ADVANCED REVIEW: Doctor Strange-The End #1

Doctor Strange: The End #1/ Writer: Leah Williams/ Artist: Felipe Andrade/ Colorist: Chris O’Halloran/ Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles/ Publisher: Marvel/ Release Date: January 29, 2020

Marvel’s The End comics are an interesting concept: what happens when a beloved hero meets their eventual end? The concept has been visited multiple times over several one-shots and miniseries, and this year it is being dusted off for a new series of one-shot issues. One of these issues focuses on the Master of the Mystic Arts himself, Doctor Strange!

Doctor Strange: The End #1 finds Strange as the last remaining practitioner of magic in an increasingly hi-tech world. His protege, Illyana Rasputin-aka Magik-is trapped in a hellish dimension. His former partner Wong has ascended to another plane of existence. The only genuine connection he has is a tempestuous relationship with his home AI, GEN-E, or “Jenny”. Yet when his skills begin to falter, Strange must make one last journey to reignite the spark of magic in the world.

Doctor Strange: The End #1 reunites writer Leah Williams with artist Felipe Andrade; their previous collaboration, Magik: What If?, was a tragic, often darkly comedic look at what would happen if Illyana Rasputin became the Sorcerer Supreme. This book acts as its spiritual successor, with Williams digging deep into Strange’s mind and showing a lonely man who is desperate to get back the world he lost. Many of Strange’s conversations take place with either Jenny or Wong’s spiritual presence; though he has many biting quips, his sarcastic tone is underlined with remorse. It takes a great writer to balance the comedic and tragic elements, and Williams manages to walk that tightrope effortlessly.

Andrade’s art is extremely expressive, particularly when it comes to depicting Strange’s emotions. One minute a wry smirk crosses his face as he prepares to teach a group of teenagers a lesson they won’t forget; the next, he sinks to his knees in disbelief as the Flames of Faltine begin to flicker and die out. Andrade also takes us from a variety of settings; from the bustling cityscape of New York City to a sunlit mountain to the graves of various magic users. Colorist Chris O’Halloran helps buck the trend of the usual cyberpunk stories; instead of drenching Andrade’s art in neon vibes, he opts for lush, warm colors. This results in stunning visuals, especially when Strange awakes to a warm sunset.

Doctor Strange: The End #1 is a wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated meditation on mortality and loneliness. Fans of Doctor Strange owe it to themselves to read this one-shot.

Doctor Strange: The End #1 will be available January 29th wherever comics are sold.

Rating: 5 out of 5 Flames of Faltine

Collier, or CJ as he’s known to his friends, is a screenwriter and blogger residing in Seattle. When he isn’t at his laptop or at work, he loves to read comics, watch movies, play card games, and hit the local arcade. Spider-Man is his favorite fictional character of all time.

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