REVIEW: The Dust Settles in Strange Academy #7

Spoiler Warning: discussion of major plot points occurs here.

After facing off against a group of evil sorcerers, the students of Strange Academy regroup and Emily pleads for Doctor Strange to do something about Doyle after it appears he’s died in the fight.

Strange Academy #7

Skottie Young (Writer), Humberto Ramos (Artist), Edgar Delgado (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer), Humberto Ramos and Edgar Delgado (Cover Artists)
Marvel Comics
January 27, 2021

strange academy #7

Spoiler Warning: discussion of major plot points occurs here.

Skottie Young has crafted a tightly paced first arc of Strange Academy. That shows particularly here as some plot threads from the previous six issues have been tied together, most notably how the school can exist as it does with seemingly no cost. Humberto Ramos’ art works quite well with Young’s writing to strike a balanced mix of the tragic and horrific, for example when Zelma and Dr. Strange argue over Emily and Zelma’s inability to answer why Doyle can’t be helped.

A highlight to Strange Academy #7 is that little occurs outside the central flashback, thus allowing it to move at a relatively quick pace. The interactions between Zelma and Emily are even stronger in this issue because Zelma has served as a beneficial mentor to Emily and thus trust increases between the two.

The emotional center of Strange Academy #7 lies in Emily facing the prospect of death and grieving as a result. Young and Ramos make it clear this is a tough issue to move through as sadness cascades through the pages. Emily awakening after being saved by Stephen only to suddenly see a sheet draped over Doyle Dormammu is an especially tragic moment in the issue because there is a strong sense of finality to it. Clayton Cowles making “…Doyle?” smaller in comparison to the rest of the dialogue is quite effective.

One area where this issue slips up is that Skottie Young writes Emily as if she is an adult. This is a major contrast to the earlier issues where Emily sounds and talks like a teenager. After Zelma’s attempt at calming her, Emily yells out “So a bunch of kids, all full of themselves, run off thinking we’re invincible and find out pretty quickly that we’re not.” This sounds more like a statement Zelma would make against Stephen rather than something Emily would yell.

Delgado’s coloring has been quite good in the series thus far and manages to step up a level when Dr. Strange visits Hoggoth to try and save Emily from dying as well. The shapeless and flowing atmosphere of Hoggoth’s realm looks both exquisite and crafts a sense of unease due to the lack of solidity. Hoggoth existing solely as a tiger head and flowing all around gives the impression you are both inside of and talking to him face to face.

Issue #7 is a rather strong finish to the first arc of Strange Academy and lays the seeds for the next. Skottie Young is clearly throwing out his best here and mostly sticking the landing in regards to plot development and characterization. Ramos and Delgado show good synchronicity as the pencils and color bolster one another, making Strange Academy #7 fantastic.