Like many I was a bit wary of this run, given the success of both Aaron & Cates’ previous adventures with Earth’s beligured Sorcerer Supreme.
More often than not these relaunches take the character back to zero and effectively cancel out the work of the previous creative team. This is not the case where Doctor Strange is concerned. Waid continues the theme that echoed through the previous volumes. Magic comes at a heavy cost, and to quote the MCU’s version of Baron Mordo, “The bill comes due”.
Waid pulls some familar tropes and concepts together in a way that is more charming than blandly nostalgic. The prose manages to subtily but effectively highlight the pain and weight of Stange’s faiding abilities. Stephen isn’t just loosing magic, he’s losing himself. This proves to be a perfect reason for the good Doctor to reluctantly seek the council of his fellow “Awesome Facial-Hair Bro”, and the scene is a pefect mixture of whimsy and pathos.
While the idea of a Sorcerer trapped in a world devoid of magic isn’t exactly a groundbreaking reinvention, it nevertheless sets the stage to expand the potential of Doctor Strange’s story and illustrates just how far he will go to fulfill his duty as Earth’s defense against the dark.