Issue by Issue – Doctor Strange Vol.2 #81

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

After fighting for his way back from death, Doctor Strange now inhabiting the body of a creature named Rintrah, is on his way to face the monster who wishes to claim the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme. In a Skrull ship with his body in stasis, his cloak made whole and the Eye of Agamotto at Rintrah’s throat, Strange goes to wage war and he hopes that what he has is enough. Peter B. Gillis and Chris Warner concoct a fantastic final issue for the second volume of Doctor Strange, though one that leaves the reader wanting more; a cruel trick as no more stories would materialize until sometime later when the third volume would eventually come along. The book is packed with mystical action as Strange/Rintrah faces down Urthona on his home turf. Here Urthona is all-powerful with a multitude of creatures at his beck and call and all of Stephen’s magical objects, including the Darkhold which Urthona is not afraid to use. Surprisingly, Strange holds his own for the most part, though there is a very shocking moment when something happens that manages to suck all the willpower out of him, at least temporarily so. Once again, the pace never lets up as Gillis keeps things moving at an almost frantic rate. Almost forgotten is Topaz who remains imprisoned a few feet from her soul and by the end of it all, she is made whole once more thanks to Rintrah. The end of the book is a little bittersweet because it feels like Gillis was just starting to find his groove and would leave things off with a few questions still lingering like where did Urthona and the Darkhold disappear to? What of things between Wong and Sara and what of Morganna? Also, how did Strange get everyone and his Sanctum Sanctorum back to Earth? Warner’s pencils were once again quite excellent and he gave the book a lot of excitement bringing Gillis’ script to life. For a last issue, it ended on a strong note, far better than many series previous to this had done, leaving Strange and his world shattered, but still alive to tell the tale.

4 out of 5

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