The Creators – Mark Waid – Writer; Jesus Saiz, Butch Guice, Kevin Nowlan, Daniel Acuña – Artist; Carlos Lopez, Jim Campbell – Colours; Cory Petit – Letters
The Players – Doctor Strange, The Ancient One, Wong, Kanna, Zelma, Dormammu, Baron Mordo
The Story – Magic has a price and someone has finally decided to collect on the debt owed by one Doctor Strange.
The Take – In what would have been the four-hundredth issue of Doctor Strange if the title had kept running without interruption by Mark Waid and various artists, the book finds the Ancient One on his hands and knees before his former student looking for help. As had been stated in Jason Aaron’s run on the title, magic comes at a price and it is a plot that Mark Waid has continued to run with which now comes to fruition in this latest tale. In order to make Doctor Strange see that what he does has consequences, that being – an otherworldly accountant, that allows that magic to flow to Stephen has decided to collect on it and there is nothing, for the moment, that Stephen can do about it. In the final reveal that leaves the main story off on a cliff-hanger, a villain is revealed who has had enough of Stephen Strange and he means to take the Earth itself as payment for the forces that Stephen has been commanding. A second story finds Doctor Strange in a tale of forgiveness illustrated by Butch Guice, while a third looks back to Stephen’s first days after his accident as the disciple of the Ancient One. Of the two additional stories, the latter is by far the more interesting one that sees how Baron Mordo immediately disliked Stephen, perhaps being threatened by the man and how the good Doctor actually became the student, the exact moment when he decided that magic just might be the thing to save him. In a fourth and final tale, it finds Daniel Acuña on pencils and Nightmare, the monster that controls dreams and nightmares in the Marvel Universe, having a nightmare himself. Waid does a great job at packing the book full of different, yet satisfying stories of Doctor Strange in a variety of situations. Of them all, the first is the best of the bunch as it takes place in the present and sets things up for what looks to be an exciting story-arc against one of his oldest foes. Where it might lead is unknown at this point, though it could have some big ramifications for all magic-users, not simply for Doctor Strange whom it is currently affecting at the moment. Altogether, a great package that is well worth the time and money for the extra pages.
Worth it? – Yes.