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Defenders, The #86: Review

Aug 1980
Ed Hannigan, Don Perlin

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Story Name:

The Left Hand of Silence!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Defenders, The #86 Review by (April 24, 2024)

Review: And so we again move on, Mandrill receding into the background this time while the main plot centers on a piece of tech that did not figure in any previous issue—and will never be heard of again (pun intended). It’s a pretty cool issue with the sound absorber wreaking quiet havoc all over the city with brief vignettes of various people whose lives are touched by the fiendish thingy. So, next up, Black Panther and the Defenders continue their hunt for the Mandrill while also trying to locate Hulk—nah, fooled you! That’s not what happens next!

Comments: Part three of three parts, sort of; the Black Panther plot, at least. Story title is inspired by The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin; revealed in issue #91. There is a reminder that Valkyrie inhabits the body of Barbara Norriss, not mentioned since issue #66-68. And the last appearance of Black Panther in this series.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Defenders, The #86 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Valkyrie has been flying around the city with a Vibranium detector but she can find no sign of the Defenders’ quarry, the Mandrill. She and Aragorn alight on a rooftop to watch the sunrise and ponder her place in the heroic team….

Kyle “Nighthawk” Richmond and his lawyer, Milton Rosenblum, are talking over Kyle’s case (Rosenblum proposes a plea bargain, Kyle wants to hold out for innocence) when they are visited by Hellcat and Black Panther. BP asks for Kyle’s help via his extensive business connections to track down a stolen device. BP produces and demonstrates a circular device which when activated neutralizes all sound in a given area, resulting in absolute silence; a secondary effect of the device is to generate energy, enough to end the energy crisis and drive several major corporations out of business. Kyle starts making phone calls….

Meanwhile, at the embassy of a Russian satellite nation, Deputy Ambassador Klevshin shows a visitor, Rangert, the sound absorber and offers to sell it for $100,000. Rangert tests it by shooting Klevshin and escaping from the building in total silence. But he exits the building, only to be struck and killed by a bus as he couldn’t hear the horn. A cab driver picks up the sound absorber and wonders if he can pawn it. Meanwhile, Black Panther and Hellcat are nearby in an air-car, having tracked the signal made by the device which is now switched off. They look around and conclude that it’s no coincidence that the device was near a Soviet satellite embassy….

Back at the Sanctum Sanctorum, Valkyrie tries to lift Bruce Banner out of his depression over being controlled by the Hulk. She suggests a movie but Bruce is afraid that something onscreen could trigger his transformation. Val proposes SNOW WHITE; Doctor Strange enters and advises Bruce to take her suggestion….

At his estate in Central America, Mandrill is informed that his henchman Klevshin is dead, a victim of his own greed. He again vows revenge against his enemies, the female Defenders….

Cabbie Artie Gumm returns to his apartment, upset about his noisy neighbors. He fiddles with the sound absorber and suddenly everything goes silent. He lies down for a nap, a lit cigarette in his hand. Hellcat and Black Panther arrive, having traced the device’s signal, to discover the building is on fire. Artie Gumm, his clothes ablaze, heads for the stairs and collapses, the sound absorber rolling down the stairs and picked up by a small child. The two heroes evacuate the building, Hellcat stringing her cords to the ground so people can slide down to safety. Meanwhile, the mother fleeing her abusive husband heads to her Mom’s house, where she sees the device her kid has picked up and experiments with it, discovering its power. In the silence she decides to leave her husband for good. She keeps turning the device on and off, allowing the heroes to track her. Aboard the subway, she switches the sound absorber on again to quiet some noisy musicians. In the silence, a mentally ill old man finally hears the voices in his head clearly and acts up, knocking to sound absorber from the woman’s hand and it is picked up by a homeless lady who enjoys the silence, unaware that a riot has broken out, led by people panicked by the sudden silence….

At the movie theater, everything suddenly goes quiet as the homeless lady has passed by. Val assumes her warrior form, the crowd panics, triggering Bruce’s transformation into Hulk. In the chaos, the lady loses the absorber which falls through a grating. Hellcat and Panther arrive and BP attacks Hulk, creating a sonic overload on the device. HC turns off the one BP had and the sudden influx of energy burns out the missing one. Having caused even more panic, Hulk jumps away. Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman, who were passing by, calm the crowds, Sue with a force field and Reed directing traffic from up high. Patsy, Val, and T’Challa are annoyed that the FF have intervened in business the Defenders already had under control and they head off to a bar for some drinks, planning to hunt for Hulk later….

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Don Perlin
Pablo Marcos
Bob Sharen
Rich Buckler (Cover Penciler)
Al Milgrom (Cover Inker)
George Roussos (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Michael Higgins.


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)
Invisible Woman
Invisible Woman

(Sue Storm)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)

(Kyle Richmond)


Plus: Defenders, Milton Rosenblum.

> Defenders, The: Book info and issue index

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