Defenders (1st series) #43

Issue Date: 
January 1977
Story Title: 
This World Is Mine!

Gerry Conway (writer & editor), Keith Giffen (penciler), Klaus Janson (inker & colorist), Irving Watanabe (letterer)

Brief Description: 

The Emissaries of Evil watch from safety as the Defenders must deal with the meltdown of Cobalt Man. Hulk wants to smash him, but the rest of the Defenders know that will only lead to disaster. Nighthawk comes up with a plan just in time and convinces Hulk to grab Cobalt Man and toss him deep in the river in the hopes of stopping the nuclear reaction. The plan works and the Defenders return to Dr. Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum in the hopes of saving Cobalt Man’s life. Meanwhile, Egghead sends Rhino and Solarr to the hotel where Dr. Strange was last seen in the hopes of learning the Star of Capistan’s whereabouts. The two goons are met with overwhelming resistance when they run into the Red Rajah who soundly defeats them and claims to have done the same to Dr. Strange. Speaking of Strange, back at his place the Red Guardian is hooked up to a machine with Cobalt Man at the other end. Through Clea’s mystic powers their minds are joined. Red Guardian sifts through his memories and slowly senses the Cobalt Man regaining his. While all this is going on, Egghead teleports into the townhouse and takes down Defender after Defender with his sophisticated bag of eggs. After defeating Hulk, Valkyrie and Nighthawk he meets his match in the form of Luke Cage. His egg is ineffective and Cage teaches him some very rough lessons, one of which sends Egghead into the room where Cobalt Man has recovered. No longer brainwashed, the blue-armored villain grabs a hold of Egghead and sets of a mini-nuclear explosion, seemingly killing them both.

Full Summary: 

Egghead’s Orbiting Satellite:

Egghead sits in his controller chair and stares up at the satellite view-screen. Rhino and Solarr stand at either side of him. The three watch, transfixed, at the aftermath of the battle between the Cobalt Man and the Defenders. As Cobalt Man lies lifeless on the hood of a crumpled car his body generates increasing levels of radiation. It won’t be long before he explodes with the force of an atomic bomb.
Egghead bubbles over with excitement as he realizes with the Defenders dead there’ll be no one to keep him from getting his hands on the Star of Capistan, and once in his possession he will control everything. Finally, after all this time, he will have control of the world.
New York City:

The Defenders gather around the glowing Cobalt Man. Hulk wants to know why the blue man is glowing. Valkyrie tells him Cobalt Man is building to critical mass and they have no idea how to stop him. Hulk is angered at her comments because he knows how to stop anything, keep hitting it until it stops glowing.
A man comes rushing over yelling about his car, the one the Cobalt Man is lying on. Power Man snatches him by the collar of his shirt and drags him back, warning him of the looming holocaust. The man doesn’t listen, telling Cage he can’t touch him because he’s not the police. Since the man won’t listen to reason, Power Man tosses him across the street, voicing his dislike for the “dumb-butts” he meets.
Hulk turns his attention back to the blue man, insistent that his method of smashing will fix the problem. Luke gets in his way and tries holding the emerald giant back, but only succeeds in tearing up chunks of asphalt with his feet as the Hulk slowly marches forward.
Meanwhile, Nighthawk is flying above the scene struggling to figure a way out of this mess. He tries thinking back to anything he might have read on nuclear physics and comes up with an idea.
Below, the Hulk finally breaks free of Cage and charges after Cobalt Man. Nighthawk comes swooping in and tells Hulk not to smash the blue man, but carry him. Hulk begrudgingly agrees only because Bird-nose is his friend.
After Nighthawk explains his plan in the simplest of terms, Hulk scoops up the blue man and leaps toward the river. Nighthawk follows, listening as Hulk grumbles about the stupid plan. The citizens down below don’t know what to make of the airborne Defenders.
They near the river so Nighthawk yells for Hulk to drop him in. He explains, “Atomic piles are built underwater—because water slows down the neutrons passing between atoms forcing nuclear reactions to stay below a critical level! Underwater, the Cobalt Man’s own nuclear reaction may slow—perhaps even halt!”
Hulk still thinks the plan is stupid, but listens anyway. He decides if the blue man doesn’t stop glowing in the water then he will smash him. Nighthawk watches as the two disappear into the river, praying his plan works.
Hulk’s head pops up out from the water so Nighthawk dives down and asks what happened. Hulk explains blue man stopped glowing... and complains he’s wet. Nighthawk says he’ll personally buy Hulk a towel.
Egghead’s Orbiting Satellite:

Egghead is none too pleased with the recent developments. He clenches his fists in rage, cursing the Hulk for what he’s done. The confidence he has in his genius is all that’s keeping him from losing it. Egghead quickly devises a new plan and orders Rhino and Solarr to return to Earth to track Dr. Strange to the hotel he visited earlier and force the location of the jewel from him.
Rhino doesn’t feel like following Egghead’s orders anymore after the abuse he’s received from him. Egghead tells him he has no choice. Solarr says they’ll just kill him and then escape. Egghead pulls down on a nearby lever and transport beams send the two mutineers back to Earth. Egghead tells the dissipating bodies they will remain his emissaries as long as they both live.
New York City:

