Strange: Higher Education

Mark Waid opens a new chapter in the life and adventures of the former Sorcerer Supreme in STRANGE

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Doctor Strange
By Jim Beard

Writer Mark Waid's no stranger to the odd, the weird and the wonderful in the Marvel Universe. Challenged with the task of shepherding Stephen Strange, former Sorcerer Supreme of Earth, down a new and even stranger path, he levitated at the opportunity.

STRANGE #1, hitting comic shops this November 4, opens the grimoire on a four-issue limited series that aims to catch up with the hero formerly known as Doctor Strange.

"He's been on walkabout," explains Waid of Strange's recent whereabouts. "We're keeping it a bit of a mystery from the other characters in the book, most of whom are meeting [or] discovering Stephen Strange for the first time, but he's taken advantage of what very little magic he has left to walk around some 'otherspaces' to get his head together and has been gone quite a while by his own clock, but only a few months by ours.

"And in his absence, he's adopted a whole new attitude. He's a lot more relaxed than we've ever seen him be. Remember, here's a man who's had to be responsible and studious and has carried massive weight on his shoulders since he was a medical student, and it's never let up. Now it has. Now, for the first time in his adult life, he's free to really savor the world around him."

Strange lost the title and duties of Sorcerer Supreme due to recent cataclysmic events in the pages of NEW AVENGERS; Waid's eager to reveal the magic man's new uses of sorcery-and life itself-in STRANGE.

"He's no longer automatically 'connected' to the magical forces of the universe," he notes. "Stephen still has a few tricks up his sleeve, but its 101 stuff. His hands are once more too damaged and trembly to reliably

STRANGE #1 cover by Tomm Coker
work spells, and Doctor Voodoo now has custody of all his familiar trademark totems. But, again, he's sort of enjoying the new limitations because it's forcing him to re-learn the basics.

"And his approach to life seems to be a relaxed, happy one, but as we'll see, there are many, many demons that haunt Stephen Strange, and he's not as free of them as he might appear to be at first. He doesn't have a new quest, really. In fact, he's really enjoying that he has no quest for the first time in ages. He's on sabbatical. But then he stumbles across a new student with tremendous potential: Casey Kinmont, a young girl who very much has a quest of her own."

It's this new student that forms the backbone of STRANGE and who the writer feels infuses the series with a refreshing change of pace and outlook from past stories of Doctor Strange.

"Just as I've heard of the Yankees but can't name a single player because I'm not a sports fan, Casey knows of the Avengers and the Defenders pretty remotely but has never heard of Stephen Strange," Waid says. "She's a pretty sheltered little rich girl who's not really following Earth's super hero scene, but she blunders into a situation in STRANGE #1 where she's able to help Stephen and, in doing so, sees a way for him to help her find some peace when it comes to her own personal losses."

Still, in looking back over the long history of Stephen Strange, Waid sees what he believes stands out most in terms of a theme and promises that will continue to impact the character into this new series.

STRANGE #2 cover by Tomm Coker
"The rising and advancing of the spirit; the learning that Strange has always done," he points out as this prominent feature. "One of the things I've always loved about the [character] is how Stephen is forever a student, forever leveling up, always striving to learn more. It's a fundamental part of his personality, and it's a fundamental part of this series!"

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3 comments
StephenSanders
StephenSanders

Yeah me too. I dont like how hes "not" Dr. Strange anymore. Still a doctor.

tugrul.sahin
tugrul.sahin

The change of character sounds good. Hopefully this won't become Casey Kinmont's mini though.

GundamAce
GundamAce

i like this going back to the basics feel its like a story from back in the or something.