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Marvel brings all its magical characters together for the first time in Strange Academy: First Class. The world has mysteriously changed in such an alarming way that Doctor Strange has finally done what he has avoided for decades – established an academy for the Mystic Arts! Young people from around the world with an aptitude for magic are brought together in New Orleans to study under Stephen Strange, Brother Voodoo, the Ancient One, the Scarlet Witch, Magik, Daimon Hellstrom and other fan-favourite Marvel mages. But with so many new and deadly magical menaces lurking out there, is the Academy too little too late?!


Initially focused on Midwestern girl Emily Bright, approached after she displays her powers with unstable effect, the series opens into a full-blown ensemble when she relocates to New Orleans to attend the Strange Academy. As the cast of fellow students is summarily introduced, the new characters quickly blend with many familiar supernatural figures within the Marvel Universe, who are assisting Strange as instructors at his new school. Meanwhile, many classic, magical settings are invoked as the issue progresses and the dynamic between the respective students is established.


Skottie Young has delivered such a slam-dunk premise for this new series, appealing to both younger and established readers alike, it's kind of surprising it hasn't really been done before. Just as Strange is enlisting students from all over the universe, Young is similarly taking inspiration and cues from Marvel's various, rich magical settings to craft his own story. He's not beholden to the worlds and their respective mythos, but using them to weave together his own freewheeling creative tapestry. On paper, this is a similar setup to Jason Aaron's beloved Wolverine and the X-Men series that saw the next generation of mutants trained by established X-Men, but Young and Ramos make this new series their own unique book that just happens to star a young cast of students joining a fantastical school.


Humberto Ramos' signature style works wonders here, with Ramos joined by colorist Edgar Delgado. There's always been a sense of dynamism in Ramos' work and he's always been especially strong working with younger characters, notably as the co-creator of DC Comics' Impulse. And having previously worked with Aaron during the writer's tenure on the main Doctor Strange comic-book series, Ramos is no stranger to bringing magical worlds to kinetic life. However, his work here is more inviting and warm than the sinister psychedelics of his and Aaron's previous work. This is apparent in the issue's quieter moments as the characters are introduced and settle in, but is really spotlighted by the supernatural action that faces the characters from the jump. Ramos' designs for the son of Dormammu attending the academy, along with Young's characterization, are sure to make him a fan-favorite breakout.


We are only in the first issue but Skottie Young does an excellent job of introducing us to this new section of the magical world. Young is awesome at telling fun and fairly outrageous stories and Strange Academy is no exception. The class we are introduced to has a diverse lineup of students and they are all fleshed out pretty well. So, we have a pretty damn good cast of characters on that front.


What I’m more interested in seeing down the line is more from the teachers. We are only briefly introduced to some of the magical instructors but there is definitely room for some drama with characters like Magik and (as the X-Men like to call her) the pretender, Scarlet Witch working together.

This series really does have the perfect pairing. Skottie Young’s script is imaginative and so enjoyable. Paired with Humberto Ramos’ cartoon-style artwork and you definitely have a book that’s off to the right start. Ramos’ past work on books like New X-Men, Runaways, and Champions are shining examples of how well he draws books with younger heroes at the forefront. His exaggerated style lends itself well to the seemingly impossible things the characters will do and see as the series progresses. Strange Academy definitely executes its opening issue well and with all the inexperienced magical students roaming around, there is bound to be delightfully messy catastrophe ahead.


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Strange Academy 1 Skottie Young & Hamberto Ramos' 1 Print CGC 9.4 Graded

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