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Strange Tales 133
"A Nameless Land, A Timeless Time!"


Strange Is This Script By: STAN LEE!

Awesome Is This Art By: STEVE DITKO!

Lilting Is This Lettering By: S. ROSEN!

Raving Is This Review By: STEVE CHUNG!

(Originally Reviewed On 03/08/02)

In battle with the mystical power of Baron Mordo and The Dread Dormammu, The Master of The Mystic Arts finds himself falling through dimensions in the aftermath of this impossible fight!

With Dr. Strange gone from the earthly dimension, Baron Mordo roars in triumph, reveling in the moment of having slain Stephen Strange, and anticipating the time when The Ancient One will fall at his hand, leaving him as the mightiest mage on Earth, but The Dread One knows that Mordo's boasts are for naught, for Dr. Strange has survived their fight, and is alive! Mordo is in disbelief, for he saw Strange disappear, but Dormammu knows better, that Dr. Strange called upon his remaining strength to send himself out of his own dimension! Mordo bids Dormammu to increase his power so that he can pursue Dr. Strange, but The Dread One knows that many are the dimensions into which The Master of The Mystic Arts could have fallen into, and his will be a waiting game, for at some time or another, he will return... if he has survived his trip! Ending his link with Mordo, Dormammu has ordered Mordo to remain where he is, while Clea has overheard his plans of avenging himself for his humiliating defeat by Dr. Strange. She weeps and wishes that she could communicate with Stephen Strange, but it is unknown where he has gone...

While Clea contemplates what must have happened, a speeding form is crashing through countless dimensions, powered by a mystical spell, causing potential obstacles to yield before it, and finally, with the force of the spell expended, the living being finds itself in a nameless land... a timeless time, and Dr. Strange reforms... at the end of this bizarre passage, then opens his eyes once again! In using the sheer power of Mordo's spells, he was able to use it to send himself to a different dimension, but then wonders, what new threats may greet him now? Sensing another person nearby, he turns and sees a woman, who is clearly alarmed and fearful. She urges him to return from whence he came, for there is great danger if he stays!

Her half-sister rules this dimension and has declared death for all visitors, to which the peaceful Dr. Strange can scarcely believe, but the ruler known as Shazana is aware how her subjects fear and hates her, how they will one day revolt, and so, she seeks out potential spys who may be trying to overthrow her. If Shazana finds him, it will mean his very life! A guard aboard a winged creature has already found them and both are caught within a lighted circle of mystical force! Stephen Strange now knows that in this dimension, the mystic arts are also practiced, and he is now aware that his spell would send him to such a domain. Hearing this, the girl hopes that he'll use his magic to defeat Shazana. Dr. Strange and the girl are brought to the presence of Shazana, who is unimpressed by the stranger's claim of being on a peaceful visit, and believes that her half-sister brought him here for her to regain the throne!

The girl grows fearful, while Dr. Strange realizes that in this alien world, some things remain familiar, such as this power struggle, and Shazana prepares to dispose of them with a spell! Weakened from his journey, The Master of The Mystic Arts seeks to fight back, using the remainder of his strength to dissolve Shazana's spell! Realizing that he is a sorceror, Shazana is now on her guard, while the girl urges him to flee, Dr. Strange knows that flight is useless against a mystical spell, as Shazana perceives his weakness. Dr. Strange has been weakened by his fight and flight,.and needs time to recuperate. Aware that Shazana is toying with him and that she believes him to be no threat, Dr. Strange feigns weakness so that she'll be unaware how truly powerful he will be after he has rested.

Seeing such a weak opponent, Shazana decides to let him live, while urging her half-sister not to aid him. Since they pose no threat to her, she has allowed them to live, showing her subjects that she can be merciful, sending her half-sister to her room. Shazana casts a spell to render Dr. Strange helpless, intending to place him on public display, but by surreptiously using the powers of the vishanti, he is able to conjure a distraction. One of Shazana's guards informs her that her citizens have come with gifts for her, which pleases her, as she leaves her prisoner to ponder his imminent fate. Once she has left, Dr. Strange seeks to send out his astral form, but is too weak. He continues to regain his strength in the time she has gone, and knows that he must return to his own dimension, where the threat of Baron Mordo is ever-present.

In the Tibetan Mountains, The Ancient One's servant continues to watch over him, and listens as the elder agonizes over being unable to aid his pupil, before succumbing to a coma. In the other dimension, Dr. Strange regains his strength, and sees the pet of Shazana before him. Using the hoary hosts of Hoggoth, he renders the beast immobile, while the eye of Aggamotto probes his mind for possible hints of Shazana's weaknesses. He sees Shazana learning the mystic arts...

Then, having gained the power she sought, Shazana slew her teacher, and concealed the source of her new-found power within the royal throne. She was then able to overthrow her half-sister and take the throne. Dr. Strange has received the greatest power of all... the gift of knowledge, and he knows what he must do, with the aid of the eye, he begins his search. The eye cannot be seen or detained unless he wills it, and in her room, Shazana's half-sister receives instructions from Dr. Strange. Meeting him once more, she hears that he can defeat Shazana, and for her to call those who she can trust in ending her tyranny.

When the others arrive, Dr. Strange demonstrates his ability to float via his cloak of levitation, with which he'll silently arrive in the throneroom, while they make certain that Shazana is not warned. Inside the throne room, Shazana grows bored with the paltry tributes she has received, and sends the emissaries away with a spell, so that they may return with even more treasure. Shazana heads off to deal with her prisoner, while Dr. Strange assures the girl that both of them are protected by a spell of concealment. Shazana has learned that Dr. Strange has escaped, then heads for the throneroom, where she'll be at full power. Inside the throne room, the amulet has found the mystical globe which is the source of Shazana's power, just as she returns!

Shazana casts a spell to prevent them from reaching the globe, but Dr. Strange's spell is the one which succeeds in destroying her source of power... FOREVER!! With the globe gone, Shazana is now powerless, and her half-sister is once again the rightful ruler, with their people now able to live in peace and freedom again. Shazana's defeat has unhinged her mind, and the girl wonders what has happened to Dr. Strange, even as The Master of The Mystic Arts has harnessed the power of the globe to make his return to his own dimension...

Holy Jackson Pollock, Batman! Steve Ditko's renderings of Dr. Strange's trip between dimensions are so powerful, that ye reader is reaching for his air sick bag.

Holy See It Now, Batman! Dr. Strange and Dormmamu use their mystical abilities to communicate with their allies in a most unique manner. I'm sure that Edward R. Murrow would have approved.

This story has Dr. Strange meeting another nameless girl in a different dimension

Shazana reminds me of an early version of Umar.

Those Ditko fashions and furnishings certainly stand out. A Ditko pet shop would interesting to see.

In Strange Tales #181 (August, 1975), Jim Starlin, Len Wein, Al Milgrom, and Tom Orzechowski paid tribute to Ditko's drawings of other dimensions. The story was titled, "1000 Clowns!"