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Defenders, The #61: Review

Jul 1978
David Kraft, Bob Lubbers

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Story Name:

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Lunatik

Review & Comments

4 stars

Defenders, The #61 Review by (July 19, 2023)

Review: Lunatik returns to ensure we haven’t forgotten about him, the Joker wannabe who talks primarily in mid-1970s pop culture references. His whole shtick comes to light in issues #70-73 and it sort of makes sense, just wait for it. The heroes are shown to be having fun on their off-hours, magic shows and horse tricks, though Hulk tends to be a big green grump in David A. Kraft’s run. And Kraft also avoids the danger of Spider-Man being a major irritant to the serious heroes as he tends to be when a guest in other characters’ titles. So, a generally fun issue.

Comments: Doctor Strange is gone again as is Devil-Slayer; the latter returns in issues #97-101. The Presence was first seen in issues #53-55. Hellcat’s pulling the Ort-Beast out of her cloak mirrors a similar surprise from THE BULLWINKLE SHOW (1959-1963). Lunatik was last seen in issue #56; his next appearance will be in MARVEL PREMIERE #45-46 against Man-Wolf before retuning in DEFENDERS #70. Lunatik quotes the songs, “Short People” and “I Got Rhythm,” and invokes the novel/film A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ but a Sandwich,” the musical BYE BYE BIRDIE, the TV series CANDID CAMERA, and the slogan for Coco Puffs cereal. He also mentions the narration to the SUPERMAN radio/TV series and offers a variation on Yogi Bear’s boast, “I’m smarter than the average bear.” The letters page includes one from Peter Sanderson, future contributor to the Official Handbooks and Marvel editor.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Defenders, The #61 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

At Defenders HQ, Hellcat is putting on a show with the magical Shadow Cloak she picked up last issue. But during the finale, she pulls an Ort-Beast out of her cape, Hulk remembers the monster from issue #59 and nearly tears the cape (and the room) apart trying to find it. Hulk calms down, and Dollar Bill shows them from the newspaper that Lunatik is still terrorizing the campus and they decide to act against the baddie….

So, Hellcat, Valkyrie, and Bill take the Hellcatmobile down to the college and meet with Professor Turk. They appeal to the Professor for a scheme to capture the villain. Turk suggests that Lunatik would be enraged by a statue honoring a notable lawbreaker and so they plan to use a statue of Spider-Man as bait in a trap….

In Russia, The Presence (formerly Codename: Sergei) is brooding over his rejection by the Red Guardian and so seeks solace in the radioactive Forbidden Zone, brooding instead about the secret past of that region….

A week later, Val on Aragorn and Patsy on a regular horse are performing for Bill’s camera when the statue is delivered. Nighthawk called in a favor from an artist friend and he shows them a hollow base that Hulk can hide in to capture Lunatik when he comes to deface the statue. But Hulk refuses and leaps off into the distance, necessitating a change of plans….

At the Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson orders Peter Parker to be at the unveiling of the statue the next morning, So, that night, Spider-Man, suspecting some sort of trap, swings over to the campus and confronts the guys putting the statue up. His Spider-Sense tells him someone is watching and he ends up nabbing Hellcat. While waiting an hour for the webbing to dissolve, there’s a lot of time for explanations. Then some disgruntled anti-Spidey students approach and Spidey goes to warn them and he is attacked by Lunatik. Hellcat and Nighthawk join in, with Dollar Bill filming the action. NH is knocked out so Val swoops down on Aragorn to carry him to safety and the villain hurls his staff and knocks out the winged horse, sending two heroes plummeting to the ground. Spidey swiftly erects a giant net to save them and Lunatik unveils the statue, dropping the curtain over the good guys and vanishing in the confusion. Then the Defenders stand round noting how ugly the semi-abstract statue of Spider-Man is….

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Bob Lubbers
Bob Lubbers
Nel Yomtov
Ed Hannigan (Cover Penciler)
Ernie Chan (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Layouts: Ed Hannigan. Letterer: Rick Parker.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Patsy Walker)

(Bruce Banner)
J. Jonah Jameson
J. Jonah Jameson

(JJ Jameson)

(Kyle Richmond)

(Peter Parker)


Plus: Defenders, Dollar Bill (Aaron English), Lunatik (Arisen Tyrk), Presence, Robbie Robertson (Joe Robertson).

> Defenders, The: Book info and issue index

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