Doctor Strange: The Oath Review


Doctor Strange: The Oath is written by Brian K. Vaughan (Runaways, Y: The Last Man) and art done by Marcos Martin (Amazing Spider-Man, Private Eye).
Released in 2007, The Oath is a five-issue miniseries that follows Doctor Strange as he embarks on a mystical journey with Wong and Night Nurse to find a stolen elixir that has the power to erase what the mind can think of before Wong’s condition worsens.
Doctor Strange was created by the late Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and first appeared in Strange Tales #110 published by Marvel Comics in 1963.
Doctor Strange: The Oath beautifully captures the essence of Doctor Strange, filled with mysticism and heart that pays homage to the late Steve Ditko’s work from the Silver Age of comics.
Vaughan writes an excellent, engaging, and fun, mystical journey that puts Doctor Strange on a wild goose chase to save his friend and servant Wong.
Martin’s art also gives the story depth with vibrant colors and details to capture raw character moments. For example, Martin uses thick, dark outlining to illustrate Doctor Strange’s shaky, uncontrollable hands in moments of distress which captures the severity of the situation.
What I love about this book is how you can instantly pick it up without knowing anything about Doctor Strange.
What’s intimidating for newer comic book readers today is how there’s so much history and stories with these classic characters, and no real entry point for people to start. Vaughan manages to find a middle ground between writing a Doctor Strange story for classic fans with references to the world of Doctor Strange sprinkled throughout, and a new story for new fans to enjoy.
What I also love about the book is how simple and unique the story is. It feels like a classic Doctor Strange story that challenges and pushes Strange to his limits without using overly powerful villains in multiversal scaled scenarios.
Throughout Doctor Strange’s publication history, Strange has always been absurdly powerful and fighting powerful enemies like Dormammu and Nightmare. The Oath uses that version of Strange but pairs him with an enemy not on that level of power; rather on a level of intellect. The Oath is also a self-contained story that does a great job at condensing Doctor Strange’s origin into digestible bites for new and classic fans.
The book has a great villain in the form of Nicodemus West. Nicodemus West perfectly fits as a one-time villain and his introduction to the Doctor Strange mythos adds a new layer to Doctor Strange’s origin. Nicodemus West was a surgeon who operated on Strange’s hands after his fatal car accident. Nicodemus felt overwhelmed by the amount of patients dying by his hands; and so, he left to find Strange in Tibet where The Ancient One takes him in without ever telling Strange.
There’s a “Yin-Yang” relationship that Brian creates with Nicodemus and Strange that makes for perfect hero-to-villain interactions.
Both characters have great intentions for using their magic to save others, however, they must come to the realization that science needs to progress naturally without the assistance of magic which humanizes both characters.
Vaughan writes the perfect Doctor Strange story that’s engaging and filled with great moments, mysticism, and heart which captures the essence and character of Doctor Strange.
Aging like fine wine, Doctor Strange: The Oath is a classic Doctor Strange story that revived Doctor Strange’s popularity in Marvel Comics.