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Defenders, The #19: Review

Jan 1975
Len Wein, Sal Buscema

Story Name:


Review & Comments

4 stars


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Defenders, The #19 Synopsis by Fabian D'Souza
The Wrecker's accomplice- Thunderball- bawls that his gamma bomb is missing. Doctor Strange demands an explanation & Thunderball obliges him, saying that he deserves one before his untimely demise. He elucidates that many years ago, when he was a Nuclear Physicist called Dr. Franklin, he used the research of one Dr. Robert Bruce Banner, to create a palm- held gamma bomb that was ten times more powerful than Dr. Banner's version. He was working on the bomb in Caltech but finished it after joining Richmond Enterprises following which, he showed it to Pennysworth- Kyle Richmond's head man. The next day however, his bomb and research were missing. On questioning Pennysworth, he was told that all the work done by the employees on the company premises would belong to the company as stated in the contract, & because of this, the company patented the bomb in their name and not his. The lawyers then made a mockery of him in court, and he realized that he had no rights to his invention any longer. He then acted impulsively by trying to steal the bomb from the company, but was inevitably stopped & shot at, before dropping the bomb into some molten steel. Later, he discovered that the foundation of 3 Richmond enterprise buildings were going to be constructed using that very same steel. Thunderball further explains that that was why he had destroyed the buildings. He says that now he has found the container minus the bomb which implies that someone has already beaten him to the chase. Doctor Strange advises Thunderball to create a tracking device to locate the bomb. Thunderball agrees to do so and tells Doctor Strange not to worry about it since he's going to die anyway. Wrecker then orders his crew to attack and Piledriver easily knocks out Nighthawk and Doctor Strange, while Bulldozer butts Powerman from behind. Wrecker whacks Hulk out cold with his mystical bar. After the brawl, they scurry off to find the bomb.

When the Defenders finally awake, they are surrounded by cops. Doctor Strange however temporarily wipes out the cops' memory, leaving the Defenders free to pursue the mystic trail left by Wrecker's bar. Upon reaching Harlem, the heroes are stopped by a frantic young boy. He explains to Powerman that when a group of hoodlums started trashing their Club on the pretext of searching for something, an adolescent with a baseball bat broke the apparatus of the Afro-American hoodlum (Thunderball) and then the situation drastically worsened. He implores them for their help and the heroes depart immediately, however failing to notice the small spherical object in the lad's hand.

Outside the club, the Defenders hear the mayhem. Hulk says that he doesn't like the notion of hoodlums assaulting kids and walks in, only to come straight through the wall. The others enter and Nighthawk and Powerman take on Bulldozer and Piledriver. Doctor Strange yells at everyone to brawl outside, since the kids could get hurt. Thunderball agrees that it could also cause the bomb, if it is there, to go off. Outside, Bulldozer charges at Nighthawk who just leaps over him, simultaneously attaching his jetpack to Bulldozer's back. Bulldozer is instantly sent shooting into the air only to come crashing down. Thunderball manages to hit Hulk with his wrecking ball and tries again but Hulk grabs and crushes the ball. Hulk then pulverizes Thunderball. Piledriver has Powerman pinned to the ground, and is about to deliver the coup de grace, but Powerman dodges and uses Piledriver's own impetus to flip him over. The fight has come down to Wrecker and Doctor Strange. Doctor Strange tells Wrecker to yield now and avoid the unpleasantness, but Wrecker just scoffs at him. He lunges at Doctor Strange but the wizard just catches the bar and causes the power to ricochet thus knocking out the Wrecker. Doctor Strange then says that the mystic bar is too powerful a weapon to be in the hands of the destructive and so, he teleports it to another dimension where it can't be misused. At that moment, Doctor Strange realizes that Thunderball tracked the bomb to this area, whereupon he is told by a kid that another kid had it before setting out to seek help. As Strange snatches the bomb from the kid, the countdown begins, but instinctively using the light of Aggamotto, he transforms Hulk into Banner who defuses the bomb just in the nick of time.

Later, Doctor Strange rejoices about having saved the entire city but is interrupted by Powerman who tells him that Richmond's building had still collapsed and that means his money goes down the drain. Doctor Strange tells Powerman to try and explain the reason to his hirer, but Powerman says that he would be crazy to try and explain to Pennysworth. He tells Doctor Strange that the next time the city needs to be saved, to count Powerman out.

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Sal Buscema
Dan Green


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)