Review: Doctor Strange #1

Doctor Strange #1 cover
Cover by Frank Brunner

Doctor Strange #1
Published and © by Marvel, June 1974

Title: “Through an Orb Darkly”
Synopsis: Silver Dagger breaks into the Sanctum Sanctorum, steals the Eye of Agamotto and Clea, and leaves Doctor Strange for dead.

Writer: Steve Englehart
Penciler: Frank Brunner
Inker: Dick Giordano

Review: This is a top-shelf effort from Marvel circa 1974, both in terms of story and art. Steve Englehart has a good feel for the occult, and his tale has a trippy quality quite fitting for the period. The art, by Frank Brunner, is gorgeous. His rendering resembles a mix between Gil Kane and Michael Kaluta, and his storytelling is strong, too. Doctor Strange’s journey into the Orb of Agamotto to save Clea is an intriguing one, and readers should be eager to return to see this story through.

Grade: A

Second opinion: “The start of a whole new arc that would …launch him into a series of psychedelic and psychological encounters that have never been equal since.” – Pierre Comtois, “Marvel Comics in the 1970s: An Issue By Issue Field Guide to a Pop Culture Phenomenon: Expanded Edition,” 2021

Cool factor: Brunner’s art is really nice. He’s one of those mega-talents like Jim Steranko who moved on from comics too damn soon.
Not-so-cool factor: Doctor Strange and Clea’s whole teacher/student thing; it scores pretty high on the creepy scale.

Collector’s note: Beware, this issue contains Marvel Value Stamp (Series A) #23 (Sgt. Fury). … According to MyComicShop.com, there is a Mark Jewelers variant of this issue.

Character quotable:By the omniscience of the Ancient One!” – Doctor Strange, hyperbolist supreme

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on May 18, 2009.

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