Monday, December 24, 2012
PART ONE: Nebulos and The Living Tribunal
I recently got some issues of Strange Tales from the late 1960s and, man, let me tell you, there are some weird dudes roaming these pages.
Specifically, I got Strange Tales #162 and #163, from 1967. Yeah, you're right, a comic book called Strange Tales might be expected to have some weird dudes running around within its pages, but I long ago got used to fellows like Baron Mordo and Nightmare and Dormammu. I guess I was so young when I first read reprints of the Ditko-drawn Doctor Strange stories that these dudes never seemed weird to me.
But that's the early to mid-1960s. The late 1960s are another thing entirely.
(And I'm not even going to get into the Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., series by Jim Steranko. Not just yet. Another time. Plenty of weird dudes running around there, too.)
Just look at this dude:
That's Nebulos. What is his deal?
Well, he calls himself the Lord of the Planets Perilous. And he seems to have kidnapped Victoria Bentley for reasons I'm not entirely clear on. (Who's Victoria Bentley? you may be wondering. That's a good question.) Nebulos has some undetermined sinister plans that involve Earth, and he says things like:
Seek not to command Nebulos -- for, no mere human may question my immortal will!
(He's kind of full of himself, and he's also kind of a douche.)
Nebulos sends Doctor Strange off to fight Baron Mordo for some reason.
(I should add that's it's all beautifully drawn by Dan Adkins.)
Doctor Strange beats Mordo and ends up back on the World of the Million Perils where Nebulos acts like a big jerk who thinks he knows everything. But he's just about to run into another weird dude, and Nebulos may soon learn that he's just not all that hot.
Doctor Strange points off-panel and says:
Look! Out of the vast darkness of space, he comes even now -- the three-visaged, remorseless --
And the issue ends and you have to wait until the next issue to see The Living Tribunal. (You can't miss him. He's the weird dude with three faces on a single head.)
(And he's got a sun on his chest and his head floats above his body and, you know. The usual.)
He says things like:
Question NOT my infinite wisdom, rash mortal, lest ye PROVOKE my wrath anew!
(So, yeah, he's kind of touchy.)
And he gets into a big fight with Nebulos.
It's a little complicated. Doctor Strange can't just sit back and let it play out because Nebulos is the only one who knows where Victoria Bentley is. So he gets involved on the side of Nebulos, which irks The Living Tribunal, who is not a guy you want to irk unless you have a good reason.
Well, The Living Tribunal knocks a mountain on Nebulos and kills him. (And Nebulos hasn't been seen since.)
The Living Tribunal blasts Doctor Strange with a yellow ray and says:
Thus I send you now -- with the speed of thought -- to that terrifying world where Nebulos did imprison the Earth girl!
And that's where it ends as Doctor Strange travels to yet another strange world where he will - presumably - meet more weird dudes.
But you'll have to wait until I get the next issue to find out more about the next batch of weird dudes.