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Defenders, The #96: Review

Jun 1981
J. M. DeMatteis, Joe Sinnott

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Story Name:

The Rock and Roll Conspiracy!

Review & Comments

3 stars

Defenders, The #96 Review by (July 3, 2024)

Review: And the third demon boss the team has to face is a demonic rock star (an oxymoron in some subgenres) who comes off like a kid playing at demonic rock star because this is 1981 and the Comics Code Authority is still going strong. And Ghost Rider is literally dragged into the tale so he can fight the Defenders and get his butt whupped, like a good guest star. It’s all pretty silly, with the good guys’ plan being “Everybody attack at once!” And, y’know, it works! It had to, they were running out of pages. The best part? The end, with hints of something seriously wrong with Hellcat because it was the only unpredictable bit in the whole issue. The cover is the coolest part!  So three down, three to go….

Comments: Part three of seven parts. First appearance of Asmodeus Jones, whose last appearance is next issue. Ghost Rider and Son of Satan previously fought in MARVEL SPOTLIGHT #13, Finished art by Joe Sinnott and Sal Trapani. The letters page includes one by future comics creator Al Schroeder III.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Defenders, The #96 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

In Detroit, Asmodeus Jones, “King of Devil-Rock” excites a stadium full of youthful fans by ending a song with the appearance of the demon Fashima, hypnotizing them along with his manager Felix Palmer. Roadie Johnny Blaze is concerned….

In Manhattan, Kyle Richmond tries to explain to his lawyer Milton Rosenblum why he is paralyzed but nothing he says makes sense to the older man; Valkyrie tells Rosenbaum that Kyle is fighting self-pity….

Wong brings tea to Doctor Strange who has been trying to locate the Six-Fingered Hand but has only picked up images of Detroit, Ghost Rider, Fashima, and a guitar (which every reader should recognize from the first three pages of this issue)….

Patsy Walker, Daimon Hellstrom, and a poorly disguised Gargoyle visit the injured Dolly Donahue. She is still under sedation; when Gargoyle tries to touch her, Patsy yells at him. When Daimon defends him, Patsy screams at him. Daimon uses his healing powers to ensure Dolly will recover. They are then summoned by Dr. Strange….

Strange tells the Defenders that their next visit must be to Detroit. Kyle begs off, citing his health and the rest teleport to the Motor City…

…where Son of Satan contacts Johnny Blaze, who transforms into Ghost Rider. He is angry and attacks the Defenders but they subdue him; Strange teleports them all to a junkyard where Hellstrom suppresses the Ghost Rider causing Johnny Blaze to emerge. They ask him about the current situation and Blaze is able to report on the deeds of Asmodeus Jones. Strange decides to check it out by sending his astral form to Jones’ mansion where he detects great evil. Inside, Jones and Palmer are shooing out his groupies after they complete a ritual prescribed by Fashima. Palmer reveals that at that evening’s concert, Asmodeus will merge with the demon Fashima and all sixteen thousand teenage fans will become agents of the Six-Fingered Hand; Plamer also reveals that he is jealous of Jones’ fame because he (Palmer) was the one who first contacted the demons….

At that evening’s concert, the Defenders stand by, hidden by a psychic shield, while Ghost Rider drives up on stage to battle Asmodeus Jones. Then the Defenders attack and Asmodeus draws on extreme power from Fashima and burns out, burning out the demon with him. Felix Palmer cradles Jones’ head and points out that as he (Palmer) was the one who made the deal with the demons, he is the one who is taken away in payment. And Ozzie “Asmodeus Jones” Palmer is distraught, revealing that Felix Palmer was his brother. The Defenders and Johnny Blaze are shocked into silence, except for Hellcat who laughs, scaring everyone….

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Joe Sinnott
Joe Sinnott
George Roussos
Michael Golden (Cover Penciler)
Michael Golden (Cover Inker)
Michael Golden (Cover Colorist)
Layouts: Don Perlin. Letterer: Diana Albers.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)

(Isaac Christians)
Ghost Rider
Ghost Rider

(Johnny Blaze)

(Patsy Walker)

(Kyle Richmond)
Son of Satan
Son of Satan

(Daimon Hellstrom)


Plus: Defenders, Milton Rosenblum.

> Defenders, The: Book info and issue index

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