Archive for the ‘Dr. Strange’ Category

Dr. Strange: The Oath #5 of 5

July 23, 2015

Dr. Strange The Oath 5 of 5Brian K. Vaughan // Marcos Martin
April 2007
****

Only one drop left of panacea, so only Wong gets cured & not the world. Unlike Whedon & Bendis (other major writers of Marvel’s ’00s style) BKV gets comics structure; but here he leans hard on melodrama & sentiment. And no resolution with the anti-magic pharma corp’s board either? Ah well.

last issue: Dr. Strange: The Oath #4 of 5

also indexed for Apr. ’07
Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus #1 of 2
Daredevil #94
The Immortal Iron Fist #4
Thunderbolts #111

Dr. Strange: The Oath #4 of 5

July 22, 2015

Dr. Strange The Oath 4 of 5Brian K. Vaughan // Marcos Martin
March 2007
*****

This mini should earn the creative team an ongoing! #4 alone has Doc S killing an eldritch beast w/ Hitler’s suicide pistol! Cast includes a nurse from a 1970s romance mag & a doc whose sorcery couldn’t cure his patients. The last addresses a good Q: why hadn’t our hero applied mystic arts to medicine?

last issue: Dr. Strange: The Oath #3 of 5
next issue: Dr. Strange: The Oath #5 of 5

also indexed for Mar. ’07
Annihilation #6 of 6
Daredevil #93
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #12
Thunderbolts #110

Dr. Strange: The Oath #3 of 5

July 21, 2015

Dr. Strange The Oath 3 of 5Brian K. Vaughan // Marcos Martin
February 2007
*****

Dr S dives into a merc’s psyche to learn his boss’s ID. The man behind the murders & theft of a cancer cure isn’t just a super-baddie, he’s another mystic medic—backed by a pharma conspiracy! Let’s take a sec to applaud Martin, a tyro who channels Ditko’s nervous lines & angles into a mod idiom.

last issue: Dr. Strange: The Oath #2 of 5
next issue: Dr. Strange: The Oath #4 of 5

also indexed for Feb. ’07
Annihilation #5 of 6
Astonishing X-Men #20
Daredevil #92
The Immortal Iron Fist #3
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #11
Runaways #23

Dr. Strange: The Oath #2 of 5

July 20, 2015

Dr. Strange The Oath 2 of 5Brian K. Vaughan // Marcos Martin
January 2007
*****

Vaughan , a talent in the Whedon/Bendis mold, shows the latter influence in this unexpected comic. It’s a mystic detective mini, with cartoon-cool art (part of the growing School of Mazz), as the Doc, his man Friday, & GP Night Nurse head into the NY night for mysticism, medicine, & murder!

last issue: Dr. Strange: The Oath #1 of 5
next issue: Dr. Strange: The Oath #3 of 5

also indexed for Jan. ’07
Annihilation #4 of 6
Astonishing X-Men #19
Civil War #7 of 7
Daredevil #91
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #10
Runaways #22

Dr. Strange: The Oath #1 of 5

July 19, 2015

Dr. Strange The Oath 1 of 5Brian K. Vaughan // Marcos Martin
December 2006
*****

“Oath” cleverly refers not to a hoary host but to Hippocrates. It’s how Vaughan grounds his mini in the Doc’s medical past. He also builds the conflict around servant Wong’s inoperable cancer, & even casts Night Nurse (romance heroine/vigilante medic). Martin echoes Dragotta’s recent Doc work.

next issue: Dr. Strange: The Oath #2 of 5

also indexed for Dec. ’06
Annihilation #3 of 6
Astonishing X-Men #18
Civil War #6 of 7
Daredevil #90
The Immortal Iron Fist #2
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #9
Runaways #21

X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #5 of 5

April 22, 2015

Dead Girl 5 of 5Peter Milligan // Nick Dragotta & Mike Allred
July 2006
****

A charming conclusion to the X-Statix title, lacking teeth but giving the protags closure (except Doop!). It also reveals a love for Ditko, slipping several of his characters in. Allred pencils the hell out of them, esp. Dr. Strange in a fabulous duel of magic with his late mentor.

last issue: X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #4 of 5

also indexed for Jul. ’06
Annihilation: Nova #2 of 4
Annihilation: Ronan #2 of 4
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #2 of 4
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #2 of 4
Civil War #1 of 7
Daredevil #85
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #5

