STRANGE ACADEMY #1
Writer: Skottie Young
Artist: Humberto Ramos
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
When this book was first announced my first reaction was one of excitement and intrigue. It seemed like such a cool concept. Mixing Harry Potter themes and dropping it into the Marvel Universe seemed like it had the potential to be something really special. Instead, what we got from Skottie Young and Humverto Ramos was even better. With such a large cast, especially so many new characters, you risk the chance of losing the readers interest if not done right. But fear not True Believers, Young and Ramos did an incredible job and laid the foundation for, what I think could be Marvel's next big hit.
From the opening pages we are thrust right into the life of one of the future students of Strange Academy. Her name's Emily Bright and she appears to be the character that will be the focal point, or the one that we as readers can use as the entry point into this strange new world. From page one you can't help but like Emily, as she describes her burgeoning magic powers and her desire to understand them better. Which leads her to seek out Dr. Strange, by writing him a letter.
Which leads to Zelda Stanton, Strange's assistant, recruiting Emily to the new school. The setting for the Strange Academy is none other than New Orleans. I love when we get to see other locales besides New York or LA. As the enter the school, Ramos does an incredible splash page that makes you feel just as excited as if you to were joining the school. Crossing through the gates, leads Emily and Zelda to the rest of the students. Here we meet Shayla Moonpeddle (a fairy from Weirdworld), Iric & Alvi (twin. Brothers from Asgard), Guslaug (a Frost Giant), Doyle Dormammu (a minion of Dormammu?) and 3 others who we don't know much about yet (Zoe Laveau, Calvin Morse & Dessy). Each students personality is so fully realized, that you feel as if you've been reading about them for years. One of Skottie Youngs best talents as a writer, in my opinion, is his ability to write such great characters with emotion and personality that just radiates off the page.
You cant have students without teachers though. The first one we meet is Doctor Voodoo who already has to break up a fight between Alvi and Doyle. Which leads to a funny comment from Loki as to why he wasnt allowed to be on the teaching faculty. From there we get a brief tour of the school and the students get paired up as roommates, which leads to more humorous situations and interesting ones as well. Zoe and Dessy get placed together and Dessy says that she knows Zoe's secret. I cant wait to see what that secret could possibly be, or who she may have a connection to int the MU.
As the book closes out, we meet the rest of the teachers (Hellstrom, Nico Minoru, Scarlet Witch, Magik and Shaman). The story possibilities with this cast of characters flooded my mind and I can't wait to see what happens next. But wait... you're probably wondering why I didn't talk about Dr. Strange. I mean it's called Strange Academy, right? Well the Doctor makes his entrance fighting a demon before enlisting his students to help take it down. After taking it down he officially greets the students and wishes them well at the school and tells them "try not to die".
We all know that Young wrote one hell of a story, but we can dismiss the fantastic art of Ramos & Delgado. Those two churned out the work of their careers. Ramos has upped his game and it's evident that he's enjoying the hell out of drawing this book. Each page is fantastic and he draws some crazy fight scenes and designs some great looking creatues. Delgado's coloring is out of this world and on some other level. He brings a sense of youthfulness through his colors and it helps each page pop.
This is the type of book that I wish Marvel took chances on and did more often. The great thing about this book , is that I could have easily been an Image book. But its connection to the MU means it will reach a much broader audience. I hope you guys all give this book a shot, these are the types of books that deserve your support and your hard earned money. Young, Ramos and Delgado have created a fantastic new world and I hope you join me on this exciting adventure.