Beginning at the beginning

Last week Marvel Comics released “Origins of Marvel Comics” to usher in their new Heroic Age.  This is a collection of one page origin stories covering the Avengers and other players that will undoubtedly be of some import in the upcoming Heroic Age stories. Sandwiched in-between Daredevil and Black Panther is our own materialist turned humanitarian, Doctor Strange.

Written by Fred Van Lente and drawn by Butch Guice, I felt this was a wonderfully concise recap of Doctor Strange’s origin. It shows in just 6 panels his fall from grace as a brilliant surgeon, his salvation under the guidance of the Ancient One, and his rise to power as Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme. We are even introduced to Strange’s first nemesis, Baron Mordo.

There is nothing covered in this origin story that any reader of Marvel Comics, and certainly any fan of Doctor Strange, doesn’t already know. What this story does do quite well, in my opinion, is tell us who Strange is and why he does what he does. In the first paragraph it mentions that he was a surgeon, continuing to clear up some of the lingering ambiguity as to exactly what kind of doctor Stephen Strange was. We are told that he was proud and arrogant, and this arrogance led to the loss of his surgeon’s reflexes. Faced with the idea that he was just a jerk that was good with a knife Strange sought out a cure for what he saw as the source of his greatness. In the pivotal moment of the story, and indeed the defining moment of the character, we are shown as Strange swallows his pride in order to save another and therein finds his own salvation. In the final panel we witness Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme, in all his glory. His Cloak of Levitation fastened around his shoulders by the Amulet of Agamotto. The Eye of Agamotto shining fiercely in order to dispel a tentacled horror.

I liked this comic.

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