X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #4 of 5

April 21, 2015

Dead Girl 4 of 5Peter Milligan // Nick Dragotta & Mike Allred
June 2006
***

Dr. Strange & Dead Girl carry a nice flirtation on as they lead a team of dead superheroes into hell. It contrasts well with the too-wimpy Mr. Sensitive getting on U-Go Girl’s nerves. Moments like these show Milligan’s fondness for his characters as he gives them a real ending instead of satire.

last issue: X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #3 of 5
next issue: X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #5 of 5

also indexed for Jun. ’06
Annihilation: Nova #1 of 4
Annihilation: Ronan #1 of 4
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #1 of 4
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #1 of 4
Astonishing X-Men #14
Daredevil #84
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #4

X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #3 of 5

April 20, 2015

Dead Girl 3 of 5Peter Milligan // Nick Dragotta & Mike Allred
May 2006
****

Hard to say why Dead Girl’s in the title—it’s more like “The X-Statix reunion tour featuring Dr. Strange”. Romance buds in the nether realms, as 1940s heroine Miss America gets over her racial prejudices with Tike Alicar. Also cleverly, some of Marvel’s late women are happiest in a man-free heaven!

last issue: X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #2 of 5
next issue: X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #4 of 5

also indexed for May ’06
Annihilation: Prologue #1 of 1
Daredevil #83
Iron Man #6
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #3
The Pulse #14
Young Avengers #11

X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #2 of 5

April 19, 2015

Dead Girl 2 of 5Peter Milligan // Nick Dragotta & Mike Allred
April 2006
****

First the late Dead Girl visits the mortal plane by possessing a host made of deli meat; then she takes Dr. Strange to heaven to recruit a team that will, in turn, storm hell. The cosmology is full of unhinged dead characters & surreal deep-focus perspectives on all three planes of existence.

last issue: X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #1 of 5
next issue: X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #3 of 5

also indexed for Apr. ’06
Daredevil #82
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #2

X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #1 of 5

April 18, 2015

Dead Girl 1 of 5Peter Milligan // Nick Dragotta & Mike Allred
March 2006
****

Readers hoping for a real end to X-Statix get wrongfooted by Milligan with #1 of this mini. Dead Girl only cameos, with Dr. Strange getting the focus. Ditko’s mage visits a shrink for depression before attending to an undead invasion. Note: Allred ghosts over rookie Dragotta’s breakdowns?

continued from X-Statix #26
next issue: X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #2 of 5

also indexed for Mar. ’06
Daredevil #81
Iron Man #5
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #1
The Pulse #13
Young Avengers #10

X-Statix #26

April 17, 2015

X-Statix 26Peter Milligan // Mike Allred
October 2004
***

A fairly blatant ripoff of Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, as the team gets KIA with Mr. S & Tike A. gunned down in a suicide charge. It would’ve worked better if they hadn’t held each other at arm’s length since the retitling. Or if the run’s last two years had been compressed into one. Ah well.

last issue: X-Statix #25
continued in X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #1 of 5

also indexed for Oct. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #4
Daredevil #63
Fantastic Four #517
Secret War #3 of 5

The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1

March 6, 2015

Sentry-Void 1 of 1Paul Jenkins // Jae Lee
February 2001
****

No surprise that the Void is the Sentry’s negative aspect, since it’s been a metaphor for depression all along. But his hook—erasure from continuity—is a fruitful & unique experiment for Marvel, albeit one better off left to stand alone (one more fault in Bendis’ awful, epic Avengers run).

continued from The Sentry #5 of 5
continued from The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
continued from The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
continued from The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
continued from The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

also indexed for Feb. ’01
Avengers #37
The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1

March 2, 2015

Sentry-Fantastic Four 1 of 1Paul Jenkins // Phil Winslade
February 2001
***

Though Jenkins cleverly presents this as a “lost” issue of Startling Tales, the device is undercut by a flashback frame & fairly conventional super-comics art (albeit w/ a touch of period Neal Adams). The bigger problem is, it tells us nothing new about the friendship btw the Sentry & Mr. F.

continued from The Sentry #5 of 5
continued in The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
see also The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

also indexed for Feb. ’01
Avengers #37
The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
The Sentry/The Void #1 of 1
The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1

