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Defenders, The #32: Review

Feb 1976
Steve Gerber, Sal Buscema

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Story Name:

Musical Minds!

Review & Comments

Rating:
5 stars

Defenders, The #32 Review by (July 13, 2021)

Review: The secret origin of Nighthawk? C’mon, we all know he’s Batman…but is he? Kyle Richmond is no Bruce Wayne: he’s a hot-headed troublemaker, refusing any type of discipline, mad at the world. But he’s also searching for a father figure. He also has a heart problem, which is Tony Stark not Bruce Wayne. And while Bruce put on the disguise as irresponsible playboy, Kyle was the real thing, until he received a potion that increased his strength by moonlight (wait, isn’t that also Moon Knight’s shtick?)

The other best part is the introduction of Ruby Thursday, named after a Rolling Stones song by someone who didn’t quite remember it. An incredibly shapely body with a head that looks like a red crystalline bowling ball capable of taking on any shape and extruding tentacles and a lot more besides. It takes a lot to be the weirdest member of a team that includes a dude with a gorilla body and a guy with saggy baggy skin and Ruby pulls off the look. And then on the last page, her head explodes….

Five stars for this issue because of these two superlative characters presented.

Comments: Part two of six parts. Title is a play on the game Musical Chairs in which players are frequently switching seats; here it is brains being switched. First appearance of Ruby Thursday, who becomes a regular member of the Headmen. Evangelist Kathryn Kuhlman (1907-1976) is mentioned. For some reason, none of the Defenders can recognize the marks of brain surgery on Nighthawk.





 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Defenders, The #32 Synopsis by Julio Molina-Muscara
To expel who's possessing Nighthawk's body, Son of Satan tries exorcism, Doctor Strange magic spells. But both techniques don't work. So Stephen uses his Eye of Agamotto to view the one behind all this. And Jack Norriss is the first to recognize him: Harvey Schlemerman, alias Chondu the Mystic, leader of the criminal team the Headmen. Thus Strange solves the puzzle: Bird Nose's brain has been transferred with Chondu's. Without much thought, Hulk, Valkyrie, Strange, and Norris (using Nighthawk's costume) rush towards the villains headquarters. Meanwhile, at the destination spot, Arthur Nagan introduces Shrunken Bones to the newest group addition: Ruby Thursday. She's able to duplicate somebody's face on her sphere-like head. But she is able to "mucho" more. When the superheroes arrive, she welcomes them disguised as Kathryn Kuhlman, and suddenly blasts her head generating anti-gamma radiation! The Defenders, even the Hulk, are knocked out! And while all that is happening, Nighthawk feels trapped in a crossroad, where Death itself sends birds to tear up his costume. Lost and desperate, he remembers the story of his life: always the rich kid, still very young saw his mother die after suffering an accident. Alone since then because his father was always travelling, he learn to fight in school against those who tried making fun of him. His behavior remained bad up to college, from where he was expelled for causing his girlfriend's death while driving drunk. And when the army tried to send him to war, they diagnosticated him with heart problems. To heal, the Grandmaster helped him find a serum that doubled his strength after sundown. Then the Nighthawk was born but on the path of crime working for the Squadron Sinister. Later he switched for the good cause joining the Defenders. But his life is still a mess and keeps on tearing apart.

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Hideth #1 comic

Sal Buscema
Jim Mooney


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)
Hulk
Hulk

(Bruce Banner)
Son of Satan
Son of Satan

(Daimon Hellstrom)
Valkyrie
Valkyrie

(Brunnhilda)

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

> Defenders, The: Book info and issue index

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