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Defenders, The #25: Review

Jul 1975
Steve Gerber, Sal Buscema

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Story Name:

The Serpent Sheds Its Skin!

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Defenders, The #25 Review by (April 21, 2021)

Review: The four-part Sons of the Serpent arc ends on a satisfying note, a bunch of obnoxious people getting beaten up. Among the interesting notes is that a wealthy Black man (J.C. Pennysworth) can identify with them more than others of his race for pride and economics. Also startling is the group of working class white men who, although the Serpents assumed they would be sympathetic to their cause, most definitely are not. A double reminder that bigots and fanatics come in many colors and classes and no one group can be exclusively identified with hate. The most interesting bit is the introduction of the Elf with a Gun—it’s just a teaser but a pretty cool one.

Comments: Part four of four parts. J.C. Pennysworth debuted in issue #15 and following; he returns in issues #32 and 36. This is the first time we see his face and discover he is African American; his veiled appearance in #15 clearly showed his hand as Caucasian; peach-colored gloves? First appearance of Elf with a Gun who will return in issues #31, 38, 40, and 46. GIANT-SIZE DEFENDERS #5 follows this issue.





 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Defenders, The #25 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

As the Defenders race to save Valkyrie from execution by the Sons of the Serpent, Son of Satan and Luke Cage are diverted by Clea to emerge from the Eye of Agamotto worn by Doctor Strange. They find themselves in the secret undersea prison where Strange and co. have been held by the bad guys. Hellstrom and Cage free Strange and Nighthawk and link up with Yellowjacket who had managed to free himself. Hellstrom is able to use his powers to locate the secret exit and they depart….

Meanwhile, Valkyrie is hung upon an inverted cross in a public square while Hulk and Daredevil battle the Sons of the Serpent. Hulk has been blinded and DD captured. The baddies are about to set fire to Val’s cross when Jack Norriss comes to her rescue, struggling with a Serpent. This spurs several onlookers to action, deciding that the Serpents are the kind of extremists they don’t need. DD joins in the battle, Hulk’s sight returns, the Serpents flee, the team heads back to the Sanctum Sanctorum….

The group escaping the undersea prison comes out of the tunnel into a plush office. Nighthawk recognizes it: it is the office of his business adviser, J.C. Pennysworth, who has been funding the Sons of the Serpent with Kyle Richmond’s money. An angry Nighthawk heads out followed by the others….

Interlude: A young couple in a California mobile home park hear a knock at their door one evening. The husband answers the knock to see an Elf with a Gun—who then shoots the man….

The Defenders find that Val has been rescued so the enraged Nighthawk heads to the home of J.C. Pennysworth, smashing through a window, unmasking and demanding Pennysworth explain himself—he is African America like the targets of the Sons of the Serpent. Pennysworth explains that he feels no kinship with his people, having fought to rise above their level. He also assumed that Kyle, who trusted JCP to invest his money with no questions asked, would not object to any investments so long as they made money. Nighthawk takes JCP to meet with the other Defenders. When Luke Cage sees that JCP is a Black man he goes berserk and has to be restrained from hitting the man a second time. JCP reveals the location of the Serpents’ secret base—it is under the building burned down earlier. The Defenders and their guests invade the place, beat them all up, and Nighthawk, blaming himself for not paying attention, flies off alone to battle his conscience….


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Hideth #1 comic

Sal Buscema
Jack Abel
Petra Goldberg
Gil Kane (Cover Penciler)
? (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Ray Holloway.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Daredevil
Daredevil

(Matt Murdock)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)
Hulk
Hulk

(Bruce Banner)
Luke Cage
Luke Cage

(Power Man)
Son of Satan
Son of Satan

(Daimon Hellstrom)
Valkyrie
Valkyrie

(Brunnhilda)

Plus: Defenders, Jack Norriss (Jackson Norriss), Nighthawk, Sons of the Serpent.

> Defenders, The: Book info and issue index

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