Defenders (1st series) #57

Issue Date: 
March 1978
Story Title: 
And along came... Ms. Marvel!

Gerry Conway (plotter), Chris Claremont (writer), George Tuska & Dave Cockrum (pencilers), Dan Green (inker), Françoise Mouly (colorist), Pete Iro (letterer), Archie Goodwin (editor)

Brief Description: 

Months earlier Ms. Marvel’s image appeared out of the Orb of Agamotto, which puzzled the non-team, but with the events to follow they forgot all about it. In the present, an agent of A.I.M. named Arthur Shaman kidnaps Dr. Barnett, Carol Danver’s psychiatrist. He uses his powers of hypnosis to make Dr. Barnett a willing victim. That same night, Nighthawk and Hellcat receive a visit from Ms. Marvel at Richmond’s penthouse. She explains her precognitive power to the Defenders and how she sensed a friend close to her was in peril as well as the Defenders. Meanwhile, A.I.M. uses some advanced machinery to enter Barnett’s mind. There, they learn Carol Danver’s deepest fear, to be attacked and killed by the Hulk. After a short time Strange’s Sanctum Santorum is attacked. Clea, Valkyrie and Hulk rise to the defense. A.I.M.’s advanced andriod, Warbot, easily handles the three Defenders and takes Hulk prisoner encased in ice. Nighthawk sees the ship leaving and plants a tracer on it. He contacts Ms. Marvel and Hellcat and they head off to the rescue. When A.I.M. arrives at their destination they plan to brainwash the Hulk into killing Carol Danvers. Unfortunately for them the trio awaits. Ms. Marvel takes out Warbot while Nighthawk handles a bunch of A.I.M. goons and Hellcat brings down Shaman. When all is said and done, the Defenders return to Strange’s townhouse and Clea frees Barnett from Shaman’s hypnosis.

Full Summary: 

Flashback- Months earlier

Dr. Strange’s Sanctum Santorum

The Hulk swings over and over again at the misty visage of Ms. Marvel appearing above the Orb of Agamotto. His punches have no effect on the corporeal image, but Dr. Strange’s property is another story. Books and shelving go flying as a result of Hulk’s violent temper. He yells at Mask-Girl, declaring he fought one like her in the desert and will smash her too.
Dr. Strange and Valkyrie enter the study after hearing the commotion. Dr. Strange orders Hulk to calm down and tries explaining the image can’t harm him. Hulk knocks Dr. Strange back, refusing to let the magician confuse him with dumb words. He swings again and this time his fist goes through the wall. He tells Strange he remembers the other masked one who tried to kill him on what the humans call a campus.
Valkyrie tries talking sense to the green brute, but he’s not listening. She strikes him with Dragonfang across the shoulder. Hulk decks her and she goes flying. Dr. Strange regains his composure and wraps Hulk up in the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak. Hulk accuses Strange of not fighting fair. After all, how can he do battle against dumb circles of light. Dr. Strange agrees with his assertion and then focuses on the image that has invaded his home. He orders it away and so Ms. Marvel disappears.
Hulk calms down at this point so Dr. Strange releases him from the Band’s grasp. Hulk skulks away, but apologizes to Sword-Girl as he does so. Valkyrie turns to Dr. Strange and expresses her concern over what happened. Strange doesn’t know what to make of it either, besides the fact the woman was garbed like Captain Marvel. He did get a sense she was asking for help. Valkyrie begins walking away and Dr. Strange calls after her. She explains she’s tired and still hurting from the Hulk’s blow and that tomorrow they can worry about the mysterious woman.

Pub- Upper East Side, Manhattan

Michael Barnett, Carol Danver’s psychiatrist, sits at the bar stewing over the images of Ms. Marvel on the television. He raises his glass and toasts his patient, wondering why she’s always in his thoughts. He worries the doctor-patient relationship has developed into something far deeper. Besides the knowledge that Carol Danvers and Ms. Marvel are one and the same, Dr. Barnett feels something deep for her.
Barnett is stirred from his depressing thoughts when someone from behind him places a hand on his shoulder. Barnett tells the stranger rather briskly that he’s drinking alone. The man tells the good doctor his services are needed. Barnett tells him to call his office in the morning, but when he turns around Barnett finds himself staring into the mystery man’s eyes and feels them burning into his mind and soul. The man introduces himself as Arthur Shaman and tells Barnett his will is no longer his. Shaman tells Dr. Barnett to get up and follow him. Barnett complies, thoroughly hypnotized.
Kyle Richmond’s Penthouse

