So, we've finally reached the end of the Secret Empire tie-in to the Doctor Strange comic. Strange, Spider Woman, Kingpin, and Ben Urich have reached their climactic showdown with Baron Mordo. Spider Woman is in a ghost plane, Fisk has been possessed by a shadow demon, and Urich is in a divine white suit of armor. Strange is left with whatever bag of tricks he can conjure up to fight Mordo.
Can our unlikely team of heroes stand up to the full magical might of Baron Mordo? Or will he continue to rule New York City?
As far as climactic magical battles go, this one manages to stay pretty exciting. It's bizarre, of course, and it's probably still too zany for its own good, with Mordo sipping on a coffee mug that says, "Sorcerer Supreme" at the beginning of the fight.
Spider Woman, Kingpin, and Urich get dispatched before they can do too much damage to the Baron. It's up to Strange to pull some misdirection to win the day.
The means through which he does win could seem a little anticlimactic, and it does make Mordo look a good bit goofy still. However, it shows the difference between finesse and ingenuity versus pure strength. It does actually make since that Strange wins this way.
The results of the battle are about as underwhelming as one could expect, though. If you've read Secret Empire #8, you already know how the Darkforce Dome comes down. Maria Hill shoots Blackout in the head, and it falls. It has nothing to do with Baron Mordo or Doctor Strange.
The art and color of Niko Henrichon is still effectively astonishing. This guy has a very unique and beautiful art style that fits Doctor Strange almost perfectly. It's even on par with the great work Chris Bachalo did on the title when Jason Aaron was still writing the title. What the story brings to the table, Henrichon manages to improve beyond what it would otherwise be capable of.
Is this the most brilliant or impressive issue of Doctor Strange? No. As much as a I love much of Dennis Hopeless's work, like Spider Woman, I'm not sure he's presented an issue that is as good as Aaron's Doctor Strange yet. However, this was still a fun read, and it is probably the best of Hopeless's work on the title. This one manages to nail a recommendation. Give it a try.