Doctor Strange #1 Review: The Sorcerer Supreme Returns in Prime Form

Doctor Strange was dead. So much so, Marvel Comics made an entire event out of it, making a big splash of the character's passing and his subsequent replacement as Earth's Sorcerer Supreme. Now Stephen Strange is back in his own eponymous comic book series, technically the seventh volume of stories featuring the character. In fact, Doctor Strange #1 (2023) is listed as the character's 497th issue according to Marvel's legacy numbering. Volume after volume, issue after issue, long-time comics readers have gotten one Strange story after the next as writers and artist explored every possible angle to be had with the magician.

Then Jed MacKay and Pasqual Ferry come along and inject an original idea into the character, giving him a breath of fresh life in this new comic book journey.

This time around, Doctor Strange features both Stephen and Clea, the Sorcerer Supremes of Earth and the Dark Dimension, respectively. At the root of this new story is a tale that straddles the line of political intrigue and espionage, and fans get to see how each of the Stranges approach the difficult matter at hand. On the intrigue front, there's almost a Hickman-ian flavor to the politics between the dimensions, diving headfirst into a sizable social issue head-on within the issue's opening pages with the relocation of multiversal refugees.

That, quite frankly, might be one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. Even though the title features a flying cloak and its protagonists cast spells to rid Bleecker Street of demons on a daily basis, MacKay churns out a script that humanizes even the most inhuman of Marvel characters.

More importantly, however, is the story giving Stephen a life to live, one outside of being an Avenger or saving Earth from inter-dimensional threats. You see, the Sorcerer Supreme is often portrayed as a self-centered narcissist to an extent but here, Strange helps as many people as he can. It shines an entirely new light on the character, and one that's well worth the wait.

As Ferry and Hollingsworth work in tandem, their styles combine for one that pays homage to the best Strange titles of yesteryear. The highlights and shadows in the color, in particular, are simple and scaled back, which helps support Ferry's light line work exceptionally well. Together, this creative team creates an epic new Doctor Strange debut that sets the character on an exciting new path across all dimensions.

Published by Marvel Comics

On March 22, 2023

Written by Jed MacKay

Art by Pasqual Ferry

Colors by Matt Hollingsworth

Letters by Cory Petit

Cover by Alex Ross