Hulk pulls Cobalt Man up from the bottom of the river and places him on the nearby dock. There, the rest of the Defenders arrive, including the Red Guardian. Nighthawk asks where she’s been. She explains she was at the Soviet Embassy speaking with her comrades when she heard reports of the battle and rushed over.
Nighthawk laments over the fact they may have killed the Cobalt Man. Kyle could tell he was brainwashed or something. He asks the Guardian whether she can use her medical skills to save him.
Lobby of a Midtown Hotel:

Rhino and Solarr reappear smack dab in the middle of a crowded hotel lobby. The surrounding people are taken aback at the site of a man-Rhino and the brightly garbed Solarr. The two bad guys briefly discuss their inability to stop Egghead, but are content with the fact they can ride to power beside him.
They take off in search of Dr. Strange, knocking innocent bystanders this way and that. They head to the elevators finding one situated on the ground floor, but the doors won’t open. Rhino sticks his meaty paws in-between the crevice and forces an opening. He peers into the elevator car and his eyes widen when he sees someone inside.
Both Emissaries are knocked backwards as the elevators doors are blown off the hinges. A reddish light emanates from the figure that emerges from the carnage. Solarr fires a heat blast at the turbaned newcomer. Solarr accuses him of trying to steal the Star of Capistan.
The figure begins glowing even brighter as he receives Solarr’s attack. He calls the Emissary of Evil a thief, and explains how he already disposed of the mortal, Dr. Strange, who had attempted to take the Star earlier. He tells Solarr he shall suffer, for so speaks the Red Rajah.
The Red Rajah surmises Solarr’s power comes from the sun, and thus he must have some sort of amplifier as a power source during the night. He fires another concussive blast of energy at Solarr attempting to overload the amplifier. His plan succeeds. Solarr falls to the ground defeated.
Rhino takes the opportunity to ram the distracted Rajah right in the keister. Red Rajah plows through a support beam, disintegrating it. Rhino tells the Rajah it’s payback time for taking down his partner. Red Rajah gets back to his feet and his body mass increases, much to Rhino’s surprise. He charges once more, but this time the Rajah is ready and leaps over the attack, landing on top of the grey-costumed villain, sending him through the flooring into the basement below.
Red Rajah stands over the gaping hole and looks down at the unconscious Rhino. He warns any who are listening that he is the Star of Capistan’s protector and a similar fate will befall anyone else who tries to take it.
Egghead’s Orbiting Satellite:

Egghead is positive Rhino and Solarr have absconded with the jewel by now. With a press of a button a machine comes out from behind a wall and opens, revealing a dozen eggs encased within. Egghead knows his two cronies would have eliminated Strange, but fears the rest of the Defenders may give him problems. He picks up one of the eggs and thinks back to Cobalt Man and how he failed to destroy the others. Egghead rubs his fingers across the smooth surface of the shell. He knows if the job is to be done right he must do it himself.
Dr. Strange’s Sanctum Santorum:

