Writer: Skottie Young
Artist: Humberto Ramos
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Editor: Nick Lowe
Publisher: Marvel Entertainment
There’s something strange about Strange Academy #1.
It’s a whole lot of fun.
Wait, is that strange? No, that’s exactly how comics should be, and Strange Academy #1 doesn’t disappoint. Strange Academy introduces newcomer Emily Bright — which, for better or worse, immediately conjured a connection to Max Landis’s eponymously magic-themed movie on Netflix — navigating her magical powers that she’s had since birth. After a spell gone wrong, Zelma Stanton appears to whisk Emily away to the Strange Academy for magically gifted youngsters. Along the way, she meets a cast of intriguing new characters with legacy connections that inject some much needed youth into an aging continuity. There’s also a “who’s who” of established Marvel magical mentors who are tasked with instructing this new generation of spell slingers in the various aspects and studies of magic. Ring a bell? Of course it does. Think Harry Potter meets Jason Aaron’s Wolverine and the X-Men and you’ve got the nuts and bolts of Strange Academy. It’s supernatural high school and it sucks you right in.
Written by Skottie Young and visually brought to life by Humberto Ramos, Strange Academy #1 is your standard introductory issue but with enough meat on the bone to make you want Issue #2. Primarily known for his amazingly adorable artistic interpretations of Marvel characters, Young really flexes his writing muscles in Strange Academy. The plot and pace move quickly but never, never feel too fast. The issue gets to the point swiftly while still delivering every bit of information needed to hook you. Young’s dialogue plays to the youthful nature of these characters while still striking a serious tone with the older and more established personalities. Ramos is paired perfectly with Young as they share a similar artistic style. Ramos indulges in the more fantastical elements of the story and blows up the big moments, induces chills with the creepy moments, and invokes wonder with the splashy moments. Ramos really excels in Strange Academy and lends a energetic momentum to the flow of the issue.
On its surface, Strange Academy #1 runs dangerously close to entering knock-off status. It encroaches on it but never crosses the line as Young and Ramos successfully veer it into its own territory and away from just hitting the same beats as other young magical adventure stories. This is the kind of comicbook that’s sure to be a hit with some and completely disregarded by others. Overall, though, Strange Academy is a logical and very enjoyable addition to the magical mythos of the Marvel universe and an important expansion of Doctor Voodoo and Doctor Strange’s world.