Doctor Strange: Damnation #4 Review

Mitch Nissen Mitch Nissen
Expert Contributor
May 9th, 2018

Grew up reading comic books in the 90's. Marvel fan at heart. Hulk, the Midnight Sons, and Marvel's cosmic universe are my favorites.

Doctor Strange: Damnation #4 Review
Comics
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Doctor Strange: Damnation, Marvel’s first supernatural event series in decades, has concluded as the heroes make their last stand against Mephisto and the hordes of Hell. ComiConverse contributor Mitch Nissen takes a closer look.

Review: Doctor Strange: Damnation #4

Short and sweet, Doctor Strange: Damnation draws to a close in just four quick issues. Writers Donny Cates and Nick Spencer seamlessly weave all the various plots threads together in an epic and satisfying finale. Wild, offbeat, and well done, Damnation is an event unlike any other.

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Not too drawn out like so many events can be, but perhaps flirting a little too closely with brevity, Damnation shapes up wonderfully. This story breathes new life into event books and the supernatural corner of Marvel’s universe.

The Synopsis

In a rain of blood, the impromptu Midnight Sons fight a losing battle. Mephisto arrives on Johnny Blaze’s motorcycle and parading the former Ghost Rider’s corpse before the heroes. The devil believes he’s won. What he discovers, that by killing the Ghost Rider, he’s played right into Wong’s hands.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics

The Breakdown SPOILERS

Nick Spencer and Donny Cates deliver a reliable and exciting conclusion to Damnation. Issue Four may be the strongest of the four issues and as a whole Doctor Strange Damnation is a brilliantly crafted series. The two Marvel scribes have deftly displayed the difference between the supernatural heroes and the Avengers and how exciting these stories of “non-Avengers” heroes can be.

Throughout this entire series, writers Cates and Spencer have consistently provided scripts with unexpected twists and turns leading the reader on a fun and unique adventure. The writers have filled the book with beautiful character moments, snappy dialog, and original beats paying homage to classic motifs.

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“Whatever knows fear burns at the Man-Thing’s touch, Stephen… Don’t you see? I’m not afraid anymore.”

Throughout the series it appears as though nearly every move Wong and the heroes do works against them, playing into Mephisto’s hands. So too believes the demon lord as he openly calls out the idiocy of their plan. In a beautiful twist, it is revealed that in fact, everything has played out exactly as Wong had planned it.

The shocking cliffhanger of issue three turns out to be exactly what the heroes needed to come out on top.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics

Mephisto’s enterprising ambitions prove his undoing as his presence on Earth had left Hell without a ruler. Mephisto killing Ghost Rider allowed Johnny Blaze to enter Hell and take over as the new ruler right under Mephisto’s nose.

On a side note: Johnny Blaze is not the first Ghost Rider to become King of Hell. In the epic finale to the third Ghost Rider volume, Noble Kale (the Spirit of Vengeance inside of Danny Ketch) destroys Blackheart to become the King of Hell, the first Ghost Rider to do so.

Johnny Blaze, Danny Ketch, Noble Kale, and nearly every Ghost Rider there has ever been (strangely Kushala and Vengeance are missing), gather in the closing pages of the issue to exact a hundred years worth of vengeance on Mephisto. It is one of the greatest moments in Ghost Rider history sure to please even the hardcore fans.

The Art

Rod Reis is the real show stopper here. There are several pages where the artist knocks it out of the park. Not only does he continue conveying incredible character expressions, the emotions coming through, but also provides many dynamic action pieces as well.

It isn’t a big stretch to assume that the pages in this book will go on to become iconic with these characters.

Without listing all the fantastic imagery: the full page spread of Johnny Blaze sitting upon the throne of Hell (a la the classic Ghost Rider Finale book), the two page spread of Dr. Strange possessed by the souls of the Avengers, and the full page spread of nearly every Ghost Rider that has ever existed are all sights to behold.

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Credit: Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics

All of these images and more add up to some truly stunning visuals. In equal parts are the bold and striking colors Reis employs. The photos come to life in ways beyond Reis’ previous works. Rod Reis is indeed on top of his game in this issue.

All in all the artwork and the writing come together with incredible results.

The final pages suggest another adventure for these “makeshift Midnight Sons,” namely a raid on Hell to save Johnny Blaze. But the “To Be Continued” is punctuated with a question mark. Is Marvel putting it to us, the fans and readers, to voice whether we want more with these characters or not?

I’ve long been an advocate for more Marvel horror and supernatural titles.

Bring on more Hellstorm, Morbius, Danny Ketch, Blade, Elsa Bloodstone, Satana, Jennifer Kale, Man-Thing, Brother Voodoo, Man-Wolf, Victoria Montesi, and others (but check Dr. Doom, Magik, and Scarlet Witch at the door as they already have enough exposure elsewhere, in my opinion).

What did you think?

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Mitch Nissen is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @NinjaMitche

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