Defenders (1st series) #62

Issue Date: 
August 1978
Story Title: 
Membership Madness! –Dollar Bill’s Documentary Disaster - Part 1

David Kraft (writer), Sal Buscema (penciler), Jim Mooney (inker), Bob Sharen (colorist), John Costanza (letterer), Bob Hall (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

The Defenders try a nice relaxing game of Frisbee, which turns into anything but when Dollar Bill comes running out of the house with news of his Defenders documentary. Nighthawk is livid, but Val manages to calm him down and the whole group head to the living room to watch the show. In his documentary, Bill shows the recent exploits of the Defenders, including a gaffe with Lunatik, and in the end invites anyone with superpowers to join the team. Nighthawk is angry once more. In the meantime, Sergei: the Presence, inspects an area of land over the Soviet Union that is home to one of his creations come back to haunt him. The next morning at the Riding Academy, Nighthawk finds over a dozen superheroes waiting outside to join their ranks. Nighthawk is further enraged and ends up chasing after Falcon. The rest of the Defenders eventually come out, Hellcat to flirt with the guys, Val and Hulk to serve very bitter coffee. As for the Defender recruits, four of them head off to play cowboy on Kyle’s horses, while another group discusses who should be the new Defenders leader, and yet a third group plots to take down the menace they call the Hulk. Things all come to a head when the Hulk is ambushed and is forced to drop his coffee.

Full Summary: 

Richmond Riding Academy

Hulk finds his friends outside by the stables playing Frisbee. Hellcat has the yellow Frisbee in hand and via some crazy acrobatics launches it into the air telling Nighthawk to go get it. Nighty activates his jetpack at full blast and launches from the ground. He snags the Frisbee, telling Hellcat nothing can slip by him.
Kyle tosses it downward to Hulk who catches it easily. Nighthawk tells him to throw it to Val. With a comprehending grin, the green giant does as told, but with a lot of power and speed behind it. Val can’t get a bead on it and is nailed in the gut. The force of the throw knocks her legs out from under her and she falls to the ground.
Hellcat tells Hulk he went a bit overboard. Hulk says Frisbee is stupid, but is sorry for hitting Sword-Girl so hard. Before Val can reply Dollar Bill comes racing out of the house. He tells everyone to get inside so they won’t miss his Defenders documentary. He explains they’re all going to be on television.
Hellcat asks what he’s talking about. Bill says he wanted it to be a surprise. Nighthawk sarcastically agrees it’s a surprise and points out the Defenders are supposed to be a secret. He tells Bill he blew it and then jams a finger in his face with talk of suing him. Bill doesn’t seem taken aback. He tells Nighthawk he’s going to be a star, that he was expecting his thanks. Nighthawk yells, “Thanks a heap, creep!”
Hellcat on the other hand is excited to see the show. She tells Hulk to get a move on. Nighthawk says it figures a former fashion model would love the publicity. Val tells their pseudo-leader to calm down. She points out there’s nothing they can do about it now and reminds him Bill had the best of intentions. Val takes both men by the shoulder and leads them toward the house. Val tells Dollar Bill never to do anything like that again without their permission. Bill agrees. Nighthawk warns him the documentary better be good.
Moments later, the Defenders are plopped down on the couch in front of the television set. They make small talk waiting for the show to start. Hulk thinks the picture box is stupid and plans on smashing it if the show is bad. As if on cue, the documentary begins. Dollar Bill’s voiceover introduces the country to the Defenders roster while showing film clips from their recent battles trying to prevent the rebirth of the demon race.
The film then moves to their team-up with Spider-Man and their battle with Lunatik. Dollar Bill’s camera catches Lunatik’s escape, showing how he hid underneath the statue. Nighthawk can’t believe he didn’t think of looking there. Even worse, he believes everyone’s going to think they’re bozos for screwing that up. Hulk doesn’t really care, though, because the show is dumb.
The documentary continues with footage of Dollar Bill on the Riding Academy grounds. He tells the camera that the Defenders aren’t a team like the Avengers, that the Defenders are a non-team. He explains there’s no charter, no rules and that anyone with powers can declare themselves a Defender and automatically be a member.
The address to the Richmond Riding Academy is posted on the screen. Dollar Bill invites anyone interested to stop by and sign up. He finishes his film with promises to bring more exclusive film exploits of ”Dollar Bill’s Defenders”.
Nighthawk flips his lid. He gets into Dollar Bill’s face and accuses him of making them the laughing stock of the whole world. Dollar Bill, for the first time in his Defender’s life, is a bit flustered. Hellcat and Valkyrie tell Nighthawk to calm down. Nighthawk asks Val how she can be so calm when one of her friends ruined the Defenders. Val tells him he’s overreacting and that they’ll overcome this. Nighthawk insists everyone will want to be a Defender now. He shakes his fists and asks if anyone else realizes what the documentary has done.
Soviet Union

