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Defenders, The #22: Review

Apr 1975
Steve Gerber, Sal Buscema

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Story Name:

Fangs Of Fire And Blood!

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Defenders, The #22 Review by (April 18, 2010)
Here, a conversation about class became one about racism, which took a twist at the end of the arc and became again about class, wealth, and conscience. Whether an artist actually has a didactic function in relation to the audience, you're welcome to debate; as a conscientious human being, perhaps it is incumbent upon the artist to express her/his self through the prism of one's values, though that may not clearly manifest in fulfilling commercial assignments.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Defenders, The #22 Synopsis by C Lue Disharoon
The Valkyrie---as Barbara Norriss---walks lost in thought about her recently discovered human identity, through the filthy lower Manhattan streets. Her reverie ends when she finds two men in a knife fight, which she disrupts. When they remain violent, she draws Dragonfang, hung invisibly at her side, triggering the appearance of her costume through a spell. Her speech to the fleeing men is interrupted by a scream, leading Valkyrie to charge into a tenement to investigate.

There, a poor woman named Elena desperately tries to remove a huge rat from her baby's crib, which Val does with ease, swiftly. However, Elena's plight and bitterness trouble her, and compassionately, she takes the woman and child to Dr. Strange's Sanctorum.

The upper East Side of Manhattan finds Kyle Richmond, a.k.a. Nighthawk, brooding at a fashionable party, still upset over his missing and badly injured former love Trish Starr, to the consternation of well-meaning Ginny. They are interrupted by sleazy developer Harold Holliman, whose offers are rejected upfront by the disinterested Richmond. "Take it up with Pennyworth," he says, referring to his trustee. He kisses Ginny goodbye cordially and takes a taxi to Strange's Sanctorum in the Village, where he soon arrives upon Wong serving Ms. Elena tea, and Clea playing with her baby in the presence of a placid Hulk. Valkyrie and Stephen discuss exploring Elena's plight and legal recourse in the morning, while a mysterious figure stares into the window. Richmond's arrival frightens him away. Val then begins to fill Kyle in on her slum experience.

Flash to the aforementioned slum, where the Sons of the Serpent firebomb the same tenement, at the cost of an elderly blind man's life inside.

The assembled Defenders arrive too late. Harold Holliman turns out to be the slumlord of the burning building; his accusation to the black tenants, of arson, starts a riot, nearly at the expense of his own life!

Strange and Nighthawk intervene, at the moment the Serpents return to finish their terrorism. Their racially tinged screed upsets the Hulk, who is not white, but green, therefore prompting him to smash the street and hurtle the terrorists off their feet. All the Defenders join the fray, save for Strange, attempting in vain to be the voice of reason. Animating a hose with a spell, he breaks up the fight. The Serpents flee, promising retribution.

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Hideth #1 comic

Sal Buscema
Mickey Demeo
Stan Goldberg

Editor: Len Wein.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)
Hulk
Hulk

(Bruce Banner)
Valkyrie
Valkyrie

(Brunnhilda)

Plus: Hildegarde (Hildegarde), Nighthawk, Sons of the Serpent.

> Defenders, The: Book info and issue index

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