Issue by Issue – Doctor Strange Vol.2 #69

Writer – Roger Stern
Artist – Paul Smith
Colours – Bob Sharen
Letters – Ken Bruzenak

Heading back to New York and convincing the Black Knight to come along by way of an ocean cruise, everything is fine and seems like it will be as idyllic a time as it could possibly be. Thanks to Roger Stern and Paul Smith, that turns out to be a falsehood and would have made a pretty boring story otherwise, so they cause a little trouble for the good doctor and wrap it up in a mystery, at least to start. Strange things soon begin to happen, like a giant creature that comes out of the ocean to attack the ship, but it is no ordinary monster and Stephen immediately realizes it. Going hand in hand with the trouble that is brewing are the goings on in the Dark Dimension where Umar is dealing with the rebellion and still believing that Doctor Strange must be the mastermind behind it all. To that effect, she is the one causing all of that which plagues Doctor Strange on Earth which he soon discovers. The rest of the book is filled with some incredible action as tensions between Strange and Umar heat up and Paul Smith really outdoes himself in this issue illustrating it all. With the Black Knight joining in, the scenes are electric and Smith really makes it all come alive for the reader, more so than anything he has done in the book previous. Seeing the two heroes face off against a number of water elementals while trying not to let any innocent bystanders get hurt is absolutely thrilling and finishes the story off on a very powerful ending. Not everything is all action and excitement though as Stern also peppers the book with some good character moments, especially between the two heroes, some light comedy making its way to the page and it is quite humourous to read. Dane and Stephen make a good pair, playing off of each other constantly and the two could easily carry a buddy-comedy if it were ever televised. There also happens to be a few glimpses taken of Clea and the people she leads and of the lengths they will go to in order to remove Umar from power. It is quite easy to see where Stern is headed with these various threads and while fairly predictable, it is shaping up quite nicely and should be a good story once it all comes together.

3.5 out of 5

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