Strange Tales #117: "The Many Traps Of Baron Mordo!"

Strange Tales #117
 "The Many Traps Of Baron Mordo!"
 February, 1964

 Story: Stan Lee
 Art: Steve Ditko
 Lettering: Sam Rosen

 Never one to admit defeat, Baron Mordo launches another audacious attack upon Doctor Strange and the Ancient One!

 Using a simple spell, Baron Mordo has created a miniature replica of Doctor Strange's home! When he repeats the spell slowly... a mystical mist covers the miniature model! At Baron Mordo's next command, this enchanted mist drifts out of the window... and into the night sky! The mist settles over the home of Doctor Strange! It penetrates every brick, every stone and wood and mortar, until it becomes part of the structure itself! It is done! The trap is set and Doctor Strange's home is under Baron Mordo's spell! Some time later, the tall stately figure of Doctor Strange walks through the streets of New York City... He is lost in thought and has no suspicion of what is awaiting him! Mordo watches his arch-enemy's every move with sinister glee... By entering his home, the master of black magic has just doomed himself!

 As the door shuts behind him... and the lights go on within the Sanctum Sanctorum... the entire structure wavers and faded from sight... How easy it was for Mordo to imprison Doctor Strange and as the building reappears again... it is alone in an unknown dimension! Within the Sanctum Sanctorum, the master of black magic finds himself weightless and helpless! He is not exactly helpless, for he still possesses his mystic amulet! Since the spell is too strong to be broken by his physical form, Doctor Strange uses his amulet to utilize his ethereal form! His enchanted amulet guides him to the source of this sudden occurrence!

 The astral form of Doctor Strange spots Baron Mordo and seeks to find a clue to the type of magical spell used to trap his physical body in the dark dimension! An ethereal cylinder drops from above, and imprisons his spirit form! This enchanted cylinder is escape-proof and Baron Mordo sees for himself how his traps have succeeded! Mordo's goal is the Ancient One, who has been their master, and with Doctor Strange out of the way, he is now without protection! Mordo's magical spell is too strong for the amulet to set him free! Doctor Strange will not give up and he is determined to find a way out of this trap!

 As the astral form of Doctor Strange strives to come up with a solution, Baron Mordo is halfway around the world, and is standing before the great doors which lead to the Ancient One's retreat! The former pupil has returned to beg his mentor's forgiveness! When he claims to have learned the folly of evil and has come to make amends for his past misdeeds, he is admitted entry! Now that he is inside, the rest shall be very easy! As he approaches his former teacher, Mordo begs to be taught how to be good like Doctor Strange! When the Ancient One bids him to approach, the Baron feigns the desire to be taught hwo to use the magic powers for the benefit of mankind, and gets closer!

 Mordo is close enough and has no need for further pretense! The old fool is surely doomed and to his surprise, the Ancient One stands unharmed by the magical spell! The image of the Ancient One wavers and Doctor Strange stands in his place! Baron Mordo's traps were not good enough! Realizing he could not break through the prison, his ethereal body was not stopped by the ground itself! It was a simple matter for the astral form of Doctor Strange to sink beneath the floor... to pass through the cellar itself... and down into the Earth's core...

 The further down he went... the weaker the magical spell became... until he finally emerged on the other side of the world, free of Mordo's trap! Doctor Strange was able to reach the Ancient One first! After explaining the danger, the master of black magic is given a ring that will enable him to do everything he would do in his physical form... so that he may battle Baron Mordo! The Ancient One is weary but permits his disciple to transform himself into his own image, and battle Mordo in his stead! Now that he knows what happened, Mordo is prepared to defeat him! He calls upon the shadowy shapes and dread powers of Dormammu to come to his aid! Doctor Strange calls upon his enchanted ring to shield himself from whatever Mordo hurls at him! "By the power of the Vishanti... in the name of the All-Seeing Ancient One... he summons all the forces of good... and focuses their power upon Mordo through the facets of this enchanted ring!"

 Baron Mordo finds the brightness appalling and no matter where he turns, the enchanted light bathes him in its brilliant glow! The power of good have banished Mordo and now, Doctor Strange gathers the Baron's sinister spells... and hurls them back to him, before he can conjure up further defenses! Mordo is taken by surprise... he is struck by the sheer force and fury of various magical spells he had sought to use on Doctor Strange... he is cast out of the Ancient One's home, in utter defeat! At that very moment, his spells are broken... and the Sanctum Sanctorum reappears in its proper place, and the master of black magic regains his physical form! In Tibet, the Ancient One ascends his dais, and settles upon the soft cushions of his seat... Every time Baron Mordo attacks, he grows stronger and more dangerous! The master of black magic tells his master not to fear! No matter how awesome Mordo's power becomes, he will devote his own life to defeating him! And so he has... so he has.

 This story was reprinted in Marvel Premiere #11 (October, 1973).

 It's nice to see that Doctor Strange lives in a safe neighborhood and one wonders what his fellow neighbors make of him.

 Before he became the Master of the Mystic Arts, he was the master of black magic.

 Mordo's plan is running on all cylinders, but Doctor Strange has gone to ground, and made his escape.

 The Baron is one former pupil who could use some time in detention.

 Mordo calls upon the Dread Dormammu and the master of black magic relies upon an enchanted ring to defeat his foe.

 The Baron is unable to bear the light... the light of the Gr... master of black magic.

 Steve Chung
 "The Many Reviews Of Baron Mordo!"