Strange Tales (Vol. 1) #138

Credits:

Cover Date: November 01, 1965

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, John Severin

“Sometimes the Good Guys Lose!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Pencillers: Jack Kirby (layouts), John Severin

Inker: John Severin

“If Eternity Should Fail!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Steve Ditko

Inker: Steve Ditko

What’s Going On?

Nick Fury has to find a way to counter Hydra’s powerful space missile —- but will Hydra get to him first?

Also, Doctor Strange finally learns what Eternity is!

Details:

In the “Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD” feature:

  • Picking up from last issue, Nick Fury and the agents of SHIELD rush to the Balkans in a desperate attempt to stop Hydra from firing their Betatron missile into orbit.

  • The SHIELD team finds the launch base, but are seconds too late to stop Hydra’s launch. SHIELD bombs the launch site anyway, because why not?

  • With the Betatron in orbit, SHIELD turns to Tony Stark for advice on how to destroy it. The bad news is that they can’t just shoot it down, or else they risk nuclear fallout covering substantial portions of the globe.

  • The good news is that Tony Stark has an invention, called the Braino-Saur, that might do the trick!
  • The other bad news is that Hydra has infiltrated Stark Industries (where Fury is meeting up Tony Stark), and plan to capture Fury, Stark, and the Braino-Saur.

  • When Hydra strikes, Nick Fury covers for Tony Stark, giving him time to protect himself and his invention. Unfortunately, Fury is overwhelmed by Hydra’s numbers and is captured.

  • They don’t get Tony Stark or the Braino-Saur, though.

  • Fury eventually finds himself face-to-face with Imperial Hydra, just as Hydra’s agents are negotiating/demanding the surrender of all the world’s governments.

  • To be continued…!

In the Doctor Strange back-up feature:

  • Picking up from last issue, Doctor Strange has entered a mysterious portal to learn the secret of Eternity. When he exits the portal, he finds himself in a strange and abstract realm.

  • There, he encounters something shaped like a man, but obviously very inhuman and very powerful; this is Eternity!

  • After some consideration, Eternity refuses to give Doctor Strange any additional power to defeat Dormammu. It hints that Strange just needs wisdom to be victorious.

  • When Doctor Strange returns to Earth, he discovers that the Ancient One is missing! Mordo’s weird ninja-looking spirits are there instead, indicating that Baron Mordo has finally captured the old sorcerer.

  • With no other choice, Strange follows the spirits to face the combined might of Baron Mordo and Dormammu.

  • To be continued…!

Is It Good?

Yes, this is another good issue. I am really enjoying the Nick Fury feature, and I think John Severin’s artwork is really engaging. Even though he is working from Jack Kirby’s layouts, this feels unique.

It looks like this Doctor Strange saga is drawing to a close. This has probably dragged on for a few more issues than it should, but seeing the payoff here —- Ditko’s fantastic design for the personification of Eternity —- more than makes up for it.

Continuity:

  • This is part 4 of the ongoing storyline for Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD.
  • Agent G, the daughter of Hydra’s Imperial Leader, is still not a true believer in her father’s cause. She does not want him to try and rule the world.

  • This is Part 9 of the ongoing Doctor Strange “Eternity” storyline.
  • This is the first appearance of Eternity, after several issues of being mentioned in awed tones. Eternity is the anthropomorphic manifestation of the universe. His power level is not stated outright here, but it seems to be beyond human comprehension.

  • Doctor Strange is supposedly only the second mortal to meet Eternity, after the Ancient One.
  • It was Eternity who gave the Ancient One the Eye of Agamotto many years ago.
  • Clea is still a prisoner of Dormammu.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • It’s kind of funny that we don’t see Nick Fury killing people (usually) in his WWII stories, but here we have him being responsible for a LOT of Hydra deaths with this missile strike. Strange what the Comics Code allows and doesn’t allow.

  • I didn’t really think about it when it came up last issue, but it’s weird that Agent G/Agent H seems to be against her father’s lust for power. After all, she is a killer that rose through Hydra’s ranks (as shown in Strange Tales #135) —- she’s not exactly innocent.
  • Hydra’s Imperial Leader apparently took leadership notes from middle management at big-box retail stores.

  • Braino-Saur? Please tell me this is a hint that this device isn’t that smart, or that it’s behind the evolutionary curve or something. 

  • If Eternity has only met two mortals (Doctor Strange and the Ancient One), who gave him the Eye of Agamotto? Who (or what) is Agamotto?

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