Issue by Issue – Doctor Strange Vol.2 #54

Writer – Roger Stern, J.M. DeMatteis
Artist – Paul Smith, Brent Anderson
Inker – Terry Austin, Joe Rubinstein
Colours – Al Milgrom, Bob Sharen
Letters – Joe Rosen, Harry Blumfield, Jim Novak

Depending on who one might ask, there is no pain so bad as that of heartbreak and at the moment, that is exactly what Doctor Strange feels. Last issue, after a series of tumultuous events, Clea decided to leave her teacher and lover and head back to the Dark Dimension, knowing that no matter how much she tried, there would always be someone who loved Strange more than she. Written and drawn by a more than sizeable creative team, Doctor Strange is found brooding, wondering where it all went wrong and thinking of happier times when he and his lady-love faced mystical menaces side by side. J.M. DeMatteis provides the issue with a flashback, taking the book to the past where the reader is treated to one such adventure, one that seems very unassuming at first and then comes to bedevil the good Doctor until he realizes that the fate of the Earth is soon at stake. Readers are introduced, or reintroduced as the case may be, to Tiboro, a man and a sorcerer that used to rule the world and for a good portion of the story, it looks like there will be nothing that Strange can do against this very old power. For the most part, it is a fun tale that stars Stephen and Clea doing what they do best, yet it is tempered by that sadness Strange feels over the loss of his better half. After his reflections, the decision is made to try and join Clea in the Dark Dimension so that he might accomplish two goals – defeat Umar who holds the population in sway and afterwards, to win Clea back. Of course, Roger Stern would never make it that easy for the hero and it leaves the Doctor in an even more miserable state than when the issue began. So while Strange languishes on Earth, one has to wonder if Clea will come back for his help or if pride will stay her hand.

3 out of 5

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