Avengers #1 Shows a Compassionate Side to Tony Stark

After the premature demise of Doctor Strange, Marvel's magically-challenged champions have to take on unforeseen threats. In Death of Doctor Strange: Avengers #1 by Alex Paknadel and Ryan Bodenheim, Earth's Mightiest Heroes lick their wounds after being destroyed by Doctor Strange's newest villains. With the team in desperate need of a victory, they investigate a disturbance at the Nexus of All Realities. While there, the Avengers realize that in order to save the day against an unstoppable threat, they'll have to rethink their approach to heroics.

Death of Doctor Strange: Avengers #1 opens with a flashback to the first meeting of the Illuminati. As Iron Man and Doctor Strange await the arrival of Black Panther, the two discuss the strange allure of apotropaic objects. As Strange points out that Iron Man's masked visage is emblematic of these objects, the story cuts to the present day, showcasing a grief-stricken Tony Stark. He collects himself and joins the Avengers on a mission where they discover they'll have to fight a war on two fronts. As Thor, Captain America, and Captain Marvel race to Miami to stop an army of Juggernauts, Tony stays behind to defuse a nuclear bomb. But, as the bomb's timer approaches zero, an unexpected complication arises.

RELATED: Thor Confirms Doctor Strange Could've Stopped Marvel's War of the Realms

Death of Doctor Strange: Avengers #1's opening conversation between Iron Man and Doctor Strange examines the distinct dichotomy of their relationship. Tony doesn't trust Doctor Strange because he doesn't like the idea of the unexplainable, so Paknadel pushes Iron Man into multiple uncomfortable situations. Reflecting the plot of the issue through the arc of its lead character is a tricky task, but Paknadel pulls it off beautifully.

Bodenheim depicts Iron Man on a trip to the home realm of Juggernaut's god Cyttorak. Bodenheim's design of the Crimson Cosmos feels foreign and unsafe, with vast stretches of nothingness, dangerous asteroids, and a menacing spire that pierces the heavens. This world-building is one of the highlights of the issue. Bodenheim's surreal approach to traveling through dimensions emulates the foundational Doctor Strange work of Steve Dikto. Rachelle Rosenberg's colors enhance the illusion with deep shades of red, violet, and crimson that cast the iron-clad Avenger in unnatural hues and contrasts beautifully with the adventures of Earth's remaining Mightiest Heroes.

RELATED: Doctor Strange's Death Sent an Avengers Villain to Marvel's Weirdest World

Death of Doctor Strange: Avengers #1 subverts expectations. While it has become standard fare to see Thor smash somebody with Mjolnir, it is much less common to see an act of compassion be the key to victory. Tony's sacrifice in the final pages of the issue not only completes his character arc but provides the Avengers with an important warning: not all heroics end in destruction.

Death of Doctor Strange: Avengers #1 is an exceptional tie-in to Marvel's current mystical caper. By taking the premiere superhero team out of their element and forcing them to approach their latest challenge with an emphasis on heroics, the issue serves as a reminder of these characters' good natures. While it remains to be seen who will become the next Sorcerer Supreme, Death of Doctor Strange: Avengers #1 shows that Paknadel, Bodenheim, Rosenberg, and the entire creative team are all masters of the Dark Art of quality comics.

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About The Author
Henry Varona (238 Articles Published)

Henry Varona is a writer and comic book connoisseur who never seems to take himself too seriously. He has worked with Midtown Comics, Multiversity, and ScreenRant. Along the way, he has collaborated with some of the biggest names from comics and film, but has never forgotten what truly makes entertainment special - the fans. He's passionate about wrestling, comics, action figures, and pineapple pizza. You can find him on Twitter at @HAVcomics.

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