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Strange #4 Review

4 min read

Not the mother/daughter action anyone expected.

Creative Staff:
Story: Jed MacKay
Art: Marcelo Ferreira, Roberto Poggi
Colors: Jana Cartaglia
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit

What They Say:
FAMILY REUNION! Clea’s mother Umar has come to visit, just as the Blasphemy Cartel launch their latest attack on the Sanctum Sanctorum! And this time, they brought an unlikely foe to take down the Sorcerer Supreme! Reintroducing the dark Moon Knight…Shadow Knight!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With almost two months between issues again, it’s definitely not making it easy to keep up with the book in a general sense but the reality is that as much as I enjoy it, it’s also operating with a pretty simplistic storyline so far, making it easy to reconnect with. The opening issues did a solid job of introducing the core basics and making it clear who this version of Clea is and I really think Jed MacKay hit it out of the park in setting the tone and establishing the basics. MacKay is joined by artists Marcel Ferreira and Roberto Poggi while Jana Cartaglia handles the color design. It’s a solid-looking book that has some really great expressiveness elements to it and a strong sense of design and power that a title like this really needs.

The arrival of Clea’s mother Umar is something that definitely made for an amusing end-page bit with the previous issue. Seeing Clea getting all intense about dealing with the preparations for her arrival here certainly hits a sweet spot, especially since when she arrives there’s all the pomp and circumstance that doesn’t fit with the mansion and how Wong operates. Clea, for her part, pretty much handles it well enough and is just completely on guard when it comes to her mother. It’s amusing to see Clea shuffle Wong out of the mansion for a while and for Clea to deal with her mother as a visiting dignitary that she’s sparring openly with verbally. The two have a long history to be sure but it’s a delight seeing the dismissive way Umar goes on about things and then going through all of it only to express pride in her daughter for what she’s accomplished.

Of course, Umar has misread Clea entirely as everything Clea has done hasn’t been part of a big power grab plan. So much of what makes all of this work are the expressions that Ferreira provides for Clea as she’s just incredulous over her mother. And it goes to a whole other level when the obviously stupid Blasphemy Cartel shows up and throws their Shadowknight feral creature at both of them. It’s a moment that lets mother and daughter fight side by side and allows them to have a bit more respect for each other as well. Of course, it also provides for a chance for Clea to really show off as she works to create a new spell to deal with this new thing that the Cartel has created, and that gives Umar a chance to just go for the rank and file in her own brutal way. It’s a solidly executed fight sequence and while Clea’s descriptions of her skill can get a bit much at times, it delivers a good sequence and hints again at the changing nature of magic here

In Summary:
Strange has some fun with the arrival of Umar though the reality is that it doesn’t accomplish much at the moment in terms of larger storytelling. Yet. It’s good to see how Umar is viewing her daughter and the realization that it’s not all some big power play is something she just can’t process. But it’s also good to see Clea react to hearing her mother express pride in her daughter for the first time, even if it’s not warranted in the reason why. The two definitely have a delightful meeting and this is exactly the kind of issue I enjoy, though it would have been better without the seemingly obligatory fight. That could have held off for another issue and just given us more time between these two in talking things out and reacting as crazily as they do. It’s a lot of good fun and the artwork really delivers when it comes to the reaction shots.

Grade: B+

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics
Release Date: July 27th, 2022
MSRP: $3.99