In the wake of the news that Doctor Strange is getting the Marvel movie treatment and they’ve cast Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role, I thought I’d check out Doctor Strange: Season One. I’d read the Ant-Man: Season One previously and really enjoyed that, especially as it was a character I was unfamiliar with and I had the same expectations for Doctor Strange. Unfortunately what I found was a bit of a confusing jumble.
You’re thrown straight into the fray at the start of the novel, as Stephen Strange goes in search of a magical solution to the damage to his hands. Through flashbacks you are shown that Stephen was once a talented and high-profile surgeon but a car crash destroys his hands and leaves him unable to continue his work. Therein lies a really interesting back story that I would have loved to have seen explored, but you are only given brief glimpses which makes it hard to identify with the good doctor.
After this brief introduction the novel begins moving at a rate of knots. The villain is introduced almost immediately, without any motivations beyond being evil for the sake of it. As are the two main side characters. There’s some substance in the relationship between Doctor Strange and his two partners but the action moves so fast that it’s just impossible to invest in it. There’s also some good individual side stories in the novel, especially the one in which Stephen helps out another surgeon in India but they’re all too brief.
One positive from the novel is that the art by Emma Rios really is remarkable. She makes an amazing use of colour and the east inspired characterisation really is something to behold. At times it can be confusing as to what exactly is happening but I think that can be forgiven for the artistry of the comic.
In summary, if you are unfamiliar with Doctor Strange and want to discover about the character before the movie than I wouldn’t recommend this novel. Yes it’s an origin story, but it’s a confusing mess of an origin story. They’ve sacrificed characterisation for magic tricks and explosions and it’s just a cheap experience in the end.
Have you read Doctor Strange: Season One? What did you make of it? And if you enjoyed this review check out my review of Superior by Mark Millar here and don’t forget to leave a like!