Strange Tales (Vol. 1) #135

Credits:

Cover Date: August 1965

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Frank Giacoia

“Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD: The Man For the Job”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Dick Ayers

“Eternity Beckons!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Steve Ditko

Inker: Steve Ditko

What’s Going On?

In the Nick Fury story, Nick is introduced to the world of high-stakes, worldwide espionage when he is offered a job with SHIELD!

In the Doctor Strange story, Strange continues to evade Baron Mordo as he tries to discover the importance of “Eternity.”

Details:

In the Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD story:

  • CIA agent Col. Nick Fury has been summoned to a mysterious meeting, one with some very high-ranking officials.

  • Before heading out to the meeting, Fury’s escort creates several Life Model Decoys of Fury. The idea is to confuse the (so far, unnamed) enemy and lay a false trail for them to follow. Instead, the enemy quickly attacks and destroys the LMDs; Fury would have been dead without this deception.

  • After dodging Fury’s would-be assassins in a tricked-out flying car, Fury learns that his escort is part of the super-secret spy organization named SHIELD.

  • Fury is eventually brought into a room filled with very powerful, very influential men from around the world. He is there because they want him to lead SHIELD in their mission to rid the world of the evil organization, Hydra!

  • After a little bit of hesitation, Fury agrees to assume leadership of SHIELD.

In the Doctor Strange story:

  • Looking for information about “Eternity,” Doctor Strange visits Sir Anthony Baskerville, a former pupil of the Ancient One. He appears to be eager to help.

  • Strange should have picked his allies better, though, because Baskerville is an agent of Baron Mordo!

  • Without Dormammu actively supplying him with extra power, Mordo has to remain in his lair to best absorb whatever power he can from Dormammu’s dimension. As such, he decides to send Kaecilius to act as his proxy against Doctor Strange.

  • Strange suspected Baskerville of treachery, though. He tricked his enemies into thinking he was hiding in a suit of armor, and then attacked them by surprise!

  • Strange then uses the Eye if Agamotto to see into Kaecilius’ memories. There, he learns that Dormammu is behind Baron Mordo’s attacks.

  • With this new knowledge —- and little else, since Sir Anthony didn’t actually have any information about “Eternity” —- Strange escapes into the night, evading Baron Mordo and his forces for another night.

Is It Good?

This is a great issue. I love the combination of action and espionage promised by the new Nick Fury feature, and Stan and Jack look like they’ve got a lot of fun in store with this premise.

The Doctor Strange feature continues to be strong, and this issue showed Strange being clever in ways we haven’t seen before.

The biggest improvement with this issue is the replacement of the Human Torch & Thing feature with Nick Fury & SHIELD. Those Torch stories never got better than “barely mediocre,” so having something that promises to be fun and different is refreshing.

Continuity:

  • Nick Fury’s WWII adventures are being concurrently chronicled in Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos, but his last appearance in modern times was in Fantastic Four #21. Captain America daydreamed about Fury in Avengers #18, but he didn’t actually appear in the story.
  • With Nick Fury taking the feature story spot from the Human Torch & Thing, we have a change to the cover corner box. Fury replaces the two Fantastic Four heroes:
    • Col. Nick Fury joins SHIELD in this issue.
    • This is the first time we’ve seen Nick Fury with an eyepatch. He didn’t have one in his last appearance, although he did in Captain America’s daydream.
    • This is the first appearance of SHIELD, the international espionage organization. They are also referenced in this month’s Avengers #19.
    • In addition to SHIELD in general, we also see some of their trademark toys for the first time: the Helicarrier (basically, a flying aircraft carrier) and LMDs (Life Model Decoys, advances robot duplicates).
    • This is the first appearance of SHIELD’s governing body, the Supreme Intelligence Council.
    • Tony Stark is a member of the Council and Stark Industries supplies SHIELD with advanced weaponry. Tony last appeared in the most recent issue of Tales of Suspense, but I believe this is the first time that he appears in a comic without involving Iron Man.

    • The Imperial Hydra Leader first appears in this issue. He is referred to as the “Master” here.
    • This is the first appearance of Agent H, the first woman to achieve the Hydra rank of…assassin, I guess?

    • When Hydra agents fail, they have to fight their would-be replacement in a battle to the death.

    • This is Part 6 of the current Doctor Strange story.
    • This is the first time Steve Ditko has received an explicit plotting credit for this title.

    • Doctor Strange is still on the run, hiding from Baron Mordo. He is currently investigating the Ancient One’s obscure reference to “Eternity.”
    • Dormammu has discovered that Clea allowed the Mindless Ones to run rampant last issue. He realizes that she did this to aid Doctor Strange. He will punish her eventually, but he is going to wait for now.

    • This is the first appearance of Sir Anthony Baskerville. He was once an apprentice of the Ancient One, but became bitter when the Ancient One would not help him heal his damaged (or maybe disfigured? Or maybe missing?) hand. He teamed up with Baron Mordo to get revenge on the Ancient One.

    Comics Are Goofy:

    • I like to think that this is an always-live feed to Hydra headquarters, and that they spend a lot of time staring at their agent’s hair in his helmet.

    • Is this really the best way to illustrate your point, Tony? Shooting a globe?

    • How secret of an organization can SHIELD be if their base of operations is this?

    • Sure, fighting to save your life after failing at work is a bummer, but at least Hydra lets them battle to the death on weird swings!

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