ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘The Death of Doctor Strange: Bloodstone,’ Issue #1

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The Death of Doctor Strange Bloodstone #1 - But Why Tho

The Death of Doctor Strange: Bloodstone #1 is written by Tini Howard, illustrated by Ig Guara, colored by Dijjo Lima, and lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna. It is published by Marvel Comics. After the death of Doctor Strange, magic has gone haywire, leading to monsters roaming the streets. Fortunately, that’s just a day in the life for monster hunter extraordinaire Elsa Bloodstone. While Elsa is fighting monsters on the streets of London, she is drawn back to her family home, Bloodstone Manor where she and her brother Cullen encounter secrets from their past—and an entirely new threat.

What separates this one-shot from the other stories in The Death of Doctor Strange event is how Elsa approaches the threats and how she feels about Strange. While other heroes such as Spider-Man and Blade had nothing but respect for the good doctor, Elsa comes off as mildly annoyed that his death has thrown London into chaos. And while the other heroes seem less prepared for the chaos that comes with invading beasts, Elsa dives into battle with relish. This is her life’s calling, after all. It definitely feels like she was the perfect fit for Howard, who has previously tackled magic and British protagonists in Excalibur.

However, the real meat of the issue lies with Elsa’s interactions with Cullen and their long-lost sister Lyra, who was drawn back to earth following Strange’s death. Cullen has to live with the extradimensional demon Glartrox inhabiting his body and Lyra is in possession of a stone that feeds on magical energies, which leads to the ravaging of Bloodstone Manor and the utter exasperation of Elsa. I even have to commend Caramagna for using skull and crossbones symbols in place of letters whenever one of the Bloodstones swears at each other—which happens a lot. But Howard’s script reveals that for all the chaos they bring into each others’ lives, the Bloodstones will have each others’ backs-especially when it comes to fighting monsters.

And those monsters are drawn in stunning detail by Guara, who’s previously illustrated fantasy landscapes in BOOM! Studios’ ongoing Magic title. Elsa fights a monster in the opening that has an elongated skull for a head and glowing green eyes, along with a mass of throbbing red muscle where its body used to be. Whenever Cullen transforms into Glartrox, his body physically warps and shifts, with pale flesh turning bright green and scaly as he doubles in size. And the Bloodstones end up fighting Krakkan the Jailer, a rail-thin being clad in black spiky armor and enough chains to make Spawn jealous. Combined with Lima’s dark color palette, the issue feels like a B-monster movie in all the best ways.

The Death of Doctor Strange: Bloodstone #1 serves as a departure from the main storyline by focusing on the one character equipped to handle magical chaos, as well as her own family issues. Given how the one-shot ends, I would not be opposed to an ongoing series centered on the exploits of the Bloodstone family.

The Death of Doctor Strange: Bloodstone #1 will be available wherever comics are sold on January 12, 2021.


The Death of Doctor Strange: Bloodstone #1
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TL;DR

The Death of Doctor Strange: Bloodstone #1 serves as a departure from the main storyline by focusing on the one character equipped to handle magical chaos, as well as her own family issues. Given how the one-shot ends, I would not be opposed to an ongoing series centered on the exploits of the Bloodstone family.

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