Writer: Skottie Young
Art: Humberto Ramos, Edgar Delgado, and VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release Date: March 4th, 2020
Finally, the Marvel Comic Universe has been endowed with its own Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This school not only has some of the best and BRIGHTest studying there BUT it also has the very best mages, magicians, sorcerers, and spell casters in this dimension or plane of existence. From Brother Voodoo to Magik and Scarlet Witch, these guest teachers will guide the next generation while preparing for some daily, albeit crazy, mystical threats creeping on the horizon. Come join Doctor Strange and so many more as Skottie Young kicks off STRANGE ACADEMY #1. By the boisterous beard of Abraham Lincoln, let’s see what this inaugural tale has to offer!
My hope is that this doesn’t sound too critical to Skottie Young BUT I would say the best words that describe this issue are cute, pleasant, and endearing. I’m also sure Marvel, as well as Young, wouldn’t want parallels to be made between Hogwarts and STRANGE ACADEMY but that’s virtually what we are looking at here. Sure, they have their differences but the premise and foundations are the equivalents. Children from all across the realms are welcome in New Orleans for this grand opening of the academy. Each child from every realm seems to bring a different perspective of magic with them which does add that spark of intrigue into the narrative. However, as opening issues go, this was very overwhelming and cumbersome.
The opening of the issue was by far the strongest part of the story. The main character appeared to be this young girl named Emily Bright. This reader found himself locked in with this character while Young created a strong connection with her to the readers. However, that all changed about a third of the way through the issue once Young’s focus went to the Academy and the rapid-fire rundown of every new student, who they are in connection to the Marvel Landscape, and immediate conflicts between the bombardment of characters introduced. My brain simply couldn’t process dozens of names and abilities being thrown at me within 15-20 pages. So, this instantly transported me right out of the story.
Lastly, this reviewer had a hard time placing what age group and demographic this comic should hit. It comes across more like a book for young teens, especially with the ages of the characters, the bickering between the children, and the understanding of it being a school. Additionally, Humberto Ramos’ art flushes out this younger tone that made the issue feel like it was centered around adolescence. However, there were a few minor curse words towards the end of the issue, as well as the quantity and depth associated with the clever connections between the young counterparts to the Marvel heroes and villains, that seemed too much for any young teen to process. Furthermore, teenage Frost Giants, kids of Dormammu, and children from Limbo were just a little too trite and corny for this reader while having Scarlet Witch and the Ancient One teaching children magic. All in all, the story seemed a bit of a stretch.
Readers, there is just way too much going on in this opening installment. I understand the Comics purpose but I can’t put my finger on the target audience for this book. I believe I know where Young is aiming but I think he’s trying to live in two genres which may drag this comic down fast. He needs to plant himself in a more young audience outlook and stick with that tone or go with the more youthful adult perspective. But between trying to find out where this book fits and the overload of cute character interactions as well as introductions, I found myself swimming against the current of this issue. After one issue, there is no reason to throw in the towel. Nonetheless, I hope Young can go back to what worked at the beginning of the issue and focus more on Emily Bright who was the stand out character of this issue.