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Dazzler #5 (1981, July)

May 21, 2013

Hey, reviews two days in a row. Today’s story is titled “Tell Joey I Love Him!”

Tell Joey I Love Him!

Ah, the Blue Shield. What a loser of a character.

Dazzler’s having a nightmare about fighting supervillains, then wakes up in a hospital. The nurse is cranky and rude, but the doctor seems attracted to her. Dazzler’s kept in the hospital overnight. When she’s in her room, she hears the old woman in the next bed talking in her sleep about Joey. We then cut to a rough neighbourhood, where some crooks are complaining about how much of the cut from their profits goes to Bo Barrigan, the man running the numbers concession in town. The Blue Shield busts in and beats them up a bit. He’s very aggressive.

The next day, the doctor, Paul, tells Dazzler about the old woman, Anita Cartelli. 20 years ago, her husband was killed when he and young Joey witnessed an attempted hit on Bo Barrigan. Barrigan took Joey under his wing, breaking Anita’s heart. Paul then invites Dazzler out to brunch, but she takes a raincheck. She’s happy, right up until she sees her hospital bill. $277.83. By today’s standards, it’s actually almost cute to think of that as a large hospital bill. These days, you could end up paying that for a single X-ray. Or more. Or less. Depending on what hospital you’re at. Because the US health care system is totally broken, with prices set seemingly arbitrarily by each hospital, even if they’re only blocks apart. Seriously, people, single-payer. It works here in Canada, and just about every other developed country in the world.

Ah, well, rant over. Dazzler visits her manager, Harry, who tells her that her disappearing act at the UN got a lot of publicity, meaning he’s got some jobs lined up for her. She gets an advance to cover her hospital bill and some groceries. When she gets home, she thinks of the old woman, and decides to try to help her. She calls the Avengers and asks Beast for information on Bo Barrigan, then heads to the office building he works out of. Bo Barrigan is holding a meeting of his top men, about the Blue Shield situation. He talks about a Terror Tank he’s stolen – a one-man garbage-can-looking device that’s apparently highly advanced. Bo takes his men to see the tank, but leaves Cartelli behind, saying he’s the only one Bo trusts. But it turns out Joey is secretly the Blue Shield! Gasp! What a shocking development! Who could’ve possibly seen that coming? Cartelli blows Dazzler off on his way out.

She tracks him to a waterfront, but loses him. She looks inside a warehouse, and sees the silly-looking Terror Tank that we’re supposed to find intimidating. But it looks like a big trash can with guns. She’s found, and taken to see Bo. She turns on her radio, then starts blinding them. The Blue Shield busts in to help, failing to impress Dazzler. Bo slips into the Terror Tank, and actually manages to take the Blue Shield out of the fight. Then he chases Dazzler, who uses her light to scramble some of the Tank’s sensors, so that the screens inside turn off. He still has other sensors to track her with, but she lures him off the dock so the Tank falls into the water. The Blue Shield recovers in time to save Bo, then Dazzler delivers her message.

Later, the Blue Shield visits his mother in the hospital. Dazzler sees it, and it makes her feel good. She and Paul then go out to lunch, while the nurse disapproves.

This issue was actually somewhat less ridiculous than usual. Dazzler vs. Doom is absurd. Dazzler vs. common thugs actually seems pretty reasonable. The Blue Shield is a bit of a lame character, but considering she even calls him “small-time,” at least it doesn’t feel like we’re supposed to think he’s great. Frank Springer’s art is mediocre. I wonder if I might be a little biased against Springer as a result of his work with Frank Robbins on Invaders. That was seriously one of the ugliest books I have ever read. I can’t understand how Frank Robbins got work as an artist, because he can’t draw. Anyway, I just think Springer just wasn’t a particularly great artist. Dazzler remains lacking in a personality. And now she has a boyfriend with just as little personality. Paul is as bland as she is. His character ultimately ends up being “Dazzler’s boyfriend.” I’m a big fan of character-driven stories. Dazzler, though, is less interesting when it’s focusing on the character than it is when it’s doing crazy action stuff.

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  1. Dazzler #14 (1982, April) | xmenxpert

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