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Doctor Strange: Mystic Apprentice #1 Review

Story by Will Corona Pilgrim
Art by Andrea Di Vito
Colors by Laura Villari
Cover by Michael Ryan
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: October 26, 2016

Greetings Pulp Nation! In anticipation of Marvel Studio’s Doctor Strange, I spent part of my Saturday morning reading Doctor Strange: Mystic Apprentice #1.

The story follows Doctor Stephen Strange as he trains as an apprentice at Kamar-Taj, an isolated village in the Himalayas which is the home of many power mystics and sorcerors. When we first meet him, Strange is struggling. Not used to failure, Strange begins to doubt himself as he is unable to project his astral form and master fighting techniques.

Additionally, Doctor Strange: Mystic Apprentice includes the origin comic written by Stan Lee and drawn by Steve Ditko; a brilliant, welcome addition for Doctor Strange neophytes.

The Writing

Will Corona Pilgrim presents a Doctor Strange that many readers will not recognize; a novice of the mystic arts, one who is filled with self-doubt and not the supremely confident doctor we are used to seeing.

Overall, it was well written—with some humour thrown in for good measure—and Pilgrim gives us a good idea of what Doctor Strange had to go through before becoming the superhero we know today.  However, the one thing that bothered me about the story was the payoff when Doctor Strange finally succeeded—no spoiler here, it is Doctor Strange; of course, he will succeed—but it was a kind of abrupt. Specifically, there was no epiphany; it just happened with no real build-up. As a result, it felt anti-climatic.

The Artwork

Artist Andrea Di Vito and Colorist Laura Villari do a great job of bringing Doctor Strange: Mystic Apprentice to life. The artwork is detailed and does a masterful job of telling the story of Doctor Strange’s origin through flashbacks and even gives us training montage. It was the artwork that produced the great pacing of Doctor Strange: Mystic Apprentice.  For example, during the flashback, time felt like it slowed down while I was reading, and the training/studying montage read like you see it in the movies, jumping from scene to scene, showing progress with each step.

In fact, it was the artwork of Doctor Strange: Mystic Apprentice that won me over. Consequently, I am very much looking forward to what Di Vito and Villari have in store for future issues.

Final Thoughts: Doctor Strange: Mystic Apprentice #1

Doctor Strange: Mystic Apprentice #1 is a great place to start if you are new to Doctor Strange. Yes, I was somewhat disappointed in the writing but it still found a way to relate to me as a reader, as a good story will often do. It shows that even superheroes struggle; it is their humanity showing through. This series has the potential to be a great comic if the writing reaches the level of the artwork.

Finally, I most enjoyed the old-school bonus stories—take from Strange Tales #110 and 115—that came with Doctor Strange: Mystic Apprentice, #115 being his origin story—written by Stan Lee and drawn by Steve Ditko. I would pick it up for the bonus stories alone.

*Unless otherwise noted, all comics I (Bradley) review are provided by Freakshow Comics in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada* 

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