Strange Tales (Vol. 1) #132

Credits:

Cover Date: May 1965

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Mike Esposito

“The Sinister Spacetrap!”

Plotters: Larry Ivie, Bob Powell

Scripter: Larry Ivie

Penciller: Bob Powell

Inker: Mike Esposito (credited as M. Demeo)

“Face-to-Face at Last With Baron Mordo!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Steve Ditko

Inker: Steve Ditko

What’s Going On?

Johnny and Ben help NASA defeat a saboteur, while Baron Mordo finally catches up with Doctor Strange!

Details:

In the Human Torch & Thing story:

  • NASA asks the Human Torch to go undercover as an astronaut. The mission is to place some magnets in space to help American satellites, but NASA suspects that one of the project designer might be a saboteur.

  • The potential saboteur, Dr. Jack, is immediately suspicious of Johnny, but he still sends him into space. Too bad the rocket capsule is designed to disintegrate before re-entry in the atmosphere!

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  • Dr. Jack also anticipated interference from the Thing, and prepared a trap for him when Ben went snooping in Dr. Jack’s lab.

  • But Dr. Jack’s plans are not foolproof. The Thing quickly breaks free from his trap, and as for the Human Torch…well, “burning up upon re-entry” isn’t much of a problem for a guy whose skin ignites.

  • Needless to say, the heroes catch the bad guy. The end.

In Doctor Strange’s story:

  • Having barely escaped the clutches of Baron Mordo last issue, Doctor Strange finds himself in New York City again —- but his situation hasn’t improved much. He needs to return to his Sanctum Sanctorum to research ways to defeat Mordo, but he fears that Mordo has someone guarding it.

  • Sure enough, the Demon is hanging out in Strange’s home. Strange has a burst of inspiration, though, and dresses up like a total loser, in an effort to take the Demon off-guard. And it worked!

  • But the joke’s on Doctor Strange. When he tried to access the Eye of Agamotto, he gets stunned by a spell; Mordo had a protective spell put on the amulet, which alerts Mordo when it sounds an alarm.

  • Mordo (empowered by Dormammu) is able to travel to Doctor Strange’s home in a matter of moments, and the two begin to battle.

  • Although he is overpowered by Baron Mordo, Strange is able to hold his own. Eventually, this causes Mordo to doubt himself, which weakens his attack.

  • That’s when Dormammu steps in and (with Mordo’s permission) possesses Baron Mordo’s body and redoubles the attack. Doctor Strange recognizes the change in Mordo immediately, but loses consciousness before he can do anything about it.

  • To be continued…!

Is It Good?

The Human Torch & Thing story is very bland. It’s only noteworthy for Stan Lee’s lack of involvement. It’s not that bad, but it just isn’t very interesting.

I am enjoying this ongoing Doctor Strange story very much, though. Ditko’s art continues to impress, and he always makes sorcery battles look cool (which, let’s face it, should be a prerequisite). I’m a little confused why Doctor Strange doesn’t seem to recognize the Demon, but that’s not really a big deal.

Continuity:

  • Demonicus (AKA the Demon) wasn’t named in this issue, but it’s definitely the same guy who last appeared in Strange Tales #128. Apparently, he’s one of Baron Mordo’s flunkies now.
  • Clea last appeared in Strange Tales #127.
  • The sickly Ancient One is trying to explain something about needing Eternity to help defeat Baron Mordo. This is the first mention of Eternity, the cosmic being.

  • Dormammu’s true goal is not just getting rid of Doctor Strange. Even his partner, Baron Mordo, doesn’t realize that Dormammu plans on conquering the Earth once Strange is killed by Mordo.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Didn’t the Fantastic Four break into a NASA facility when they went into space and gained their powers? Funny that they don’t feel like mentioning that to the NASA official.

  • …But he looks so trustworthy!

  • That’s a lot of broken dates. Damn, Johnny. Also, maybe try to find someone who doesn’t track how often you disappoint them.

  • This seems like an extraordinarily bad way to sneakily investigate a potential sabotage job. Wasn’t there a door?

  • I can’t tell if the cabbie is being genuine or sarcastic here.

  • I love that Doctor Strange felt the need to put purple underwear on the outside of his costume to really sell his “loser magician” character.

  • These are Clea’s (although she hasn’t been named yet) only two panels in this issue. What premonition is she talking about?

Well, That Aged Poorly:

  • Of course! Who would want Sue, whose force fields can protect the FF from an atomic bomb, in a situation where a rocket might blow up? Yuck, girls!

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