Doctor Strange #9 Review: The Highest Of Stakes

DS9 Cover Header
(Photo: Marvel Comics)

Jason Aaron continues to be responsible for the most relatable Stephen Strange I've seen in quite some time.

He's still aloof, sure, but he's also charming, resourceful, and just reckless enough to make the journey entertaining. Aaron's Strange has made some questionable decisions in the past, and while they aren't necessarily the reason things have gone the way they've gone, they still reveal that even the Sorcerer Supreme can let his confidence get the best of him.

DS9 Intro
(Photo: Marvel Comics)

More importantly, this is a Doctor Strange that I can empathize with, even if I don't comprehend the world in which he lives. The stakes here feel real, which is impressive when you're dealing with magic. It's easy to get lost in the cloud of imagination when working with the magical world, and many times real tension and stakes don't translate. Everything you're dealing with is based on a less tangible substance, which makes it easy for a reader to stop caring, ultimately knowing that some equally unknown entity or power will fix things.

DS9Wong
(Photo: Marvel Comics)

So far in the Last Days of Magic, Aaron has avoided that deftly, and every twist and turn feels organic in the first four chapters. While Aaron grounds the story as much as he can, artist Chris Bachalo and Colorist Java Tartaglia let loose with their dynamic art style, especially when rendering that thing in the cellar. Bachalo's art is so perfectly suited to this world, and he continues to impress.

On a side note, am I the only one who wants to see a team book based on all these magic characters? I'd throw down for a book that included Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch, Shaman, Hellstorm, and Magik, among others, and I imagine I'm not alone.

DS9 One Way Another
(Photo: Marvel Comics)

Overall I've been truly impressed with this latest arc, and chapter four sets the stage for a climactic three-way battle between the Empirikul and Stephen and Wong's own demons come to life. It's shaping up to be well worth the wait.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Written By: Jason Aaron

Art By: Chris Bachalo

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Colors By: Java Tartaglia & Chris Bachalo

Letters By: VC's Cory Petit