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Defenders, The #55: Review

Jan 1978
David Kraft, Carmine Infantino

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Story Name:

Emotion, Ego... and Empty Expectations

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Defenders, The #55 Review by (May 17, 2022)

Review: Battle with a godlike villain, interrupted by a giant sea monster fighting the Hulk. Very cool plus Tania tells the bad guy off for not respecting her as a person and other related consent issues. And when it’s all wrapped up we learn that all the heroes are dying. Sigh. And in an epilogue Val is finally going to see some action against this Joker wannabe. Next issue looks quite promising.

Comments:  Part three of three. The Presence returns in issues #61-65, Red Guardian in #64-65. The cover promises Red Guardian’s origin but it’s a quick survey limited to one large panel on page 10. We’re not told how Hulk knew the Presence was the one behind the nuclear blast.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Defenders, The #55 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Stranded on a small island, the Defenders (Hulk, Hellcat, Nighthawk with Namor the Sub-Mariner) face the newly transmogrified Presence and Red Guardian, floating, godlike, in the air. Hulk recognizes Presence as the one behind the nuclear blast and jumps at him; Presence merely gestures with a finger to send Hulk flying into the distance. As the Presence boasts of his might and power, the other three attack him and Tania, dodging tiny nuclear blasts from the pair’s hands. Nighthawk pulls himself together on the beach where he landed as Namor’s crew arrives. Kyle directs them to their master while he searches the beach to see if any Atlantean weapons have washed ashore. Presence uses one small blast to scatter the Atlantean crew and another to knock down Namor himself. Meanwhile, Nighthawk has discovered a huge horn and he blows it, summoning the giant Behemoth from Below which they had encountered briefly last issue. He flees before it. Hulk, meanwhile, has landed in Moscow and immediately leaps back to the island, arriving just in time to start pounding the Behemoth. Elsewhere, Hellcat has been trying to persuade the hypnotized Red Guardian they were once friends and to stop shooting energy at her. Slowly, a bit of Tania’s memory seeps through, recalling her earlier life and history but she soon succumbs to the power of the Presence. Then the Hulk and the Behemoth arrive and the giant monster topples onto the two women. Hellcat marshals some of the mind power Moondragon taught her (see issue #44) and is able to activate her broken Cat’s Claw and swing herself and Tania out of the way. But the monster is about to drop on Namor and Nighthawk but the Presence merely points and the Behemoth is blown to bits. Exposure to the villain’s radiation forces Hulk to transform back to Bruce Banner. Red Guardian fights her way through his mental hold to rebuke him, saying that he doesn’t love her as a person but only as an extension of his power whereas the Defenders are her real friends; she is only a zombie treated as a possession. He is humbled by this and vanishes in a red glow. Then the Defenders fall ill and Banner realizes that they are showing signs of terminal radiation poisoning….

At Empire State University, Valkyrie is walking along with Ledge when they encounter Lunatik who clobbers Ledge and shows Val two drug dealers he has punished. She changes into her Valkyrie armor in an instant to take on the mad vigilante….

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Carmine Infantino
Klaus Janson
Klaus Janson
Gil Kane (Cover Penciler)
Joe Sinnott (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Gaspar Saladino.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Bruce Banner
Bruce Banner

(Robert Bruce Banner)

(Patsy Walker)

(Bruce Banner)

(Kyle Richmond)
Red Guardian
Red Guardian

(Tania Belinsky)


Plus: Defenders, Horace Ledge (Ledge), Lunatik (Arisen Tyrk), Presence.

> Defenders, The: Book info and issue index

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