Doctor Stephen Strange is one of those oddball superheroes that the mainstream moviegoer might not have heard of. Trained as a doctor, and once one of the most skilled surgeons in the world, a car accident stole the steadiness of his hands from him. As he searched for a cure for himself, he met Earth's Sorcerer Supreme and apprenticed under him. Now, a slightly more humble man, he uses his new found skills to aid the Avengers in their mission to protect the Earth.
In Doctor Strange: The Oath, we meet Strange in Night Nurse's waiting room. Someone's shot him, but that's not Strange's biggest worry. His assistant, partner and friend Wong is dying, and even Strange is wondering whether he'll be able to save him.
The story goes backwards and forwards in time, showing the reader his arrogance and disregard for the suffering of those around him, the accident that sent Strange down his new path towards sorcery, and more recent events as he's searched for a cure for Wong.
And Strange is so very close to a cure. The elixir that he traveled to another dimension to find is said to 'erase what troubles the mind of man." But what if this doesn't simply cure Wong's tumor? What if it is the cure for everything?
And what if some people don't want everything cured?
Brian K Vaughan is one of the most popular comic writers in recent years, and with good reason. After wrapping up an amazing run with Y: The Last Man, he started his award-winning series Saga. With The Oath, Vaughan brings his amazing characterization and storytelling to a character who has quite a bit of depth to him. The Oath is a wonderful introduction to a character who is Earth's greatest defender against all that the other dimensions can throw at us.
Highs: Night Nurse deserves her own comic, hands down.
Lows: I'm glad how the story eventually resolved, but I wish Strange would eventually grow out of a bit more of his selfishness.
Verdict: The Oath is a great place for new fans to start, especially those wanting to get a feeling for the character before the movie comes out.