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Dazzler #1 (1981, March)

April 27, 2013

Yay Dazzler! This series was so ridiculous, but pretty fun. So let’s start, with “So Bright This Star.” Written by Tom DeFalco, with pencils by a trio of Johns: Two Romito’s and a Buscema.

So Bright This Star

Bob Larkin had a bit of a knack for covers.

We start with Alison Blaire being chased by thugs for some reason. She slips on some roller skates that magnetically adhere to her boots (do those actually exist?) and turns on her radio, then uses a lightshow and some fancy skating to beat them up. A stray bullet smashes her radio, but Spider-Man saves her. Apparently, the thugs worked for some crime boss who wanted to hire her. She heads home, to a crappy apartment with no hot water and no heat, but she’s two months behind on the rent so she can’t complain. She muses about her father wanting her to go into law, but she pursued singing instead.

She calls the X-Men, and talks to Storm. (As an aside, this takes place prior to X-Men #143.) Storm asks Dazzler if she’s reconsidered joining the X-Men, but Alison can’t give up singing. Then we get a flashback to when she was in junior high.

Her school was staging a talent contest, and her father didn’t want her to go, but her grandmother told her to go and have fun. (And apparently her mother wasn’t around. The natural assumption is she died, but that turns out not to be the case.) At the talent show, her mutant power first manifested. The school was  bizarrely attacked by a gang calling themselves the Blazing Lords. Who attacks a junior high talent show? Wow. Anyway, Alison freaks out, and causes a huge blinding lightshow that knocks everyone out and temporarily blinds them. She soon joined a band, and studied hard to get into law school. But when she graduated high school – magna cum laude – she decided not to go to law school, but to pursue her singing career. Her father refused to forgive her.

Two years later, she’s hit rock bottom.

Cut to Asgard. A warrior kills a couple trolls (suffering major wounds himself) to get entrance to a palace, where he finds the Enchantress. She turns him into a tree. She then goes to gaze into her Fountain of Forever, to find the location of an impending rift in the fabric of reality. Turns out it’s a disco. She decides she can’t attract the attention of others who would want the power from the rift, so she goes to it in disguise.

In Avengers Mansion, Beast reads a newspaper article, and then heads over to Dazzler’s apartment to let her know about an opening at a disco. The same disco the Enchantress goes to. The owner is impressed by both of them, but goes with Dazzler. Enchantress is so angry she puts a hole in the wall, swearing revenge.

At this point, it’s OK. Not bad, not great, just OK. The plot is silly, but not quite endearingly so, as later stories become. There’s some fairly generic elements to Alison’s story. Absent mother, distant and disapproving father, loving grandmother. Even for 1981, I doubt this would’ve been seen as particularly original. Alison herself has little personality, which is a bit of a problem throughout the series.  At a time when Chris Claremont was rewriting the rulebook with Uncanny X-Men,  John Byrne was soon to do the same thing with Fantastic Four, Dazzler ended up making the same mistake Incredible Hulk had been making for years, by essentially telling the same story every issue, and adhering too rigidly to the conventions of the genre.

  1. All right! DAZZLER! One of my favourite X-men! I love this series, but you’re exactly right about most Marvel comics from this period. They really do follow a strict and conventional formula that no one deviates from. Reminds me of the New 52! Heyoh!

    • Yeah. Some books were more willing than others to defy a formula. And a lot of the ones that did follow a formula still did a pretty good job with it. A few just felt really formulaic. Incredible Hulk was one, because of how long it spent telling the exact same stories. And Dazzler just started out feeling that way. Also, I think she may have lost some personality since her first appearance. Also also, what kind of battle cry is “Just go for it”?

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