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Strange #6 Review

4 min read

“The Big Spell”

Creative Staff:
Story: Jed MacKay
Art: Lee Garbett
Colors: Jana Cartaglia
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit

What They Say:
WONG TAKES CENTER STAGE! Someone has stolen pieces of Wong’s memory! But he’s going to need them back to stop the Blasphemy Cartel! It’s up to Wong and Bats to retrace their steps to find the truth! But could this memory be better off forgotten?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The release schedule for this series has been a bit chaotic since the start but it’s settled into a more predictable monthly release now and that’s definitely a help. It doesn’t hurt that it’s 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.

With this installment, the focus is pretty much on Wong as he’s trying to figure things out with what’s going on with the Blasphemy Cartel. He’s doing a bit of a walkabout for information with the ghost-dog Bats coming along with him and that initially leads him to the Bar With No Doors, which gives us time with Jenny, a woman cursed to have her appearance change constantly. It’s a decent bit of context for the Bar with those who hang out in there and it’s enjoyable to see Wong working this kind of investigative side that we don’t often see. It’s usually sidelined or just talked about. We even get some action out of him as it progresses as later on his journey he’s attacked by some adjacent kind of gang group that’s trying to get him to stop asking questions. He’s clearly on the right path and the Blasphemy Cartel are throwing a few cheap and easy obstacles his way.

Where the book takes a really interesting route is when Wong visits with Jean Grey in order to get help unlocking the block in his mind. She’s not an expert at this as she makes clear, but she’s willing to help because of what Stephen has done in the past. This leads to some recap from a point of view kind of approach that works well and it does unlock exactly what had happened and lead to Stephen’s death. That, combined with learning about how Wong and his family line has been raised, really is something that makes an impact on him. But what I like is where it leads him next, which is completely new to me, as he goes back to Jenny and uses the mithrium from Jean to reveal who Jenny really is. This is my first instance of hearing about the Wizard Alchemy Necromancy Department of the former SHIELD is interesting, and that Jenny used to be known as Director Pandora Peters, and that she’s now on the run as the WAND organization has become the Blasphemy Cartel. Likening it to the fall of the USSR in how different things broke off and some went full-on gangster definitely provides places for this series to go.

In Summary:
With Clea nowhere to be found in this issue outside of a reference or two, Stange puts its weight on Wong and he’s naturally quite up to the task. His role is explored at first and then it shifts to him dealing with moving through the intersections of magic and engaging with people to try and understand what’s going on. A touch of action gives us a distraction but the real meat of the book is in its time dealing with Jean Grey – the first time I’ve read hear in anything in years – and then the big reveal at the end which I wish was given more time here instead of the pointless action earlier. A solid book all around but one that could have been paced better and fleshed out more.

Grade: B+

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics
Release Date: September 21st, 2022
MSRP: $3.99

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