X-Men #130 (1980, February)
I’m starting to rewatch Darkwing Duck. I loved that series as a kid. Still holds up. Anyway, today’s story is titled, simply, “Dazzler.”
Scott, Jean and Kurt pull up in front of a nightclub on a bad street in their Rolls-Royce, because even in their civilian identities, the X-Men prefer to avoid subtlety. The Hellfire Club, of course, are watching them. Nightcrawler stays outside, while Scott and Jean head into the nightclub. They also talk about Scott’s edginess since Xavier’s return. They split up inside to find the mutant, Scott using a mini-Cerebro in his watch, Jean using her telepathy, and part of her almost enjoying some of the dirty thoughts around her.
At the Hellfire Club, Wyngarde talks to Sebastian Shaw, who we see outside of shadows for the first time. When Wyngarde leaves, Shaw talks to Emma Frost, out in Chicago. She boasts about the X-Men she’s captured. Kitty’s spying from the shadows, wondering what to do. Quick flashback to the events of last issue, and then she sneaks over to talk to Storm. Storm tears a tag off her costume and gives it to Kitty. It’s a number to contact Scott. Kitty’s spotted, and during the chase, dives through the floor.
Back at the club, Jean bumps into Wyngarde at the club. Her mind shifts again, and she’s getting married to Jason. She accepts it without question. Back in the present, Scott sees her making out with Jean, and she’s not even sure how to explain it. Scott’s more concerned than jealous, but before they get a chance to talk, Dazzler comes on stage, and Scott’s watch tells him she’s the mutant. Outside, the car phone rings, and Kurt answers it. Kitty tells him what happened, but before Kurt can get more details, he’s attacked by one of the armour guys from last issue. Inside, Jean wants to talk to Scott, but he says after they’ve talked to Dazzler. That’s when two more of the armour guys bust in, equipped to fight each of them. Dazzler is not amused. Also, she talks in street slang. She uses her powers on one of them, shutting his brain off. Jean’s freed, and she frees Cyclops, who knocks the guys on their asses. Phoenix deals with the guy who crashes in with Nightcrawler, and the four mutants make a quick exit.
As they drive away, they pass by Jason Wyngarde. The headlights cast a shadow on the wall behind him that looks a little different from his normal appearance. There’s something familiar about his silhouette.
This is another great issue. Dazzler doesn’t get much panel time here. Dazzler’s origin is well-known, but still somewhat interesting. In the ’70s, KISS was achieving huge success with music and comics. Casablanca Records wanted to do something similar. So they went to Marvel, and a deal was made: Marvel would put out a comic book, Casablanca would put out an album and a movie. The original design of the character was based on Grace Jones, but Casablanca considered Bo Derek for the role, and asked Marvel to reflect that change. We almost had a black Dazzler. Kind of a shame, because it means we almost had an ongoing solo title starring a black woman in 1981. Anyway, Casablanca eventually pulled out of the deal. Probably the right call. A Dazzler movie almost certainly would’ve been stupid, terrible and a flop. Especially since disco was already on the way out by 1980.
Anyway, even though she didn’t get much to do here, she still seems like an interesting character, one worth watching. And the book is otherwise solid, too. Scott’s tension about Xavier’s return was nice, and the continuing plot of Jean’s timeshifts is swiftly approaching its climax, and at this point, there’s no way of knowing exactly how it’ll pay off. It ends up paying off rather dramatically, of course, but we don’t know that yet. Even though we know now. Unless you’ve never read these comics before, but let’s be honest, if you’re reading my blog, you’re familiar with the Dark Phoenix Saga.
Anyway. Great issue, as usual. Not quite as good as the previous issue, but it’s a matter of degrees. It was still better than just about anything else being put out at that point.
And on a side note, Savage She-Hulk # came out the same month. Also, What If #19 had an alternate version of Peter Parker sporting a mullet so glorious its like wouldn’t be seen again until the ’90s.