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Defenders, The #22: Review

Apr 1975
Steve Gerber, Sal Buscema

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Story Name:

Fangs Of Fire And Blood!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Defenders, The #22 Review by (April 18, 2010)
Here, a conversation about class became one about racism, which took a twist at the end of the arc and became again about class, wealth, and conscience. Whether an artist actually has a didactic function in relation to the audience, you're welcome to debate; as a conscientious human being, perhaps it is incumbent upon the artist to express her/his self through the prism of one's values, though that may not clearly manifest in fulfilling commercial assignments.

Additional Review by Peter Silvestro: 

Review: See, heroes’ involvement in burning social questions and conflicts of the day did not begin with Nick Spencer’s tenure on Captain America. And it was the Sons of the Serpent Spencer brought back as well (not to be confused with the even more popular Cap enemies the Serpent Society who wear individual costumes and have super powers). Here we have violence in the streets, poverty, and racism, all of which remain. There are no easy answers, certainly none that can be addressed in a comic book, other than an implicit plea for the readers to be better people.  

Comments by P. Silvestro: Part one of four parts. The Sons of the Serpent debuted in AVENGERS #32-33 and returned in AVENGERS #73-74 and CAPTAIN AMERICA: SENTINEL OF LIBERTY #8; this is their fourth appearance and they go on to be mainly Captain America villains, into the 21st century. Kyle Richmond is brooding over the injuries done to Trish Starr in GIANT-SIZE DEFENDERS #4 which occurred right before this issue (not issue #3 as stated in a footnote). The shadowed figure is revealed next issue to be Jack Norriss.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Defenders, The #22 Synopsis by C Lue Disharoon
The Valkyrie---as Barbara Norriss---walks lost in thought about her recently discovered human identity, through the filthy lower Manhattan streets. Her reverie ends when she finds two men in a knife fight, which she disrupts. When they remain violent, she draws Dragonfang, hung invisibly at her side, triggering the appearance of her costume through a spell. Her speech to the fleeing men is interrupted by a scream, leading Valkyrie to charge into a tenement to investigate.

There, a poor woman named Elena desperately tries to remove a huge rat from her baby's crib, which Val does with ease, swiftly. However, Elena's plight and bitterness trouble her, and compassionately, she takes the woman and child to Doctor Strange's Sanctorum.

The upper East Side of Manhattan finds Kyle Richmond, a.k.a. Nighthawk, brooding at a fashionable party, still upset over his missing and badly injured former love Trish Starr, to the consternation of well-meaning Ginny. They are interrupted by sleazy developer Harold Holliman, whose offers are rejected upfront by the disinterested Richmond. "Take it up with Pennyworth," he says, referring to his trustee. He kisses Ginny goodbye cordially and takes a taxi to Strange's Sanctorum in the Village, where he soon arrives upon Wong serving Ms. Elena tea, and Clea playing with her baby in the presence of a placid Hulk. Valkyrie and Stephen discuss exploring Elena's plight and legal recourse in the morning, while a mysterious figure stares into the window. Richmond's arrival frightens him away. Val then begins to fill Kyle in on her slum experience.

Flash to the aforementioned slum, where the Sons of the Serpent firebomb the same tenement, at the cost of an elderly blind man's life inside.

The assembled Defenders arrive too late. Harold Holliman turns out to be the slumlord of the burning building; his accusation to the black tenants, of arson, starts a riot, nearly at the expense of his own life!

Strange and Nighthawk intervene, at the moment the Serpents return to finish their terrorism. Their racially tinged screed upsets the Hulk, who is not white, but green, therefore prompting him to smash the street and hurtle the terrorists off their feet. All the Defenders join the fray, save for Strange, attempting in vain to be the voice of reason. Animating a hose with a spell, he breaks up the fight. The Serpents flee, promising retribution.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Sal Buscema
Mickey Demeo
Stan Goldberg
Gil Kane (Cover Penciler)
Joe Sinnott (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)

Editor: Len Wein.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)

(Bruce Banner)

(Kyle Richmond)


Plus: Barbara Norriss, Sons of the Serpent, Trish Starr (Trixie Starr).

> Defenders, The: Book info and issue index

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