Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Marvels: Strange Tales #109

"The Sorcerer and Pandora's Box" by Stan Lee, Robert Bernstein, Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers
(June 1963)

Well, another compressed Bernstein script, so you know, things just happen. The villain here is an eccentric old guy who lives in the Torch's neighborhood in a big, remote house. I have no idea why everyone just calls this guy "the Sorcerer," like that's an appropriate name for a recluse, but Robert Bernstein scripted it, so it's not like you're going to get an explanation. He's just eccentric and reclusive; eh, let's call him "the Sorcerer."

Anyway, the Sorcerer is sick of the neighborhood kids harassing him and sets his dogs on them, and after a harsh talking-to from the Human Torch, he just decides, eh, time for revenge on society. And the instrument of his revenge? Pandora's Box. Which is a real thing, which the Sorcerer just happens to have because it just happened to be unwittingly be sent to him with a shipment of antiques from Greece, because you know what, why the fuck not, guys, huh? Why not just have Pandora's Box be a real thing that just was sitting around in a room somewhere and accidentally sent to a collector in Glenville? Why not? Just go with it.

And hey, if you have access to Pandora's Box, what else would you do with it but commit crimes? Not even "make myself ruler of the world" crimes, but just robbing banks and stealing furs and jewelry and stuff. Because why not, man? Right? Just why not?

And then the Human Torch tricks him and welds the box shut and then it's over. No one cares.

Stray notes:

:: Boy, Fantastic Four really was the melding of two true talents, wasn't it? Because the FF makes a brief appearance here, and the Bernstein-scripted banter is no where near as unique or well-written as it is when Stan Lee writes it. If anything, this serves as a valuable example of that.

:: The best thing in this story is the various Kirby Monster representations of the evils in Pandora's Box. I don't care about the story at all, but the Kirby Monsters? Excellent. In addition to the one above, there are nine more.

Fantastic stuff. The rest of the issue's a total wash.

Next time: More Bernstein, more Commies, and also Iron Man.


Carl said...

Are you using Strange Tales critiques as a palette cleanser?

SamuraiFrog said...

I have to; there's no meat there!