Kyle and Patsy arrive at Richmond’s penthouse after a night on the town. Kyle notices the security alarm is blinking, which means someone is in his apartment. Both Defenders make a quick change into their uniforms and then barge into Kyle’s office. There they find Ms. Marvel standing in front of his desk.
Ms. Marvel turns on the light and introduces herself. She says she’s there to ask the Defenders for help. Hellcat recognizes her from the cover of “Woman” magazine where they labeled her the “super-hero sensation of the seventies!” Patsy jokes they must have never heard of Hellcat. Kyle tells Hellcat her time will come and then turns his attention back to Ms. Marvel. He asks her what she wants and how she knows about the Defenders.
Ms. Marvel explains she has a seventh sense, a sort of precognitive power, and it hit her today that a close friend of hers would be in deadly danger, and not only that, but someone would also try to kill the Defenders before the night was over.
Far side of Central Park

Shaman leads Dr. Barnett into the A.I.M. secret laboratory. Agent B-4 is waiting inside and tells Shaman the portable psycho-conditioner is ready and to strap Barnett into it. Barnett makes a weak attempt at fighting back as Shaman’s hypnosis effect starts to weaken. B-4 starts to freak out, but Shaman delivers a nice swift punch to Dr. Barnett’s face. They attach the apparatus to his head and turn on the juice. B-4 explains they’re trying to determine how Carol Danvers discovered A.I.M.’s New York headquarters and then plug the leak, That is assuming her psychiatrist would have the answers.
A bit later, Barnett is slumped over in his chair babbling about Carol’s nightmares of being attacked and killed by the Hulk. Satisfied with this last bit of information the A.I.M. scientist orders the process stopped. They have what they need to destroy Carol Danvers.
Dr. Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum

Clea sits idly by, her thoughts turning to Dr. Strange and his long mission off in the Quadriverse. The building shakes terribly, freeing Clea from her reflections. She springs up from her chair as part of the roof collapses and furniture couples over. She joins Hulk and Valkyrie as they exit the Sanctorum.
Directly in front of them levitates some sort of flying ship. Clea erects the Shield of the Seraphim just in time as the ship lets loose with its cannons. Valkyrie asks Clea if she knows who might be attacking them, as the ship bears no markings. They’ll learn nothing just standing around, Clea responds. It’s time for them to pay the price for messing with the Defenders.
They charge forward and notice something emerging from the craft. It’s a giant, humanoid robot with green and purple markings. The android identifies the Hulk via its gamma radiation sensors and prepares itself for an assault by the three Defenders.
Hulk gets there first and receives a powerful blow from the Shiny-Man. Clea’s up next and lets loose with the Flames of Faltine. Much to her surprise the robot reflects the spell back at her and Clea bears the full brunt, collapsing. Valkyrie moves in from the side, acknowledging how easily the creature is defeating them. She strikes with all her might and Dragonfang merely bounces off the monster’s hide. Said monster turns his attention towards the female warrior and introduces himself as Warbot, the ultimate soldier. Beams of energy fire from Warbot’s eyes and Valkyrie suddenly finds herself trapped in a giant crystal cube.
Hulk comes at him for round two. He is angry that Steel-Man has hurt his friends and thinks he can beat the Hulk. Warbot fires more beams from his eyes, but this time Hulk is encased in a frozen state. Warbot explains that his frigi-beams will seal the Hulk within a mantle of absolute cold and render him unconscious. Warbot hoists the frozen Hulk with one of his manacles and reenters the aircar. The vehicle rises and flies off into the distance.
Not too far away, Nighthawk is hopping from rooftop to rooftop sans the aid of his jetpack, wondering just how crazy he must be to even try the stunt. He spots the aircar zooming by and judging its appearance and proximity to Dr. Strange’s sends a radio transmission to Hellcat and Ms. Marvel. He warns them there may be trouble at Doc’s place and he’s going to check it out.
The two ladies wait by the speaker eager to hear Nighthawk’s update. Minutes later he reports back, telling them Clea’s out cold and Valkyrie’s sealed in a crystal cube. He also thinks the Hulk’s been kidnapped. Hellcat wants to know their next move. Nighthawk tells her not to worry, he hit the aircar with a tracer bug. He tells the ladies where the receiver is hidden. Ms. Marvel grabs it and verifies it’s working. Hellcat tells her to grab on and she’ll swing them across the city. Ms. Marvel reminds her that won’t be necessary; she can fly.
Long Island’s Suffolk County

