So now I walk alone though the nameless reaches of the Netherworld. Each day weirder than the last. Each new challenge liable to end with my doom or damnation or final descent into screaming madness. But you know what? I’d be lying like hell if I said I didn’t love this.
Doctor Strange : The Way of the Weird (Issues #1-#5)
By Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo
Only Doctor Strange can protect our world from the darkness beyond — now, witness the full toll that constant struggle takes on Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme! Every spell cast comes at a cost, but what happens when Strange falls behind on his tab? Find out as the good doctor wakes up somewhere very odd, nearly naked — with no spell books, no weapons and no memory of how he got there…or why all the monsters are chasing him! And as a new visitor to Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum learns one wrong door can lead to oblivion, a magic circle of Strange’s friends and allies are about to face their greatest threat. Dark forces are destroying everything mystical in the multiverse, and their sights are set on this dimension. Magic’s days are numbered, and Doctor Strange is not ready!
It’s been a few years since I last read anything with Doctor Strange in it, but the upcoming Benedict Cumberbatch film, combined with a general Marvel cloud in the air and some late night Amazon browsing brought me to the newest comic iteration of Doctor Strange. Begun in 2015, the run is now on its seventh issue, and recently released a trade paperback of issues #1-#5, which comprise the reviewed collection.
For the unknowing, the titular Doctor Strange is a skilled former surgeon who injures his precious hands, falls in with the mystical Ancient One, and dons the cape of Earth’s “Sorcerer Supreme.” This 2015 run is not an origin story. It opens with a fast 1-page summary, but afterward jumps right into Strange’s adventures without much additional backstory exposition.
Don’t let that deter you though! I hadn’t read anything starring this weirdo for at least a decade and was able to dive right in. The story is accessible to new readers and old, vividly entering Strange’s magical world with action, mystery, and a lot of humor. The illustrations enhance the fantastic plot, offering bright and bold representations for all of the monstrous other-dimensional beings, and wonderfully bizarre settings that range from other worlds to Strange’s supremely odd New York abode.
There is also a librarian who I hope gets even more page time, and who shares my equal horror for unorganized piles of books :
Should You Read This?
If you’re a fan of comics that feature magic, adventure, and lots of snark, pick up the 2015 Doctor Strange run, either in its issue form (Kindle comics was doing some sweet $.99 sales) or as a trade paperback. (Additionally, if you’re already familiar with the Marvel-verse, there are appearances and mentions of other characters, but recognizing them isn’t essential to enjoying the plot)
If you’re just really curious about what that weird Cumberbatch movie’s deal is- you may also want to give this a glance. There will probably be differences in the setup and tone, but this should give you a good primer of what magic looks like within the Marvel Universe. Plus, it’s just really cool looking and fun, and what more could you want from a comic?
Summary from Goodreads