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Defenders, The #51: Review

Sep 1977
David Kraft, Keith Giffen

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Story Name:

A Round With The Ringer!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Defenders, The #51 Review by (April 5, 2022)

Review: Another jam-packed issue, introducing a forgettable minor villain and some new doubts about Nighthawk. Valkyrie pursues some life changes and they go badly, as anyone who has ever registered for college courses should understand. Jack’s life goes topsy-turvy, which would be a problem if anyone cared about him; well, it looks like Patsy’s sweet on him which makes no sense since he’s clearly fixated on his ex. Hulk makes two cameo appearances and it all ends with a teaser for another weird subplot.

Comments: First appearance of the Ringer who will bop around the comics for a handful of appearances, mostly with Spider-Man, which serves him right. First appearances of Dollar Bill and Horace “Ledge” Ledger who will have recurring roles for the next several issues. First appearance of Lunatik who will show up several times between here and issue #73. Police Lt. Kris Keating previously appeared in issue #44-46. Moon Knight refers to John Steed and Emma Peel of the British AVENGERS TV series (1961-1969). Dollar Bill has a picture of underground comics hero Cheech Wizard. The movies Bill takes Val to are THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (1976) and DEATH WISH (1974), an odd double feature, to say the least. Gaspar Saladino did the lettering for page 1.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Defenders, The #51 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

SHIELD is cleaning up Scorpio’s lair while Nick Fury asks his LMD (later known as Max Fury) about the circumstances of the death of his brother Scorpio; Max declines to provide details. Jack Norriss airs his grievances against Fury who responds by offering Norriss a job with the company. Moon Knight explains to Nighthawk how he survived the villain’s death trap (in issue #48): by emptying the can of beer Scorpio gave to him and controlled breathing of the air reserved….

In Russia, Dr. Tania Belinsky realizes that her Soviet captors are not going to Moscow but heading away from the city. She is told they are taking her to the one known as Codename: Sergei….

In Manhattan, Kyle Richmond advises Valkyrie to attend college to learn more about American culture and make new friends. He gives her the name of his contact and drops her off at Empire State University. She enters to learn that Kyle’s contact has been dead for years and she is subjected to a serious runaround through college bureaucracy because she doesn’t know what she’s doing and grows angry….

Meanwhile, Kyle has arrived at his office building to discover the place surrounded by the SWAT team; Police Lt. Kris Keating tells him there is a supervillain holed up inside. It’s a robber called the Ringer and soon Nighthawk has entered to face the villain…who hurls constricting rings around the hero which tighten, crushing his jet pack and causing him to crash to the ground. Ringer justifies his crimes by claiming that Kyle Richmond became rich through exploiting his employees. He blasts Nighthawk with more rings and tries to escape….

Jack Norriss returns to Defenders headquarters looking for his “wife” Valkyrie. But he finds only  Patsy “Hellcat” Walker who flirts with him and takes him out for a “lovers’ walk”….

Ringer and Nighthawk continue to fight with he bad guy taunting the good guy as a hypocrite, fighting crime because of a love of violence and a lust for hero worship. Ringer links his rings into a chain and whips the hero but then he discovers he has run out of rings. The baddie leaps out of the window and Nighthawk swings his ring chain at him, entangles him and slams him into a wall. Kyle departs, thinking about his life….

Elsewhere, Jack tells Patsy about his struggles to give up his wife Barbara, who is not Valkyrie, who merely resembles Barbara. Hulk drives off the cops trying to stop him from eating a hot dog vendors wares. Val sits at a coffee shop, fuming about her miserable experience at the university. She is approached by Dollar Bill and his pal Ledge; to cheer her up they offer to take her to the movies, surprised that she claims to have never seen a movie. As they walk toward the theater, several paces behind them, a fat man tosses some litter on the ground and is immediately clobbered by a pipe-wielding figure in an alley, soon to be introduced as…Lunatik….

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Keith Giffen
Klaus Janson
Phil Rachelson
George Perez (Cover Penciler)
Pablo Marcos (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Bruce Patterson.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Patsy Walker)

(Bruce Banner)

(Kyle Richmond)
Red Guardian
Red Guardian

(Tania Belinsky)


Plus: Defenders, Dollar Bill (Aaron English), Horace Ledge (Ledge), Jack Norriss (Jackson Norriss), Lunatik (Arisen Tyrk), Max Fury.

> Defenders, The: Book info and issue index

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