Doctor Strange #171-174 (1968)

What starts in issue #171 as a serviceable tale about the search for Clea ends up being a showcase for Gene Colan’s artwork in #s 172 and 173.  I mean, look at how beautiful that splash page is compared to the workmanlike art in #171…

Anyway, the Doc learns that Clea is still alive and goes on a quest to find her, where he find Dormammu is waiting for him.  Turns out, Infinity didn’t kill the dread flame-head (in Strange Tales #14—he just banished him to the same place Clea was sent to in Strange Tales #155.

Dormammu teams up with his sister Umar, but Strange is still able to overcome them, and free Clea.

This is the first time Clea comes to Earth.

And as soon as she gets here, it’s clear she and Strange have the hots for each other!

Overall, these issues are much better than most of the Doc Strange issues before them.  Let’s hope we’re looking at an upward arc.  Because a lot of the time reading these books has been pure torture.

Creators: Roy Thomas (script) and Tom Palmer (pencils #171), Gene Colan (pencils #172-173)
Grade: B-.  Above average books, made even better by Gene Colan’s artwork.

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