By the crimson bands of Cyttorak, Marvel's own Master of the Mystic Arts will be awarded his own comic-book series later this year in anticipation of the new Benedict Cumberbatch Doctor Strange feature film. Once the expansive Secret Wars event is finished this fall, Doctor Strange will star in an all-new title as part of an extensive Marvel relaunch written by Jason Aaron (Star Wars, Thor), with art by Chris Bachalo (Uncanny X-Men, X-Men: Age of Apocalypse).
Though a frequest guest in more recent story arcs like Fear Itself and Original Sin, and a member of the Defenders or occasional guest Avenger, Doctor Strange has not been featured in his own individual book since 1996. Originally created by Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko, Strange first appeared in Strange Tales #110 in 1963 and eventually got his first 15-issue solo series in 1968.
His modern reinvention will focus on the unexpected repercussions of dabbling in sorcery and the magical arts and is intended to deliver a deeper level of humanity and relatability to a character mostly known for his detached icy-coldness. He's also being given an arsenal of axes, swords and bows to help combat interdimensional demons and otherworldy entities encountered in his attempt to offer up his services to a disparate group of black magic victims.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Aaron expounded on the exciting reboot of Doctor Strange and the added elements he hopes will bring about a resurgence of interest in the classic character in advance of Marvel's big-screen adaptation coming in November of 2016.
"We wanted a Doctor Strange who was always having to work for what he gets, and to show that when he shows up and uses his powers, it’s not like Captain America throwing his shield or Thor throwing his hammer," Aaron said. "Strange has to worry about repercussions that those other heroes don’t have to worry about, because he’s a Sorcerer Supreme. We’re talking about the forces of magic. So whatever he does has repressions.
"Any of this stuff with magic, there’s always a cost to it. I think that’s kind of the only rule of magic we ever really talk about—everything he does, there’s a price to it. It’s not about tearing everything down that he’s been before and throwing that out. This is just sort of him taking another step, adding another piece to his arsenal, so to speak. And just seeing him be able to dive into situations, and get his hands dirty in a way you haven’t seen him do before.
"But I like that we’re getting to kind of rebuild Doctor Strange from the ground up," Aaron added. "I think what we’re doing speaks to what made Doctor Strange cool and unique in the Marvel Universe. Even back in the 1960s when he first appeared, he was kind of the first guy who dealt with the occult and the mystical in Marvel. So I like that it sets him off from the other heroes we know. Really, the story that begins in Doctor Strange #1 is just the beginning—the beginning of one big arc that will really redefine who Doctor Strange is and what his status quo is going forward."
Thanks to the folks at Entertainment Weekly for this illuminating interview and art preview.
What do you think of the new Doctor Strange comic-book makeover, and what aspects of the mighty mystic's powers do you want to see most?