DR. STRANGE: SURGEON SUPREME #1
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist:: Kev Walker
Colorist: Java Tartaglia
Letterer: Cory Petit
I was a big fan of Mark Waid's last Dr. Strange run so I have been anticipating this follow up series in the months leading up to the first issue's release. I did think the last run started off a bit shaky with Strange losing his powers at the beginning for the 800th time but Waid quickly brought me back around a few issues in and I imagine he'll quickly get this series up to that same level much quicker.
This first issue primarily functions to establish the status quo for the series for returning readers and to quickly catch up any new readers to Strange's journey throughout the years. I really enjoyed the beginning as we've seen Strange protect Earth as it's Sorcerer Supreme but we haven't seen him helping out regular people using just his medical skills in a very long time. I like the idea of him making amends for the arrogance and selfishness of his youth and also having to do it with just his human skills.
We then get quickly introduced to Strange's setup at the McCarthy Medical Institute with the introduction of his assistant Kermit and administrator Hagen which I'm sure will lead to a dynamic similar to Peter Parker's where Strange will have to constantly balance his responsibilities to both his patients and institute and Earth/Avengers as Sorcerer Supreme. I would have preferred to have seen this part of the issue be elaborated on as I find myself far more curious about how Strange will fare with dealing with the more mundane introduced with the Institute while trying to help people with his abilities. Although there are some mentions to other people on staff at the hospital and a new Dean being added to the hospital, I would have liked to see more of an effort to establish something to hook readers to stick around and check out the second issue.
The tone quickly changes as an emergency situation suddenly appears with an influx of patients at the hospital's emergency room causing Strange to switch gears and go off to see what is happening in the city as Sorcerer Supreme only to encounter a magically charged up Wrecker is seemingly behind the emergency. Again I would have liked some more effort of setting up something to really hook the reader other than The Wrecker have some magical boost (which we've seen before).
The art by Kevin Walker reminded me a lot of Chris Bachalo (which we say during Jason Aaron's run of Dr. Strange) but not as stylized which may be a positive for some as I know not everyone is a fan of Bachalo's style. I actually think it really worked later on in the book when we get to see Strange explore the city at night and fight the Wrecker as the colors really worked during these dim scenes and really helped highlight the magic being wielded during the fight scenes. However I didn't think the art held up too well during the segment where we get introduced to Kermit the assistant, I felt as thought the pencils lacked detail on the characters and almost had a JRJR look to them. Overall the pencils/inks by Walker and colors by Tartaglia were serviceable to great.
Overall I think this was a good first issue to setup the new series but I don't quite think it did a good job of introducing a new dynamic or mystery or some kind of plot point to really hook new readers and have them come back for the second issue. I trust Waid to follow through and really have the series moving by the 4th-5th issue but I don't know if readers will really have the patience to stick around that long.