Strange Tales (Vol. 1) #128

Credits:

Cover Date: January 1965

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Sol Brodsky

“Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Dick Ayers

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Dick Ayers

Inker: Frank Giacoia (credited as Frank Ray)

“The Demon’s Disciple!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Steve Ditko

Inker: Steve Ditko

What’s Going On?

The Human Torch & the Thing meet Quicksilver & the Scarlet Witch and fight!

Elsewhere, Doctor Strange faces the mystical prowess of the Demon!

Details:

In the Human Torch/Thing story:

  • Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch want to quit Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants because…well, because they’re evil. But they feel indebted to Magneto for saving the Scarlet Witch’s life once.

  • Seeking advice, they decide to approach the only superheroes they have an address for: the Fantastic Four!

  • But when they drop by the Baxter Building unannounced (and fairly aggressive), the two are attacked by the Torch and Thing.

  • In the ensuing fight, the Scarlet Witch is knocked out. The two FF members let up, and they might have started talking to their intruders…

  • …If it wasn’t for Quicksilver’s temper. He attacks Ben and Johnny with abandon, furious with them for hurting his sister.

  • When Ben and Johnny finally corner Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch wakes up and interrupts the fight. She and Pietro decide to stop fighting and leave, and Ben and Johnny let them.

In the Doctor Strange story:

  • Someone comes to Doctor Strange for help! The man is an underling for a powerful sorcerer known as the Demon; the Demon threatens to conquer the world with his dark magic!

  • Before Strange can learn more, the man is teleported from his Sanctum Santorum, and Strange’s own powers are blocked…by the Demon!

  • Despite the Demon’s best efforts, Doctor Strange is able to track him down. But the Demon traps Strange as soon as they meet!

  • …Or did he? Strange allowed the Demon to capture an image of himself, which bought him time to peruse the Demon’s spell texts to better understand his enemy’s capabilities.

  • Strange quickly shows his magical prowess, countering each of the Demon’s spells in turn. The Demon senses that Strange is holding back, though, and sees it as a weakness; he decides to strike with all of his power at once.

  • Doctor Strange handles the onslaught with ease.

  • Doctor Strange defeats the Demon and rescues the Demon’s underling. He places the Demon under a mystical trance and warns him to quit magic or else face the wrath of Doctor Strange.

Is It Good?

The Human Torch & Thing story wasn’t too bad. Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch don’t match up very well against them, but the fight was brief enough to make it seem even. This falls into the grand tradition of Marvel heroes (although Pietro and Wanda aren’t heroes yet) fighting instead of talking, which is fun in short stories like this, even if it is predictable.

The Doctor Strange story was pretty good. The Demon ultimately sounded like a tougher foe that he turned out to be, but that’s not a big deal. Ditko’s artwork in this series continues to impress, and his mystical duels always look pretty cool.

Continuity:

  • The Thing has been added to the cover corner box.

  • Apparently, the location of Avengers Mansion is not yet common knowledge, if the Baxter Building is the only known superhero address.

  • The Yancy Street Gang continues to harass the Thing.
  • Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch last appeared in Journey Into Mystery #109.
  • The cape that Doctor Strange was given last issue is revealed to have the powers of levitation.
  • This is the first appearance of the Demon, who is also known as Demonicus (according to the Marvel wikia).

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Does this mean the X-Men have a publicist and contacts in the news industry?

  • How can Johnny possibly know that Iceman is the youngest X-Man?

  • Johnny: “I have a hunch that Reed would not want an explanation for why these known criminals were visiting our base. We’d best let them go.”

  • Imagine hanging out with someone who calls himself “the Demon” and not realizing he was bad news immediately.

  • I’m a little fuzzy on what a mystical trance does. It appears to paralyze the subject for a period of time, but for how long? Does he need to eat or drink?  Will he starve if Doctor Strange doesn’t release him?

Well, That Aged Poorly:

  • This is the first time I can recall a superhero explicitly stating that they don’t want to hit a villainess. That’s…kind of chivalrous, in a condescending way. But hey, at least Ben makes a joke about Quicksilver being effeminate! That’s less ambiguously awful!

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