Strange Tales 167-168

Story: Dennis O’Neil, Dan Adkins

Art: Dan Adkins

The final two issues of Strange Tales featuring Dr. Strange! Denny O’Neil swoops in to land the current arc in a somewhat satisfying way and gets him ready for his solo title. Things pick up immediately where they left off with Dr. Strange returned to Earth and discovered that the Ancient One was not killed. He instead had entered some kind of dormant state where he could lend his strength to Dr. Strange and help him win against Zom. With the trail cold to find Yandroth and Victoria Bentley, their next move is to return to the Ancient One’s Sanctum Santorum for answers.

Dr. Strange carefully flies them both there and it is discovered the pair have entered the dread Dimension of Dreams! Not the one with Nightmare, a different one I guess. Strange makes an attempt to pull her out of the dimension but fails. The only choice he has is to enter it using a powerful convenient jewel and retrieve her.

Once in the dimension, he finds Yandroth and Victoria close to his entry point although the Dimension of Dreams seems to be very unstable and the path to them is not so clear. Yandroth is shocked, thinking that the dimension was only accessible through his science. He also explains that he had altered the teleporter device which explained why Strange went back to Earth. Before Strange can get any closer though things get crazy. A giant Godzilla looking monster and a few vikings on horses emerge from portals nearby distracting him. Using the opportunity, Yandroth lines up a killing shot with his gun and the issue ends.

When the next issue starts, Yandroth takes the shot but because of how unstable everything is he misses. Dr. Strange plummets to the regions below and Yandroth has now brought the attention of the lizard monster to him. In the chaos of that fight Victoria is separated while Strange regains his footing and climbs back up. Yandroth kills the monster with a shot from his gun and Dr. Strange uses that distraction as an opportunity to cast a spell that replicates himself.

The tactic works and the Cloak of Levitation is used to bind Yandroth. While Strange is trying to get him to surrender, Victoria screams in the distance. The vikings have found her and are chasing after her. Yandroth starts to slowly regain some of his mobility and begins to grab his pistol. With no time to spare, Strange makes the difficult decision to drop Yandroth to the seemingly bottomless pits below for all eternity so that he can go after Victoria.

The sacrifice was worth it though as he is able to use his cloak and reach Victoria just in time before the vikings can close in and kill her. I was amused that the vikings made such little sense that there is an editor note explaining the backstory for them. They apparently are only illusions but believe they are real and so in this world where time has gone made they are. I would love a miniseries about these crazed warriors and the adventures they go on in the Dimension of Dreams.

With the last of the Ancient One’s strength, he is able to pull both Dr. Strange and Victoria back to earth using the convenient jewel. This storyline really was all over the place. It felt like Denny came onboard to just get it across the finish line and reset the status quo a bit. I still have no idea who Victoria Bentley is after all these issues and now that she is safe hopefully more will be explained. I will say that Dan Adkins did a great job with the art for these issues. Things didn’t make much sense but it was pretty on the eyes. I’m really excited to get a fresh start with Roy Thomas writing consistently in Dr. Strange’s first solo title.

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