Archive for August, 2011

Strange Tales #139: Dr. Strange

August 31, 2011

Stan Lee // Steve Ditko
December 1965
B-story: ****
At chapter ten, the Doctor finally duels the Baron—and it’s not even this arc’s climax! Those limber fingers cast luminescent beams that shatter when penetrated. No surprise, Strange wins the combat by keeping his cool as Mordo puts the rope-a-dope down. Then, zap! Dormammu plays the trump card.
[A-story: Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD]
[last issue: Strange Tales #138]
[next issue: Strange Tales #140]

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Strange Tales #138: Dr. Strange

August 29, 2011

Stan Lee // Steve Ditko
November 1965
B-story: *****
Months before Kirby would pit the FF against Galactus, Ditko introduces his mystic hero to Eternity. The mere concept boggles the mind: a living universe nestled w/in another universe! Debuting in a mighty splash page, this magisterial being tests Strange & denies him the power to defeat his foes.
[A-story: Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD]
[last issue: Strange Tales #137]
[next issue: Strange Tales #139]

Strange Tales #137: Dr. Strange

August 28, 2011

Stan Lee // Steve Ditko
October 1965
B-story: *****
Audaciously, this chapter simply has Dr. Strange sitting at the sickbed of the Ancient One. Yet there is conflict: Ditko’s in his element whenever he depicts a psyche under strain. Strange must probe carefully to overcome the psychedelic snares of his master’s comatose mind to understand “Eternity.”
[A-story: Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD]
[last issue: Strange Tales #136]
[next issue: Strange Tales #138]

Strange Tales #136: Dr. Strange

August 27, 2011

Stan Lee // Steve Ditko
September 1965
B-story: ****
Just one step ahead of Baron Mordo’s global manhunt, Strange finally seems to catch a break. But no: a spell that might explain the mystery of “Eternity” leads instead to a clever demonic sorcerer in a Ditko Dimension. Somehow the dead ends make this arc (seven issues & counting) even more epic!
[A-story: Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD]
[last issue: Strange Tales #135]
[next issue: Strange Tales #137]

Strange Tales #135: Dr. Strange

August 24, 2011

Stan Lee // Steve Ditko
August 1965
B-story: ****
On the foggy isle of England, Strange seeks the secret of “Eternity” but hits a dead-end. But before he’s betrayed by a fellow sorcerer, he discovers Baron Mordo’s alliance w/ Dormammu. It’s kinda slow relative to other chapters in this epic, but the gothic atmo & Ditko action keep it focused.
[A-story: Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD]
[last issue: Strange Tales #134]
[next issue: Strange Tales #136]

Strange Tales #134: Dr. Strange

August 22, 2011

Stan Lee // Steve Ditko
July 1965
B-story: *****
The vile Baron Mordo pursues our hero into the heart of the sun itself, where atoms fuse & astral bodies cannot survive! Meanwhile, the Dark Dimension’s nameless beauty sabotages her master’s plans. The scope of this tale, in length as well as grandeur & creativity, outstrips any contemporary tale.
[A-story: The Human Torch & the Thing]
[last issue: Strange Tales #133]
[next issue: Strange Tales #135]

Strange Tales #133: Dr. Strange

August 20, 2011

Stan Lee // Steve Ditko
June 1965
B-story: *****
The Doc frees a Ditko Dimension from a tyrannical sorceress. This ish may digress from the epic duel btw Strange & his foes, but it’s got fantastic art. Ditko works w/ care, investing each panel w/ drama, from the moody shadows of the Earth-bound scenes to a half-page sequence of pure abstraction!
[A-story: The Human Torch & the Thing]
[last issue: Strange Tales #132]
[next issue: Strange Tales #134]

Strange Tales #132: Dr. Strange

August 19, 2011

Stan Lee // Steve Ditko
May 1965
B-story: *****
This literal B-list story shares the cliffhanging momentum & breathless readability of Marvel’s A-list titles! Part 3 & counting in a mystical battle royale, w/ shocking panels the height of two tiers, a la last year’s Spidey Annual #1—but here, the hero topples under the villain’s mighty blasts!
[A-story: The Human Torch & the Thing]
[last issue: Strange Tales #131]
[next issue: Strange Tales #133]

