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Defenders, The #23: Review

May 1975
Steve Gerber, Sal Buscema

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Story Name:

... The Snakes Shall Inherit The Earth!

Review & Comments

3 stars

Defenders, The #23 Review by (February 15, 2010)
Though the Sons of the Serpent are all essentially non-superpowered adversaries, they rank among the highest in terms of sheer evil intentions. During this time period, racial themes were playing out in several comic book adventures, most notably in Marvel's JUNGLE ACTION, which featured the Black Panther and chronicled his struggles with the Ku Klux Klan. Sons of the Serpent initially appeared in Avengers (Vol.1) #81-82.

Further Comments by Peter SilvestroPart two of four parts. Yellowjacket teamed with the Defenders in GIANT-SIZE DEFENDERS #4. Seen briefly in INCREDIBLE HULK #126 and last issue (#22), this is the first full appearance of Jack Norriss, who will be a nuisance over the next few years of this title. The Biblical account of Pharaoh’s magicians turning their staves into snakes in Exodus 7:8-12 is referred to. The cover claims Valkyrie stands alone but she goes down with the rest of them—it’s Hulk who is the last one standing.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Defenders, The #23 Synopsis by Harold Holt
Following a recap of the Defenders' initial confrontation with the Sons of the Serpent, the Avenger called Yellowjacket pounces upon two Serpent members who were secretly following the Defenders. Yellowjacket defeats the henchmen, capturing one while the other escapes. He drags the injured scoundrel to Doctor Strange's mansion, where the other Defenders are in assemblage. Nighthawk's threats intimidate the villain into revealing that his Serpent leader will be making a national TV appearance to spread the group's message of a new world order.

After a brief distraction in the form of a sudden and unexpected appearance by Jack Norriss, the estranged husband of Barbara Norriss (the woman whose form is now possessed by the Valkyrie), the Defenders tune in to the TV broadcast of the Serpent Supreme. In Hitleresque fashion, the Serpent leader rants on and on about how America must be cleansed, and how all minorities are ruining the country. Afterward, even the Hulk is touched and enraged by the intensity of the message of hatred. After deducing who might be behind the Serpent group, the Defenders agree to set out after them, but then Dr. Strange's house is rocked by a series of explosions in the area.

Outside, the Sons of the Serpent have dropped some sort of incendiary bombs on portions of the city inhabited by minorities. Hulk and Nighthawk, under Yellowjacket's leadership, manage to save several people and extinguish the flames. While the two Defenders are busy, Yellowjacket is easily overwhelmed by an attack from nearly a dozen Serpent members. When the remaining Defenders arrive, they are assaulted and downed by powerful stun-guns manned by the Sons of the Serpent. Only the Hulk remains standing. He wades in defiantly against stun blasts and electrically-charged steel coils. However, it is only a matter of time before an injured and fatigued Hulk finally falls before the relentless assault. Secure in their victory, the Serpent Squad removes the bodies of each Defender except for the Hulk, as they are unable to lift him, and they have no use for a "--useless dumb brute." As they leave with their captives, no one notices an unconscious Hulk transform into an unconscious Bruce Banner.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Sal Buscema
Vince Colletta
Gil Kane (Cover Penciler)
Klaus Janson (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Bruce Banner
Bruce Banner

(Robert Bruce Banner)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)

(Bruce Banner)

(Kyle Richmond)


Plus: Defenders, Jack Norriss (Jackson Norriss), Sons of the Serpent.

> Defenders, The: Book info and issue index

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