skjam: (gasgun)
[personal profile] skjam posting in [community profile] scans_daily
In the previous issue, we were introduced to the new Red Guardian, Arthur Nagan was an asshole, Chondu got a makeover, and Valkyrie got arrested.

So now it's time for the final chapter of the Nighthawk's Brain saga, The Defenders #36.

Five pages of seventeen, and an ad.

We start with Kyle Richmond recapping his origin for anyone who might have missed #32. Then his vision fades from Dr. Nagan to the much more pleasing visiage of Dr. Belinsky.

Okay, Kyle's brain is back in his body, so that's the official end of the plotline. But let's finish out the issue anyway.

Nearby, Doctor Strange is "convincing" the KGB and US State Department that Dr. Belinsky should be allowed to remain in America for a while longer. An intern reports there's some ruckus in Kyle's room. By the time Dr. Strange gets there, a cop reports that apparently someone was trying to snatch Richmond, but Dr. Belinsky took them out by herself. Strange notes that despite her intellectual appearance, Tanya has a bearing that reminds him of Valkyrie.

"--winged horse!" Aragorn was hurt worse by Chondu's attack last issue than was immediately obvious, and Jack Norriss is trying to protect the noble steed from the shotgun-wielding landlord. There's a quick reference to the TV show "The Defenders", about a law firm (I have an issue of the tie-in comic somewhere.) The landlord clubs down Jack and is about to shoot when a new person arrives on the roof. Hulk. We all know how Hulk feels about people who shoot animals, and he says he's going to "smash." Instead he simply drops the landlord off the side of the roof. It's mentioned that after his experience in the Omega the Unknown comic, Hulk is in a particularly bad mood. Jack peeks over the parapet to discover that there was a terrace only a few feet below, and he urges the landlord to seethe in silence to avoid having Hulk get even angrier.

In the hospital cafeteria, Doctors Strange and Belinsky relax with coffee. A newsboy comes in hawking a headline about Celestial Mind Control (yes, kids, newsboys still existed in 1976.) Strange buys a paper and the doctors discuss the ominousness of people blindly following anyone who promises instant power, willing even to relinquish control of their thoughts.

However, polls report that two out of three people think that Celestial Mind Control might have something to offer them. And we see such a group of three outside the cult's headquarters. Men with hard faces, and harder lives. They seek the added power that CMC offers, but not for any altruistic purpose. The one named Smithers is not convinced this is worthwhile, but is outvoted. The little bald man answers the door personally, and asks the visitors to introduce themselves.

Fanwank time--it's later retconned that this Plantman (for it is he) was a Doombot duploid. Perhaps the fact that he's actually a plant-matter creature programmed to think like Sam Smithers allows him to overcome the mild mental influence Nebulon may be exerting here.

Over at the women's wing of the local jail, the exhausted Valkyrie is ushered into a cell with three other women. A skinny teenager, a large, muscular woman and an aging hardcase. When Val tries to lie down on a bunk, the big woman tells her it's the kid's bunk. The kid attempts to be kind, but the big woman says she's looking out for the kid's interests. The bunk above the hardcase is open, but now the big woman wants Val to give the "what you're in for" speech. Or else.

In Greenwich Village, Dr. Strange arrives home with Dr. Belinsky, who is surprised by the "spiritual" decor. Before they can get into a discussion of Stephen's post-retirement activities, a phone call alerts Strange that someone's vanished. He lies to Tanya that it's merely a hospital mix-up, which she doesn't buy, and she's fast enough out the door to see him fly away in his mystic garb.

The vine drops Dr. Strange at Plantman's feet, and the villain fails to recognize him but from the way he's dressed might also make a good hostage. At this point the Red Guardian arrives and knocks away Plantman's gun. He's upgraded his costume though, and launches thorns that put her off guard enough for him to catch her with his fists. He notes that if a woman attacks him, he has no difficulty hitting back.

