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Defenders, The #80: Review

Feb 1980
Ed Hannigan, Herb Trimpe

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Story Name:

Once A Defender

Review & Comments

4 stars

Defenders, The #80 Review by (March 12, 2024)

Review: The fantasy plot moves ahead a little, mainly by focusing on Bruce Banner’s confusion over the whole thing; he’s the one most out of his element. The Earth-based plot comes to an end with some battle scenes and acts as a showcase for Nighthawk’s new weapons even though none of it was explained to us. So Mandrill watches his army do all the work and when things go south he runs away, also to the south. Not very impressive even if his all-hypnotized female army is apparently fairly formidable (handful of mutants optional) since they corner all the USAF guys in a moderately sized hangar. On the other hand, the three Defenders, plus a moping Wasp, defeat them all rather handily and everything works out in the end because they didn’t want to spill over into another issue. Decent enough story if we ignore all of the shortcuts and plot developments hidden behind the scenes. Sometimes it’s best not to ask.

Comments: Part three of six parts. Valkyrie gets her chance: Mandrill returns in issue #85 and following. Hellcat invokes the name of feminist leader Gloria Steinem. The red devil guys on the cover do not appear in the issue.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Defenders, The #80 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Nighthawk arrives near Colorado in response to the SOS from Wasp (last issue); he thanks his tech flying support for their help, rejecting their advice to test his systems more thoroughly before heading into action. He zooms out in search of his endangered Defenders teammates….

Wasp is at the Air Force base, standing with the commander as they watch the approach of Mandrill’s army. The USAF lays down a barrage of bombs as a warning but the enemy keeps coming. The Fem-Force, led by Valkyrie, reaches the base and the soldiers take on the women in close combat, neither side trying to kill the other. The Mutant Force is supporting Val and Hellcat while Wasp wonders if there is a way to break the Mandrill’s hold over his mind-controlled minions….

Back at his HQ, Mandrill watches the operation, bringing the drugged and captive Yellowjacket out to witness his wife’s defeat….

In New York, Clea wonders how Dr. Strange and the others are faring in far-off Tunnelworld, still upset that she was left behind. To work off her restlessness, she takes Aragorn for a flight around the city….

In Tunnelworld, Bruce Banner has awoken from the dream and learns from Aeroika what is going on, asking him about the silver glob Hulk encountered in issue #26 but the winged guide doesn’t know. Then they are attacked by warriors of the tyrant Ytitnedion; Bruce is hit in the leg by an arrow, triggering his transformation into Hulk who starts smashing the enemy; the baddies beat a hasty retreat. Doctor Strange and Sub-Mariner awaken and are briefed on the situation. Strange casts a spell causing Hulk to return before he kills anyone, a goal of the sorcerer’s. While they debate their next move, only Ytitnedion knows that the name of the Unnameable is planted in Hulk’s brain, waiting to be brought out when the time is ripe….

At the airbase, the good guys are surrounded in a hanger and bad guy Shocker creates an electric shield around the building to trap them inside. Wasp despairs at her failure but Dian Wilkins points out that Nighthawk has arrived. From high above, Kyle surveys the situation and swoops down to destroy the enemy tanks with his new laser cannons. He ducks a tank hurled by the hypnotized Valkyrie and tries knocking her down but fails. Shocker and Burner fire a combined blast at Nighthawk who is protected by his wings. He swoops down and snatches up Val and Hellcat and drops them into the electric field which shocks them back to their senses. The Defenders join the base’s defenders in defeating the enemy and head for Mandrill’s HQ. Mandrill decides to take off for his refuge in Central America and soon a rocket blasts off. Nighthawk goes after it and forces his way in, only to discover, not Mandrill, but the captive Yellowjacket used as a decoy. Jan and Hank are reunited, Amber Grant and Ruth Hart are freed, and Val vows vengeance against Mandrill….

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Herb Trimpe
Dan Green
Carl Gafford
Rich Buckler (Cover Penciler)
Joe Rubinstein (Cover Inker)
George Roussos (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: John Costanza.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Bruce Banner
Bruce Banner

(Robert Bruce Banner)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)

(Patsy Walker)

(Bruce Banner)

(Kyle Richmond)


(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Amber Grant (Amber Douglas), Defenders, Dian Wilkins, Mutant Force, Ruth Hart.

> Defenders, The: Book info and issue index

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