What do you get when you have two Asgardians, a Sorcerer, a Fairy, a Frost Giant, a minion of Dormammu, a demon from Limbo, and a creature from Weirdworld in a school? – Marvel Comics’ newest institution, Strange Academy #1.
WELCOME TO STRANGE ACADEMY, HOPEFULLY, YOU SURVIVE
Writer, Skottie Young, is no stranger to stories revolving kids, humor, and all-around weirdness. This past experience helps him craft Marvel Comics’ newest school that hosts kids with magic from all walks of life. That’s were Strange Academy #1’s story succeeds, yet takes a dip. There is such a vast array of students with varying powers that no two are alike. Even the twins aren’t much like each other.
On the contrary, that’s where the quality dip occurs. All students introduced are only named once or twice. That in mind, towards the end of the issue, you’ll be racking your brain to remember who is who. This could easily be fixed in future issues with a “roll call” page with names, powers, and whatnot. This “roll call” page makes even more sense, as each character seems to be a newer Marvel Comics entry.
Name confusion aside; Young sucks you into Strange Academy #1 fast. Every new character introduced is fun, different, and makes you want to know more about them. The same can be said of the building itself that houses multiple unique classrooms. Young’s newest school story is a great new idea that with a few fixes could be the next Avengers Academy.
Strange Academy #1’s cast is all visually distinct, yet VC’s Clayton Cowles lettering makes them even more so. There are a few human (that we know) characters that retain the usual lettering. But, when it comes to the other characters, Cowles letters them differently. The Demon from Limbo is pink/purple, Dormammu’s “minion” has a shaky lettering bubble with symbols under some words and the Asgardians have the usually stylized lettering. These differing letter styles significantly improve each character design, plus it helps visually.
MAGICAL SCHOOL, MAGICAL ART
Humberto Ramos is known for his overly stylized exaggerated art in The Amazing Spider-Man that may divide some readers. Yet, his work has an in motion feeling that perfectly fits the comic medium. Strange Academy #1 cements this feeling, especially in the magic and fight scenes. That’s not to say his conversational moments are stiff, as they are the opposite. But, when the story revolves around gifted students using powers, those powers better hit hard. That they do. The few moments where the student’s powers are showcased Ramos makes you believe in magic. These are far and few in between; nonetheless, they look fantastically magical with his execution.
Ramos’ visual magic and the character design are taken to the next level with Edgar Delgado’s lively colors. Delgado keeps the trend of portraying each character differently with the use of colors. This can be seen when all of the kids in Strange Academy are near each other, and the color palettes differ. Yet, the highlight of his colors is during power usage. As the kids have visually different powers, Delgado colors them as such, yet keeps them vibrant. Furthermore, the vast usage of bright colors complements each other in these action moments, making for some beautiful panels.
SCHOOL HAS BEGUN
Strange Academy #1’s only fault is trying to explain too much in a singular first issue. Young’s great storytelling is there and beckons you to read more. Alas, at times too much info is being thrown at you, causing pages to feel to word heavy. Nonetheless, with all the info dropped in the first issue the following shouldn’t feel as such. Now, just a “roll call” page for the students and faculty, and you’ll have an A+.
Extra: Strange Academy #1 does include an application letter, which is really cool to add.
Memorable Quote: “I know some of you are freaking out at how awesome and scary this all is. And some of you are probably thinking you don’t need to be here because you’re such badasses already. Either way, soak it all in. Have fun, and most of all, try not to die.” – Dr. Strange
What a great Introduction speech, complimented with an amazing final few pages.
DEAR NEW STUDENT
What did you think of the first day of magic school? let us know below.