Writer – Marv Wolfman, P. Craig Russell
Artist – P. Craig Russell
Letters – John Costanza
Marv Wolfman and P. Craig Russell bring the reader an extra-large tale that finds Doctor Strange bereft for Clea is missing. In the aftermath of the battle with Xander, Clea disappeared and Strange is more than a little worries as to where she could be. It is not too long that he receives a message from the Ancient One telling him where to go and from there, to a planet called Phaseworld. It is on this planet that Wolfman and Russell introduce a new character called Lectra who wants Stephen for a husband, that he might rule by her side. The image of Clea that drew him to Phaseworld was just that and finding out that he was tricked does not put him in much of a better mood. This comes after the two battle it out of course and soon they are off to her palace in a sort-of uneasy truce. For the most part, the book is a battle of wills between Stephen and Lectra. With Lectra being the more powerful of the two, there is little that he can do against her with magic and is soon introduced to her sister Phaydra who wishes to destroy Lectra. To do so means destroying the palace and city of Allandra and all of Phaseworld. With Doctor Strange by her side, there is no way that it could happen and eventually the two women come to blows with a man named Tempus eventually intervening. The book is a beautiful one with a script that is almost like poetry courtesy of Wolfman and Russell’s pencils are so detailed and so intricate, it is almost like he is doing calligraphy, albeit in picture form. The book is utterly captivating from that first page to the very last and while the story takes its time in telling its tale, the pacing never slows from where it is set and is never dragged out. Though the book is filled with a fair amount of magic and wizarding, the story is at its best when Strange finally reaches Allandra. Much of it reads like an Elric tale and perhaps there is a bit of familiarity between Allandra and Melniboné, both doomed and dying cities filled with a ruling class that is also dying out. There is no Eternal Champion of course, but in this event, Strange does resemble him just a little as well. With this story, Wolfman and Russell create one of the best issues of Doctor Strange ever produced, a story of love, loss and sacrifice.
5 out of 5