New Avengers Annual #1: Terrific in every sense of the word
The meaning of terrific has changed over time. But in this review of New Avengers Annual #1, a story written by Frank Barbiere and illustrated by Marco Rudy, I'd like to describe it using both existing and archaic definitions of the word.
New Avengers Annual #1 is terrific in a wonderful sense because of its cerebral writing, showing the lengths Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme would go to save the universe. In the main book, the Illuminati-the secret group of every leader of every power sect in the Marvel Universe- is faced with the dilemma of destroying other Earths to prevent their universe from ceasing to exist. The best scientists in the team-Mr. Fantastic, Iron Man, The Beast and Black Panther-have already tried every best possible solution. Dr. Strange, though refuses to surrender as he is the man of all things impossible.
What I love about New Avengers Annual # 1 is not only is it a standalone story, it also adds value to the stories being told in the main book, particularly Doctor Strange's motivations in not only sealing deals with demons, but stealing their power through Blood Magic, a forbidden spell to magic users.
In the story, the good Doctor was summoned to exorcise a parasitic demon from a girl. The writer was also presented a tale from Strange's past that taught him that his aggressiveness could not always save a man's life and that everything comes with a price.
The visuals were also terrific. The lovely watercolor art of Marco Rudy suits the tone and eeriness of the annual. I love that he used circles as panels for the flashback scenes that progressively fade as things start to go bad for Strange.It is also the first time that I saw overlapping images of the demon, and later in the story, Doctor Strange, used to convey dominance and interpret demonic possessions.
New Avengers Annual #1 is likewise terrific in a horrifying sense because we get to see Doctor Strange's path to self-destruction. A minor spoiler in the end of the story-the Eye of Agamotto bleeds, symbolizing or most likely, reflecting Strange's corrupted soul.