Story: Jed MacKay
Art: Marcel Ferreira, Roberto Poggi
Colors: Jana Cartaglia
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
What They Say:
Clea and Stephen Strange team up to take down the Blasphemy Cartel and their dreaded super-powered weapon! But will two Sorcerers Supreme be enough for this final battle? And what will finally become of Stephen Strange by the end of it? As one chapter closes, a new one is about to begin in the house of Strange…
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 managed to even things out as it worked into the finale, so it can wrap up here and send us off into another series. Which I do find disappointing overall because this series gave me so little of what I thought it would be about – Clea as the Sorcerer Supreme. It didn’t hurt that it’s operating with a pretty simplistic storyline but it could have been so much more than it was. 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.
The finale is pretty much what you’d expect, especially with so many obvious moments foreshadowing it. The assault on Emerald City has led Stephen and Clea to a place and point where they’re facing off not against Director None himself but the Revenant version of Sentry and it’s just too powerful of a being for them. In a matter of minutes, and over the course of the first half, it pushes through an intense but brutally fast fight as the two are unable to make a difference. Not surprising considering the imbued power of a hundred million souls or somesuch. It’s decent in how it plays out, giving us some strong visuals with the action and engaging inner monologue pieces from both of our leads as they face such a foe while also reflecting on each other. The beating that the pair take from Sentry is pretty intense overall and you can see just how delighted Director None is with it.
Naturally, that’s not how this series is going to end and once we know about Stephen as the Harvestman and his role for Death here, it was clear. The inability of he and Clea to touch because of the catastrophe it would cause meant that they would do so at a key time and this is certainly it. It’s beautifully done in terms of showing them to be massively popular, which you can believe given their histories and what they’ve done, when fused as a new kind of being for the moment. The conflict within is nicely handled as Clea just wants to end their opponents while Stephen wants to find another way, but it all serves to bring things to a close by giving everyone except Director None a second chance – yet with no memory of what they did, which is a bad take. And, of course, we get things that take us back to a semi-status quo to bring things to a close when it comes to Stephen’s deal with death, but again, it was obvious what was going to happen once we had the reveal.
While not a bad ending, Strange closes with a sigh of disappointment for me. It delivered on what the team wanted it to be but I think they missed out on far better opportunities here when it comes to Clea as the Sorcerer Supreme. Yes, they’ll deal with the logistics of that in the new series kicking off that I’m not going to bother with. But Clea got a handful of issues where she wasn’t dealing with Stephen and even then that’s not really true because he was there from almost the start as the Harvestman. There was a lot I liked about the book early on, especially the dynamic between Clea and Wong, but the book opted for predictability over anything interesting and just became kind of routine along the way. I’ll always have a deep love of this cast that goes back decades now, Clea especially, but it’s frustrating that it’s just so simple here.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics
Release Date: January 18th, 2023