Welcome to this week’s edition of the Marvel Rundown! We’re in the midst of a pretty substantial supply chain issue in the comics industry and that means books we were excited to read this week, like Venom and Black Panther, have been pushed back. Fret not; there’s always something interesting every week, so we’re talking about The Death of Doctor Strange: Avengers, the tie-in issue so the fun miniseries going on right now. We’ve got that books and other books in the Rapid Rundown section, all ahead on the Marvel Rundown!

The Death of Doctor Strange: Avengers #1 

Written by Alex Paknadel
Art by Ryan Bodenheim
Colouring by Rachelle Rosenberg
Lettering by Cory Petit 
Cover by Steve Skroce and Dave Stewart

Doctor Strange is dead! Well, sort of. In his absence, the Avengers are left to pick up his slack as the spell that was protecting the planet wore off following the good doctor’s demise. What follows is a fairly unique, and strangely touching, story about overcoming your biases and getting the truth out there despite not being the ideal vessel for said truth.

Death of Doctor Strange
From Death of Doctor Strange: Avengers #1

This is an Iron Man-focused issue and, man, I love a story about a man of science being forced to confront the eldritch horrors that his universe has to offer. He got a taste of it during his encounter with the Three Mothers in The Death of Doctor Strange #2, and here we see the fallout of that, of how insecure he felt in his armour at the time and frankly it was a stark (heh) contrast to Tony’s attitude in his more run of the mill superhero stories.

The Ryan Bodenheim artwork is pretty good, selling a lot of the action with some interesting layouts and a pretty killer Iron Man/Thor page near the end of the issue. Bodenheim can be a pretty traditionalist superhero artist but there are some pages, like the aforementioned Iron Man/Thor sequence, as well as this neat page where Iron Man enters this weird trippy dimension. There’s a lot of action here and it’s mostly what Bodenheim excels at.

Death of Doctor Strange
From Death of Doctor Strange: Avengers #1

Alex Paknadel is a great writer and it’s been exciting watching him get more and more Marvel work recently. He’s been writing tie-ins to other stories (EmpyreImmortal Hulk, and now The Death of Doctor Strange), so I’m excited for the opportunity to read a story of his own rather than a complement to someone else’s. Paknadel opens the issue with quite frankly what I find to be a perfect scene, between Iron Man and Doctor Strange before the Illuminati’s first meeting. It’s just a great banter scene that sets the stage for the issue but is written and drawn to perfection. Like I mentioned earlier, I like the man of science angle that Paknadel taps into here, since Tony is the last person you think who would figure out what the deal behind the threat they’re facing is.

Final Verdict: BUY. The art is good and the plot is pretty exceptional; this can be read without having read any of the main miniseries this is based on, but this is a pretty vital issue for the overall story so miniseries readers should be on the lookout for this one.

Rapid Rundown! 

  • Strange Academy Presents: The Death of Doctor Strange #1
    • Spoiler warning Doctor Strange is dead, sort of. And with the death of the Sorcerer Supreme, so goes its protective shield leaving Earth open to all forms of mystical attacks. With so many fires to take care of, the faculty of the Strange Academy make the decision to send the student body home for their safety. Writer Skottie Young and artist Mike Del Mundo lead off with a story relevant to the absence of Dr. Strange as the Enchantress’s children Alvi and Iric discover a deal she made with a wizard for her firstborn, that being Iric. With no protection the wizard takes him, forcing the Enchantress and Alvi to go on a quest to save Iric. Young follows up with a group of one-page vignettes to show how the rest of the kids are dealing with the closure of the academy. If you’re following the overall Death of Dr. Strange event you can skip it, but if you’ve become a fan of this light quirky book that throws heavy shadows, pick it up. —GC3
  • Star Wars #18
    • The current run of Star Wars comics from Marvel have done a remarkable job integrating elements from all of the various eras of the franchise. The latest issue of the flagship title is another excellent example of that as, in the wake of War of the Bounty Hunters, Leia and Chewbacca come face-to-face with Qi’ra over the fate of Han Solo. Charles SouleRamon RosanasRachelle Rosenberg, and Clayton Cowles present an issue that’s rife with tension as Leia and Qi’ra try to size each other up. The teasing out of Crimson Dawn and what they actually want has been entertaining so far, and it’ll be interesting to see how it shapes the direction of the Star Wars line for the next few years. These books have never been better, though, and it feels like they’re just getting started. —JG
  • Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #17
    • In a story that takes full advantage of both the precarious situation Valance was in at the conclusion of War of the Bounty Hunters as well as his backstory from Han Solo: Imperial Cadet, this issue makes a compelling argument for Valance as the most engaging cyborg in the Star Wars universe – and that galaxy has more than its fair share of cyborgs! Plenty of space and hand-to-hand combat is loaded into this fast-paced, action-packed issue, which still manages to introduce a quickly compelling Cadet (alas, we hardly knew ye). Meanwhile, a crew of supporting characters that are plucked from every corner of the Star Wars universe mount a rescue attempt… Which will ultimately force you to give a hand to Zuckuss for an issue-stealing panel that will give even the coldest-hearted cyborg a chuckle. All this plus an ending where Valance faces a fate worthy of Aphra makes this issue a must-read… Especially if you plan on picking up Crimson Reign. — AJK

Next week. at long last, Venom #1!