Strange Tales #141, Feb. 1966
Rapturously written by: Stan Lee
Resplendently drawn by: Jack Kirby
Rollickingly inked by: Frank Ray
Reluctantly lettered by: Sam Rosen
Dialogue and captions: Stan Lee
Plot and artwork: Steve Ditko
Lettering and more lettering: Artie Simek
You know, Strange Tales makes up for every mediocre Hulk or Sub-Mariner story I have to read as part of this. Both the Nick Fury and Dr. Strange series’ are so good, they’re really the only ones that make me really excited to read the next issue of every time. In this one, Fury does a really interesting thing where he lets the HYDRA girl who helped him break out of prison go, while making it seem like it was an escape attempt of hers that he failed to notice. The way he does it says so much about his character, and it’s actually kind of a poignant sequence. I never used the word “poignant” to describe an Ant Man story, now did I?
It looks like HYDRA is finally defeated! All that’s left is the Supreme HYDRA, but he gets shot by two of his henchmen because he took off his costume and they didn’t know it was him. Oh, bitter irony. The Supreme HYDRA’s daughter “escapes” with the aid of some super-suction shoes that allow her to walk down walls, and Nick Fury goes back to SHIELD headquarters… where he’s psychically attacked! Turns out SHIELD is developing some psychic warfare stuff to counter this other guy that used to work for them but doesn’t anymore. He’s trying to figure out a way to get back at SHIELD, and mentally discovers a guy named the Fixer who can apparently build anything out of anything else.
Dr. Strange got shot in the back by one of Baron Mordo’s spells during his duel with Dormammu, and the Dread Dormammu is fucking pissed. So pissed, he sends Mordo to the “Demon Dimension” as punishment. Strange is okay and he wants to keep the duel going, but it seems like he’s too weak to fight well. Of course, this was all part of his plan, and the egotistic Dormammu falls for it, letting his guard down and getting beaten at his own game. This time Dr. Strange tells him to promise not to use his powers against Earth, hoping that’ll make the jerk leave him alone. Dormammu has one final message, and it’s that the girl who helped Dr. Strange is being sent to some random dimension where she’ll probably die, and it’s all Strange’s fault. After a long day of dimension travelling and magic-doing, Strange returns to his Greenwich Village home where, unknowing to him, some of Mordo’s goons have hidden a totally normal, non-magical bomb.
Damn, a lot of stuff happened in that half-issue of Dr. Strange. So, the first time he beat Dormammu, he said he couldn’t GO to Earth, and this time he can’t use his powers against it. I guess next time Dormammu finds a loophole in these restrictions (which he kinda already did by threatening Strange’s lady), Strange’ll have to make him promise not to do whatever THAT is. Just make him promise to leave everybody alone, or make him stay in a prison cell or something, come on.