Strange Academy is a series that I’ve been a big fan of since it started. Its been a refreshing take on the magic corner of the Marvel Universe as Doctor Strange and other veteran magic users created a school to teach young students how to use magic. Now after a long delay since our last issue of Strange Academy we are finally getting a new issue. Based on the solicitation it does look as though Strange Academy #18 will be the final issue of this series. If that is the case will Strange Academy end on a high note? Let’s find out with Strange Academy #18
Writer: Skottie Young
Artist: Humberto Ramos
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
At Strange Academy, Doctor Voodoo and the staff discuss how they should go about finding the students that walked out in protest.
At the Sanctum Sanctorum in New Orleans, the protesting students are using the house to hide out. As they eat some pizza the students all start questioning Emily Bright about what their goals for this walkout protest are. Emily quickly grows frustrated and summons fire magic.
As she does this Emily’s connection to Doyle Dormammu has them both know what they are each thinking. Doyle excuses himself from class as he is still at Strange Academy.
Doyle visits Ms. Hazel at Crossroads to help him access the vision of the future he has been having. When Doyle sees the vision he understands that it wasn’t his dark future but of Emily.
Doyle, worried that the ring he gave Emily is causing dark magic to consume her, calls Doctor Voodoo to let him know what is going on and where Emily and the other protesting students are.
Doctor Voodoo and Zelma enter Sanctum Sanctorum with several Mindless Ones as back-up. Emily completely unleashes all her frustration over the Strange Academy staff. Zelma counters by asking Emily if she told the other students about the ring Doyle gave her.
Hearing this Emily immediately uses a spell to create creatures to attack Zelma and Doctor Voodoo while restraining her friends. When the Mindless Ones try to capture Emily she counters by taking control of them and turning them on Zelma and Doctor Voodoo.
Now in control, Emily opens up a portal to the Dark Dimension. End of series.
Strange Academy #18 isn’t necessarily the end you would expect from the final issue of a series. This issue very much is not only a continuation of what Skottie Young and Humberto Ramos have accomplished with this series but building toward the future.
Going the route of not resolving the protest Emily Bright led by giving us a happy ending was honestly a pleasant surprise. This made it so Young and Ramos could focus in on telling the narrative they have been aiming to tell with Strange Academy without rushing to wrap everything up. Leading to an open-ended conclusion to this volume of Strange Academy allowed different characters’ arcs to develop at a natural pace.
That is something we see in particular with how Emily and Doyle Dormammu arcs go. These two have been two of the major characters of this series with their relationship heavily spotlighted in the second half of Strange Academy. Their bond is the main driving force of Strange Academy #18 making Emily and Doyle’s connected arcs even more compelling.
Going back to the dark future vision that Doyle has been having and realizing it wasn’t foretelling his future but rather that of Emily was a great twist. It all works in the context of how things have been developing in recent issues of Strange Academy with where Emily’s character has been going. The gift meant to symbolize their relationship ultimately being what leads Emily to be fast-tracked to being consumed by dark magic was well handled. Doyle’s reaction to it all is what really made it work as it gave the second half of Strange Academy #18 a great sense of urgency.
Emily falling to dark magic showcased the dangers that come with what Doctor Strange, Doctor Voodoo, Zelma Stanton, and the rest of the staff of Strange Academy were aiming to do. Especially with how they’ve been even more secretive as of late they did themselves no favors in ensuring the students’ trust and safety. In the process, with Emily’s turn to the dark side we see how the Strange Academy teacher’s guidance was not perfect.
The ending of Strange Academy #18, along with the letter to fans by Assistant Editor Kaeden McGahey, sets up an even bigger story to look forward to. Now the students and staff of Strange Academy will be challenged like they haven’t been before. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait too long for this story to be followed up on as there is a lot of potential with exploring the Dark Dimension, possibly even tying into what is going on with Clea Strange since she is the Sorcerer Supreme of the Dark Dimension.
Humberto Ramos’s artwork continued to be the highlight of this series in its final issue. Ramos’s artwork taps into all the imagination that comes with a story based around the magical realm. The way different locations within the Sanctum Sanctorum look are incredible. And when characters start using magic you get a strong sense of how powerful they are when going all out, especially when Emily takes on Doctor Voodoo and Zelma Stanton. This is definitely some of Ramos’s best artwork to date.
Strange Academy #18 isn’t the typical final issue of a series. Rather than wrapping up the overarching narrative of this series Strange Academy #18 sets up an even bigger future for the magical corner of the Marvel Universe. That twist creates excitement for how Marvel plans on picking up from the promising ending of Strange Academy. If for some reason you did not read Strange Academy I highly recommend picking up this series in trade format. Its such a fun series that Marvel fans should not miss out on.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10