Cover Date: March 1965
Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Chic Stone
“Meet the Beatles!”
Plotters: Stan Lee, Bob Powell
Scripter: Stan Lee
Penciller: Bob Powell
Inker: Chic Stone
“The Defeat of Doctor Strange”
Plotters: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko
Scripter: Stan Lee
Penciller: Steve Ditko
Inker: Steve Ditko
What’s Going On?
The Human Torch and the Thing try to attend a Beatles concert, while Doctor Strange finds himself running for his life from Baron Mordo.
In the Human Torch & Thing story:
- As Ben and Johnny bicker about their normal, daily stuff, Dorrie and Alicia call, saying they want the boys to take them to the Beatles concert that night.
- On the way to the concert, the traffic is awful, so Johnny shoots off a fireball to distract the other drivers while their car takes a shortcut. Unfortunately, some thieves took advantage of Johnny’s distraction and stole the box office take for that night’s show.
- Johnny tracks the thieves down (they were wearing Beatle wigs), and chased them into an amusement park. The crooks stopped running and hopped on a water-themed roller coaster; Johnny gets too close to them and is soaked by the ride splashing him.
- The Thing eventually catches up, and the villains try to escape him by hopping on a standard roller coaster. It doesn’t work.
- Johnny dries off and the two heroes return to the concert venue with the money. Too bad they arrived just as the concert was ending!
In the Doctor Strange story:
- Baron Mordo and some underlings surprise attack Doctor Strange and the Ancient One.
- Something is wrong, though. While Mordo is a formidable opponent, his spells are easily overpowering those of Strange and the Ancient One.
- Strange manages to escape with the Ancient One, but only barely. He leaves the Ancient One with a Tibetan hermit, while he continues on, hoping to find a way to defeat Mordo.
- Baron Mordo’s power surge was due to the dread Dormammu lending him some power. Dormammu pledged to not directly attack this dimension, so he is settling for this indirect method instead.
- Unable to find Doctor Strange, and facing pressure from Dormammu, Baron Mordo essentially puts a supernatural contract out on Doctor Strange.
- Doctor Strange tries to go incognito to avoid Mordo’s spies, but it doesn’t work.
- Strange is lucky that he is not confronted by the best and brightest black magic users. Despite being outnumbered, he defeats them and escapes again. To be continued…!
Is It Good?
The Human Torch & Thing story is pretty stupid, but it is obviously meant to be goofy, so I didn’t mind it much.
The Doctor Strange story was interesting. It’s got Strange’s two most powerful enemies teaming up, and the hero is on the run. We haven’t seen Marvel heroes on the run much (except, arguably, in Ditko’s concurrent Hulk run), so this feels like a fresh story. And, as usual, Steve Ditko’s work when he’s drawing weird magic stuff is pretty great.
- This is the first time Doctor Strange was the featured image on the cover of Strange Tales.
- No matter how sad or dark the Marvel Universe gets, remember this: the Beatles exist in Marvel Comics. It can’t be all that bad.
- Dormammu last appeared in Strange Tales #127. He promised to not attack Earth’s dimension in return for Doctor Strange’s help with the Mindless Ones.
- Baron Mordo last appeared in Strange Tales #125.
- This is the first appearance of Sen-Yu. He manages the Ancient One’s money and is an ally of Doctor Strange.
- This is the first appearance of Kaecilius. He is one of Baron Mordo’s underlings, even if he is not named in this issue. It doesn’t look like he ever became a major character in the comics, but he was the featured villain in the film “Doctor Strange.”
- Doctor Strange has seen his enchanted cloak into the lining of his suit jacket. This way, he can access its power, and he can blend in with a crowd.
Comics Are Goofy:
- It’s the Beatles, featuring their Quasimodo-like drummer, Ringo.
- Being defeated by the log ride at an amusement park has to be a personal low for Johnny.
- These crooks are breathtakingly stupid. They know that the roller coaster will only stop when they arrive back at the starting point again, right?