Written By: Skottie Young
Art By: Humberto Ramos
Colors By: Edgar Delgado
Letters By: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 27, 2021
Strange Academy #7 picks up after the events of last issue with Emily recovering in the infirmary from her ordeal in the swamp and Doyle’s body growing cold a few feet away. What follows is an intense reckoning as Emily comes to terms with her own fallibility and the high cost of mistakes. Dr. Strange and Brother Voodoo have to make their own hard choices to save the students, adding to the cost of past favors in ways that nobody will like.
Was It Good?
Yes. It’s a dramatic, heart-rending character piece centered around Emily. Although not much happens to move the overall series’ plot forward, this quiet moment of pain and loss builds out the characters so much more than a standard action issue.
Short Story Long
We begin with a dreamy flashback with Doyle and Emily trying to kiss for the first time. It doesn’t end well.
Emily wakes up in the Academy’s infirmary, thinking/hoping it was all a dream, but it wasn’t. Her body sustained massive dark magic damage, and Doyle’s flame has gone out, effectively killing him. Emily is distraught over what happened despite Zelma’s best attempts to comfort her.
Flashback to 2 days ago, and we witness a frantic emergency room scenario where the teachers bring in Doyle and Emily’s failing bodies. Dr. Strange chooses to focus his talents on saving Emily with a not-so-subtle hint that Emily is more important to the future threat they’re training to defeat. Brother Voodoo won’t give up without a fight for Doyle and heads off to ask Dormammu’s assistance.
Zelma and Dr. Strange let emotions get the better of them as they argue over the cost of the hard choices Dr. Strange is making. Perhaps he’s making them too quickly.
Dr. Strange discovers Emily’s body is being taken over by dark magic at the cellular level, something he can’t remove without killing her. He decides he has no choice but to take her to Hoggoth. Zelma raises concerns since the group is already in deep debt to Hooggoth and the favor to save Emily may be too much. Strange goes anyway.
Hoggoth agrees to save Emily, agreeing that she’s critical to the battle that’s coming.
Back to now and Emily is till wrestling with hurt and blame over Doyle’s death. Dr. Strange arrives through a portal after helping Brother Voodoo return from the Dark Dimension. They failed to enlist Dormammu’s help to save Doyle. In her grief and anger, Emily dives through the portal to confront Dormammu on her own. She doesn’t get very far in the chaos, and Dr. Strange eventually finds her to bring her home.
Back in the infirmary, Emily says goodbye to Doyle’s body with a kiss on the head. The kiss reignites his flame and he sits up to give her a hug. We end the issue with a closeup of an uncertain look on Emily’s face about what just happened.
Strange Academy #7 is one of those (not so) quiet character studies that adds to a series’ main plot with impactful emotion and outstanding character development. Even though the main plot doesn’t move much, you come away with a deeper connection and appreciation for these characters and what they’re going through, hopefully making the finale that much more meaningful.