Doctor Strange has had a pretty good run of it lately. Between the recent movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch and the just-concluded run with Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo, that star is cresting higher than ever. All of which makes the decision to (seemingly) replace him with Loki as the Sorcerer Supreme rather…strange. But it works at least in highlighting what Stephen Strange isn’t, and as a Loki: Agent of Asgard fan who’s found their portrayal in current Marvel titles wanting, this comic is a treat. The comic is something of an upending of how this particular run of Doctor Strange has operated with the focus on the notion that “magic comes with a cost”. While I’ve always found that particular focus with this run wanting, Donny Cates does a great job of running with that particular notion with the big play Loki makes in this issue.
Donny Cates does a great job in establishing the new status quo, as well as in making the case for Loki as a Sorcerer Supreme, while his goals as always are ambiguous he doesn’t give any reason to show that the world is worse off with him at the reigns. On the other hand though: the book is still called Doctor Strange and Cates does take great care to show what happened to the once and future Sorcerer Supreme. All things considered, it’s a great way of kicking off the comic in a different place.
The biggest stars for my money are Gabriel Hernandez Walta and Jordie Bellaire. Their work hasn’t skipped a beat from Vision and the surreal quality of their art works perfectly for the bizarre world of Loki, as well as a visual counterpoint to the world Chris Bachalo defined for this comic. Also to my own joy, Loki doesn’t have excessive facial hair like he does in The Mighty Thor, which helps to soften him a bit compared to his portrayal the last few years and as a protagonist. Overall though: if you’re looking for a great jumping on point with Marvel, as well as with several of the biggest Marvel characters at the moment, you’re in a great place to hop in.
4 Punches That Come With a Cost out of 5