Strange Tales #135: "Eternity Beckons!"

Strange Tales #135
 "Eternity Beckons!"
 August, 1965

 Written And Edited By Marvel's Mystical Madman:STAN LEE
 Plotted And Illustrated By Fandom's Favorite Fiend: STEVE DITKO
 Lettered And Bordered By Comicdom's Cuddlesome Conjurer: SAM ROSEN
 Reviewed And Revered By Facebook Friend Fanatic: STEVE CHUNG

 The story thus far... As the Ancient One lies ill and infirm in Tibet, his disciple begins a desperate search for the meaning of "Eternity," the one word repeated over and over by his aged mentor in his delirium! Even as the Master of the Mystic Arts conducts his search, the evil Baron Mordo is ever present...

 Following his own intuition, Doctor Strange disembarks from a trans-atlantic jet at London Airport... He must be on guard every moment! Baron Mordo's agents are sure to be searching for him everywhere! Doctor Strange did not expect to find an agent so soon! A man turns from him as soon as the light revealed the Master of the Mystic Art's face! Even at this distance, he can sense the evil aura surrounding him! Pretending to stumble into him, the agent turns, and then... he gazes into Doctor Strange's eyes! His will is the Master of the Mystic Arts' will! He is a servant of Mordo! After giving the agent a memory block, Doctor Strange doubles his vigilance, and continues on his way! The agent cannot recall what he is doing at the airport! That evening, the Master of the Mystic Arts arrives at his destination, a lone castle overlooking a foggy moor... Sir Baskerville dwells in yonder castle! He had been a servant of Baron Mordo until he met with an accident and now lives in seclusion! There is a chance that Sir Baskerville knows the meaning of... Eternity! As Sir Baskerville greets him and offers a spot of tea, Doctor Strange insists that his own time is limited and his business is of the utmost urgency!

 When the Master of the Mystic Arts mentions Eternity, Sir Baskerville insists that he can be of help, and will search for an ancient scroll in his possession! Doctor Strange notes that Sir Baskerville seems almost too anxious to help! He must see this through and learn the secret of Eternity! With this, he will be able to save the Ancient One and defeat his arch-foe, Mordo! If only he could learn where the Baron gained his newfound power and who he now serves...! At that moment, in the Dark Dimension, the Dread Dormammu seeks the identity of the one who released the Mindless Ones! By using a simple mystic spell, the Dread One recreates an event which has taken place within the borders of his dimension! He witnesses the girl who tried to befriend Doctor Strange when he last entered the Dark Dimension!

 The girl uses a power drainer to weaken the enclosure holding the Mindless Ones! The image vanishes and Dormammu has seen enough! The girl will pay for her betrayal and Doctor Strange will pay for challenging the Dread One's power! He must plan his vengeance carefully, for their fate must be dire... Sir Baskerville stands in a musty scroll room, in communication with his master via mystic telepathy! Mordo is informed that the time to strike is now! Since he is unable to contact Dormammu, the Baron savors the power that continues to seep through to him... strengthening him for the upcoming battle!

 As Mordo remains to bask in the glow of power from the Dark Dimension, he dispatches once of his servants to Baskerville's castle! "By the Seven Rings Of Raggadorr... By Cyttorak's Crimson Bands... I send thee through the unseen door... Go Thou where my spell commands!" The follower is now converted into shimmering light which spans the globe... and reforms with a soul-shattering brilliance! Mordo speaks to Baskerville through his follower's lips! Doctor Strange must not escape and Baskerville will distract him while Mordo enters from behind! As Baskerville announces that he has found the scroll, the Master of the Mystic Arts insists that the scroll be brought to him to be tested for its authenticity!

 Mordo strikes! His target is not the Master of the Mystic Arts but an illusion! Baskerville sees a suit of armor moving slightly! It appears that Doctor Strange has made a fatal mistake! The armor is not proof against a mystic spell and yet the armored figure continues to escape from the room! Nothing could possibly withstand the force being hurled against him... a force backed by the power of the Dread Dormammu himself!

 As the armored figure burst through the door, his steps appear to falter, and passes through a doorway! When Mordo's follower pursues him, he is stopped dead in his track by a punch to the mid-section! WHOK! As the follower loses consciousness, Mordo's image vanishes from sight! Back in his sanctum, the Baron is at a loss to understand what has happened, and summons evil spirits to appear at once!

 These spirits are to be Mordo's eyes! He must learn what has happened before he can act once more! As the spirits move slowly with caution, Doctor Strange probes the follower's memory with the Eye of Aggamotto! He learns Mordo has been receiving his extra power from the Dread Dormammu! When asked by the Mystic Arts about Eternity, Baskerville admits that he knows nothing! He hated the Ancient One because he could not heal his injured hand and wanted to strike back at him! Mordo promised Baskerville to restore his hand if he would strike back at the Ancient One through his disciple! Having learned what he had sought, the Master of the Mystic Arts reveals to Baskerville that Mordo lied to him and that it is beyond the power of sorcery to heal his hand!

 Doctor Strange removes his cloak of levitation from the suit of armor to make Mordo think he was inside of it! He must do the unexpected once more by facing the approaching spirits! The next moment finds the spirits' advance halted by the Master of the Mystic Arts who calls out to them in the name of the Eternal Vishanti...! He claims complete control over their minds and their thoughts! No other command may supercede his own! The thought he gives them will become their own! Doctor Strange has fled to the netherworld! Seek him out there! Thanks to the element of surprise, the Master of the Mystic Arts has saved himself from Mordo's legions! They will waste precious time searching in vain!

 As the spirits enter the netherworld, Baron Mordo wonders why he cannot regain contact with Baskerville! He decides to go to the castle in person! He is now armed with as much of Dormammu's power as he can handle! Before the Baron can reach his destination... Doctor Strange sense he has won this encounter and out-maneuvered his arch-foe at every turn! This victory is not truly a victory, for he has failed in uncovering the meaning of "Eternity"! Seconds after the Master of the Mystic Arts has vanished into the misty seacoast, a shimmering light reaches the lone castle... Baron Mordo realizes his failure to trap his foe! His search begins anew, but his power grows stronger with each passing moment! The next time, the triumph must belong to him! For Mordo can never rest until Doctor Strange exists no more! As the mists close over the foggy seacoast, and the words of the evil one are lost to the murmuring midnight breeze... we have reached... The End.

 The riddle of Eternity beckons and the Master of Mystic Arts must harken to solve the puzzle.

 Yonda lies da castle of Baskerville.

 Doctor Strange may find the fireplace warm, but a fiery rage consumes the Dread Dormammu who seeks the identity of the one who betrayed him in the Dark Dimension.

 The Mindless Ones escaped from their prison in Strange Tales #134.

 Tony Stark uses armor to preserve his life as Iron Man.

 Doctor Strange beat Mordo's follower to the punch, but Mordo managed to keep up his spirits in the meantime.

 Ironically, Stephen Strange once sought out the Ancient One in order to heal his hands which were no longer steady enough to perform delicate surgical procedures.

 Victor Von Doom once sought to communicate with the netherworld, only to have his experiment blow up in his face.

 Steve Chung
 "Eternity Reviews!"