Finally for my week of annuals, I take a look at New Avengers Annual #1. As I’ve said before, there are a ton of Avengers books out right now, far too many, if I can be honest and this is one that I never reviewed as an independent title. That won’t stop me from looking at the annual though and maybe jumping in to review a later arc, since as of this writing, they’re 28 issues in.
So here’s my take on the New Avengers Annual #1, a story called “Self Surgery”.
First, let’s be up front, this isn’t a story about the Avengers, it’s a story about Doctor Strange. No other Avengers appear at all. While there are ties to current storylines going on in the main comic, you don’t have to know anything about the Illuminati to enjoy this story on it’s own. When Doctor Strange is called by his former teachers to drive out a powerful demon from a young princess, how far is he willing to go to accomplish the deed? We’re treated to flash-backs to his earlier life as a doctor, before the accident that altered his path forever. He succeed, but at what cost?
I’m not a huge Doctor Strange fan. I don’t go for magic and mysticism, which is really his shtick, but this is a nice little tale that doesn’t require the reader to know much of anything about the Sorcerer Supreme to get enjoyment out of it. In fact, this is a pretty decent introductory tale to the character that shows not only his humanity but the lack of humility that has plagued him since the beginning.
My only real issue here, and it’s a sideline really, is the mixing of magic and science. It’s an unnecessary addition, the story could easily have been told without it because science plays no real part in the action. I don’t buy that science and magic ought to go together, I don’t like it here, I didn’t like it when Doctor Doom gave it a shot, science is science, magic is magic, the two should never meet IMO. It’s a minor quibble but one that left a slight distaste in my mouth.
And is it wrong of me, when Strange says at the bottom of one page, “I am… the Doctor”, I was wondering where his Tardis was? Yeah, okay…
So while I don’t think Doctor Strange can carry a full-time comic series, I think small stories like this, peppered into appropriate comic books, is a cool way to keep the character alive. I wouldn’t read him doing magic four times a month but stories like this, sure, I’m absolutely game.