Strange Tales #167: "This Dream --- This Doom!"

Strange Tales #167
"This Dream --- This Doom!"
April, 1968

Supervised This Stunning Spectacle Of Startling, Sorcerific Splendor From
The Pens Of...
Demoniac          Druidic
DENNY     and    DAN
O'NEIL               ADKINS,
Scripter               Artist

Adroitly Assisted By

Typically Typed By

It was only a moment ago that the image of the Ancient One appeared in
front of the Master of The Mystic Arts.  Now, Doctor Strange sees that
his aged mentor walks upon the earth once more.  Has his teacher truly
returned, or is this a cruel trick which threatens to consume him?  No,
he senses the Ancient One's goodness and wisdom flowing through him, and
the disciple knows that this is so. 

The Ancient One is pleased to see his pupil, who learns that his mentor
had only pretended to be imprisoned by Zom into a pillar.  It was only in
such a state that he would be able to lend the power necessary to defeat
him.  When the cosmic balance was restored, when the requirements of the
Living Tribunal were fulfilled... the Ancient One was finally able to
free himself from the spell which held him.  It is then he sees that
Stephen Strange appears to be troubled.  Yandroth and Victoria Bentley
had been teleported along the same space warp as Doctor Strange, but
while he has arrived at Stonehenge, they have not.  The Ancient One
theorizes that the two must have been trapped within the warp, and may be
passing through the nether zone -- towards Eternity.  The Master of the
Mystic Arts shall not rest until Yandroth has been defeated, and Victoria
has been freed.  After his teacher has suggested that they consult the
Book of the Vishanti, they begin to travel upon the winds, and Stephen
Strange senses that the venerable one has been weakened from his long

The Himalayas are a welcome sight for the Ancient One, who has traveled
through them for centuries.  Doctor Strange can feel his aged mentor
losing his grip, and hear his difficulty in breathing. 

Even though he is weak in body, the Ancient One is determined to deal
with the matter at hand.  Within the chamber, they learn that only the
Vapors of Valtorr may pierce the barrier between reality and unreality.
Since two minds are required for the spell of the vapors, the venerable
one will be unable to rest.  The Master of the Mystic Arts is instructed
by his mentor to shine his amulet's beam into the smoky brazier.  Both
recite the incantation, and Doctor Strange sees the image of Victoria

She is being pulled through a void into the dimension of dreams... a
place where memories, fantasies, and wishes are given a harsh reality.  A
spell sent into the vapors may be able to free her, but it must be done
so quickly.  The spell of Doctor Strange encircles the trapped girl, but
Victoria is resisting it.  The Ancient One reminds his pupil that no
mortal may pass through the vapors, but only he may be able to save her.

The girl is slipping from their grasp, with Yandroth pulling Victoria
away from the spell.  It weakens, as the pull increases, and the girl
continues on her way towards Yandroth's domain.  His enemy's experiments
may upset the psychic balance between good and evil, leaving chaos to
rein within the universe.

The Master of the Mystic Arts seeks the necessary instructions from his
teacher.  His aged mentor knows that none have ever returned from the
dream dimension.  Although his magic is powerful, so are the perils to be
found within the dreams.  The Doctor has sworn to defeat Yandroth and his
ilk, as well as saving Victoria Bentley.  The Ancient One tells his
disciple to look upon the jewel, one whose power of trans-hypnosis can
transform matter into imagination.  As he holds onto the jewel, the very
atoms of his being begin to dissolve...

The gem is released, and with it, Doctor Strange's hold on reality.  They
remain in telepathic communication, with the Ancient One's mind acting as
his only link with the known universe.  Yandroth must be beaten soon, or
else he will remain trapped in the dream dimension.  An intense
illumination appears before the Master of the Mystic Arts, one which
affects his senses, and how it must have affected Victoria Bentley.

Passing through it, he sees Yandroth and Victoria on a floating platform.
The scientist had tried to lose his foe by using the teleporter to send
them into this dimension.  The girl sees that Doctor Strange is unarmed,
while Yandroth still has his gun.  She struggles with the villain, then
spots something appearing behind the sorcerer.

HROOOOOO  A behemoth from time's past has burst upon them, and it is a
deadly dream which can slay them all. 

If he should try to stop it, Yandroth will make his escape.  If he does
not, they may all be destroyed by it.  Two other figures have emerged
from the mists.  WHINNEY!  A viking warrior tries to hold onto his
faithful horse, then joins his fellow and the emerald reptile in their
hunt.  R-RRAARRRLLLL  Only the Master of the Mystic Arts remains between
them, the girl, and Yandroth.  Doctor Strange believes that the scientist
may not be able to stop them, and it is up to his sorcerous might to deal
with the threat.  If he should do so, he will be weakened, and be at the
mercy of his enemy.  Even as Doctor Strange reaches a decision, Yandroth
takes careful aim with his gun... A squeeze of the trigger, and the
Master of the Mystic Arts will be no more.

The title of this adventure has the ring of one typical from the Marvel
Comics of the Silver Age.

The Ancient One has returned from seeming death, leaving his faithful
disciple to deal with the sudden disbelief of such a return.

Zom had apparently imprisoned the aged mentor of Doctor Strange in
Strange Tales &157.

I don't know off hand how far it is from Stonehenge to the Himalayas, but
it only takes them bare moments to get there.

I guess this takes place in a different dimension of dreams than the one
ruled by Nightmare.

As a scientist, Yandroth seems to know just the place to take a date.

The behemoth resembles a gila monster in appearance.

As if a giant reptile is not enough of a threat, two viking warriors on
horseback are ready for some horseplay against the Master of the Mystic

Unfortunately for Doctor Strange, Yandroth has got an itchy
trigger-finger, and he's got his weapon aimed towards the mystic's back.

Steve Chung
"This Dream --- This Review!"