The Sentry #5 of 5

March 1, 2015

Sentry 5 of 5Paul Jenkins // Jae Lee
January 2001
*****

The retcon acts as an ingenious device in this mini by casting an (ostensibly) unfilled role in Marvel’s Silver Age. The respect the Sentry’s accorded by other superheroes—incl. Mr. F, his unlikely Judas—and the world sell the story, maybe making it the best Superman arc since A. Moore’s Supreme.

continued in The Sentry/Fantastic Four #1 of 1
continued in The Sentry/Hulk #1 of 1
continued in The Sentry/Spider-Man #1 of 1
continued in The Sentry/X-Men #1 of 1
last issue: The Sentry #4 of 5

also indexed for Jan. ’01
Avengers #36
Maximum Security #3 of 3

The Sentry #4 of 5

February 28, 2015

Sentry 4 of 5Paul Jenkins // Jae Lee
December 2000
****

Core Marvel heroes recall the Sentry, whose previous face-off w/ his (literal?) nemesis the Void ended in self-exile & a rewrite of reality. This mini maintains its weird sensibility partly thru a pacing akin to Grant Morrison’s: scenes begin in medias res w/ no exposition to orient the reader.

last issue: The Sentry #3 of 5
next issue: The Sentry #5 of 5

also indexed for Dec. ’00
Avengers #35
Maximum Security #2 of 3

The Sentry #3 of 5

February 27, 2015

Sentry 3 of 5Paul Jenkins // Jae Lee
November 2000
*****

None of Marvel’s original heroes recognize this Superman riff except the Hulk (a tender, lovely scene). Yet the Sentry’s okay with this—preternaturally so, which gives his tale a dreamlike tone. Lee’s art furthers that eerie atmosphere with splattery backgrounds & great use of silhouettes & shadows.

last issue: The Sentry #2 of 5
next issue: The Sentry #4 of 5

also indexed for Nov. ’00
Avengers #34
Maximum Security #1 of 3
Thunderbolts #44

Fantastic Four #500

December 9, 2014

Fantastic Four 500Mark Waid // Mike Wieringo
September 2003
*****

An extra-long ish, given a false sheen by ‘unbooting’ the issue #. Tutored by Dr S, Mr F outwits Dr D by learning humility. He admits magic is beyond him & that he’s outclassed by both men, whereas Doom disrespects his demonic allies & gets dragged to hell! It’s an intense take on Doom that eschews nuance—he muses whose skin to wear on his mystic armor—that plays off the cartoon art.

last issue: Fantastic Four #70
next issue: Fantastic Four #501

also indexed for Sept. ’03
Alias #24
Daredevil #49
JLA/Avengers #1 of 4
New X-Men #144

Fantastic Four #69

December 7, 2014

Fantastic Four 2.69Mark Waid // Mike Wieringo
July 2003
****

Indebted to Claremont’s X-style (& much stronger than CC’s recent FF), Waid sends his science-heroes crashing to the ground, outclassed by Doc Doom’s sorcery. Ben argues that magic makes Reed feel inferior—a nice insight in a strong scene. But mostly, #69 give the adventure a real sense of stakes.

last issue: Fantastic Four #68
next issue: Fantastic Four #70

also indexed for Jul. ’03
Alias #22
Daredevil #47
New X-Men #141

Daredevil #65

October 1, 2014

Daredevil 065Brian Michael Bendis // Michael Golden, Greg Horn, P. Craig Russell, Phil Hester, Chris Bachalo, and Alex Maleev
late November 2004
**

It’s meant to celebrate the titular hero’s 40th anniversary (& the creative team’s 3-year mark), but #65 reads like a fill-in. For one thing, Maleev’s only contribution is the final episode, a **** scene that sets up the K’pin’s predecessor, now free from Rikers. For another, the rest of the ish adds & revises prior scenes in this run w/o adding to them, & tosses in a few context-free pin-ups.

last issue: Daredevil #64
next issue: Daredevil #66

also indexed for Nov. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #5
Daredevil #64
The Pulse #5

