Review: DOCTOR STRANGE #400 Is A Magical Marvel Milestone

FIRST IMPRESSION

Doctor Strange #400 is the kind of anniversary issue all celebratory chapters should strive to emulate. It pushed the current story forward toward a huge moment, yet also has some nice, quite callbacks and stories that give credence to the timelessness of the character in question. 
Writing/Story
Pencils/Inks
Colors
Letters
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Doctor Strange #400 sees current creative team Mark Waid and Jesus Saiz, along with some classic Strange artists, bringing readers a true milestone of a celebratory issue.

Someone has been working in the background since the first issue, chipping away at Doctor Strange and other magicians, undercutting and depleting their magic, and the other shoe finally drops. Does Strange stand a chance against someone who can take his magic away with the snap of their fingers?Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange #400

Written: Mark Waid
Art: Jesu Saiz (with Kevin Nowlan & Jim Campbell; Butch Guice & Carlos Lopez; Tom Pamer & Daniel Acuna)
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit

Writing

The so-called ‘Milestone’ issue is something that gets thrown around a lot in comics. Sometimes that can mean an overpriced and overstuffed fill-in issue, and sometimes it’s something appropriately special. Thankfully the latter is the case with Doctor Strange #400, which finds a way to not only be accessible to new readers (like this reviewer) but to also reward recent readers of the current arc as well as celebrating the character with back-up stories that actually BACK-UP the character and not just fill-in pages. 
For those who had been reading the current arc, this chapter finally brings a confrontation between Stephen Strange and the ‘Magic Accountant’ that has been plaguing the Sorcerer Supreme. What’s great about this fight is that it forces Strange to use skills other than magic to defeat his enemy; in this case a mean combo of some bad-ass kung-fu along with a surgeons knowledge of the human body. It’s a great sequence that shows how well Waid knows this character as it’s classic Stephen Strange, filled with a touch of humor and more than a little arrogance. Doctor Strange
The main reveal here though is the cliffhanger ending, which is setting up one hell of an idea…SPOILER ALERT…it seems Stephen’s recent trip through different realities to gather magic has left more than one realm claiming a debt. But the one that does come collect is a doozy; none other than the home of Dormammu himself, the Dark Dimension. And it’s not just the Dreaded one that is showing up…it’s his whole race of beings. How Doctor Strange and allies are going to fight this is going to make one hell of an issue next month. The ending really does feel epic, and as someone who had not been reading this arc so far, it has grabbed me, and there is no way I am sitting out what happens next.Docotor Strange
The rest of the issues is filled with shorter stories illustrated by some of the classic artists that have worked on this book. We get a moving story about bullying (House Call by Waid with art by Butch Guice and Carlos Lopez) and The Lever (again by Waid with art by Kevin Nowland and Jim Cambell) which manages to re-tell the origin of Doctor Strange, yet bring in a small detail that changes the dynamic between Stephen, his mentor The Ancient One and his rival Baron Modo. The Lever is fast, funny and fun. 

Art

Jesus Saiz creates some truly beautiful and elegant art. His ability for clean, slick layouts makes for a smooth reading experience. He also knows how to balance a splash page with a more traditional paneled page, which only adds to the narrative pacing. It reads quick, but it’s still impactful. Saiz understands the events in this issue are meant to be fast and intense.Doctor Strange
The back-up stories also feature some great art, excellently showcasing how Doctor Strange can be rendered by different styled artists yet still retain something that makes him weird, magical and of course strange! 

Conclusion

Doctor Strange #400 is the kind of anniversary issue all celebratory chapters should strive to emulate. It pushed the current story forward toward a huge moment, yet also has some nice, quite callbacks and stories that give credence to the timelessness of the character in question. 

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Manuel Gomez
Assistant Comic Book Editor. Manny has been obsessed with comics since childhood. He feels every New Comic Book Day is a holiday. He also probably plays way too much Magic: The Gathering.
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