Doctor Strange #390
Written by Donny Cates
Art by Frazier Ewing
Letters by Cory Petit
After everything Stephen Strange has put himself and his friends through recently, it’s good to have a story that closes up some loose ends in the hero’s personal life. This one starts with Strange’s friend and former protégé Zelma Stanton coming by the Sanctum Sanctorum for a talk and finding the place not only closed for repairs, but inhabited by Spider-Man of all people. Unfortunately, Spider-Man doesn’t know who Zelma is, so it makes their interaction even more awkward.
Strange and Bats are currently at the Doctor’s recently closed Animal Hospital, where he is packing his things and talking to his ghost dog about his renewed commitment to his role as Sorcerer Supreme. I like the fact that there is a more subdued tone to this story. It’s reflective in both the dialogue and the art by Ewing. There are a lot of close ups in this issue, which denotes that these characters are going to be talking to each other. A concept that becomes all too clear when Spidey and Zelma show up to the clinic.
You can feel the tension about to build as Zelma should have a lot to say to Stephen. After being tricked by Loki into thinking he lost his mantle, he walked away from everything and everyone, including her. She definitely looks like she has a lot to say to Doctor Strange. What helps break the tension is the banter between Bats and Spider-Man. It’s funny and light and really leads into Peter’s weird request of his friend. One that definitely made me chuckle as I read it because of its absurdity.
Strange and Zelma’s interaction is handled really well in this issue and despite what happens between them, the issue ends in a way I didn’t expect, but really enjoyed. Cates does a great job of closing this chapter of Strange’s story, but not shutting it completely. There are some really good character moments in this story and it is definitely worth reading.