Strange Tales (Vol. 1) #119

Credits:

Cover Date: April 1964

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, George Roussos

“The Torch Goes Wild!”

Writer: Stan Lee

Penciller: Dick Ayers

Inker: Dick Ayers

“Doctor Strange Dares to Go Beyond the Purple Veil!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Penciller: Steve Ditko

Inker: Steve Ditko

What’s Going On?

In “The Torch Goes Wild,” the Human Torch faces the ire of New York City when a clever propagandist makes him out to be a public menace.

In “Beyond the Purple Veil,” Doctor Strange goes to another dimension to save the lives of some foolish criminals.

Details:

In “The Torch Goes Wild”:

  • Johnny Storm is having a tough time. Nothing seems to be going his way.

  • On top of those troubles, the Rabble Rouser has been making anti-Torch speeches and has turned public opinion against the Human Torch!

  • Spider-Man tries to offer Johnny some support in the face of his public backlash, but Johnny blows him off.

  • Eventually, the Rabble Rouser helps get a law passed that prevents the Torch from “flaming on” within city limits. Frustrated, the Torch immediately violates the law, and heads to New Jersey.
  • Little does anyone realize that the Rabble Rouser is actually a Communist agent, trying to destabilize America! He has a mesmerizing wand that he uses to manipulate his audiences.

  • The Rabble Rouser then orchestrated a kidnapping of Prince Nagamo, a steadfast American ally abroad. The Torch would like to help, but it is against the law…

  • The Torch tracks down and defeats the Rabble Rouser, saving Prince Nagamo and once again becoming a beloved hero in NYC. He even gets his girlfriend back, in the end.

In “Beyond the Purple Veil”:

  • Two burglars break into Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Santorum looking to loot the place. Doctor Strange catches them, but because he’s exhausted, he opts to simply throw them out, rather than turn them over to the police. The burglars take that as a sign to try and rob him again, later.

  • The burglars returned and stole a mysterious gem that Strange has been studying. The gem transported the criminals to the dangerous Purple Dimension, before they even knew what was going on. Doctor Strange, being a good guy, enters the Purple Dimension after them.

  • There, he meets Aggamon, the powerful ruler of that dimension. Aggamon agrees to return the burglars back to Earth, in exchange for Doctor Strange. He accepts.

  • Doctor Strange then breaks from his bonds and battles Aggamon.

  • Strange and Aggamon battle, until it becomes apparent that they both may die before either surrenders. Not willing to die, Aggamon gives up, and Doctor Strange returns home.

Is It Good?

No, it’s not. The Human Torch story is a rehash of a few other “public menace” stories written by Stan Lee —- off the top of my head, I’d say it most resembles the Voice of God story from Tales to Astonish and the Hate Monger story from Fantastic Four. It’s boring, at best. Not much happens in the Doctor Strange story, either. It’s basically a one-off story, where he fights a random alien.

Continuity:

  • This is the first appearance of the Rabble Rouser. He is a Communist agent with a persuasive voice. He uses a mesmerizing wand to persuade others.
  • The Rabble Rouser’s sub-surface craft was based on the Hate Monger’s craft from Fantastic Four #21.

  • This is not the the first appearance of Wong (that was Strange Tales #110), but it is the first time he has been named.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • In what ways are the Torch and Frankenstein alike? This is not a very good analogy.

  • Johnny, you’re mistaking “sparring” and “annoying” again.

  • Mind control: it’s only bad when villains do it!

  • It takes an unusual man to personally experience powerful magic, and decide to rob the sorcerer.

  • I find it hilarious that the subterranean drill-ship has appeared twice (here and Fantastic Four #21), and both times were controlled by trash-talking public speakers (Hate Monger/Hitler and the Rabble-Rouser) that were using mind control on crowds. What an odd trend.
  • Doctor Strange’s oath is to protect all humans from…what? The magic of other worlds? Up until now, he has spent his time protecting the Ancient One from Baron Mordo, and sticking his nose into any mystical business that caught his attention. Since when is he obeying an oath?

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