Issue by Issue – Doctor Strange Vol.2 #40

doctor-strange-vol-2-40Writer – Chris Claremont
Artist – Gene Colan
Inker – Dan Green, Ricardo Villamonte
Colours – Bob Sharen
Letters – Mark Rogan

With the previous issue, Chris Claremont, Gene Colan and Dan Green gave us the return of Baron Mordo, the emissaries of Dormammu and the betrayal of Lord Phyffe. It is here where the story picks up, Stephen having just recovered from last issue’s ordeals and now ready to confront the man he once called friend. As he does so, there has been one interesting development that readers are soon made aware of and it is the unusually strong magic that he attacks Strange with. Not only is Phyffe helping Mordo out, but it seems that in return for that help, he himself has gotten a power upgrade. Even then, Phyffe knows that he is no match for the Master of the Mystic Arts and so tries to flee while begging Mordo to send him aid. Of course, all Phyffe gets is death, though not for very long as he is soon resurrected and transformed into a demon, now named Azrael and able to prematurely age anything he touches. Back across the ocean, Clea has a mission of her own, namely to find Wong and discover what it is that has happened to him. Making things harder than they should be are the goons that kidnapped Wong as well as Dormammu’s shades who at the moment are thankfully a little distracted at the moment. That does not prevent Clea from finding danger though and it remains to be seen of Strange will be able to get to her side in time. Through all of this, Claremont weaves portents of doom; referencing the Seven Gates of Chaos that Baron Mordo is intent on opening, gates that will ultimately destroy all of humanity and quite possibly all of creation. It is a scary prospect which is why Stephen is so determined to stop his arch-nemesis and why it makes no sense that Phyffe would go along with it. It is a story that Claremont not only fills with the usual magic, but a good amount of horror and that leads to one of Colan’s strengths, for the man is a master at illustrating the macabre. Such as it is, Claremont and Colan leave everything wide open and everyone in peril and as a reader, you could not ask for more.

4 out of 5

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