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Marvel Masterworks: Doctor Strange, vol. 5 collects issues #9-14 of Marvel Premiere, originally published between 1973 and 1974, and issues #1-9 of Doctor Strange, published between 1974 and 1975. It should be noted, however, that Marvel Premiere #11 and Doctor Strange #3 contained reprints framed by only a few pages of original material--only the original material is collected here. Like other Marvel Masterworks editions, this is a beautiful hardback with low-gloss archival paper, brilliant colors, finished boards (with silver foil-stamping), and a sewn binding. Extras include Introductions by both Steve Englehart and Frank Brunner, art for Marvel Treasury Edition #6 (a reprint collection originally published in 1975), a Doctor Strange try-out page by Brunner, a preliminary cover sketch to Marvel Premiere #14 (also by Brunner), two pages of original art by Brunner and Dick Giordano, Brunner's original pencil art (later altered) for Doctor Strange #2, a house ad, and the cover from Doctor Strange/Silver Dagger Special Edition #1 (another reprint collection published in 1983).
Brunner's pencils for the Marvel Premiere issues and the first five issues of Doctor Strange are the big draw of this collection. Carefully detailed and heavily psychedelic, and featuring a highly creative approach to layout design, Brunner's pencils here (particularly once paired with Giordano's ink-work) are some of the best art to come out of Marvel in the early '70s. Fans of Jim Starlin's early '70s work on Warlock (collected in Marvel Masterworks: Warlock - Volume 2) will especially enjoy this. For issues #6-9 of Doctor Strange, Gene Colan and a variety of inkers (including John Romita) provide the art. Though not quite as sensational as Brunner and Giordano's stuff, it's still beautiful work that nicely complements the story.
As for the story, Englehart's run here includes three multi-issue tales: the first pits Strange against Shuma-Gorath, the second has him traveling through time with Baron Mordo as they contend with a God-like being named Sise-neg, and the third sees Strange and Clea working together to stop the resurrection of Dormammu. All three are weird, psychedelic, and heavily scripted pieces that could not have been written at any time other than the early '70s. Like other psychedelic fiction from this period, these stories suffer from somewhat arbitrary logic; nevertheless, they remain inventive and entertaining throughout.
Doctor Strange fans will particularly enjoy this book, but any collector of high quality graphic novels will also appreciate this book for for Brunner's art.
Unusually for the Masterworks, the Dr. Strange volumes were broken in mid story between volumes 4 and 5. This was because of the new creative team of Steve Englehart and Frank Brunner coming aboard. They abandoned the previous Lovecraftian style in favor of the new "Kosmic" style. This gave the Dr. Strange feature a unique story and artistic look that had been lacking since Steve Ditko left Marvel many years before.
The new look was successful enough to gain Dr. Strange a new title after a lengthy tryout in Marvel Premiere. This volume contains 4 story arcs. The conclusion of the Shuma-Gorath story line in Marvel Premiere 9 and 10, the Sise-Neg story im Marvel Premiere 12-14, The Silver Dagger arc in Dr. Strange 1,2, 4, and 5, and the Dormammu/Umar story in Dr. Strange 6-9.
Also, included are the frame sequences for the reprints in Marvel Premiere 11 and Dr. Strange 3.
Extras include covers from various collections of the aforementioned stories over the years and some pages of original art.
This would have been a five star volume if not for the rather unsatisfactory Dormammu/Umar story line. The story gave every appearance of being made up on the fly and is an artistic mess with Gene Colan and a different inker every issue. One character even changes race midway through the story.
Both Englehart and Brunner contribute interesting introductions.
Highly recommended to Strange fans despite the letdown in the final storyline.
This beautiful collection represents a fantastic period for the series, probably my favorite, and although the Englehart/Brunner Sise-Neg and Silver dagger storylines have been collected before, we now also get the beginning of Colan's second run starting with Doctor Strange #6. The previous review already mentioned the bonus art in the back of the book, but I just wanted to stress my thrill when I flipped to those final pages and saw all three pages of original Brunner art from Marvel Treasurey Edition #6. This includes nice full color reproductions of the front and back covers, the beautiful pin-up of Doc, Cleaa, and the Ancient One looking better than the original on the glossy paper, and there is also the B&W title page artwork (signed "Sev" so I assume by by Marie Severin). When I thinned out my collection years ago, including many of the oversized Treasury Editions, which after all were mostly reprints, I kept the Doctor Stange Treasury, because I loved this artwork, and now I also have it in a more stable hardcover format. Great job on this collection. Highly recommended!
The Marvel Masterworks collections are genius. This volume of Dr. Strange continues to delight and awe with this character's usual charm. Of course, they leave this volume off on a cliffhanger (rude!). Now I'm stalking volume 6 to find a good price. If you are a fan of Dr. Strange (or a soon-to-be fan, Dr. Strange never disappoints!), this collection is a beautiful, fresh way to own his appearances.
I've been a Dr. Strange fan since the mid-70's and remember reading some of his earliest stories in a little paperback book (not a TPB, but an actual paperback). Re-reading the stories in these archive editions has really been a lot of fun - the paper quality and visuals are great.
You know, I never really liked Dr. Strange when I was a kid in the '80s. Maybe that's because the real golden age of Dr. Strange was these stories and, especially, this artwork by Gene Colanr! The Dr. Strange Masterworks have become some of my favorites.