Issue by Issue – Doctor Strange Vol.2 #65

Writer – Roger Stern
Artist – Paul Smith
Colours – Bob Sharen
Letters – Jim Novak

In a story entitled Charlatan, Roger Stern and Paul Smith examine a situation involving one such man named Kerwin Havelock. Claiming to be a real magician, the man has put on a show for many years, bilking people of their money with a little help from his cronies. While it would normally be a harmless scam, aside from the people losing their cash, the man is using an actual spell during his performance and unbeknownst to him, it could cause some serious damage if cast during the right cycle. It is not long after that said magic act is brought to the attention of Doctor Strange and when he learns that said fraud is chanting the name of Pohldahk, he knows that something needs to be done about it immediately. Kerwin makes a great villain, Stern giving him that perfect blend of arrogance and ignorance. With villains such as these, men who think they are above it all and know it all, they tend to fall and when they do, they fall hard. Doctor Strange is not a man who fools around and he will stop Kerwin if it is the last thing he does. There is some good suspense featured within, especially after Strange gets knocked out by his opponent whom he grossly underestimated and soon a little action as well. While the threat of Kerwin is eventually dealt with, Stern had introduced a secondary plot to all of it, one that does not get resolved with this issue, but one that presents an interesting scenario and possible future threat for Strange. The artwork by Smith is as good as ever, at times the man making it as moody and as horrific as he can, while during others, incredibly detailed and exciting. What this issue proves is that even a man as normal and unassuming as Kerwin can become a threat to Doctor Strange despite the lack of powers or magical know-how. Overall, despite the lack of a major villain, this issue was well-executed and a very good read.

4 out of 5

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