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Defenders Annual, The #1: Review

Sep 1976
Steve Gerber, Sal Buscema

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Story Name:

World Gone Sane?

Review & Comments

3 stars

Defenders Annual, The #1 Review by (February 15, 2010)

Review: A complicated wrap up to a number of complicated plot threads with the Nebulon and Headmen stories coming to a, er, head. In France, the Bozeaux are protesting a major corporation and guillotining straw dummies while in India, baddies are shrinking people to curb overpopulation (wait, wasn’t that DOWNSIZING (2017?)), and then Jack Norriss plays James Bond while Dr. Strange kidnaps the real-life President to outer space. And then they all end up in an ant farm, while the Headmen weirdos cackle. Then Hulk smashes, setting everyone free, the goodies beat the baddies and Nebulon gets fed up and leaves, lasting longer than some of this comic’s readers. Big Question: What happens to President Ford? We don’t see him after the heroes are snatched from the White House lawn. Bigger Question: Why do the French people speak French and some broken English but the people of India all speak perfect English?

Comments: Concludes the story arc begun in DEFENDERS #31-35. Valkyrie is wearing the golden costume Clea gave her in issue #40. The story mentions Werner Erhard and the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, leaders of self-actualizing movements similar to Nebulon’s CMC. Jack mentions a Bicentennial quarter: in 1976, the USA issued quarters with reverses featuring a military drummer celebrating the 200th anniversary of the nation’s founding. The US President is clearly Gerald R. Ford, who occupied the office in the real world August 1974-January 1977.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Defenders Annual, The #1 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro
Story continued from DEFENDERS #40.

Jack Norriss sends a videotaped message to the Defenders, announcing that he is going undercover to investigate the Headmens latest plot to conquer the world (while thoughtfully summarizing the last several issues). Doctor Strange proposes that the Defenders follow up several leads to determine whether the Headmen or Nebulon or both are behind the outbreaks of worldwide madness. In Paris, Nighthawk and Red Guardian discover that a major think tank is a front for the Headmen and are captured by Shrunken Bones. In India, Valkyrie and Power Man find Arthur Nagan shrinking people and end up shrunken themselves. Meanwhile, Jack Norriss has infiltrated the campaign of feminist Presidential candidate Ruby Thursday and when his cover is blown, he is taken prisoner. In Washington, as President Gerald Ford prepares to endorse Mr. Nebuls spiritual movement, Dr. Strange whisks the President off to another world to warn him that "Nebul" is actually Nebulon the Celestial Man and his "spiritualism" consists of enslaving the minds of the human race. Nebulon reveals himself and battles Strange. On their return to the White House, Strange tries to prevent the President from carrying out Nebulon's plan but the Headman appear and capture Strange and Nebulon. The Defenders find themselves miniaturized to serve as guinea pigs in the Headmens domed psychology laboratory, unable to escape. Dr. Strange sends his ethereal form to summon the Hulk, who smashes through the wall in the nick of time and breaks open the dome, freeing the heroes who battle and defeat the Headmen. Dr. Strange gives Nebulon a vision of human history with all its nobility and perversity, and the Celestial Man, disgusted with what he sees, abandons his plans to enslave Earth.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Sal Buscema
Klaus Janson
Don Warfield
Al Milgrom (Cover Penciler)
Klaus Janson (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)
Luke Cage
Luke Cage

(Power Man)

(Kyle Richmond)
Red Guardian
Red Guardian

(Tania Belinsky)


Plus: Defenders, Gorilla-Man (Arthur Nagan), Jack Norriss (Jackson Norriss), Nebulon (The Celestial Man), President Gerald Ford, Ruby Thursday (Thursday Rubinstein), Shrunken Bones (Jerold Morgan).

> Defenders Annual, The: Book info and issue index

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