Doctor Strange #5 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Jed MacKay, art by Pasqual Ferry, colors by Heather Moore, and letters by Cory Petit. Strange and Clea attend the wedding of her mother, Umar the Unrelenting, one of those who had a hand in Strange’s death.
The plot of this issue is amazing, partially due to just how ridiculous it is from the start. The wedding is attended almost exclusively by Sorcerers Supreme and dimensional rules. And whilst they were invited, the hostility does not take long to surface. It sets the tension high, detailing how fraught the whole magical community is with the assassinations taking place. There is a lot of posturing and awkwardness. The wedding itself does not seem as grand as it may have been predicted to be, with it unfolding rather quickly. But a big surprise is added at the midpoint, serving as a potential bomb to go off in a later issue. More than that, it could be a story element for years to come. It was probably expected that some form of carnage would happen, but what emerges and how it emerges is excellent. It’s not simply a foe that can be faced, there are consequences and dangers beyond that.
The foundation of Doctor Strange #5 comes from its characters. For a wedding, the cast is particularly small, partially due to the ongoing plot in this arc. Each of those attending the wedding has a strong, dominating personality, which leads to a contest of having the loudest voice. From the moment Clea and Strange step out of the portal into the location of the wedding, arguments and accusations start flying. Clea’s fire is frightening, raising the suspicion people have that she is the person wiping other players off the board. But although Strange is considered a kind, sometimes mellow individual, there are moments in this issue where he showcases why so many fear him across the dimensions, especially when his wife is being threatened.
This series in general has been amusing and fun, and the dialogue is a huge part of that. It’s great that Strange has a partner to bounce ideas off of. From the villains, and there are three of them present in this issue, their melodramatic personalities are clear and present whilst also being sometimes ridiculous. They are big and pompous, but MacKay has tried to offer different sides to them.
The art is awesome. It is a formal occasion, and so the main characters dress themselves up. Both look resplendent and formidable as they walk through the portal. It is there that the craziness begins. The landscape itself is brilliantly designed, with a palace that is largely open so the planet behind is in view. It makes the setting look bigger and more spacious. Then there is those betrothed and the guests themselves. Umar is imposing, looking like an evil Disney villain. But her husband, Tribori, has a hilarious look when present with everyone else, with the shorts perhaps being the funniest part. Then the action kicks off, and the magic on display is magnificent. The space and open air exhibited by Ferry early in the issue come into their own when it is used for a large battle. It is fascinating to see each of the magical beings utilise their own specific magical style.
This is a very colorful issue — extraordinarily so. A lot of the mysticism and the real spectacle of the comic are benefitted by colors that dance around each other. The sky is jaw-dropping, as well as when different forms of magic interact with one another. What is even more impressive is when the background can be seen through objects. Clea’s dress is translucent at the bottom and Moore adapting the colors through that material is mind-blowing. The lettering cuts through the craziness of the comic and remains clear throughout.
Doctor Strange #5 is a confrontation of control. It takes the highly anticipated wedding and turns it into an intense, uncomfortable showdown between the most powerful magical beings without them even fighting one another. The unease and tension have been crafted by MacKay over time, and the consequences are pieces slowly being taken out of play. There are multiple times in this review where I wanted to comment on how empty the ceremony seemed before remembering that is the point. Many of those that would attend are dead, and one of those present is accused of slaughtering all of them. It shows a long game that MacKay has been playing all along.
Doctor Strange #5
Doctor Strange #5 is a confrontation of control. It takes the highly anticipated wedding and turns it into an intense, uncomfortable showdown between the most powerful magical beings without them even fighting one another.