Review – The Best Defense: Doctor Strange #1 (Marvel Comics)

The Best Defense: Doctor Strange #1
  • Writing - 7/10
  • Art - 9.5/10
  • Overall - 8.3/10
User Review
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Writer: Gerry Dugan
Artist: Greg Smallwood
Letterer: Cory Petit
Maturity Rating: Teen
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: December 12, 2018

Dormammu rules the world with only one hero left to defend it: Dr. Strange. He is old, withered, and tired, but he still has one trick up his sleeve!



“Know Your Enemy” The Best Defense: Doctor Strange #1

Dormammu has just about successfully taken over the Marvel Universe; all of our heroes are dead. Well, except for the Sorcerer Supreme. He is now old and frail, withered to the bone; he does not have much to offer in a fight against the threat of Dormammu. Steven Strange is resourceful, though, and he has one more trick up his sleeve—or should I say bag. Part 3 (of 4) of The Best Defense to launch into The Defenders #1 is here in The Best Defense: Doctor Strange #1.


The Best Defense: Doctor Strange #1 (Marvel Comics) main cover by Ron Garney
Main cover by Ron Garney

I did not know what I was getting into with The Best Defense: Doctor Strange #1 (part 3). I knew last week Marvel had published The Best Defense: Namor and The Hulk and that those were gearing up to get the original Defenders back together soon. But I did not read either of those issues. Really, I only picked this up for the Greg Smallwood art, which we will get to in a minute. Luckily Gerry Duggan wrote this issue and even without reading the other titles it was easy to enjoy The Best Defense: Doctor Strange #1.

The basic plot, without spoiling anything, is far-off-future Dormammu has basically destroyed everything and old Steven Strange has one last plan to stop this from happening. That is the basic setup of the story. Gerry Duggan keeps it pretty nice and simple. I like his writing of this older Dr. Strange. He has a nice wit and bite to his dialogue.

The story is pretty straightforward and mainly sets up the new The Defenders series that is about to launch. There is a good middle scene that is very intriguing that added some mystery to the story. Who knows if it will have anything to do with the bigger picture of The Defenders later on or not? It is not the greatest story ever told, but it was enjoyable.


As noted previously, I picked up The Best Defense: Doctor Strange #1 just because I saw Greg Smallwood on art. I mainly see him doing covers here lately; the last time I saw his sequential work was in Vampironica #3 about 3 months ago. Smallwood is, again, one of those creators who, if I see his name, I am checking the book out. Smallwood has one of those unique eye-catching styles. His bold, thick lines coupled with chalky-like colors make for some beautiful visuals. His characters are simple yet detailed; he hits that fine line of being very detailed yet minimalistic at the same time. I love just looking at his art.

Smallwood also plays with panel structure a lot. He has been doing a lot of work not using borders for his panels but instead, you can see the whiteness of the page where the border should be. It creates an interesting visual. In The Best Defense: Doctor Strange #1 he uses mainly three and four horizontal panels to tell the story, with a few full-page spreads thrown in and also one beautiful two-page spread that is a great homage to the legend Steve Ditko

He uses the three and four-panel grid so skillfully to help weave the story in this issue. He builds tensions, moves the action along and sets everything up masterfully. It is some very beautiful storytelling from a fantastic artist.


Not having read the other The Best Defense titles I am not exactly sure how this fits in. But you can pick up The Best Defense: Doctor Strange #1 (part 3) and enjoy the story without having any previous knowledge of the other titles or what is happening in the ongoing Doctor Strange series. That is a great credit to Gerry Duggan; he tells a complete story while setting up the new The Defenders series. The art from Greg Smallwood is more than worth the price of admission. As always, he delivers some superb visuals that are stunning to look at.

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About the author

Brent Jackson

Brent is happily married and an avid comic book consumer who loves nothing more than the smell of comics in the morning and diving through a long box of back issues. By day he is a nutritionist and has also been training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for over 10 years. He is probably not the coolest person you have ever met. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @brentjackson30

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