Doctor Strange #180-182
Issue(s): Doctor Strange #180, Doctor Strange #181, Doctor Strange #182
On the plus side, Thomas continues to do a good job exploring Clea's first experiences in a new dimension.
On their way to Times Square, they run into author Tom Wolfe, who apparently knows Dr. Strange.
Strange's plan to keep Clea from knowing about Nightmare begins to unravel when Nightmare attacks at Times Square. He's got Eternity captured, and so he's able to send in threats from various moments in time, including 1970s Toho dinosaurs...
...and, *ahem*, "savages".
More creatures from time:
Even after Nightmare attacks, Strange prefers casting some protection spells around Clea rather than have her fight by his side.
Doctor Strange fights off the initial attack but in the process gives away his "secret identity" to the crowd at Times Square.
Strange never seemed to have a secret identity before; up until recently he didn't wear a mask, the police would contact him when they needed help investigating weird stuff, and he was known the public. So i'm not sure how blurting out his name here is a problem.
Anyway, by this point Clea is clearly aware that something is up, and she definitely still has magical powers (because she keeps threatening to do horrible things to people who make fun of Doctor Strange's clothes) but Strange still leaves her behind when he travels to the Dream Dimension (possibly the only time Wassily Kandinsky is name-checked in a comic book).
Strange fights past some of Nightmare's henchmen...
...and then Nightmare himself, and of course pulls out the Eye of Agamotto and... yaaaawwwnn... wake me when it's over, ok? Oh wait... what!? Nightmare has actually found a way to counter the Eye? And so possibly Nightmare's previous appearance in Thomas' Doctor Strange run, where Nightmare was beaten so easily with the Eye, was just a set-up for this? Cool!
With Dr. Strange trapped by Nightmare...
...he frees the Juggernaut from the Cttorak dimension ("Crimson Cosmos") to gain an edge.
The Juggernaut has been trapped since Uncanny X-Men #46.
The Juggernaut has extra magical powers this issue which helps him take on Nightmare.
This may be a way of explaining the "globules of force" that the Juggernaut was using in that last X-Men appearance. The Juggernaut is also back to wearing his short pants and is looking a little undernourished.
While Juggernaut and Nightmare fight, Dr. Strange manages to escape. This causes the Juggernaut to switch sides, even though Dr. Strange said he would help the Juggernaut get home.
I've always thought the Cttorak connection would make for an interesting Juggernaut/Dr. Strange meeting, and so i was excited when i first found out about this issue, but it didn't quite live up to expectations.
Anyway, Eternity decides to reveal at this moment that he isn't actually a prisoner after all.
He beats everyone up and sends Dr. Strange home, where he finds out that Eternity has given him a secret identity. He is now Stephen Sanders.
Gene Colan's artwork is very cool...
...and really saves an otherwise nonsensical story. And i don't care what anyone says: i like the masked costume for Dr. Strange.
Just to give an example of the weird kind of letters this series received:
Dear Stan, Roy, and Gene, The character of Dr. Strange is interesting, and, on consideration, so are his powers. With this thought in mind, I wrote the following which might be of interest to readers: without a doubt, Doc's enchanted amulet is one of the most potent, if not the most potent of all his powers. Many's the time when your mystic master had to rely solely on the light from the Eye of Agomotto to get him out of a tight spot. Like the cloak of levitation, the amulet has a magical property of its own. This property is the Light. I will now explain about it in relation to my own experiences. When I joined an occult group, Truth Researchers, in Honolulu, I realized that I was one of the youngest (16), most of them being between 20 and 40 years old. Nevertheless, we all worked toward the same goal, that of being workers of Light. In meditation sessions twice weekly, we sought to gain a better understanding of ourselves spiritually. The Light helped illuminate the path for us. At this point I would like to say that the full meaning of the Light cannot be put into details for obvious reason. In short, Light is the most powerful force of good incarnate. Thus, Dr. Strange employes it only as a last resort.
I had some complaints about the overuse of the Eye of Agamotto, but i guess with that explanation i have to take it all back.
Quality Rating: C
Historical Significance Rating: 3 - Dr. Strange gets his Stephen Sanders identity.
Chronological Placement Considerations: Issue #179 was a reprint of Amazing Spider-Man annual #2, in case you were looking for that entry. The reprint caused the New Years Eve story to get published in February.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
The Juggernaut was in the Crimson Cosmos just before the X-Men issue and he somehow forced his way out. Then he fought the X-Men a bit, freaked out over seeing Xavier's headstone(because he wanted to kill Xavier himself), and then got zapped back to the Crimson Cosmos at story's end by a means that I don't remember.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 9, 2011 5:28 PM
Barry Smith's cover for #179 somehow got overlooked in the Essential volumes.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 13, 2013 3:21 PM
Colan's rejected original cover for #180 appeared in Comics Interview #96. Apparently the cover Marvel did go with was just a collage of already published Ditko and Colan art.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 29, 2015 9:16 PM
I'm not entirely in love with this era for Strange but I will say it's the most interesting it's been since Ditko left.
Posted by: Robert | March 6, 2016 5:49 PM
Pretty sure the Tom Wolfe cameo is because Wolfe mentions Dr. Strange (and especially the "Beyond the Purple Veil" issue of Strange Tales) in the then recently published "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test."
Posted by: Cradicus | June 28, 2016 3:15 PM
I believed Ditko when he said he wasn't tripping but it's a safe bet Thomas was.
Posted by: James Holt | October 25, 2016 8:43 PM
According to Brian Cronin, issue 182 is where 177A Bleeker Street is established as the address of Strange's mansion. It's not a Sherlock Holmes reference. 177A Bleeker Street is a real address in Greenwich Village. It's the apartment building where Roy Thomas (and Bill Everett) lived at the time.
Posted by: Andrew | November 17, 2016 10:38 AM
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