95C869BC-1995-43AC-928C-A66726CC9277Doctor Strange #388

Marvel Comics

Written by Donny Cates

Art by Niko Henrichon

Colors by Laurent Grossat

Stephen Strange’s dead basset hound Bats decides to give us a run down of the situation so far in the newly resurrected Las Vegas. A situation that has the Avengers and Strange himself battling Wong, Ben Reilly, Blade and others as spirits of vengeance working for Mephisto. So it’s not going well. Because the situation is continuing to becoming grim, Bats decides to take a more active role in the action. An active role that consists of possessing the body of Doctor Strange.

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Bats confronts Stephen in his head about how he’s being manipulated into fighting his own friends. I like the fact that this reveal wasn’t dragged out to create artificial tension. Bats gets in and goes to work trying to convince Strange of the truth and when he finally realizes it himself, it’s pretty hilarious. Not only is the reveal funny, but the interaction between Strange and Bats is some of the best banter I have read in a long time. It makes me love Bats more as a character to see him really tell Stephen the truth about his constant pity party.

As fun as it gets between the two of them, Stephen’s consistently walking into obvious traps is a little old, but it did set up the return of the trapped Avengers. Having them return in the fashion they do is great timing for this issue and the story, but the reveal of who helps them at the end of the issue is ever more entertaining.

Cates has done a great job with this story in crafting not only some great action and stakes, but great intimate dialogue between the characters that seems very naturalistic in contrast to the otherworldly events around them. He’s humanized Strange is ways that have made him more accessible as a character instead of the aloof Sorcerer Supreme. My only problem with the issue is that even after the conversation with Bats, Strange seems to learn nothing and continues the behavior that led him to this point. The issue is visually stunning as well with some great action panels and splash pages that I went over multiple times to take in all the detail.

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