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Defenders, The #52: Review

Oct 1977
David Kraft, Chic Stone

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Story Name:

Defender Of The Realm

Review & Comments

4 stars

Defenders, The #52 Review by (April 13, 2022)

Review: Another battle between Hulk and Namor occupies half the issue and even a small battle between these two evenly matched foes is better than a lot of Marvel mayhem. But we also meet the crazy Presence, a Russian mastermind with bizarre aspirations, in a marvelously loopy lair. Then we have Val getting testy in a movie house over the smoking rules (or lack thereof), leading to a very talky page. They also invoke the as-yet-unseen baddie Lunatik who will show up pretty soon. A crowded and enjoyable issue.

Comments: First appearance of The Presence. Cameos by Peter Parker and Jarvis. Reference to Leonid Brezhnev, then leader of the Soviet Union. Very strange moment: Kyle is told Miss Walker is there to see him; Kyle sees it is Patsy Walker and she replies, “You were expecting Clint?” Possible (and odd) reference to then-TV star Clint Walker (1927-2018) who was a bit past his prime in 1977. Gaspar Saladino did the lettering for page 1.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Defenders, The #52 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner, strides down Park Avenue in New York, causing great consternation among the police, the media, and the citizenry. No one knows his intentions. Hulk spies him from the top of a nearby building and leaps down to offer his help to his old pal. Namor, in no mood for nonsense of the Hulk variety, swats him away and thus enraging Hulk who starts throwing punches while all witnesses flee….

In Russia, Dr. Tania Belinsky is taken to the bizarrely futuristic lair of Codename: Sergei, the real power behind the Soviet leaders. She is told to don a Red Guardian costume and await her host. Instead, she tries to escape, fighting her way out through massed hooded minions but she is eventually overpowered and a control cowl placed on her head, sapping her will; she is then led into the presence of…The Presence. Sergei Krylov explains to the spaced-out heroine how he intends to make her his bride and then to undergo nuclear transmogrification with her so they can be reborn into a higher form, with the chief side effect of the operation being to nuke half of Europe….

As Hulk and Subby hammer away at each other, laying waste to some real estate, Patsy Walker is visiting Kyle Richmond at his office when they hear the report of the super-battle on the radio. Changing into Hellcat and Nighthawk they race to the scene. More havoc is wrought and Namor shows he can discharge electricity like the eel (last done in FF #6) on his huge foe. The FF and Avengers are out of town and Peter Parker is stuck in a crowd. Then ‘Hawk and ‘Cat arrive….

At the movie theater with Dollar Bill and Ledge, Valkyrie is watching THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (pic of David Bowie onscreen!) when another patron’s pipe smoke annoys her. She asks him to put it out and he refuses so she smashes the pipe and Ledge tells her that guy is the drama professor at ESU. Later, the three are noshing at a donut shop when Professor Turk enters. He is impressed by her attitude and apologizes. They get to talking about the campus crazy man Lunatik, a topic of much interest….

Hellcat and Nighthawk intervene in the fight between Namor and Hulk and once they can convince Namor they are fellow Defenders and there to help, Namor explains the situation. He had hoped to reach Reed Richards but the Defenders may do. Radioactive leakage from Soviet underground nuclear tests has contaminated a portion of Atlantis, rendering it too dangerous to visit. Kyle suggests that Hulk could enter the contaminated zone safely and the big green guy agrees to do so; they depart….

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Chic Stone
Chic Stone
Don Warfield
Gil Kane (Cover Penciler)
Frank Giacoia (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Layouts: Keith Giffen. Letterer: Denise Wohl.


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), Lunatik (Arisen Tyrk).

> Defenders, The: Book info and issue index

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