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Dazzler #18 (1982, August)

August 20, 2013

Another Dazzler comic. All right, this one is called “The Absorbing Man Wants You!”

The Absorbing Man Wants You!

Way to give away the big cliffhanger ending of the issue.

It starts with Dazzler visiting the Fantastic Four, doing an impromptu rehearsal – Human Torch on guitar, Thing on sax. Mr. Fantastic breaks it up to give Dazzler a weapon – a modified radio/tape player that can play really, really loudly. Dazzler says she doesn’t want it, since she’s not a superhero, but the Invisible Woman reminds her of how often she’s gotten in fights. She decides to take it after all.

Then we cut in on Angel, who’s still playing the creepy stalker by visiting Dazzler’s family to get information on her missing mother. Meanwhile, Judge Blair is in his court, totally out of it. Then we go to the Bowery, where Crusher Creel – the Absorbing Man – is renting a room at a crummy flophouse. He reflects on his recent history – getting beaten by the Avengers, turning into an island, becoming king of an island – and then thinks that he’ll have his revenge on the Avenegrs as soon as he has Dazzler.

Speaking of, Dazzler’s on a date with Ken, seeing a Yankees game. And with that, the last pieces of likability go down the drain. Anyway, ken asks how she feels about Angel, and she tells him what a douche Angel is. And she’s right. But then she also thinks about the flight she shared with him. Ugh.

Harry and Lance are watching some audition tapes, and finding no one good. Then the Absorbing Man busts in and demands to know where Dazzler is. Lance tells him where she’s going to be. Which reminds me: The small bit of depth Lance showed early on has long since disappeared. He’s become mostly a one-note joke. Shame, that. Anyway, Absorbing Man goes to see Dazzler’s next show, watching from the rooftop. She tests out Mr. Fantastic’s device, because a room full of crowded people is the perfect place to test a device given to you as a potential weapon. Right? Right. So after she blinds a roomful of people, she offers a refund to anyone who wants one. Absorbing Man gets a new idea: He’d planned on using her as a hostage to bait the Avengers, but he figures he can do something better now. He busts in and grabs the device from her, then demands to know how it works. She tells him how to turn it on, and then she uses the sound to power her light blasts. Which, of course, turns him into light, just as we saw on the cover.

Meh. As usual, the superhero aspects are more interesting than her personal life, but her personal life largely dominates this issue. And even the superhero stuff is starting to get a bit tired. What this series ultimately needed was a completely different writer. Someone much, much better at writing personal conflicts. Danny Fingeroth wasn’t a bad writer, but he wasn’t really good enough, at this point, to pull off this book. He has less than a year left on the book; once he leaves, it goes in a really different direction that doesn’t always work out, either, unfortunately. On the whole, this series feels like it’s dragging. A lot. Which is a shame, because Dazzler, as she was introduced in X-Men, had plenty of potential. It just took a really long time for that potential to be realized.

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