Strange Academy’s first issue was a nice surprise with how it introduced Marvel’s version of Hogwarts in such a fun way. Strange Academy #1 especially did a good job in establishing the kids that will be the first group students that Doctor Strange and other magic users are building up this corner of the Marvel Universe that has not been given a big spotlight. The best thing to be said about the first issue was that each of the kids for this school were able to show who they are and why they are part of Strange Academy. With that set-up out of the way Skottie Young and Humberto Ramos can now focus on what life will be like for both the students and staff at Strange Academy. Let’s see what that is all about with Strange Academy #2.
Writer: Skottie Young
Artist: Humberto Ramos
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Emily Bright and the rest of the students of the Strange Academy wake up and get ready for their first day of school. As everyone gets changed and eats breakfast Emily, Shaylee Moonpeddle, and Guslaug walk together to their first class, the History of Mystical Objects, together.
At the History of Mystical Objects class the Ancient One begins by introducing himself to the students and shows off various magic items that he has. The Ancient One decides to start the lesson with focusing on the Lamp of Kolmycan, where one of his favorite Jinn’s (aka genie) resides. The students are immediately afraid of the monstrous genie that appears from the Lamp of Kolmycan. The Ancient One then gives the class a pop quiz: to get the genie back in the Lamp of Komycan without using magic.
As the day goes by the students all attend class taught by Scarlet Witch and Doctor Voodoo. Eventually the students attend Magik and Daimon Hellstrom’s Inferno 101 class, which talks about how Limbo works.
Iric ends up showing up late but quickly tries to talk himself out of getting reprimanded. Magik decides to send Iric to Limbo as punishment. Doyle Dormammu laughs at Iric, which causes him to earn the same punishment from Magik. Magik tells the rest of the class to learn from Iric and Doyle’s mistakes as the person next to them could be the only thing that stands between them and death.
As the student continue their studying and classes, at the library Emily asks Zelma Stanton if the school will ever not feel overwhelming. Zelma says probably not. Emily then wonders how the Strange Academy is even possible given how much freedom everyone has to use magic, wondering if there is a cost to all this. Zelma reassures Emily that the Strange Academy staff have taken care of all the costs.
The lunch bell rings so Emily goes to get some food.
Meanwhile, in Limbo, Doyle and Iric finally begin to work together just so they can survive where they are at and the monsters attacking them.
Back at Strange Academy’s cafeteria Calvin Morse is bullied by some random students.
During eight period Man-Thing’s herbal class Toth has difficulty creating the potion the class has been tasked with so he uses his ice powers to create something different.
After school all the students go back to their dorms. Meanwhile Doctor Voodoo holds a meeting with the Strange Academy staff to talk about who while, outside a few instances, the students did well on their first day but the staff needs to remember to refrain from doing things like Magik pulled in her class.
Zelma brings up how Emily is already questioning the cost of Strange Academy. Doctor Voodoo wonders how Zelma answered the question. Zelma says the staff already took care of the cost but is not comfortable about lying to the students since they are likely to be asked the question again. Rather than talking about it further Doctor Voodoo ends the staff meeting.
At the dorms the students are all hanging out in the common room with Emily having a hard time with figuring out the Eternity Equation.
As all the students talk about how their day went Iric and Doyle are suddenly transported into the dorm from Limbo by Magik, who is off panel. End of issue.
The Good: Building off the foundation created by the first issue Strange Academy #2 does not miss a beat with placing the pillars of this story. That is done successfully by showing us what life as a student at Strange Academy is like. Giving us a day in the life of a student allowed us to get a better idea at the purpose this series is driving towards. In the process we get several sub-plots and character arcs being set-up that will be driving the interest of this series moving forward.
Having Strange Academy #2 based around what the class curriculum is for the students was a smart play. Especially with the unforeseen break after the first issue came out back in March, going with this day in the life of Strange Academy student got you right back into what this series is about. Everything from the characters to the setting just shined with energy. You are left wanting to know more about everything you read and see happen throughout Strange Academy #2.
Showing us the different classes that the students are going to be taking was also important as it gives us a sample of different magic based stories that can be told in future issues. Each class has their own distinct part of the magic world that the students and teachers can have a full adventure in. Even Man-Thing’s herbs and potion class is something that Skottie Young and Humberto Ramos can have a lot of fun in.
That fun is best shown by how each of the students react to the classes they take. Young does a good job capturing the school setting as we have a bunch of different characters that make up the student body. There is going to be something here that will connect the reader to the story. Whether that is remembering how your own first day of school was, being overwhelmed by things you are taught, or simply dealing with the different clicks and bullies you run into. There is something here that taps into the feeling of being in school that adds to the quality of this issue.
Choosing Emily Bright as the student we follow the most is a smart move. Out of all the main cast of students at Emily is the newest to the magic world. She is the eyes and ears of the reader as we are discovering everything that is going on with Strange Academy and the magic corner of the Marvel Universe with her. Overall, Young does a good job making Emily a likable kid that you understand why she is one of the leads of this series as there is a lot of potential for who she can become in the future.
Emily’s wonderment over what she is experiencing at Strange Academy is nicely balanced out with Iric and Doyle Dormammu arrogant way of acting. Unlike Emily, both Iric and Doyle have experience with all things magic. That inherit knowledge makes them act superior to the other students. Which made their punishment at the hands of Magik even more fitting. They got some humble pie in how things won’t be easy. They won’t be able to coast the abilities they already have. What their respective character arcs may be as interesting as others if done right by Young.
The other students that make up the main cast were also given just enough time to continue to develop their different personalities. Not every character got as much screentime as Emily, Iric, or Doyle but Young made sure to continue to sprinkle them all in to remind you of their personalities and background. With such a large cast of students not every character needs to be featured. Young has plenty of versatility when it comes to choosing which characters to feature based on the stories he is telling. Making sure to continue to pick the right characters to feature, as he did in Strange Academy #2, will be key to this series success.
While the students of Strange Academy are a big focus it is good to see that the staff of the school will also be featured. Like with the students, Strange Academy #2 was about setting up the classes that each veteran magic user in the Marvel Universe. Giving us insight into what Doctor Voodoo, Ancient One, Magik, Scarlet Witch, and other magic users will be teaching at Strange Academy helps to give us an idea of how each teacher will be involved.
More importantly, Young set up what will likely be a major story arc in the future as we learn that the cost of having the Strange Academy exist is something these teachers are keeping secret. Doctor Voodoo choosing not to get into the cost that the teachers are taking on makes this already becoming a major sub-plot. How long until we learn what the cost is will likely be a major part of the direction of this series.
Humberto Ramos artwork was another big key to the success of Strange Academy #2. Ramos’ artwork is not always for everyone but Strange Academy is exactly the type of comic book that fits perfectly with his art style. With this series being filled with all different kinds of characters from demons to pixies to regular people Ramos captures how they are all different, both in design and personality. That helps bring you into the world that Ramos along with Young are creating for Strange Academy. There is a feeling that anything can happen, like when Magik teleports Iric and Doyle to Limbo.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Skottie Young and Humberto Ramos delivered a fun and unique reading experience with Strange Academy #2. This series feels different from all other comic books that Marvel is currently publishing. This issue gives us greater insight into what Strange Academy will be about as all of the students and staff are given a chance to shine. With such a strong foundation Strange Academy is a comic book series both Marvel and magic-based storytelling fans can get into right away.
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