Doctor Strange #382
Written by Donny Cates
Art by Gabriel Hernandez Walta
Colors by Jordie Bellaire
Letters by VC’s Cory Petit
Loki: Sorcerer Supreme Part Two
Stephen Strange is climbing the side of a mountain in search of someone who does not want to be found. Unfortunately, Strange is desperate and the person he’s looking for might be the only one that can help him. His mission takes him back to a moment in his recent past where he had to deal with the uncomfortable realities of his new life as an unlicensed Veterinarian whose practice is home to a talking dog. A dog that has been going on clandestine missions for Strange and spying on the new Sorcerer Supreme, Loki. The spy informs him that Loki and Zelma are on the hunt for a particular spell. One that can change the rules of magic and who receives it. This spurs Stephen into action.
Loki and Zelma continue to try and open the locked chamber in the Sanctum Sanctorum and Loki tries some pretty unconventional means to do it, which fail. As he and Zelma spar over the choices he is making, Loki compliments the young woman. He even seems to be attracted to the mortal. Stephen sees the two share an intimate moment and gets angry. He’s not jealous. He’s concerned that something he did with the spell that Loki is looking for might be discovered if he gets too close to Zelma. Stephen returns from his astral form and decides to confront the pair himself. He urges Zelma to speak to him in private, but the way he left has made the young woman angry and when he tries to enter the house, he’s thrown back down to the street by Loki.
Loki’s actions cause an event that spurs Stephen to come to the realization that he’s lost and that in order for him to regain what and who he lost, he would have to call upon an incredibly powerful and unpredictable ally to help him. At the top of the mountain, he finds a small house and pleads his case to the occupant, knowing that the resident is his only hope,if he doesn’t get killed first.
This issue continues the great build up from the first part of Loki: Sorcerer Supreme story arc. As Loki’s desperation rises, so does Stephen’s desperation to stop Loki from discovering a secret that could have huge repercussions not only for Stephen personally, but for magic itself. Cates is telling a really personal story with huge implications and it is interesting to witness the all-too human faults of both Loki and Stephen as the bumble around things in their lives and with the people around them. This was a satisfying read as a fan of Strange and the reveal at the end of this issue was brilliantly done.