Sorcerer Supreme Warlord In The House: Reviewing ‘Strange’ #03

by Scott Redmond

Overview

The Marvel Universe’s new Sorcerer Supreme continues to make her presence felt and takes the fight right to her new foes while preparing for an even more significant familial threat. In more ways than one, a magical series full of great character beats and energetic artwork that hits all the right notes.

Overall
10/10
10/10

Picking up a second Sorcerer Supreme title was never going to be easy, but Clea Strange was likely not expecting to find herself dealing with so much right after taking up her deceased husband’s title and mission.

There are a great number of things that have been done in the short time this series has existed that are working wonderfully, one of them being how Jed MacKay has made sure to establish a space in the Marvel Universe that is fully Clea’s own right now. The best way often to handle legacy character situations is to make sure they’re not just taking on all the same bad guys, handling the same situations, and going through the same motions as whoever’s role they have taken on. What’s best about Clea is that she has her own role as a sorcerer supreme and is not just replacing Stephen in that regard but is doing a favor for her husband since he cannot return to keep the world safe.

In just three issues we’ve gotten a handful of interesting new additions from the Harvestman to the Blasphemy Cartel (and we’re introduced to their leader in this issue) while using the overall Marvel Universe with the Rose popping up. Clea is a character that I have known about forever but hadn’t read many stories about her, but already I love the character. She’s magical but tough and takes no crap from anyone and has so many more tricks up her sleeves since she has magic from two dimensions at her disposal.

This is one of those issues that feels so smooth and quick but is actually jam-packed with stuff sorts of issues. Clea’s fight with the Cartel seems to take up a ton of space, but there are also the bits with the Rose, the announcement of her mother coming to visit, the reveal of the Cartel leader, and more great moments between her and Wong. Building up character and a lived-in world is what one is always going to get with a McKay-written book, and it’s making for another all-around fantastic experience.

Marcelo Ferreira and Java Tartaglia, with Don Ho and Roberto Poggi inking, are a fantastic team for this series. There is a specific sort of energy feeling when it comes to stories that are full of magic and supernatural elements and they capture it so well. Emotions are tangible upon the pages, clear cut and radiating upon the faces of the characters (even the masked-up ones like the Rose), with a ton of detail on each page when needed but sparse to center the focus in others. Action scenes flow so well with tons of kinetic energy with the paneling allowing for things to have the right amount of surprise and power that they should have.

There is a weight and depth to all the proceedings that gives the pages even more of a proverbial punch, with the colors doing the same thing.

Being a magical story there are purples and greens and reds and other colors that are bright in your face and powerful. At the same time, there is a grounded muted sort of feeling that makes the scenes of the city feel more realistic in many ways. Heavy dark shadows that balance well with the lighter aspects help with this too, also matching the tone of the story as it is heavier in some respects.

Making sure that tone is clear is something that Cory Petit is so good at with the lettering because the volume and tone of dialogue is very clear on the pages. Rather than having to figure it out, it’s certain when characters are speaking normally versus when they are raising their voices or full-on yelling or even whispering. All thanks to using bigger fonts and bolds and even blowing up the size of the bubbles and what is within or adding colorful borders. There are loud scenes here and the dialogue feels adequately loud to match what is needed, especially in those big action scenes where Clea is like a shadow predator hunting the cartel.

Can’t leave out all the big in your face but also immersive right in the moment SFX that are dotting the pages too. No matter if they are smaller moment ones (that are smaller in size to match) or the big loud ones, the SFX are right there attached to whatever is causing the sound to make sure its clear and befits the reality of where sounds tend to come from when we perceive them.

Strange #3 is now available.

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