Warning: SPOILERS for Doctor Strange #19
Fans of Doctor Strange may be patiently waiting for his next Marvel movie, but the comics have just transformed him on a level guaranteed to change his role forever. And he's getting a brand new comic because of it... as Dr. Strange, Surgeon Supreme!
The change has come in the pages of Doctor Strange #19, and any fan looking to stay on top of Marvel history may want to pick up their own copy sooner rather than later. After the plot synopsis for this issue reminded fans that Doctor Strange's entire origin story began in a car accident--ruining his hands--the tease of another life-changing accident seemed ominous. Now that it's arrived, it is without a doubt one of the most significant moments in Stephen Strange's life, even if it puts his future as Earth's Sorcerer Supreme into serious jeopardy.
This time around it isn't Strange involved in a car accident, but a young mother and her little boy. Luckily for them, Doctor Strange arrives on the scene in time to help them both to safety, and diagnose the boy's brain injury. But unluckily for everyone... his medical expertise means he's fully aware that the boy's time is running out.
He knows the brain surgery he would begin, if his hands were as flawless as they were before his accident. But as the boy's mother panics watching the options running out, Doctor Strange finds himself dropped into a Hippocratic dilemma: as a doctor, he is sworn to do everything in his power to help. As the Sorcerer Supreme... that gives him more options than most. Seeing no other option, he seeks out a terrible resident of the Astral plane: Channok, keeper of forbidden spells. Not in search of help for the boy, but for himself.
Inquiring about "a spell of divine restoration," the repulsive keeper of forbidden enchantments and teachings informs Strange that the rumors are true. It is "Uthurvan's Invocation" that he is looking for, capable of healing almost any affliction. But there's a catch. The latest Doctor Strange comics have gone to great lengths to show readers that all Marvel magic--every single spell--comes at a price. For a spell like the one Strange is seeking, Channok warns the price could sever his bond with magic completely, or even "exact a cruel and irreversible punishment." A lesson Strange learns the second he returns to the real world, and attempts to use it.
At first it seems he has fallen victim to a magical trap, as Doctor Strange watches his hands dissolve into nothingness in the rain. In hindsight, this loss highlights just how absurd a risk Strange truly took. If the spell works and the boy lives, all is well. But if Channok's warning also proved true, and severed Strange's connection to magic... what then? One boy's life to let all of Earth and reality be conquered by dark magic, since he couldn't stand against it?
Fortunately for literally all of the Marvel Universe, the initial horror isn't all it seems. As soon as Strange begins to curse himself for such a foolish gamble, he realizes that his bones, ligaments, and tissue have all begun to... regrow. It's a stomach-turning process to imagine (and apparently the sound alone tests Strange's limits), but a revolutionary one, too. With his once-broken hands wiped clean, and a brand new pair grown to replace them, Stephen Strange is the world class surgeon he used to be!
The final issues of this Doctor Strange series promise "an event so epic it shakes Doctor Strange to the core and makes him completely reevaluate his life and role." And as Strange conducts his brain surgery with all the skill and tact he once possessed, it's obvious to see how things have changed. Yes, the inevitable 'price' of this second chance can't help but loom over the scene. But with Stephen Strange now possessing the greatest magical and medical mind in Marvel's Universe, his story transforms from a tragic one to the best of both worlds. At least, it seems that way for now.
So it's no coincidence that Marvel's PULL LIST chose this week to announce a wide array of high profile stories and releases changing the Marvel Universe before the end of the year. That includes the murder mystery Incoming #1, the conclusion to Donny Cates's Thanos/Silver Surfer Black/Guardians of the Galaxy epic--and of course, the launch of a brand new series from writer Mark Waid, with Dr. Strange: Surgeon Supreme beginning in December. Take a look at the first artwork by Phil Noto, and the first details for the debut issue below:
- DR. STRANGE: SURGEON SUPREME #1
- Releases: December 2019
- Written by MARK WAID
- Art by KEV WALKER
- Cover by PHIL NOTO
- The impossible has happened! Doctor Strange’s hands have been healed, restoring his surgical skills - but now he’s being torn between his obligations as the Sorcerer Supreme and as a neurosurgeon. And when he’s forced to choose which vows to uphold, who suffers most for it? After all, magic always has a cost…Be here for a brand new era of magic…and horror from Mark Waid (HISTORY OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE) and Kev Walker (BLACK PANTHER)!
As the name and cover art for Surgeon Supreme suggests, Doctor Strange--sorry, Dr. Strange will be returning to practicing medicine with his hands restored. A dream neither he nor readers ever thought possible... and one that seems destined to be so much more difficult to balance than Stephen could ever expect while riding the high of a successful surgery. But can he truly be both? And more importantly, will he be able to pay when the bill comes due? We'll just have to wait and see.
Fans won't want to miss out on the healing in the pages of Doctor Strange #19 available in comic book shops now, with the last issue of the series coming on October 2nd. After that--and the Doctor Strange Annual arriving October 30th, it's straight on to Dr. Strange: Surgeon Supreme beginning this December.