Daredevil #56

September 22, 2014

Daredevil 056Brian Michael Bendis // Alex Maleev
March 2004
*****

Interlude over; a year has passed. DD has cleaned Hell’s Kitchen & NYC of crime—at the expense of other boroughs, notes Luke Cage in a cunning dialectic on the run’s theme of urban vigilantism. It also echoes the city’s real disputes over gentrification & crime rates during Bloomberg’s mayorality.

last issue: Daredevil #55
next issue: Daredevil #57

also indexed for Mar. ’04
New X-Men #151
New X-Men #152

Daredevil #39

September 5, 2014

Daredevil 039Brian Michael Bendis // Manuel Gutierrez
January 2003
****

TV’s influence on Bendis has never been more obvious. #39 is a courtroom drama—w/ guest stars, witness-stand confessionals, a prosecutor out for blood, & preposterous legalities—but it’s executed superbly. Gutierrez’s style & colorful tone makes this ish a precurser to Waid’s run w/ Samnee et al.

last issue: Daredevil #38
next issue: Daredevil #40

also indexed for Jan. ’03
Alias #16
New X-Men #134

Daredevil #8

August 11, 2014

Daredevil 008Kevin Smith // Joe Quesada
June 1999
*****

Having revitalized DD by resetting it to the Born Again era, Smith writes a lovely denouement. His arc’s main defect has been its high body count; he counters the ’90s machismo w/ honest emotion. There’s a lovely confession/absolution from Spidey, & Black Widow calls Matt out on his misogyny.

last issue: Daredevil #7
next issue: Daredevil #9

also indexed for Jun. ’99
Avengers #17
Avengers Forever #7 of 12
Thunderbolts #27

Daredevil #5

August 8, 2014

Daredevil 005Kevin Smith // Joe Quesada
March 1999
*****

Quesada turns out top-notch work, edging pages w/ nouveau-celtic designs & staging a classic DD/Bullseye match. Great script too, as Doc Strange summons the Marvel U’s devil for info on the false infant-messiah. A great issue, marred only by Smith’s “fridging” of longtime cast-member Karen Page.

last issue: Daredevil #4
next issue: Daredevil #6

also indexed for Mar. ’99
Avengers #14
Avengers Forever #4 of 12
Thunderbolts #24

The Thanos Imperative #2 of 6

June 1, 2014

Thanos Imperative 2 of 6Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Miguel Sepulveda
September 2010
**

The writers wage Marvel’s latest space opera on several fronts & still keep the subplots clear. To imply an epic scope, they even usher Kirby Gods in to defend the universe from an Eldritch incursion! But Sepulveda draws & inks cinema-aping art that some lovely digital coloring can’t save.

last issue: The Thanos Imperative #1 of 6
next issue: The Thanos Imperative #3 of 6

also indexed for Sept. ’10
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #1 of 9
The Fantastic Four #581

The Thanos Imperative #1 of 6

May 31, 2014

Thanos Imperative 1 of 6Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning // Miguel Sepulveda
August 2010
***

Actually #2 of 8, if you incl. pro- & epilogues. DnA stage another extra-universal invasion—this time, the cancerverse (where Life “won”) metastasizes into the mainstream ‘verse. This means more tentacle monsters as well as evil reflections of the Avengers & Defenders. Solid, guilt-free space opera.

continued from The Thanos Imperative: Ignition #1 of 1
next issue: The Thanos Imperative #2 of 6

also indexed for Aug. ’10
The Fantastic Four #580

The Fantastic Four #600

December 11, 2013

Fantastic Four 600A-story: Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
B-story: Jonathan Hickman // Carmine Di Giandomenico
C-story: Jonathan Hickman // Ming Doyle
D-story: Jonathan Hickman // Leinil Yu
E-story: Jonathan Hickman // Farel Dalrymple
January 2012
A-story: **** // B-story: ***** // C-story: *****
D-story: **** // E-story: *****

A king-size #600. The A-story picks up the threads of FF, pitting every NYC superhero against a pair of alien invasions; a surprise twist has the late Johnny Storm break the Annihilation Wave! Then Hickman shows that Torch did die in #587, only to be resurrected in a gladiator scenario. That piece has a Euro look that meshes w/ the bug-‘verse setting; like all the back-up pencilers, it puts Epting to shame. Much of the art is “ugly” yet lovely, accentuating how creative JH’s whole run is.

