Issue by Issue – Doctor Strange Vol.2 #77

Writer – Peter B. Gillis
Artist – Chris Warner
Inker – Randy Emberlin
Colours – Bob Sharen
Letters – Janice Chiang

While he has only been on the title for a short while, Peter B. Gillis has delivered some really good stories, so it is sad to say that the seventy-seventh issue of the book is only all-right instead of being great. That being said, the book is all about character moments, those dealing with Strange and with others as well, namely Topaz and Arnie Green, a man who was introduced in an earlier issue and who became the new Lama. Being the new Lama requires a certain set of emotions, namely not giving in to them, especially when angered, but that is exactly what happens and it leads to the release of a demon named Khat and the troubles that follow. For Topaz, she cannot seem to stop acting slightly insensitive around others, but due to the fact that she only has half a soul, it simply cannot be helped until she is made whole once more. The book then turns to Doctor Strange, a man who has had more than one crisis of conscience during his tenure as the Sorcerer Supreme and who begins to have one now after a kiss from Topaz during an ‘experiment.’ This allows the newly-released demon Khat to take advantage of Strange, to work against those feelings while causing as much trouble and turmoil as possible. Suffice it to say, Strange does eventually manage to save the day and best the creature, but not before losing his Cloak of Levitation. Though Khat was a fairly sub-par villain for the Doctor to face, Gillis does manage to show with this story that he truly understands Stephen Strange and his history. In this, he paints the Doctor as all too human, a man the same as everyone else despite the incredible power that he wields and a man who can fall prey to the same emotions that mankind must deal with upon a daily basis. By the end of it all, Stephen has regained his confidence, yet those feelings are still there, the man merely gaining master over himself, pushing them aside in lieu of purging them. Great artwork by Chris Warner graces the book, bringing the story to life and it ends up being a decent read, but something readers have seen more than a few times before.

3 out of 5

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