Doctor Strange: The Oath

NaNoBloMo 2016 #11
Comic Review
No Spoilers!

Doctor Strange: The OathDoctor Strange: The Oath by Brian K. Vaughan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Doctor Stephen Strange embarks on the most important paranormal investigation of his career, as he sets out to solve an attempted murder – his own! And with his most trusted friend also at death’s door, Strange turns to an unexpected corner of the Marvel Universe to recruit a new ally.

If you’re not familiar with The Oath and don’t want to read it, but you want to know what happens in it, Comic Pop has a great video that summarizes it pretty well. It may seem long at 54 minutes, but I promise that it’s completely worth it. I watched it after reading the comic and still learned from it (it is also hilarious and you will not be bored, I promise!).

I think this might be the single most famous Doctor Strange comic of all time, and thats even before Benedict Cumberbatch posed with it in a comic store (in costume!!) as you can see in the featured image. It’s technically a ‘limited run’ which means it was a planned series that was only five comics long, so its great to pick up and read in a day (which is what I did).

The Storyline

To elaborate on the synopsis without giving away any spoilers: Doctor Strange’s servant and best friend, Wong, has been diagnosed with an untreatable and inoperable brain tumor, which comes as a devastating blow to the doctor (its strongly suggested, that if it were not for the damage to his hands, he could have operated and saved Wong). Magic cannot directly be used to treat cancer, so Strange goes in search of a magical elixir that may hold the cure. Of course, once he possesses it, word gets out that he has it, and everyone wants to get their hands on the cure for cancer.

Strange is shot by one such person, a merc for hire by the name of Brigand (very original, I know) and Wong takes him to the practice of the Night Nurse, a woman by the name of Linda Carter who provides medical help to superheroes (since visiting a normal doctor would be a bad way to maintain a secret identity). When Doctor Strange still insists upon going after Brigand, despite his injury and Wong’s illness, the Night Nurse insists upon coming as well, because, “If you pop a stitch in the field, and Wong is too busy having a massive brain aneurysm to repair it, who do you think is going to help you finish your little mission?”

The three are a less than ideal team, and they are at constant odds with each other (although, more than anything it is Doctor Strange vs the Night Nurse and Wong thinking the entire matter is a waste of time and energy) and doubting in one another’s abilities. The villain is not who you, or Doctor Strange, is expecting, however his entire rogue’s gallery get a shoutout or a cameo.

But beyond having a great cast of characters, a lot of references to other comics, and a compelling storyline, the Oath also deals with a lot of difficult topics, including cancer, a doctor’s Hippocratic Oath (hence the title), and the debate of the good of the many versus the good of the few.

Overall

It one of my favorite Doctor Strange stories of all time, and one of the most popular. This is for good reason. The art is fantastic and consistent throughout, and the narrative is easy to follow and you don’t need any knowledge of Doctor Strange or the Marvel Comic Universe in order to follow along.

Without spoiling the Doctor Strange movie, I can say that there are several nods to this comic. You won’t be lost if you haven’t read it and go to see the movie of course, but I really loved finding all the little references and nods throughout the film.

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