Strange Tales #165: "Behold The Savage Sky!"

Strange Tales #165
"Behold The Savage Sky!"
February, 1968

And While It's Fresh In Our Mind...

Smilin' STAN LEE, Editor
Jaunty JIM STERANKO, Writer/Artist
Fearless FRANK GIACOIA, Inker
Swingin' SAM ROSEN, Letterer

So If You Don't Like This Ish, You Know
To Whom To Address The Letters!

Scintillatin' STEVE CHUNG, Reviewer

So If You Don't Like This Review, You Know
To Whom To Address The E-Mails!

Black Noon has fallen... with the island of Manhattan about to be
destroyed by the Yellow Claw.  The director of SHIELD is caught beneath
the mysterious weapon referred to as the Ultimate Annihilator.  (Holy
Bendis, Batman!)  With the deactivation of the Heli-Carrier's
radar-nullifying force field, Dum Dum Dugan and his team orders all of
the boarding divisions to the attack.

The scores of SHIELD agents under Dugan's command begin the attack, as
they use their grappling hooks and laseguns to begin boarding the Yellow
Claw's ship in a manner undreamt of by modern man.

Within the Sky Dragon, its master is well aware of what is transpiring
outside the ship.  The Yellow Claw commands Voltzmann to reach for the
weapon, while he summons the elite guard, and sets them in a defensive
position.  The scientist is to cover the Claw's escape, then kill Nick
Fury.  The next few seconds finds the group of assassins preparing to
meet the SHIELD assault force.  On the Sky Dragon's outer hull, the
agents have used their laseguns to penetrate the observation bubble.  The
Suicide Squad branch of SHIELD have already entered, and are en route for
the Colonel's location.

As Voltzmann brings the Ultimate Annihilator closer to the captive Fury,
unseen hands free the director from harm's way.  As he leaps towards the
Claw's henchman, Voltzmann is able to free the weapon from the machine.
The blast of raw energy narrowly misses Nick, who clenches his right
fist, and prepares to make Voltzmann regret his error.

KWUMP!  Amazingly, it is the SHIELD director who is kicked off-balance,
just as Dugan arrives, and yells out a warning to his fellow Howler.
KRAKK!  Just as Voltzmann is taking aim, it is now Fury's turn to knock
the baddie off his feet, and take a look at what he looks like without
his ubiquitous shades.  At that moment, three SHIELD sentries are making
their way in search of the elusive Yellow Claw.

They have found their quarry and issue a warning to the fleeing figure.
The sentries are about to use their weapons to detain him, when the
Yellow Claw turns towards them, and the three agents are caught beneath
the unrelenting molecular chaos of the Claw's ultra-lethal psychic storm.

In being forced to rely on mental combat, the mysterious mastermind has
drained his nervous system.  In order to complete his escape, the Claw
places his hand onto an autonomic screen, and releases his duplikeds.
When Dugan asks how he's doing, Nick can't bring himself to admit that
he's been suffering blackouts, and overhears the announcement that the
Yellow Claw has just been caught in the engine room.  An arriving
division disagrees and tells them that the Claw was cornered in the
navigation chamber.  Since the villain can't be in two places at once,
the SHIELD director grabs Voltzmann by the collar, and demands to know
what's going on.  The henchman knows about the robotic replicas which are
part of the Yellow Claw's escape plans, and that his destination is the
getaway ship beneath the stabilizing jets.  Dum Dum informs Nick that the
lab boys have come up with something that's been tailor made for the

The magnetic prelfrag shooter will make a man feel like he weighs a ton.
After telling Dugan to follow him with a clean-up crew, Fury runs for the
stabilizing jets, where he spots the Yellow Claw in the shadows.  With
the villain's back to him, Nick uses a slingshot to fire the M.P.S....
BBBWEEE!  BBWEEE!  BBBWEEE!  The pellets are disintegrated before they
can reach the Claw, and the SHIELD director sees that his foe is now
totally encased in armor.  It is now up to him to keep the oriental
mastermind from leaving the Sky Dragon until help arrives.

KRUNCH!  WRACK!  Before he can properly defend himself, the armored Claw
is upon him, delivering several blows which send the Colonel off his
feet.  The steel spiked fists leave their impression on the helpless
SHIELD director. 

The Yellow Claw had counted on Nick Fury following him and allowing him
the opportunity to save face with a final victory in proving himself
SHIELD's superior.  Although he is leaving for the escape craft, the
Yellow Claw vows to return soon, to reemerge as conqueror of the world.
Fury hears these departing words, with the laughter echoing through his
mind, and the despair of defeat threatening to overwhelm him.

On the cover of Strange Tales #165, we see that the Yellow Claw rules
with an iron fist, and Nick Fury is about to become its first recipient.

A double-page sequence where the SHIELD agents are storming the Sky
Dragon is worth several minutes of glomming over.

If Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD had been an animated series, I would have
loved to have heard Vic Perrin as the voice of the Yellow Claw.  The late
actor was the voice of the Control Voice on "The Outer Limits" and Dr.
Zin on "Jonny Quest."  Paul Frees or Henry Corden as Voltzmann would have
been ideal, too.

This would leave the good guys to be cast.  If I adhere to the voice cast
of "Jonny Quest," I'd choose Mike Road to do the voice of Dum Dum Dugan.
As for fabulous Fury himself, my choice would be for Gerald Mohr, who was
the voice of Green Lantern on the Filmation Justice League of America

Voltzmann is a character who enjoys making his enemies suffer, but he is
unprepared when they are able to fight back.

In this story, everyone has got a snazzy wardrobe, from Fury's battlesuit
to Voltzmann's white suit and red sunglasses.

The Yellow Claw's hyper-psionic brain-wave emanations is probably what
you'd get if you happened to be seated too close to your television set.

If SHIELD could have their Life Model Decoys, then the Claw could have
his duplikeds.

The armor plating worn by the oriental mastermind is similar in
appearance to the Asgardian Destroyer construct created by Odin.

I wonder if Walt Simonson was influenced by the sight of the Yellow
Claw's battle armor, as the sequence where the pellets are disintegrated
appear to be similar to the later art style of Simonson.

After such a dreadful defeat, we can only hope that the director of
SHIELD can salvage victory, and save the day from the Yellow Claw.

Steve Chung
"Behold The Savage Review!"