The Sorcerer Supreme is dead. For the past few months, Marvel has been teasing this world-shattering event. Luckily for all those sadists out there, the House of Ideas wasn't lying—by the end of the Death of Doctor Strange launch, one Stephen Strange is, in fact, killed off. What promises to unfold next is a murder mystery Marvel seems to implement about three times a year, but this time there's at least the possibility of an interdimensional adventure that could result in a sight to behold.
Throughout the issue, Strange himself recalls the story of Koschei the Deathless, maybe enough so that it'd even make Mike Mignola blush. It's a fitting narrative for the tale at hand, and even adds to the simmering god complex Strange often suffers from. Even then, Strange himself realizes nothing is forever, through some dialogue we see take place at Strange Academy. Naturally, this creates an interesting dynamic between how we see the Sorcerer Supreme interact with others and how we see his inner monologue unfold.
For this reviewer, things were going swimmingly until the issue's big reveal with the final splash when it's seemingly revealed who'll take the place of the recently departed Sorcerer Supreme. In lieu of spoiling it here, I'll just add the replacement seems awfully cheap, and the easiest way out of writing yourself into a corner.
That said, Lee Garbett's line art throughout the issue is a stellar strongpoint, including a shift in style at the aforementioned splash page.
Death of Doctor Strange #1 is something we've seen plenty of before, yet here it doesn't have the benefit of a publisher-wide event status. Marvel's trying to set this up as its own miniature event while still including as many characters as it can. The first issue alone is a who's who of Marvel Comics' mystics and before you close the back cover, even the Avengers get involved. Despite all that, this introductory issue serves as an intriguing launch of something that might become something epic—or something that we've seen one too many times before.
Published by Marvel Comics
On September 22, 2021
Written by Jed MacKay
Art by Lee Garbett
Colors by Antonio Fabela
Letters by Cory Petit
Cover by Kaare Andrews