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Defenders, The #34: Review

Apr 1976
Steve Gerber, Sal Buscema

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Story Name:

I Think We're All Bozos In This Book!

Review & Comments

Rating:
3 stars

Defenders, The #34 Review by (February 15, 2010)
The Headmen are definitely among the Defenders' weirdest, most offbeat and surreal villains, and that's saying a lot for a book designed to be weird, offbeat and surreal from the start.

Review by Peter Silvestro: The mind of a hapless goof in the body of a superhero carrying his own brain in an open bowl, being attacked by a vengeful fawn with the mind of a sideshow magician. Yes, Defenders at is best. And a godlike alien takes on the form of a nerdy chem professor to hold a consciousness-raising seminar where all the attendees are turned into clowns while he abuses them verbally—but it’s all for Earth’s own good, of course. And the biggest revelation: those monologues that characters are frequently spouting in comics really are spoken out load, as Dr. Strange scolds Valkyrie for not yet having learned to keep on the interior. I love this comic.

Additional Comments by Peter Silvestro: Part four of six parts. The original Bozo was a clown character created by Alan W. Livingston in 1946; Larry Harmon purchased the rights to the character in 1956 and marketed it widely, franchising Bozo as a children’s program to local television stations across the USA; the name has passed into the language as a synonym for “fool” or “idiot,” and is so used here.   






 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Defenders, The #34 Synopsis by Harold Holt
Nebulon, The Celestial Man, explains how he met the Ludberdites to Nighthawk, apparently unaware that Nighthawk's body is inhabited by the mind of Jack Norriss. After listening to the space man's deluded plans, Nighthawk is teleported to an unfamiliar world full of unfamiliar people and one very angry fawn, a fawn that houses the mind of Chondu the Mystic, the result of one of Dr. Strange's spells.

Meanwhile on Earth, the Defenders leave behind the wreckage of the Headmen's headquarters and are quickly teleported back to Doctor Strange's sanctum. While Strange mystically searches for any trace of Jack Norriss or Kyle Richmond, Hulk grows impatient and leaves, anxious to find "Bambi," (the name he has given to the fawn).

Soon after, a meteor crashes in Times Square, and out of its smoldering wreckage steps a timid-looking, bespectacled bald guy in a suit & tie. The little bald guy starts spouting a barrage of 'new age' rhetoric that immediately captivates the surrounding crowd. The Hulk, who happens to fly over at that moment, has an immediate and instinctual dislike of the harmless-looking man. He lands and launches an attack. The man transforms into Nebulon and effortlessly repels the Hulk. With the green goliath out of the way, Nebulon again becomes the little bald guy and continues to enchant the crowd with mystic rhetoric, boasting that he can teach them all how to unlock their own "celestial" power. He hands out pamphlets, one of which is discovered by the Hulk upon his return. Convinced that Nebulon has "taken Bambi," the Hulk takes the pamphlet to Dr. Strange.

Meanwhile in the nameless dimension, Nighthawk (Jack Norris) and several others all find themselves growing ill and lethargic. Back on Earth, Dr. Strange, Valkyrie and The Hulk (while cloaked in one of Strange's spells of illusion to appear human) enter the hotel where Nebulon (in the guise of the little bald guy) is giving his seminar on releasing one's celestial power. What follows is an absurd sequence where the audience is made to wear clown masks while the little bald guy callously berates them. So vicious is this verbal assault that it arouses Dr. Strange's suspicions. Having recognized Strange's face, Nebulon reveals his true form. Simultaneously, the team spots Nighthawk and the fawn among the crowd of Nebulon's captives.

The Defenders reveal themselves, and a fight ensues where the Defenders take their lumps. Suddenly the fawn's eyes start to glow; both Nebulon and the baby deer are whisked away by Chondu's magic. Dr. Strange manages to shield Nighthawk/Jack Norris' mind from any further tampering, and the team has recovered Kyle Richmond's disembodied brain, but Dr. Strange feels it is a hollow victory at best.

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Hideth #1 comic

Sal Buscema
Jim Mooney
Irene Vartanoff
Rich Buckler (Cover Penciler)
Dan Adkins (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


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, Jack Norriss (Jackson Norriss), Nebulon (The Celestial Man), Nighthawk (Kyle Richmond).

> Defenders, The: Book info and issue index

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