Sergei, in his hoverchair, flies over what looks like a desolate wasteland. His fears have been realized, his experiment has come back to haunt him. His flight takes him over a long pathway of obliterated vehicles of all sorts. His thoughts turn to how it began and how the government tried to hide it, secure in the idea nothing bad would happen. Now Sergei’s sin against humanity has come back to bite him.
Richmond Riding Academy

The following morning, the doorbell to the house rings repeatedly. Nighthawk storms down the hallway yelling to whoever is on the other side to cut down the racket. Kyle walks right by Dollar Bill and questions how the guy who’s responsible for all the chaos can somehow sleep through the racket.
Kyle grabs the doorknob, anxious to see what neo-superhero has decided to come calling. Much to his surprise when he opens the door there’s not one, but over a dozen well-known heroes hanging out on his porch.
Hercules is the first one to identify himself, followed immediately after by Marvel Man and Nova. The sight of all the heroes doesn’t help Nighthawk’s temperament. He goes back inside, grabs Bill by the collar and drags him outside. He then kicks Dollar Bill in the keister and tells him to hit the road.
Falcon, who’s sitting atop the porch overhang, tells Nighthawk to ease up on the guy. Nighthawk doesn’t like taking guff from a stranger and so grabs Falcon’s ankle and tries pulling him off the roof. Instead, Falcon takes to the air with Nighthawk still hanging on.
Nighthawk lets go and lets his jetpack take over. Falcon tells him to cool off, reminding him they’re on the same team. Nighthawk shakes his fist at him and says he gives the orders and he wants Falcon to clear out. Falcon accuses Nighthawk of having a serious attitude problem.
Inside the house, Hellcat, Valkyrie and Hulk are awake and peering outside the window. Hellcat is excited to see all the superhero hunks. Hulk wants to know if he can smash the funny-dressed humans. Val tells him no, that they are their guests. And on that note, Val tells Hellcat to get some coffee together. Hellcat tells her she’s not messing with that coffee pot again. Instead, Patsy grabs her shadow cloak and heads outside to show it off. Val leaves to start the coffee and asks Hulk for his assistance.
Outside, Hellcat visits with a trio of handsome heroes, Paladin, Torpedo (who expresses his regrets he’s married) and Captain Ultra.
Nearby, Nova spots a group of horses grazing out by the fences. He points them out to Marvel Man and with a big smile says he’s going to go play cowboy. He cries out the last one there will be a rotten egg and takes off. Marvel Man yells foul at Nova’s head start. White Tiger joins the race as well as Prowler.
While elsewhere, a small band of would-be Defenders get together for an important decision. Black Goliath brings up the point they’re going to need a real leader who can handle all the superhero hotshots. Jack of Hearts nominates Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel seconds it. Captain Marvel declines the offer. When Havok asks why, Captain Marvel points out they have an Avenger and former chief of the Champions with them. He nominates Hercules. Stingray and Tagak agree. Ms. Marvel asks for a vote. Everyone raises his or her hands with a reverberant, “Aye!” Hercules is pleased and accepts the responsibility forthwith.
Back in the grazing area, Nova wins the race, but the bewildered horse bucks him off. Marvel Man also nearly falls, while Prowler and White Tiger mount their steeds just fine. All the horses are finally settled when Falcon and Nighthawk continue their chase right above. This spooks the horses again and the four riders decide to ride off after the two fools.
While at the house, Val and Hulk emerge with the coffee. They pass out cups to those nearby. One of them is Stingray who fears Hulk might remember him from when they last met. The heroes all take a sip and find it very bitter. Son of Satan and crew pour the remaining “devil’s brew” on the ground.
Val gives the last coffee to Hercules, unaware of the other heroes’ reaction. Hercules proposes a toast to the new Defenders. When he takes a drink he gags. He pours his out as well. Val walks away steamed.
Elsewhere on the estate a plot is being hatched. Torpedo calls a small group of heroes aside to discuss the capture of the Hulk, who he believes is a menace. Black Goliath, Havok, Iron Fist and Tagak are in agreement.
Still elsewhere, Captain Ultra and Jack of Hearts fight for Hellcat’s attentions. Things begin to get real heated so Hellcat tells them to chill out. This causes Captain Ultra to think she’s leading them on. He knocks her to the ground and continues his intense verbal exchange with Jack of Hearts. They almost come to blows, but Falcon and Nighthawk fly overhead followed by four heroes on horseback. Jack of Hearts and Captain Ultra are knocked aside by the stampede.
And up ahead, Hulk has wandered off to seek solace from all the commotion. As he sits down on a large rock the conspiring heroes from earlier, with the additions of Polaris and Stingray, ambush him. Hulk drops his coffee in stunned surprise and prepares to do some smashing.

