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Strange Tales 137
"When Meet The Mystic Minds!"


Written And Edited With Amazing Acumen By: STAN LEE

Plotted And Drawn With Artistic Aplomb By: STEVE DITKO

Letterered And Bordered With Ruler And Pen By: ARTIE SIMEK

Typed and Reviewed With Keyboard And Fingers By: STEVE CHUNG

(Originally Reviewed On 03/19/02)

Having failed to learn about the secret of "Eternity", the only way The Master of The Mystic Arts can aid his teacher, The Ancient One, is by probing his mind for the secret!

The Ancient One is in a coma, and Dr. Strange is preparing to learn the secret of Eternity in order to save his life! The attendant is concerned that any exertion will prove too much for The Ancient One, but The Master of The Mystic Arts knows that Dormammu and Baron Mordo must be defeated! The attendent recognizes that the decision is the disciple's to make, and makes haste, leaving Dr. Strange with his teacher.

The Ancient One is bathed in the light of the amulet, which will provide the energy he'll need to survive the ordeal, but in doing so, Dr. Strange knows that it will also help his teacher to resist the probe. As the light shines, a mental barrier begins to form, blocking the probe, but with continued concentration, The Master of The Mystic Arts is able to break through the barrier. Suddenly, he senses that The Ancient One's mind is changing tactics, and something begins to take shape... a blinding light flashing before his eyes...!

The mystic eye is blinded, and Dr. Strange must resort to telepathy, communicating with The Ancient One about the secret about Eternity, but receives no response. Such is his concentration, that The Master of The Mystic Arts fails to notice the mental mind trip which envelopes him, and begins to cloud his brain... for The Ancient One does not believe that it is his disciple before him...!

His amulet is the source of power which enables The Ancient One to resist, but Dr. Strange doesn't dare remove the light, for his teacher needs the vital energy. With his own strength, The Master of The Mystic Arts fights against the cloud, with minutes passing, and finally... the trap fades. Once his strength and mystic energy have been renewed, Dr. Strange begins again, only to experience another mind trap!

Surrounded by the mental weapon, The Master of The Mystic Arts experiences hallucinations, soon unable to tell what is real, a hoax, or imaginary. If he fails to pierce this mental attack, Dr. Strange will always prove victim to these illusions, even as he admires The Ancient One's power. In striving to regain his senses, The Master of The Mystic Arts concentrates his mind solely on The Ancient One...

He succeeds in overcoming the hallucinations, but they give him an idea about reaching The Ancient One. Dr. Strange now begins to send mental images of himself into The Ancient One's mind, and when he feels that he's about to fail, a ray begins to flow from The Ancient One's brow. Dr. Strange finds his features being probed, then opening his mind and mental defenses so that his teacher continue to probe him. Success! The Ancient One acknowledges him and greets him!

Dr. Strange praises the hosts of Hoggoth that he has succeeded in contacting The Ancient One, and his teacher has seen his experiences in the fight against Dormammu and Baron Mordo. His mind now at rest, The Ancient One's face breaks out into a smile, and now, he fills The Master of The Mystic Art's mind with the secret of contacting Eternity! Dr. Strange now has the secret he has sought, and gives his mentor a further burst of light energy from his amulet, as The Ancient One prepares to rest once more. Waiting outside, the attendent grows concerned for both men, and re-entering the sanctum, he sees Dr. Strange unconscious on the ground, and fears for The Ancient One...

Slowly, The Master of The Mystic Arts begins to rise from the floor, having recovered from the strain, and the attendent sees that The Ancient One is now more relaxed in his features, and is peaceful for the first time in weeks. The attendant turns and sees Dr. Strange about to leave, with time growing short and his most important task before him. The attendant wishes him well, as Dr. Strange soars via his cloak of levitation, determined to find a deserted spot where he can cast the spell. Atop a mountain peak, he begins what will be an indescribable journey, and repeats aloud the incantation placed in his mind by The Ancient One. The cloak yielding to the mountain winds, as Dr. Strange conjures, and words which are so potent, that O Smilin' Stan does not dare share them for the reader's review. With the shades of the seraphim, all he has commanded shall come to pass!

He watches as his amulet departs, growing in size as it floats before him. There is one thing left to do, as the amulet opens, and by the moons of munnopor, Dr. Strange enters most swiftly before the entrance fades from the mortal realm... The next moment finds a beam of light landing at the area where Dr. Strange had stood just a split-second ago! A voice curses its being late by one microsecond, and Baron Mordo knows that Dr. Strange has eluded him again, for only he could have cast such a powerful spell, which The Baron felt half a world away. The pursuit continues, and Mordo figures that he'll get closer, and soon, it will be he who will be triumphant... and when he does, Dr. Strange will be destroyed forever!

Dr. Strange and The Ancient One have a headache which even Excedrin can't dissipate.

Steve Ditko succeeds in making Dr. Strange's attempt to communicate with The Ancient One a dramatic one.

Stan covers Stephen Strange's resolve, as well as The Ancient One's pride in how his disciple aquitted himself against such fierce foes and odds.

Scarcely has he learned what he has sought, does Dr. Strange begin the spell which will bring him to Eternity.

Appearing in one panel, we see Baron Mordo and his frustration at being one step behind Dr. Strange, and his desire to prove himself his superior.

For ten pages and twelve cents, readers certainly do get their money's worth, as well as tales which surpass what arcs continue in today's books for months.