Mind Capsules – Doctor Strange #1 and Nailbiter #16

Doctor Strange #1
Doctor Strange #1

Writer – Jason Aaron
Artist – Chris Bachalo, Kevin Knowlan
Inkier – Tim Townsend, Al Vey, Mark Irwin
Colours – Chris Bachalo

Doctor Strange has not had an ongoing title in a very long time. The excuse Marvel gave over the years was that they could not find a writer that ‘understood him’ or ‘could not get it right’ or they were simply waiting for the right time. That time is now it seems and it finds Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo at the helm, indeed delivering something that has never been seen with the hero before – a fun, almost carefree Doctor Strange. It is almost as if Marvel directed Aaron to inject a little Tony Stark in the man, and maybe there is, but the seeds for Stephen’s current portrayal have always been there right from the start. In the beginning he was somewhat of a playboy and a famous surgeon and he would have continued as such if it were not for the accident that took away the use of his hands, not permanently so, merely enough that he could no longer perform the life-saving techniques needed for the job. In this first story, we see a little bit of that playboy come out in Strange as soon after he defeats a group of soul-eaters and their champion, he finds the time to make-out with their leader. It is a good bit of fun and you have to wonder if this is how he spends his time after being away from Clea for so long (his one-time beau). There are some new concepts introduced, like his little hideaway bar for magicians and their ilk, the fact that he can see everything that we cannot all of the time which is just a little unsettling and in addition to that, there is also a lot of action as well to keep things moving. Chris Bachalo delivers some really stunning artwork, some of the best he has put down in years and it gives the book a really vibrant energy which is a good way to start things off. With the addition of Aaron’s excellent story, some great characterization, a cliff-hanger ending and a backup story that introduces a new villain that looks to be quite a challenge for the good doctor, the book is off to an exceptional start.

4.5 out of 5

Nailbiter #16
Nailbiter #16

Writer – Joshua Williamson
Artist – Mike Henderson
Colours – Adam Guzowski

With the shocking revelation that Alice, who now lies in the hospital, is Sheriff Crane’s daughter, the book continues the paranoia and the suspense that began in the very first issue. Due to forces beyond his control, Finch is being shipped off and the investigation of Buckaroo and the killings now being handled by the FBI. Unbeknownst to our heroes, Eliot Carroll has woken up and when they find out, they are a little mad that they were never informed, but of course it is too late as Carroll has been transported to safety. Joshua Williamson continues to weave the web between these characters, the town and its killers and not only with them but also with Edward Charles Warren, the man from whom this title receives its name. When last we saw the villain, he was battling the latest serial killer to emerge from the bowels of Buckaroo, yet he has seemingly emerged from his trials, none too worse for wear. But the man knows that he cannot remain in town otherwise bad things might happen and so after some lighthearted scenes with a child dressed up for Halloween which were a lot of fun, we take leave of the Nailbiter, at least for the time being. For the most part, this issue made a nice interlude between the last story-arc and whatever comes next but it was a little frustrating only because you want to see so much more. Williamson, Henderson and Adam Guzowski make this such a compelling book, that you ache to read more beyond its set number of pages only to be denied until the next installment. Of all things that could be wrong with a book, it could be a lot worse.

4 out of 5

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