Strange Tales #130-144 (Dr. Strange)
Issue(s): Strange Tales #130, Strange Tales #131, Strange Tales #132, Strange Tales #133, Strange Tales #134, Strange Tales #135, Strange Tales #136, Strange Tales #137, Strange Tales #138, Strange Tales #139, Strange Tales #140, Strange Tales #141, Strange Tales #142, Strange Tales #143, Strange Tales #144 (Dr. Strange stories only)
"The defeat of Dr. Strange"
Picking up threads of Dr. Strange's encounters with both Baron Mordo and Dormammu, this story has the two Teaming-Up (or more accurately, Mordo becoming a lackey of Dormammu).
In the course of the story the Ancient One is badly injured...
...and Dr. Strange is forced on the run, hunted by Mordo's shadowy wraiths and other evil sorcerers.
He eventually seeks the aid of Eternity...
...but gains no power from him.
While Strange was seeking Eternity, he visits a woman who he apparently helped in the past. We don't learn her name, and we never get that story that the footnote promises, as far as i know.
Clea keeps Dormammu distracted by releasing the Mindless Ones.
This epic story deserves full color trade paperback treatment. The art is wild and complex and looks beautiful when colored properly.
In addition to Eternity, this arc introduces a number of new minor characters, including the Aged Genghis...
...the treacherous mage Sir Baskerville...
...and extra-dimensional sorceress named Shazana...
...and the minions of Baron Mordo. We've actually seen one before: the Demon (aka Demonicus), from Strange Tales #128. Oddly, Strange simply refers to him as "One of Mordo's mystic demons".
The other two are new. They are unnamed in this arc, but one is eventually given the name Kaecilius (the guy on the right with the handlebar mustache)...
...and the other, initially posing as a male, turns out to be a female named Adria.
According to the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe, Kaecilius is simply "Mordo's Disciple" in this arc, and Adria is unnamed but is later referred to as 'the Witch' in a Marvel index.
Strange wipes the magical memories of all three of these characters.
Towards the end of this arc, we also meet a strange minion of Dormammu called Asti.
The arc ends with Mordo disgraced and banished by Dormammu to a distant dimension for his failure. Dormammu himself is defeated by Strange and forced to reinforce his oath not to attack Earth's dimension.
Dormammu does discover that it was Clea who released the Mindless Ones, and he holds her prisoner as a way to continue to torment Dr. Strange while keeping his vow.
Dormammu's last act here is to use Asti to lure Strange to the twilight kingdom of the shape-shifting Tazza.
Tazza stands among the frozen bodies of his previously defeated foes, and Strange uses his astral form to animate their bodies. Note also that Tazza invokes Satannish. It's the first use of that name.
Strange is able to defeat Tazza and force him to release his prisoners.
Overall, it's quite an epic. A bit rambling and unfocused at times, but it's probably the most ambitious multi-part story that we've seen to date, and Lee and Ditko lay a lot of crazy concepts and designs on us.
In issue #132, Clea addresses her father, Orini (not yet named; for that matter, Clea isn't actually named yet either). This is the first time we've seen him, but he'll be tied back to the guy in issue #126 with the triangular mask. He's normally drawn with a beard.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Because it's such a long continuous story we are running into the next year but since it is such a self-contained story it fits fine anywhere in this era.
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: Doctor Strange Classics #1, Doctor Strange Classics #2, Doctor Strange Classics #3, Doctor Strange Classics #4, Essential Dr. Strange vol. 1
Inbound References (11): show
This is the highlight of the superb Ditko Dr Strange run. Everything just works.
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