Writer: Jason Aaron Pencils: Chris Bachalo Colors: Chris Bachalo and Java Tartaglia Letters: Cory Petit Publisher: Marvel
Magic is under attack as the mysterious Empirikul have been hunting down all magic users and sorcerer supremes of every dimension. Now they are the Marvel Prime Universe and Doctor Strange’s task has flipped, he must defend the mystical arts themselves rather then those from it. This showdown has been building up within the previous story arc as this issue kicks off the start of a new one, “the Last Days of Magic”. The Empirikul, who’s origin is still in the shadows, are technology users and are as anti magic as they come.
Right from the get go, writer Jason Aaron effectively shows that Doctor Strange is on the ropes. He is using every trick in the book in order to stay alive and with every attempt he grows more and more desperate. He remains in battle throughout the issue and Aaron is able to sell the Empirikul as a legit threat with the addition of a splash page of the other Marvel magic users, such as Scarlet Witch, Magik, and Doctor Voodoo, who are struggling just as the good doctor is. The sense of fatalism is ever present throughout the issue and you feel as if Strange is fighting an unwinnable war.
The whole idea of having magic fighting for its very existence is wildly creative. This is a theme that is rarely seen and it makes for interesting commentary on our modern world. Is Aaron trying to tell us that we have dunked our head too deep in technology and have become too reliant on it? Do we need to take a step back and simply admit that there are some mysteries in the universe that science isn’t able at the moment or possibly never able to explain? Should we be admiring that there is still a sense of mystery to this universe?
The whole magic is in danger theme is also very parallel to another current Marvel series, Scarlet Witch. It’s less clear in Wanda’s book but the similarities are there. If one is reading both comics then it’ll cause them to ponder whether or not James Robinson, writer of Scarlet Witch, and Jason Aaron are collaborating together for an eventual crossover. Yes please.
The lengths and actions that Doctor Strange is going to is incredibly imaginary and is a perfect set up for fantastic visuals. Which brings us to one of the highlights of the series, the art.
Chris Bachalo’s frantic style is beyond perfect for the Sorcerer Supreme. He is able to capture the insanity of this magic vs technology themed battle and every panel is heavy in detail. Theres a scene where Strange uses trees and other plant life to fend off his foes and it’s as chaotic as it sounds. The Doctor’s final attempt in the closing pages is insane and Bachalo takes full advantage of it. Bachalo is also able to capture look and feel of desperation and fear within Doctor Strange and his fellow magic users eyes. Its complemented brilliantly with its colors. With Java Tartaglia in support, the two are able to have the emotion of every character leap off the pages and it’s a joy to gaze at.
Doctor Strange #6 is a solid, chaotic, and action packed beginning to Jason Aaron’s second story arc of the Sorcerer Supreme. Aaron is able to effectively portray a sense of uncertainty throughout the issue and the magic vs technology theme makes for interesting commentary. The artwork is perfect in capturing the tone, vibe, and emotions that are characters are going through. This is a series that you definitely want to get aboard on.
Score: 4.5 out of 5
Review by Eric Bradach