Characters Involved: 

Hellcat, Hulk, Nighthawk, Valkyrie (all Defenders)
Black Goliath, Captain Marvel, Captain Ultra, Falcon, Havok, Hercules, Iron Fist, Jack of Hearts, Marvel Man, Ms. Marvel, Nova, Paladin, Polaris, Prowler, Son of Satan, Stingray, Tagak, Torpedo, White Tiger (all Defenders recruits)
Dollar Bill

Sergei: The Presence

Dr. Strange, Hellcat, Hulk, Nighthawk, Valkyrie (all Defenders)

Dollar Bill

Story Notes: 

Though featured on the cover these characters do not appear in this issue: Angel, Human Torch, Iron Man, Power Man and Spider-Woman, though Iron Man will make an appearance in the next one.
The Defenders prevented Xenogenesis, the rebirth of the demon race, during the storyline that ran from Defenders (1st series) #58-60.
The Defenders teamed up with Spider-Man to stop the E.S.U. campus-crazy Lunatik in Defenders (1st series) #61. Though they formed an elaborate plan, Lunatik managed to escape. Thanks to Dollar Bill’s camera they finally learned how he escaped, through a tunnel in the base of the statue.
Star Wars Alert: In his documentary, Dollar Bill compares the Defenders’ battle against the demons (from the previous story arc) to a Wookiee wiping out Stormtroopers.
The Sergei subplot will be followed upon next issue.
Two of the heroes that show up at the Defenders’ doorstep had previously assisted the non-team in prior adventures. Those would be Ms. Marvel (Defenders (1st series) # 57) and Son of Satan (Giant-Size Defenders #2, Defenders (1st series) #24-25, 32).
Hellcat had a rough time with the coffee pot, causing it to explode, in Defenders (1st series) #51.
Hellcat received her shadow cloak after defeating the Agent of Fortune during the Xenogenesis storyline in Defenders (1st series) #60.
Stingray once battled Hulk back in Hulk (1st series) #221.

Issue Information: 
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