Strange Tales #131: Dr. Strange

August 18, 2011

Stan Lee // Steve Ditko
April 1965
B-story: *****
The agents of Baron Mordo comb through the dives & stake out the docks of exotic Hong Kong on the hunt for the Doc! The mage fights with his knuckles as well as his spells, eluding the hunters. Best of all: passengers aboard a departing plane unaware of the astral wrestling match all around them!
[A-story: The Human Torch & the Thing]
[last issue: Strange Tales #130]
[next issue: Strange Tales #132]

Strange Tales #130: Dr. Strange

August 15, 2011

Stan Lee // Steve Ditko
March 1965
B-story: *****
The mighty mage takes the cover! Baron Mordo, backed by the dark god Dormammu, storms the stronghold of the Ancient One. He’s got Strange on the ropes for ten pages, but neither he nor his henchmen can lend the KO. Ditko does some of his best work so far, w/ dynamic fight sequences on Asian streets.
[A-story: The Human Torch & the Thing]
[last issue: Strange Tales #129]
[next issue: Strange Tales #131]

Strange Tales #129: Dr. Strange

August 11, 2011

Don Rico // Steve Ditko
February 1965
B-story: ****
Why is Strange the B-story? It’s manifestly superior to the Torch/Thing team-up! Even a relative dud like #129 (another duel w/ a despot in a weird dimension) has dynamic, surreal backdrops & snazzy outfits! Rico’s script, kinda leaden, cautions against civ’s decline, while Ditko sneers at the MSM.
[A-story: The Human Torch & the Thing]
[last issue: Strange Tales #128]
[next issue: Strange Tales #130]

Strange Tales #128: Dr. Strange

August 10, 2011

Stan Lee // Steve Ditko
January 1965
B-story: ****
Strange’s victory last ish earned him new baubles: a cloak of levitation & a new amulet. He uses them to easily dispatch a Silver Age sorcerer. This poor dude in harem pants & a pointy beard—he’s just really outclassed! Ditko’s in top form: one panel simply shows the collision of ectoplasmic energies.
[A-story: The Human Torch & the Thing]
[last issue: Strange Tales #127]
[next issue: Strange Tales #129]

Strange Tales #127: Dr. Strange

August 9, 2011

Stan Lee // Steve Ditko
December 1964
B-story: *****
A complex climax to Strange’s first two-part tale: a duel w/ the dark god Dormammu. Victory will save Earth but damn the Dark Dimension to the ravages of cloddish, cycloptic golems—the Mindless Ones! Dormy may be a tyrant but he’s bound by duty. So when Strange assists him, he’s in the Doc’s debt.
[A-story: The Human Torch & the Thing]
[last issue: Strange Tales #126]
[next issue: Strange Tales #128]

Strange Tales #126: Dr. Strange

August 8, 2011

Stan Lee // Steve Ditko
November 1964
B-story: *****
Peek beyond reality into a Ditko Dimension, where perspectives shift & ribbons of color act as 2-D doorways into pockets of space. Strange faces Dormammu, the god so often invoked by Strange’s spells, whose head is hidden by smoke & flame! Following his progress: a lass w/ kinky white locks.
[A-story: The Human Torch & the Thing]
[last issue: Strange Tales #125]
[next issue: Strange Tales #127]

Strange Tales #125: Dr. Strange

August 6, 2011

Stan Lee // Steve Ditko
October 1964
B-story: ****
Ditko stages an esp. intense battle royale btw Strange & his archenemy Mordo. The foes rain columns of inky smoke & balls of brilliant light upon each other, their astral bodies towering over cities like titans at play. Lee’s near-Seussian magic jargon has an internal logic & vital exuberance.
[A-story: The Human Torch & the Thing]
[last issue: Strange Tales #124]
[next issue: Strange Tales #126]

Strange Tales #124: Dr. Strange

August 3, 2011

Stan Lee // Steve Ditko
September 1964
B-story: ***
The Doc hurls his astral body back thru time to duel an Egyptian sorcerer, tho’ his exhaustion nearly traps him in limbo. Ditko vamps his way thru a thin plot, leaving Stan’s snazzy verbiage to energize the tale. A high point has Strange’s mentor, the Ancient One, mourning his pupil’s seeming death.
[A-story: The Human Torch & the Thing]
[last issue: Strange Tales #123]
[next issue: Strange Tales #125]