Minutes later, the aircar arrives at its rural destination. A.I.M. agents contact the lab below to ready the equipment that will be used to brainwash the Hulk. The ship touches down and the crew exits. Warbot has the thawing Hulk in one hand while Shaman pushes forward the captive Dr. Barnett. Shaman gloats over his fiendish plan. A.I.M. will finally get their revenge on Carol Danvers, using her worst nightmare to kill her, which can in no way be traced back to A.I.M. And as a bonus, Bruce Banner will be faced with his worst nightmare, that his brutish alter-ego will have at last committed murder.
Right before the A.I.M. entourage reaches the barn facade, Ms. Marvel busts through the wall and is quickly followed by Nighthawk and Hellcat. Nighthawk asks who these guys are. Ms. Marvel gives him the brief rundown on A.I.M. and her recent involvement with them. Hellcat cracks a joke about the hatboxes on their heads.
Ms. Marvel goes directly for Warbot and punches through his midsection scattering mechanical parts everywhere. The robot fires off some eye lasers, but they go awry and Ms. Marvel lands a few more punishing blows. She even manages to knock off its head and send it back into the barn wall, nearly breaking her hand. She marvels at how A.I.M. wasn’t even interested in Ms. Marvel, only Carol Danvers. Warbot comes back for more, much to Ms. Marvel’s surprise. It nearly lands a devastating blow, but Ms. Marvel is able to dodge it in time.
While nearby Nighthawk and Hellcat take care of the remaining A.I.M. thugs. Nighthawk delivers a jump kick and sends one goon upside down into a towering tree. Hellcat leaps atop another hoodlum and tears away at his clothes. The man screams for help, afraid some demon-woman has set upon him. Hellcat jokingly takes offense at his words and introduces herself.
Shaman pulls out a gun and thanks Hellcat for giving her name so he knows what to put on her tombstone. Another A.I.M. agent rushes past him and suggests he hightails it out of there. Before Shaman can reply his gun is kicked free from his hand. It’s Hellcat and she’s none too happy. He chops him in the back of the head and he stumbles forward. Shaman threatens her with his hypnotic powers so Hellcat leaps on his back and covers his eyes with her hands, thanking him for the warning.
Shaman charges forward in an attempt to knock her off his back. Hellcat uses her claws to steer him towards one of the trees. Sure enough he slams right into it and falls to the ground unconscious.
Meanwhile, three A.I.M. agents attempt to get to the aircar, but find Nighthawk blocking the way. Two of them open fire and Nighthawk does his best to dodge the incoming blasts. He dives right at them, hoping that’s not what they expected. His plan works as he gets in close and trounces the trio easily.
Nearby, Ms Marvel finally halts Warbot’s movements. She tosses the hunk of junk across the A.I.M. laboratory, destroying the equipment within.
Dr. Strange’s Sanctum Santorum

Later, the Defenders gather around the entranced Dr. Barnett. Ms. Marvel asks Clea if she’s able to help him. Clea tells her she has more than enough skill to break a simple trance. She works her mojo and blasts the good doctor with her spell. She tells them he will recover within moments.
One thing still puzzles Clea, though. She wonders how Ms. Marvel’s image came about from the Orb of Agamotto months ago. Ms. Marvel is clueless on that one. She can only suppose her seventh-sense interacted somehow with the psychic energies of the orb. Nevertheless, she thanks the Defenders for all their help and promises her aid in any problems they may come across in the future. Nighthawk tells her the same.
Dr. Barnett finally comes around. He takes a good look at his surroundings, including the six superheroes around him and says, “Uh... excuse me, but what—No, on second though, I don’t want to know!”

Characters Involved: 

Hellcat, Hulk, Nighthawk, Valkyrie (all Defenders)

Clea (all Defenders associates)

Ms. Marvel

Michael Barnett (Carol Danver’s psychiatrist)
Agent B-4, Arthur Shaman (all A.I.M. agents)


Story flashback

Dr. Strange, Hulk, Valkyrie (all Defenders)

Ms. Marvel

Story Notes: 

The initial flashback sequence takes place prior to the events in Defenders #42.
Hulk remembers his battle with Captain Marvel in Captain Marvel (1st series) #21, which is why he’s angry with Ms. Marvel, who bears a similar costume.
Carol Danver’s discovered A.I.M.’s New York headquarters in Ms. Marvel (1st series) #7. She helped the New York police take it down in issue #10.
Typo Alert: On page 15 the Warbot says, “This unit and conveyance presenty under assaut—“. It seems the letterer doesn’t like using the letter ‘l’.
This is Arthur Shaman’s last appearance.

Issue Information: 
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