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Defenders, The #91: Review

Jan 1981
Ed Hannigan, Don Perlin

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Review & Comments

3 stars


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Defenders, The #91 Synopsis by Tod Herdt
Hellcat, Hulk, Daredevil, and Nighthawk have returned to the courtroom that was the site of Kyle Richmond's arraignment hearing last issue. Following up on her promise, the still Mandrill-influenced judge orders Nighthawk into custody. Nighthawk is understandably upset but his attorney, Rosenblum, tries to calm him. The winged hero will have none of this and takes off through a hole in the ceiling caused by the crash of Mandrill's airship last issue. DD goes after him in pursuit to avoid being imprisoned by the hypnotised judge. The other two Defenders are not so lucky and are sentenced to detention cells. The Hulk has other ideas and, grabbing Hellcat, leaps away, making his own hole in the ceiling. Catching up with Nighthawk a few blocks away, DD agrees to help him despite now being a fugitive himself. Hours later, the Mandrill and his Fem Force are in an abandoned port authority warehouse, waiting for the arrival of Valkyrie on Aragorn. It is then that Mandrill reveals that he plans to attack the Arrowshaft Nuclear Plant, a fact DD overhears outside using his hypersensitive hearing. He radioes the news to Nighthawk, Hulk and Hellcat who are waiting at their house in Montclair, NJ. Nighthawk fastens a shock bracelet on Hellcat that emits a pulse every second or so to keep her from falling under Mandrill's control again. The trio set out for the nuclear plant under their own power while DD stows away in the landing gear bay on another of Mandrill's airships. DD slips away to contact the Defenders while Mandrill's army set about taking over the nuclear plant. Outside the power plant, the members of Mothers March Against Nuclear Power have assembled for a protest. Inside, a couple arrive to start their normal workday. The Mandrill surprises them and reveals that they are his parents. He places his mother under his hypnotic spell (pronouncing her "Queen Mother") and sends her off with a group of his female warriors to secure the control room. The Mandrill and his force don radiation suits as disguises and head to the containment building. The Mandrill's father is brought along at gunpoint. The Queen Mother and her faction confront Hellcat on a catwalk leading to the control room. Hellcat leaps to the attack, using an electric zapper Nighthawk had invented along with her bracelet. One by one, she slowly frees the warriors from Mandrill's power. Outside the containment building, Nighthawk and DD ambush the Mandrill and his team. Hellcat finishes up her fight but one female warrior gets past her to open the door to the containment room. The Mandrill pushes his father inside and locks the door behind them. Nighthawk could use his laser cannon to get in but the buildings are designed to withstand a nuclear explosion so it would take him hours to get through. Back on the catwalk, Hellcat finally comes face-to-face with the Mandrill-controlled Valkyrie. She withdraws a cutlass from her shadow cloak and engages the warrior maiden. With each attack, the Valkyrie seems in greater pain. Hellcat remembers the mystic spell that prevents Valkyrie from fighting other women. So strong is Mandrill's control that it's overriding Val's natural instincts. Val knocks the zapper from Hellcat's hand as the feline heroine notices the Queen Mother rushing off. The Hulk, meanwhile, has been outside by the demonstrators trying to chase them off. Nightwing retrieves him to get into the containment room. While inside, the Mandrill has withdrawn the damper rods from the nuclear pile to start a nuclear meltdown. He forces his father to take off his radiation suit so he's exposed to the full effects of the radiation. The Hulk crashes through the wall as the Mandrill knocks his father unconscious so he can deal with the Defenders. Realizing that the reactor core is the biggest threat, Nighthawk convinces the Hulk to force the control rods back in place. He manages to get all but one replaced before the gamma radiation flooding the room forces a change into Bruce Banner. The Hulk hangs on long enough for the last rod to be reinserted before collapsing on the floor as Banner. Mandrill draws a bead on Banner's limp form with his gun but another shot rings out and he crumples to the ground. His mother steps from the shadows brandishing a rifle. She feels it was her responsibility to end the Mandrill's life since she had given it to him. Nighthawk pulls Banner and Mandrill's father from the containment room and the group leaves before the authorities can arrive and blame them for what happened. Hellcat and Valkyrie are still fighting, the Hellcat's reflexes being the only thing keeping her alive. She decides to go on the attack but is disarmed by Val, who continues to fight despite the tremendous pain she's experiencing. She begins to doubt her actions as Hellcat tries to convince her she's a friend. Val screams as she is overcome by a massive psycho-emotional backlash and collapses. Hellcat revives her and the two embrace as Val apologizes for her actions.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Don Perlin
Pablo Marcos

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