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Essential Doctor Strange, Vol. 3 (Marvel Essentials) (v. 3) Paperback – December 26, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"For those who like the idea of comics for grownups, the stories in the book would be an excellent choice." -- genxcomics.com
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 616 pages
  • Publisher: Marvel; Direct Ed edition (December 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078512733X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785127338
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.4 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #436,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Apache Fog on April 22, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First of all, let's set the terms of this review. I was aware that this was b/w prior to ordering it and I was okay with that. Also, I had never read even a single issue of Doctor Strange, so I really have no frame of reference with regard to the comic's legacy. At age 30 it has probably been nearly 2 decades since I've read comics at all (although I was a passionate Marvel fan back in the day). Because I spend the bulk of my time reading more complex scientific and literary material, I occasionally like to unwind with a lightweight guilty pleasure in between books. That's precisely the function this book was to serve. I went in with low expectations, and admit that I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, the stories and plot devices do strain the credulity at times but hey: it's a comic. (Note: I found the stories in this volume to be less tedious than all the forced human drama in Essential X-Men Vol. 6, a volume I purchased around the same time.) Overall, I really enjoy all the great artwork (I don't mind the b/w a bit), and like the serialized narrative format that encompasses multiple issues. Taken for what it is, I think it was a great purchase. I can flip through a couple issues every now and then, and come back to it later. With ~30 issues, it's already kept me occupied for quite some time. The stories can occasionally get a little redundant, but it hasn't bothered me too much. If you're looking for high brow literature, this isn't for you. But if you want a good rainy day read, or something to keep you occupied for a long train ride, you could do a lot worse.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Lotempio on September 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
This volume collects the first 20 odd issues of the Dr. Strange's second headliner title and it's a bit of a mixed bag. The book starts out strong with classic stories by Steven Englehart and artists Frank Brunner and Gene Colan. Englehart had an amazing ability to balance both thrilling action with cosmic psychedelia. Even when the stories begin to veer into hyperbolic profundity, he grounds it with human emotion and danger. One might see it as perfectly matching the Magician tarot card whose arms indicate the simple mystery "As Above, So Below." The Magician straddles the real and the unreal, the humble and profound. Particularly noteworthy are the Silver Dagger saga, Dormummu's attempt to come to Earth, Eternity's destruction of Earth and the duel with Dracula.

The volume begins to lose its coherence when Englehart leaves the book near the start of his exploration of the magical history of the United States. A variety of writers take over and each seem to have a different plan for the story. Lacking any definitive direction, the book stumbles around until Jim Starlin arrives and rustles all the disparate threads together. I can't say it made perfect sense to me but by this time I just wanted some kind of resolution. You can't say Starlin doesn't deliver a cosmic, high stakes challenge though. The last half of the Essential becomes a long, albeit meandering, epic struggle to save the entire universe. It also has a tangential connection with Starlin's then-contemporary Thanos War, which I don't want to spoil. It isn't as great as the Thanos War but, if you relax and don't fight the different writers, you'll likely enjoy the finish.

Lastly, I felt this book showcased some of Gene Colan's best work on the character. I have never like Colan's art but I respect his work and unique style. I found myself really starting to enjoy Colan's storytelling in this Essential and I hope other audiences share that pleasure.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Hood VINE VOICE on November 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
The Essential Dr. Strange #3 contains the start of the titular character's own comic book. It starts out reasonably strong, but then descends into some below average stories.

The art is really the high-point of this collection. This is one title where I am sad that it is only a b&w reprint as the colors in such an eldritch tale are more important than in a typical superhero book. Here, the normal panel configuration of a comic book is shattered, increasing the surreal and mystic nature of the stories.

The actual stories start off well, containing reasonable length multi-issue tales of 3-4 volumes, featuring Dormammu and showing Dr. Strange facing trials and increasing in power. In one case we even get a retelling of the origin of Dr. Strange due to a missed deadline.

The stories themselves veer into explorations into the nature of reality very quickly, and they become very tiresome at that point. Much of the action taking place inside Dr. Strange's head as illusions are used to attempt to overcome Dr. Strange's willpower. We see reality, and the earth, destroyed and rebuilt a couple of times. Even in something which demands a great amount of willing suspension of disbelief, seeing this happen in consecutive stories does boggle the belief and gets old.

One of the final stories, the longest by far, is the weakest. A meandering tale which jumps the tracks as writers change, moving from a trip into the past into the unlikely story of a cabal of sorcerors who wish to become stars. Literally. Big flaming balls of gas, because they control reality. This story was not only poor, it dragged on for far too long.

On the whole, an average collection of an interesting comic book character that differs from the typical superhero.
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