Defenders (1972) No. 85 Like a Proud Black Panther
We start off with Hellcat trying to get in to the well-guarded Wakandan Embassy for the purpose of conferring with the Black Panther about the recent activities of the nefarious Mandrill. Patsy being Patsy, she decides on the direct approach.
Impressive. T'Challa isn't only being guarded by his own Wakandan security but S.H.I.E.L.D. security as well.
Patsy is rebuffed, but because of an accident, she literally 'drops in' to the Embassy.
The Black Panther recognizes his fellow ex-Avenger and tells all security people to stand down.
Where's Nighthawk you say? Nighthawk has been disallowed by the government to be Nighthawk (the perils of having no secret ID). Kyle sees all the action and feels frustrated at not being able to join in.
We leave both cats to head over to the vast Atlantic Ocean to find the Hulk in search of land.
Can the Hulk really make a transatlantic swim? My bet is yes, this is the Hulk after all. We won't know at this point though, since Submariner finds him and offers him an Atlantean skyship ride to anywhere.
The Hulk chooses Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum as the drop off. It has ever been Hulk's home in the pages of The Defenders
Upon arriving in the Sanctum Val, Clea, and Hellcat is there together with the Black Panther. Considering the recent disagreements between Namor and T'Challa
and the averted war between their kingdoms of Atlantis and Wakanda, relations between the two are less than cordial. Proud Namor leaves post haste.
The rest - minus Hulk and Doctor Strange - follow the trail of the Mandrill to New Jersey where they witness a plane landing. They notice that everybody is a woman, a Mandril signature, since he can mind control only women. The Defenders quickly launch into action against the occupants of that plane.
The Black Panther manages to get into the plane but is soon trapped.
The plane has been already half destroyed by the Valkyrie (since Val can't attack women she makes do with damaaging the plane). This is no ordinary plane though, it still manages to take off with the Black Panther in it. The agile Hellcat manages to get herself onboard as the plane takes off. Unfortunately, Patsy is having a hard time freeing the Black Panther. It is at this point that the Mandrill makes an appearance via viewscreen.
The mind-controller of women is a literal ape - there is something very symbolic about the Mandrill.
What started out as a successful bust by the Defenders is very quickly becoming a crisis. Clea decides to mystically call on Doctor Strange for help. She knows that it's going to be Doctor Strange and the Hulk - both founding members of the Defenders and major powerhouses.
The plane is heading at high speed to a propane plant in New Jersey with the intent of crashing into the facility, killing Hellcat and Black Panther and everyone else in the vicinity. The Hulk nixes that tragedy by ramming the plane into the river instead.
Hellcat shows her ability to pick locks by working from a mental projection from Doctor Strange.
The plane exlplodes underwater but all the Defenders have gotten out.
The Mandrill proves to be an ellusive villain as the issue closes.