Issue by Issue – Doctor Strange Vol. 2 #5

Doctor_Strange_Vol_2_5Writer – Steve Englehart
Artist – Frank Brunner
Inker – Dick Giordano
Colours – Bill Mantlo
Letters – Tom Orzechowski

After facing death, accepting it and overcoming it and then finally learning in the end that it was just a trial set out for him by the Ancient One, Stephen Strange – the Sorcerer Supreme, has emerged stronger than ever. The concluding chapter by Steve Englehart and Frank Brunner is an exciting one as there is but one thing on the good Doctor’s mind and that is to rescue Clea. At first, there is a bit of confusion and discombobulation as he returns to Earth and does so in the body of a wax mannequin, but he soon manages to merge his astral self with his lady love until she can get him back to his original body. With his power added to her own, Clea also benefits and finds herself rejuvenated and more powerful due to that sharing of magical might Stephen now finds himself infused with. Englehart manages to focus upon the villain of our story as well, giving us the origin of Silver Dagger – the story of a fallen priest, one who was in line to become the next Pope but betrayed by the politics in the papal order. With a heavy heart, the man who would come to be known as Silver Dagger turned his attention to the library of the Vatican and the magical collection of tomes within. So it was that he emerged a man of singular focus – one determined to put an end to the evil of Doctor Strange and the magic he wields. Suffice it to say, Doctor Strange is the Sorcerer Supreme for a reason and why Silver Dagger is not. Brunner brings all of his talent to the page to give us a very exciting battle between the mages and out of all the iterations of the Doctor over the years, Brunner’s remains a true highpoint for the character. The ending of the book is a fitting one as Silver Dagger suffers the same fate as Stephen did the last few issues, an end to his madness at long last. Both Stephen and Clea have gone through their own kind of hell in these first five issues and whether that changes them when they come out the other side of it remains to be seen, but if anyone can, they have the strength to do so.

4 out of 5

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