Issue by Issue – Doctor Strange Vol.2 #18

doctor-strange-vol2-18Writer – Steve Englehart
Artist – Gene Colan
Inker – Tom Palmer
Colours – Petra Goldberg
Letters – Denise Wohl, Gaspar Saladino

Having left Sir Frances Bacon back in his own time period, Doctor Strange and Clea leap forward and meet Benjamin Franklin on an ocean trip. Strange soon discovers that the mysterious magician known as Stygyro is also aboard the ship, which can only be a herald of bad tidings. Indeed it is as Gene Colan and Steve Englehart soon have the heroes involved in a battle for their lives against a monstrous sea serpent. Not only does Strange have to prevail, he has to do so without altering the future through his actions, something easier said than done. On the whole, one could describe this title as one that takes itself quite seriously with the storylines and villains as dark as they come and adventures that have caused Stephen to delve into self-reflection. As a whole, it has been engrossing to say the least. This issue is more of the same and yet, there is one moment that is both sad and hilarious at the same time and it finds Franklin seducing Clea. While Englehart has been sowing seeds of Clea’s dissatisfaction with her mentor and his lack of sharing those things that most couples share, the fact that she would even entertain the idea of sleeping with another man, much less one at least forty years her senior and all the while Stephen is battling for his life, is ludicrous. There have been a few moments where the book has actively caused the reader to stop and take stock of what was happening and when it has, it was in a good way, one that mattered and made sense. This neither furthered the story, nor did it make any sense whatsoever. Of course, Englehart probably has a plan – something in mind that will explain everything that we have seen, but as it stands, it really puts a brake into the events taking place. Interestingly enough, after meeting Bacon and discovering the fate of the New Atlantis text, Strange happens to find himself in the actual city beneath the waves. Colan is as fantastic as ever and you have to wonder if anyone aside from Frank Brunner would ever be able to match the man’s incredible style. A great issue overall, both adventurous and fun and a little weird at times too.

4 out of 5

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