he also tells the story in a way that doesn’t feel like a rehash if you did.  Cates is a master of perfectly combining seriousness, action and just enough comedy that it doesn’t throw everything off. Cates writes Strange with such bravado that you actually believe that he isn’t way over his head here(which he is).  However that’s what makes Strange such a great character, it’s fun to write him into a corner just to see how he gets out of it. The banter between Doctor Strange and Mephisto during the game was masterfully written, though more extensive and longer than I’d like.

How Niko Henrichon isn’t a household name in the comics world by now is beyond me. If you need to get familiar then read Pride of Baghdad and get back to me.  From hismanga-like facial expressions to the life like monsters, Niko put his back into these pages.  Niko does this scratchy pen style of drawing with his characters that really makes them stand out in a way that is only he can do.  I love an artist that makes me spend numerous minutes just staring at their panels, absorbing everything that is offered.  Both Niko and Laurent Grossat give the color a texture that makes it seem that the art is literally popping out of the pages.

I’m still not the biggest fan of event tie-ins.  But since this is a Doctor Strange event, and this is a Doctor Strange solo series it gets a pass in my book.  Plus the same guy is writing both.  Doctor Strange #386 is a great read whether you’re on the highway to hell with Damnation or just sticking to the solo series. Donny Cates continues to impress and Niko delivers another amazing issue.  Let’s hope this team stays on Doctor Strange for a long – *signal lost*

Verdict: 5 out of 5 Superman Neck Snaps

You are now in the presence of The Mighty Hands of Khonshu aka The Fist of the NorCal aka Infinity Knuckles aka Vibranium Clippers aka Terrigen Haze aka Vishanti Slippers aka Latverian Lamborghini aka Adamantium Triceps aka The New Comic Book Daywalker aka Unstable Molecule aka Beats by Pym aka Foster Child of the Atom aka Triple XXX-Gene aka the Walking, Talking Red 100 Emoji. Stop putting pineapple on a pizza.

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You are now in the presence of The Mighty Hands of Khonshu aka The Fist of the NorCal aka Infinity Knuckles aka Vibranium Clippers aka Terrigen Haze aka Vishanti Slippers aka Latverian Lamborghini aka Adamantium Triceps aka The New Comic Book Daywalker aka Unstable Molecule aka Beats by Pym aka Foster Child of the Atom aka Triple XXX-Gene aka the Walking, Talking Red 100 Emoji. Stop putting pineapple on a pizza.

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