Issue by Issue – Doctor Strange Vol.2 #72

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

Doctor Strange, who is still in the Dark Dimension, is now aiding the rebels in their fight against Umar and though she may be the ultimate goal, there are a lot of obstacles to go through before that happens. Overall, the story is a good one, but it is in this tale that Roger Stern finally reveals that Umar is Clea’s mother, much to her surprise and that of Stephen’s as well. While some might remember that this very fact was already discovered way back in issue number nine of the book, written by Steve Englehart and illustrated by Gene Colan, it was never brought to the attention of Strange or Clea. Only Umar and Clea’s father Orini knew of this secret, Clea being kept in the dark for a very long time. Stern writes it well, giving the moment the necessary impact needed while Paul Smith shows that shock upon the faces of the characters perfectly. It has been a long time coming, surprisingly long in fact, and it gives the story an extra layer of gravitas as what once was just a rebellion for the people, now becomes a family affair. As Umar and Orini are both involved and with that kind of pressure and stress upon her, it would be amazing if Clea will be able to keep from cracking, if she will indeed be able to lift a hand against those who are her parents. Smith’s art is as good as ever, whether it finds the characters in the thick of action or in repose. Even better is that Smith and Stern make the best of partners, each seemingly bringing out the best in each other and it shows on every page of the book. As far as villains go, Umar is quite deadly, but Orini is just the same, if not worse. The man seems to have no love for his daughter, Clea being just the by-product of what he truly wants – Umar and power. As this is a book starring Doctor Strange, he does play a part and is integral to the steps that the rebellion makes in this issue, but by and large, what he does is not quite as interesting as the family dynamics that take place. There is an additional moment that does feature the good Doctor that is of note and that has to do with the Outcasts which might see them taking a larger part in the story going forward. Another great issue by Stern and Smith, who keep things moving while continuing to bring in elements of the past.

4 out of 5

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