continued from FF #11
continued in FF #12
next issue: The Fantastic Four #601

also indexed for Jan’ 12
FF #12

FF #11

December 10, 2013

FF 11Jonathan Hickman // Barry Kitson
late December 2011
****

Two alt-Reeds serve as biomass for a rebooted Kree Intelligence, who mounts an invasion of Earth—concurrent w/ an incursion from the Negative Zone! Luckily, the real Mr F calls his pals, incl. the Avengers, to prep for battle. Kitson only pencils breakdowns; the loose art keeps #11 from *****.

continued in The Fantastic Four #600
last issue: FF #10
next issue: FF #12

also indexed for Dec. ’11
FF #10

Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1 of 1

January 4, 2013

Astonishing X-Men Giant SizeJoss Whedon // John Cassaday
July 2008
***
A double-sized ish caps the space adventure, but the extra pages merely add scope, not clarity. While a guest cast of Marvelites gets mind-zapped, Kitty Pryde sacrifices her life by somehow bonding herself to a space bullet fired at the Earth. With that, Joss & Cass wrap their X-run, a solid set of comics. But in this arc as in the previous ones, poor pacing drags on the snazzy art & peppy script.
[continued from Astonishing X-Men #24]
[continued in Astonishing X-Men #25]

Captain America #250

September 3, 2012

Roger Stern & John Byrne
October 1980
*****
Cap considers a presidential bid on a third-party ticket but declines cuz he’s an idealist, not a pragmatist. A boldly introverted issue for a milestone number, #250 hit the racks for the autumn election, when Watergate still cast a black shadow over the Oval Office & the country seemed rudderless.
[last issue: Captain America #249]
[next issue: Captain America #251]

Secret Wars II #5 of 9

February 18, 2012

Jim Shooter // Al Milgrom
November 1985
**
The Beyonder picks a fight w/ Kirby space-gods, a good concept wasted by dull fight choreography. The protag does have an emotional arc—unable to return to his home dimension, he’s now sulking w/ a mutant teen runaway—but his moods are impossible to follow if you don’t get every crossover issue.
[continued from The Avengers #261]
[continued in The Thing #30]
[last issue: Secret Wars II #4 of 9]
[next issue: Secret Wars II #6 of 9]

Journey into Mystery #108: Thor

October 21, 2011

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
September 1964
A-story: ****
B-story: ****
Last month, Dr. Strange fought Loki in Strange Tales; this month, he helps Thor do the same in JiM. But first, he’s revivified by Dr. Blake in the operating room—a snazzy 2/3 splash! For his part, Kirby seems to be the creative drive for “Asgard”, which sees Thor lead a slave revolt against trolls.
[last issue: Journey into Mystery #107]
[next issue: Journey into Mystery #109]

Strange Tales #141: Dr. Strange

September 9, 2011

Stan Lee // Steve Ditko
February 1966
B-story: ****
The long arc of Dormammu’s attack on Earth ends as it must. The furious dark lord rages at his defeat & vents his petty anger upon the white-coifed girl. But Ditko & Lee retain their momentum by pulling on loose ends such as D’s henchmen, who stash an ordinary bomb in Strange’s Village sanctum.
[A-story: Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD]
[last issue: Strange Tales #140]
[next issue: Strange Tales #142]

Strange Tales #140: Dr. Strange

September 2, 2011

Stan Lee // Steve Ditko
January 1966
B-story: *****
Dozens of weird beings, only vaguely human, view the showdown btw Strange & the dread lord Dormammu! A triumph of the Ditko Dimension, the issue’s only realistic forms are the bodies, which grapple in a judo bout augmented by mystic wrist-pincers. Then a final, silent panel: Strange, at D’s feet!
[A-story: Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD]
[last issue: Strange Tales #139]
[next issue: Strange Tales #141]

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]

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]

Strange Tales #123: Dr. Strange

July 30, 2011

Stan Lee // Steve Ditko
August 1964
B-story: ****
Stan brings Strange into the greater Marvel Universe (his linewide goal in mid-’64) by guesting the Gods of Asgard in Strange Tales—a good fit as both they & Strange are rooted in magic. In a coruscating duel, the Doc is outmatched by Loki, Thor’s evil brother. He only barely escapes w/ his life!
[A-story: The Human Torch]
[last issue: Strange Tales #122]
[next issue: Strange Tales #124]