DOCTOR STRANGE #175-178 and AVENGERS #61 (1968-1969): 1st Satannish

In these issues, we see Gene Colan experimenting more and more with the kind of elaborate page designs that Jim Steranko was innovating.  Steranko truly changed comics—but his style doesn’t always translate.  The splash page to #176, which has the titular character interacting with the title sequence, is one of the better examples.  Other places in these books the design becomes distracting—and doesn’t match up well with the otherworldliness of Strange’s stories.  Not terrible, but not terribly good.

Also, the Doc gets a new costume…

As for the story: A cult called the Sons of Sattanish go after Doctor Strange and steal the Book of The Vashanti, so that they can raise the demon Sattanish.

Strange gets the help of minor magicker Victoria Bentley and the new Black Knight.

The cult members escape.

They pursue members of the cult to the 6th Dimension, home of Tiboro.

All of this is just sidetrips to the main event.

Dr. Strange teams up with the Avengers and crosses over into their comic.

After defeating him by smashing his magic wand, they return to Earth and hook up with The Avengers, after Satannish brings in Surtur (fire) and Ymir (ice).

Of course the interdimensional villain set in motion a way to destroy Earth.  Before Strange arrives at the Mansion with Black Knight, Black Panther is recharging Vision.

This brief sequence reflects some of the greatness of Roy Thomas’ run.  We learn about Vision here, first of all, which is always cool.   He’s solar powered!  I don’t think we knew that before now.  Also, it’s Black Panther who figures it out–Black Panther is a scientist and a techie with smarts comparable to Tony Stark.  Who else was writing about black men in mainstream culture in this way?  Nobody, I think.

Anyway, Strange connects with the above Avengers (Hank and Jan are “on their honeymoon” so they don’t appear in this story) and they save the world.

By splitting up and half fighting the fire threat and the other the ice giant.

I don’t think “By the Snows of Kilimanjaro!” is really a thing people say.

That’s about it.

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