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Defenders, The #85: Review

Jul 1980
Ed Hannigan, Jim Mooney

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Like a Proud Black Panther…

Review & Comments

3.5 stars

Defenders, The #85 Review by (April 16, 2024)

Review: Here’s where the series goes crazy. Not in the Steve Gerber, “these plots are bizarre” fashion but in the “what is this series about?” way. Last issue there was a nuclear incident between Atlantis and Wakanda but that recedes into the background as we also resume the Mandrill story from several issues back; in fact, the series doesn’t seem to be able to concentrate on a single plot for a very long time, as we move into yet another direction next time. And wait!

Hulk is exhausted? Don’t recall seeing that at any time ever, at least since 1966 when Hulk’s powers went ballistic. Hulk and Dr. Strange don’t have a lot to do in this issue except to be called out at the end to come and save everybody. Which they do. Okay writing, okay art.

Comments: Part two of three parts, sort of; the Black Panther plot, at least. Hellcat claims to be a former Avenger; she wasn’t but Black Panther seems convinced she was. Mandrill battled half the team in issues #78-80. Namor’s next appearance in this title is in issues #92-93. Kyle is listening to MUTUAL OF OMAHA’S WILD KINGDOM (1963-1988), a wildlife documentary TV series of the time, with the sponsor’s name in the title. And Frenchtown, New Jersey, is a real place. The letters page features one by Berengeria Navarre, which was the name of the wife of King Richard I of Great Britain (reigned AD 1189-1199); it’s probably a pseudonym. Probably.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Defenders, The #85 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Hellcat watches the Wakandan Embassy from the roof across the street, observing anti-war protestors and the Embassy guards at odds while awaiting the return of their King T’Challa so she can report on the villainous Mandrill. She sees a small air-car landing in the backyard and assumes this is the King; she skips over the rooftops and encounters an overzealous security man pointing a gun at her; she tries to talk her way out of it by claiming to be an Avenger and when that doesn’t work, she kicks him and shoots out a claw-line, swinging down to the Embassy and through a (closed) window. Hellcat apologizes to the startled Black Panther for the damage while mentioning Mandrill. T’Challa tells the SWAT team that it was merely an overenthusiastic admirer….

Kyle Richmond and his lawyer Milton Rosenblum are reviewing his finances and finding no evidence of corruption. The protests at the Wakandan Embassy are on the news and Kyle sees Hellcat’s offbeat entry. This leads to an explanation of the nuclear incident at Kiber Island. Kyle, frustrated that a court order prevents him from becoming Nighthawk and joining the Defenders, turns off the TV and goes back to his financial records….

As Hulk swims across the Atlantic Ocean, Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner, pursues in a navy craft, seeking an opportunity to demonstrate that he is Hulk’s friend. He calls out and offers Hulk a ride to wherever he wants to go. Hulk, exhausted, takes him up on it, mentioning Dr. Strange’s house. He turns back into Bruce Banner and Subby flies him to Bleeker Street. They enter the house and Namor is surprised to see the Black Panther there, consulting with the Defenders (Valkyrie, Hellcat, and Clea). Doctor Strange enters and Namor is convinced Strange is taking Black Panther’s side against him so he storms out, despite Strange’s denials. Bruce lies down for a nap and the others go back to what they were doing. BP believes that Mandrill is the prime customer for the smuggled Wakandan tech so they are searching for him. They uncover and decipher a coded document that turns out to be a schedule of smugglers’ shipments, indicating one that very night….

Black Panther accompanies the Defenders to the rendezvous at a farm in Frenchtown, New Jersey. A cargo plane lands and several of Mandrill’s Fem-Force disembark. The heroes launch their attack, Clea conjuring flashing lights to disorient the bad guys while Val disables the plane’s rudder and slices off the wings with a few strokes of her sword. Black Panther enters the plane to examine the cargo and discovers it is all scrap metal—a trap! He is seized by steel tentacles which lock and a device paralyzes his frontal lobe. The plane then rises into the air and takes off. Hellcat leaps aboard and tries to free BP but Mandrill appears on a viewscreen, warning her that the electronic lock contains a bomb that will go off if tampered with. Meanwhile, Valkyrie and Clea are pursuing on Aragorn and Val tries to leap aboard the quickly moving craft but misses and plummets; the winged horse catches her so Clea sends a psychic call for help to Dr. Stange back in New York. The plane starts descending toward a propane storage facility to create a massive explosion. Strange and Hulk arrive and Big Green punches the plane into the river. Strange dives and mystically shows Hellcat how to open the elaborate lock. Strange, Hellcat, and T’Challa swim for their lives as the plane explodes….

The heroes gather on the shore while miles away, Mandrill throws a fit and vows to destroy the Defenders….

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Jim Mooney
Jim Mooney
George Roussos
Rich Buckler (Cover Penciler)
Al Milgrom (Cover Inker)
George Roussos (Cover Colorist)
Layouts: Don Perlin. Letterer: Diana Albers.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

Bruce Banner
Bruce Banner

(Robert Bruce Banner)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)

(Patsy Walker)

(Bruce Banner)

(Kyle Richmond)


Plus: Defenders, Milton Rosenblum.

> Defenders, The: Book info and issue index

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