Strange Academy has quickly stood out as one of the best comic books in Marvel’s publishing line. This series has breathed new life into the mystical corner of the Marvel Universe. The cast of kids learning from the best magic users in the Marvel Universe has helped give all the mystical elements being explored fresh life. All the kids and teachers have brought something to the table that keeps you engaged. Hopefully that momentum is continued to be the case moving forward. Let’s see with Strange Academy #3.
Writer: Skottie Young
Artist: Humberto Ramos
Colorist: Edgar Degado
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Over at Jackson Square the Ancient One trains a group of students to meditate so they can access the Eye of Agamotto, which Doctor Strange opened limited access to Strange Academy students. All the students do there best but only Emily Bright is able to open her Eye of Agamotto.
The Ancient One guides Emily through the dimension she is seeing with her Eye of Agamotto. He explains to Emily that the creatures she is seeing are interdemystical soul partners who help keep spiritual balance so that they can use magic. Emily touches one of the creatures and is immediately puked on by said creature.
This brings Emily back to the normal reality where she is still covered in what the creature puked on her. The Ancient One dismisses everyone from Parallel Realms Class and gives them a free weekend to enjoy.
As the students head back to their dorms they discuss what they plan to do with the homework-free weekend. Iric convinces a group of them to go into New Orleans to explore.
Later that night, the students walk around New Orleans and talk about the things they want to eat and do. Emily says she wants to go to the museum she just saw. She is joined by Doyle Dormammu, Iric, Zoe Laveau, and Dessy while the others go get some food.
While walking through the museum Iric talks about how all the stuff there was used for torture by a rich old lady. Iric asks Emily if she is interested in this and other magic items before. Emily says she was not as magic and zombies were more her dad’s thing. Emily laughs and says that she never understood the zombie craze.
Dessy notices that Zoe seems off after what Iric said. Zoe says its nothing and that she is just hungry.
As the kids leave the museum the fortune teller tries to grab Emily to do a reading on her. Emily says she’ll do it next time, showing off some of her magic in the process. Doyle says he’ll do a reading and sits down.
The fortune teller puts her hand on Doyle’s chest and shows him a future where Dormammu destroys Strange Academy and fights Doctor Strange and other students. Emily and the others stop the reading when they see that it is hurting Doyle.
Shaylee comes into the museum to tell everyone that Alvi is in trouble.
In an alley Alvi, German, and Calvin are being hounded by some thugs. As the others show up as back-up Alvi tells them not to use their powers. Things escalate when the thugs attack all the students. Emily uses her Eye of Agamotto to cause the thugs to get attacked by interdemystical soul partners and run away.
The students then go back to enjoying the free time they have in the city.
From the shadows two mysterious creatures are shown watching the students. One of them says they look forward to devouring the students. End of issue.
The Good: Strange Academy #3 continued the world and character building that these first few issues have done a great job in executing. Telling a simple story of what the students of the Strange Academy do on a free day gave way for more development for these new characters. That helps build the chemistry between the core cast immensely.
Going with a one-shot storytelling style for these first three issues of Strange Academy is the best possible choice Skottie Young make. By going with this direction Young is able to make sure the focus is on building out the core cast of students to be fully realized characters. Especially with Doctor Strange and the rest of the Strange Academy staff playing a supporting role in this series it is important for to build investment in these students. They are all blank slates that Young is able to mold into individuals who bring something different to the table with all they are experiencing in the Strange Academy.
Most importantly Young is allowing Emily Bright and the other students to be teenagers. That’s normally easier said than done in the world of superheroes that the Marvel Universe exists in. The Strange Academy setting has given these kids a chance to still act like students while interacting in a larger than life setting. In the process Young is able to develop how each of the students interacts in the mystical setting of the Strange Academy.
The opening of Strange Academy #3 is a strong example of that. Learning that Doctor Strange and the rest of the staff have opened the door for limited use of the Eye of Agamotto is a major development. Young properly uses the weight that the Eye of Agamotto has to show how much the students are being taught. The difficulty the students have in accessing the Eye of Agamotto also further establishes how they al have a long way to go.
Which does go to further highlight how Emily Bright seems to be special amongst all the Strange Academy students. As the lead character we are experiencing everything being shown at the Strange Academy each issue of this series has shown us that there is more to Emily than she even knows. Emily being able to open her Eye of Agamotto furthers this fact as after some effort she did this in her first try. And given the control she showed at the end of Strange Academy #3 it’ll be interesting to see how she develops in the future.
Taking the students to spend a night together in New Orleans was a fun way to see how they interact outside the school grounds. Once again Young is able to develop a good chemistry between everyone. What made the museum trip in particular work is that we see how Young can mix things up with different students to highlight in a group. Having that diversity in the cast makes each interaction and adventure the students have with each other feel unique.
In the process Young is able to also develop a few more running sub-plots. The big one revolving around Doyle Dormammu being given a vision of his father destroying Strange Academy was a great hook for a future storyline. It immediately brings to question if Dormammu planted Doyle in Strange Academy to strike against at Doctor Strange and his other foes. Doyle’s reaction was also of note as the vision clearly shook him up. This creates a unique character arc that gets the reader invested in Doyle’s development moving forward.
Another character arc that seems to be key for the future of Strange Academy is Zoe Laveau. Young has been slow playing how there is much more about Zoe and her background that is left to uncover. Strange Academy #3 further hints at that with how Zoe tells Dessy she does not want to talk about why she seemed uncomfortable during the museum tour. Having these type of character focused sub-plots running helps build the long-term future of Strange Academy.
The creatures at the end of Strange Academy #3, who were in Doyle’s vision, was a good way to provide a hook for the final page. We know that there is a reason that Strange Academy’s creation that Doctor Strange and the staff are withholding from the students. These new creatures who are looking to devour the students may play into the things we still don’t know about the true purposes of Strange Academy.
Once again Humberto Ramos provides artwork that completely fits the story that is being told in Strange Academy #3. His over-the-top animated art style is right at home with the world being built in Strange Academy. The characters personalities shine in their character designs and how they interact with each other. That helps to enhance the dialogue, especially as this was another talking heads heavy issue. The moments when he does get to shine with strange creatures or the splash page of Doyle Dormammu’s vision, Ramos knocks it out of the park with his design work.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Strange Academy #3 is yet another example of how this is one of the best comic books Marvel is currently publishing. Skottie Young and Humberto Ramos complement each other’s work to the point they enhance every scene because of that. This all helps make both the characters and world that is being built even more engaging.
To comment on this article and other Comic Book Revolution content visit our Facebook page, Twitter feed and Instagram. You can catch up with all of Kevin’s thoughts about comics, anime, TV shows, movies and more over on Twitter. You can also watch the fun and silly videos Kevin is making over on his TikTok.