The Defenders return to their base with the Cobalt Man. They hook him and Red Guardian to a machine, which was donated to Dr. Strange back in his neurosurgeon days. With Clea’s assistance a link between the two minds can be formed. Clea sets herself for the task at hand and draws the minds together, fusing them into one.
Elsewhere in the townhouse, the Hulk wanders aimlessly worried about his magician friend. His thoughts lead him to wonder why the magician would hide from him. Egghead transports into the middle of the room. The Hulk doesn’t notice, as he’s lost deep in his thoughts. Egghead grabs for his arsenal of weapons and tosses one of his eggs in the behemoth’s direction. The egg impacts in the middle of Hulk’s back and then explodes, unleashing a sophisticated bagging system that tangles and engulfs the big guy. Hulk finds himself trapped, unable to break free all the while Egghead snickers madly.
While not far away, the Red Guardian enters Cobalt Man’s memories. She learns how he became Cobalt Man, how his obsession over the Iron Man armor motivated him to create one for himself. Unfortunately, the radiation given off from the armor drove him insane.
Meanwhile, Valkyrie happens by and interrupts Egghead’s gloating. She offers the evil genius a chance to surrender. Instead, Egghead reaches into his outfit, pulls out an egg and tosses it at her. It strikes Dragonfang, cracking open. Valkyrie calls him a fool, but then receives a massive jolt of electricity as it courses through the sword and into her body. She collapses to the ground.
Back to Cobalt Man’s memories, the X-Men eventually defeated the insane Ralph Roberts, the man inside the cobalt armor. The all-consuming guilt he felt for his actions led him to create a second Cobalt Man.
At that moment, Egghead turns his attention from Valkyrie, who’s paralyzed by her sword’s mystic energy, towards the “less powerful” members of the Defenders. He nears the bottom of a staircase and hears Nighthawk’s voice up above speaking with whom he assumes is Luke Cage.
And sure enough, Power Man and Nighthawk are upstairs discussing why Cage doesn’t want to be a part of the Defenders anymore. He’s not a big fan of the whole “team” thing, he reasons. Nighthawk angrily asks if this is his way of asking for more money. Cage says it’s not the dough, just the hassle. He’s a loner and working with the Defenders has been getting on his nerves.
Inside Cobalt Man’s memories once again, the Red Guardian learns of the second Cobalt suit, and how Ralph Roberts planned to sacrifice himself in the middle of an illegal nuclear test to show the world nuclear power was evil. Instead, he became a human bomb, lost his sanity once more and went toe to toe with the Hulk.
Back above, Cage clarifies what he meant earlier. It’s not that he doesn’t like the Defenders; he just feels he’d be better off working alone. When Nighthawk doesn’t respond, Power Man turns around and finds him lying on the ground, tied up at the feet of Egghead.
Egghead introduces himself to Luke. Nighthawk informs Cage he’s the same guy who hurt Trish Starr. Egghead tosses another egg, this time at Power Man. It hits Cage in the chest and breaks in half. Egghead is shocked that the egg broke. He never guessed Power Man was so powerful. “Tough on you, punk!” Cage replies.
The last of Cobalt Man’s memories show his fight with the Hulk out in space and the subsequent explosion that sent him off into oblivion. Red Guardian grows excited as she can sense the Cobalt Man also regaining his memories, and with them his sanity.
While above, Cage encroaches upon the egg-headed genius. He tells Egghead he’s going to put a hurting on him for what he did to Trish Starr. Egghead uses a device in his sleeve to fire a concussive blast at Cage, but he’s quick and dodges the attack. He moves right on in and decks him. Egghead goes flying.
Below, Clea senses the bond between Dr. Belinsky and Ralph Roberts breaking. The question running rampant in her mind is whether Cobalt Man’s mind has been freed or is he still a deadly puppet.
Back above, Cage decks Egghead again and once more chrome-dome goes flying.
Both the Red Guardian and Cobalt Man get up from the machine. Belinksy tells Clea she’s pretty sure Cobalt Man regained his senses and now knows what has happened to him.
At that moment the door comes crashing down, with the body of Egghead landing on top of it. Cobalt Man eyes him up accusingly and approaches. Egghead is happy to see his Emissary and asks for help. Cobalt Man picks him up by the back of his costume and chastises him for turning him into a tool. Cobalt Man threatens to make sure Egghead will never do it again.
Red Guardian yells out for him to stop, but it’s too late. Cobalt Man explodes in a mini-nuclear explosion. When the light dissipates, both Egghead and Cobalt Man are nowhere to be found. Cage can’t believe it’s over just like that. Tania comments on the bravery and sacrifice shown by Cobalt Man. She feels that as a communist it’s something she must consider, and hopefully someday understand.

Characters Involved: 

Hulk, Nighthawk, Valkyrie (all Defenders)

Clea, Power Man, Red Guardian (all Defender associates)
Cobalt Man, Egghead, Rhino and Solarr (all Emissaries of Evil)

Red Rajah
Cobalt Man’s memories:

Iron Man

Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman (all X-Men)


Story Notes: 

In the previous issue the Defenders were attacked by the Emissaries of Evil who were searching for the Star of Capistan, which they thought was in the possession of Dr. Strange. When they discovered it wasn’t they fled the battle, but the EOE’s leader, Egghead, was not satisfied and sent the Cobalt Man to attack the Defenders. After being defeated, the Cobalt Man began to glow.
Dr. Strange was seen stopping by a hotel to visit his friend in the previous issue. His fate is unclear at this point.
Cobalt Man first appeared in X-Men (1st series) #31 where he showed off his new armor and later battled the X-Men who were protecting one of Tony Stark’s buildings.
Luke Cage has been helping the Defenders lately because Kyle Richmond, aka Nighthawk, placed him on the payroll.
Trish Starr, a former girlfriend of Kyle Richmond’s, was hurt in a car bomb explosion. She lost her left arm as a result. This all happened in Giant-Size Defenders #4. The craziest part is that Egghead is her uncle.
Cobalt Man fought the Hulk in the second Cobalt suit in Incredible Hulk #173-174. It was originally thought he died in that issue.
Cobalt Man and Egghead both survived the nuclear explosion at the end of this issue. It was later revealed Egghead teleported away before the blast. It is unclear how Cobalt Man managed to stay alive, but he was next seen in Civil War #1 where he was presumably killed again thanks to Nitro’s infamous explosion. That makes three “presumed deaths” for the barely used character, all of them amidst extremely powerful explosions.

Issue Information: 
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