Here’s something that all of us comic books readers know by now:
Death is never the end.
Just ask Jean Grey, right? Or Jason Todd. Or Bruce Wayne. Or Peter Parker. Or Johnny Storm. Or Charles Xavier. I could go on, but I won’t because you get the point. And it really doesn’t matter to me that characters often come back from the dead, if it means we get told a good story.
I remember when Dan Slot killed off Peter Parker years ago, and his psyche was replaced with Doc Ock’s. A lot of folks were up in arms about it, but it never bothered me because 1) I knew Peter would be back and 2) I trusted that Slott, as a writer, was going to tell us a good story. Which he did, as readers of Superior Spider-Man know.
Which brings us to The Death of Doctor Strange #1, written by Jed McKay, illustrated by Lee Garbett, and which delivers, as promised, the demise of one Stephen Strange.
Now, there’s more to the book than that penultimate moment, to be sure. There’s an excellent lead-up in which readers see Strange at his best, multitasking through the multiverse, teaching at Strange Academy, doing surgery with his healed hands, battling pesky demons. In this manner, McKay and Garbett demonstrate just how involved Doctor Strange is throughout the entire fabric of the Marvel Universe and how he’s developed as character throughout his history.
There’s a mystery aspect that the book leans into once Doctor Strange meets his doom (not, Doctor Doom), as hero and villain alike feel the magical reverberation of his death. The final panel pays off on an earlier joke in the book in a way that doesn’t feel cheap or pandering, instead setting the tone for what’s to come.
You don’t need to have been reading Strange Academy or any recent Doctor Strange books to appreciate the magic that McKay and Garbett cast within The Death of Doctor Strange #1, but should you start reading this limited series, I have a feeling that, like me, you’ll be in it for the long hail.
And if you’re upset about Doctor Strange dying, don’t worry. I have a feeling he’ll be back.