When the doctors awake, they find themselves in a vine-wrapped prison along with the unconscious Kyle. Red Guardian introduces herself to Dr. Strange again. Neither his spells nor her sharp belt buckle can penetrate the vines, and neither of them know where this prison is.

As it happens, their address was pretty ritzy back in the 1970s, Park Avenue and 62nd Street. Outside, the Plantman is demanding fifty million dollars, or he kills Kyle Richmond. End issue.

Perhaps you too want to use plants to gain fifty million dollars. Well, the American Seed Company is all too happy to start you on your way.

Your thoughts and comments, especially as this is the end of the post series?

Next time--something that isn't Seventies Marvel.

Date: 2012-12-02 03:21 am (UTC)
skemono: I read dead racists (Default)
From: [personal profile] skemono
Neither his spells nor her sharp belt buckle can penetrate the vines

Wait, what? Dr. Strange is incapable of cutting down some vines?

Is this some weakness of his I've never heard of before? Like Alan Scott, he's unable to affect plants?

Date: 2012-12-02 04:11 pm (UTC)
cainofdreaming: cain's mark (pic#364829)
From: [personal profile] cainofdreaming
Plot Induced Impotence is a serious condition. Do not let yourself end like poor Dr. Strange, contact your physician for a check-up today!

Date: 2012-12-02 07:17 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
In the Marvel Universe Vy'agra is actually an very on-the-ball demon who uses e-mail to promote his worship amongst magic users whose... wands tend to wiggle when they should waggle.

Date: 2012-12-04 03:15 am (UTC)
jkcarrier: me, at my old office (Default)
From: [personal profile] jkcarrier
Hmm...I thought Doc's problems (as well as the Hulk being extra-ragey, and some other stuff later in the storyline) was meant to be the result of Nagan tampering with their "thought-patterns" back in #33?

Date: 2012-12-02 05:23 pm (UTC)
marghammerman: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marghammerman
You should continue to discuss Val's wild and wacky time in prison. I remember that storyline continuing for longer than it seemed like is should have... shades of the "women in prison" genre and all that... though I think in the end I actually sort of liked it for its twisted (or very twisted) feminism.

Date: 2012-12-03 12:58 am (UTC)
marghammerman: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marghammerman
I've actually been meaning to re-read it... If it turns out to be interesting, maybe I'll post something. Thanks for the reminder, at any rate; a lot of vintage Defenders is a pretty big jumble in my mind (which probably isn't that surprising, considering the number of times the plots centered on amnesia, body-swapping or mind control, lol).

Date: 2012-12-02 07:38 pm (UTC)
halloweenjack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] halloweenjack
That thing about Valkyrie being helpless against women (well, eventually) reminds me of just how weird it was sometimes in 70s Marvel with the (then as now) overwhelmingly male creators struggling with women's liberation and trying to apply feminism to superhero comics, but through the lens of their own limitations and conscious and subconscious prejudices. (See also: Red Sonja, Thundra.)

Date: 2012-12-03 01:02 am (UTC)
marghammerman: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marghammerman
Yeah, exactly. That's what I found so interesting about the "Val in prison" stuff the first time I read it. You can see an effort being made, but it often takes some strange turns.

Date: 2012-12-02 10:27 pm (UTC)
starwolf_oakley: (Default)
From: [personal profile] starwolf_oakley
In my dream Black Widow movie, Tania Belinsky appears played by Emily Blunt, as well as other Russian Marvel characters in a "Hey, the Cold War's been over for 25 years" world.

Date: 2012-12-03 12:53 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] tpsreports
Next issue is so awesome I can't wait....

Date: 2012-12-04 03:24 am (UTC)
jkcarrier: me, at my old office (Default)
From: [personal profile] jkcarrier
- I really like Klaus Janson's inks over Sal Buscema's pencils.
- Smithers talking to the leaf is a great, creepy bit of foreshadowing (since the reader doesn't know his identity at that point). There's more characterization in that one moment that in all his other appearances combined.
- Another good example of shorthand characterization is that well-meaning but terrified veterinarian. "Look, dude, the Hippocratic Oath only goes so far..."


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