DOCTOR STRANGE #2 / Writer: Mark Waid / Artist: Jesùs Saiz / Letterer: Cory Petit / Publisher: Marvel / June 20th, 2018
In Doctor Strange #2, we continue following Strange on his space adventures. This time around, he’s a prisoner on the planet, Grynda, and the technologically advanced natives experiment on him. We also meet Pkzkrfmknna—Kanna for short—when the jailers dump her in his cell. The pair quickly become friends and attempt to escape the deadly planet. Will they succeed?
Doctor Strange, by Mark Waid and Jesùs Saiz, continues to provide reading pleasure. Well paced, this issue quickly guides you through the action without skipping over crucial information. You feel Waid’s eagerness through his writing. After just two issues, he’s set up all the groundwork by providing a compelling reason for Stephen to venture into space, concretely establishing our protagonist’s personality and state of mind, and initiating introductions of a vibrant supporting cast.
I criticized what appeared to be a lack of direction in my review of the previous issue. This time around, however, Waid reveals to us he knows exactly where he’s going. Strange fully embraces his mission to space and the introduction of technomancy, giving this story a great sense of adventure. The one-page reveal at the end doesn’t tease much, but we now know something nefarious watches our friend, creating an aura of mystery while showcasing a bigger story.
The excellent third-person narrative immerses the reader in a mystical tale. It creates a certain gravitas, giving an epic feeling to the ordeal ahead. Unfortunately, despite the flawless execution, the predictable story lacked originality, decreasing the overall quality. Two people with similar objectives getting locked up together and planning a successful escape is an overplayed trope. Everything else, though, is spectacular, especially the characterization. One thing that strikes me about Kanna is how thoroughly her personality has been developed for a new character. Mark Waid made her interesting and likable; she’s a youthful and energetic foil to Strange’s devastated self. I can’t wait to explore more of this character in the near future.
A fabulously well-written comic is nothing without the art that complements it. Jesùs Saiz exceeds all expectation and solidifies his position as my favorite comic book artist. For the second issue in a row, he brings equal artistic prowess to both detail-oriented scenes and to visually stunning, deep space spectacles. The colors and shadows create a vivid and engaging reading experience, pulling every important detail to the forefront. One thing about his art that continues to astound me is how every panel is drawn to such precision, no detail is left to chance. This is something that has lacked recently in comic art, and it is refreshing. Saiz’s masterful hand exploits the visual potential of both deep space and magic to their fullest.
I love when a great series like Doctor Strange excites me so much it lands on the top of my reading list every time a new issue drops. It’s creeping its way into my top three favorite comics at the moment, hitting all my sensibilities. The book is enjoyable for both Strange veterans and new readers alike, and both Waid and Saiz utilize their wealth of talent to craft a great entry in the sorcerer’s history. The execution and feel of this comic make up for the overused trope in the story’s premise. I can’t wait to see where this pair takes Stephen Strange next on his space fairing adventure.
Verdict: 4.5 Doors of Akhnu out of 5