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Defenders, The #31: Review

Jan 1976
Steve Gerber, Jim Mooney

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Story Name:

Nighthawk's Brain!

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Defenders, The #31 Review by (July 7, 2021)

Review: Oddball hero team versus oddball villain team? That’s what this series was made for, baby! Dr. Strange versus a mediocre magician is an offbeat source of drama here, even one having had his brain transplanted into their friend without leaving a mark! That’s some accomplished surgery for a dude with gorilla hands! And Nighthawk has nightmares about grabby women, Valkyrie discovers the existence of plush animals, and Hulk supplies the “Scenes We’d Like to See” entry for Disney’s BAMBI! And then there’s the Elf with a Gun, one of the great oddball Marvel mysteries! For sheer crazy fun, this title is a joy. And there’s more madness to come!

Comments: Part one of six parts. The Headmen as a group were introduced in issue #21. Second appearance of Elf with a Gun who will return in issues #38, 40, and 46 (first was in #25). Hulk has seen BAMBI.





 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Defenders, The #31 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Nighthawk is having a nightmare, involving women’s arms clutching at him, upheavals of nature, and the appearance of Trish Starr, mourning her missing arm. He crashes into a tree, having zoned out while in flight and a mystery villain shoots him with a tranquilizer gun, knocking him out….

Jack Norriss has taken Valkyrie, who inhabits his wife’s body, to Coney Island, hoping to rekindle some of Barbara’s memories. But Val doesn’t comprehend the point of the amusements and she destroys the strength testing machine, compelling them to flee. And she keeps reminding him that she is no longer his wife….

In the Ozarks, Hulk comes upon a doe and its fawn…but then hunters shoot the deer, sending Hulk into a rage that they killed Bambi’s mother. He wraps a rifle around one guy’s neck and skips the other one over the surface of the lake like a stone. Hulk wants to care for the orphaned fawn and heads to New York to find Doctor Strange for advice….

Nighthawk awakens in the lair of the Headmen, as Gorilla-Man explains to Shrunken Bones (and to the reviving hero) that their new scheme involves capturing the Defenders—and to that end he will be transplanting the brain of Chondu the Mystic into Nighthawk’s head. As for Nighthawk’s brain? Who knows?

Interlude: a couple who have lost all their money gambling in Las Vegas board a taxi whose driver turns out to be a disguised Elf with a Gun—who shoots them down….

Hulk arrives in New York and immediately encounters the re-minded Nighthawk and leads him to the Sanctum Sanctorum. Wong alerts his master to the arrival of guests as Val and Jack return as well. Believing he’s hit the jackpot, Chondu-Hawk paralyzes them all with a spell and heads back to the Headmen’s lair. But Chondu is a pretty lame magician and Strange frees them all easily and they pursue their teammate’s impostor. In a battle in the air, Chondu-Hawk drains the strength of all of the heroes but Strange. They take refuge on a rooftop while Strange pulls his foe into another dimension where he easily defeats the mystery magician. Returning to the rooftop, they unmask the impostor and are shocked to see the face of Kyle Richmond after all….


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Hideth #1 comic

Jim Mooney
Jim Mooney
Petra Goldberg
Gil Kane (Cover Penciler)
Frank Giacoia (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Layouts: Sal Buscema. Letterer: Ray Holloway.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)
Hulk
Hulk

(Bruce Banner)
Valkyrie
Valkyrie

(Brunnhilda)

Plus: Chondu the mystic (Harvey Schlemerman), Defenders, Gorilla-Man (Arthur Nagan), Headmen, Jack Norriss (Jackson Norriss), Nighthawk (Kyle Richmond), Shrunken Bones (Jerold Morgan).

> Defenders, The: Book info and issue index

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