Artist: Marcos Martin
Colorist: Javier Rodriguez
“Doctor Strange: The Oath” is a 5 issue limited series that mixes several genres to great effect. The essence of the story involves Dr. Strange’s assistant Wong being faced with a life-threatening ailment. Strange goes on the hunt for a cure, but in the process, his past catches up with him and he ultimately ends up fighting for both Wong’s and his own lives.
While I’ve mostly avoided comic titles featuring Dr. Strange in the past because of their all-too-often detached magical bent, I gave this title a chance based on the fact that Brian K. Vaughan (BKV) was writing it. No surprise here; BKV does a terrific job of combining the mystical aspects that are an intrinsic part of the character, with very grounded storytelling elements to present a story that really showcases the potential of the character. BKV is also a master of misdirection, so just when you think you know what’s going on, think again.
Marcos Martin’s art is not flashy by any means, but he’s a great storyteller, and when you are reading a BKV script, a solid sequential artist is all you need. In fact, Martin’s lack of flare suits the story especially well. I much prefer Martin’s “simple” (yet expressive and effective) linework on this book, as opposed to that of a Jim Lee or Frank Cho, both of whom are terrific artists in their own right. No uber-detailed linework, no flash (or expansive bosoms, in Cho’s case) to distract from the most important element in this story, which is in fact, the story itself! Martin’s work is very comparable to Darwyn Cooke’s in that regard.
Great story, solid art and more than a few surprises along the way make this a Recommended Read.
Report card: A-