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Dazzler #21 (1982, November)

September 23, 2013

A special double-sized issue of Dazzler, called “Alison Blaire, This Is Your Life!”

Alison Blaire, This Is Your Life

The model is June MacDonald. This cover doesn’t really work for me.

Angel is flying with Dazzler, and we get a quick recap of her father’s breakdown and Dazzler’s epic battle with the sinister duo of Johnny Guitar and Doctor Sax. They fly past Spider-Man, then reach Dazzler’s father’s house. She goes in to see her dad, who comes out of his stupor in order to yell at her. Ah, parenthood. Then he tells her about her mother.

She was a jazz singer. She performed all over New York, earning money to help him go through law school. He made it, and then Alison was born. He figured his wife would stop singing, but she kept at it. They fought about it, and she started spending more and more time at the clubs, and fell in love with another guy, Nick Brown. Spoiler alert: He’ll be showing up in a few issues. She wore a brooch with pictures of both men, which Dazzler’s father hated. She eventually deserted her family.

Dazzler gets upset at the story, and refuses to believe it.

Then we get a nicely done cut to her mother, confessing to Vanessa that she’s Dazzler’s mother. Vanessa thinks they should tell Dazzler, but the mother says she can’t. She gives her story, and confirms what Dazzler’s dad had said, but then continues it. Nick cheated on her, and eventually became abusive. She lost herself in drink and drugs, but eventually, she left with her daughter with Nick. She cleaned up and became a music teacher. Vanessa blackmails her into seeing Dazzler perform.

Dazzler’s called in for a gig, and meets the promoter, who’s an incredibly sleazy douchebag. He has an idea for a charity gig with all her superhero friends. He pinches her ass on the way out, and Harry tries to calm her down by saying it’s just part of the business. She goes to a rehearsal, and does a horrible job. The promoter offers her some drugs, and she tells him off.

We get a few quick scenes of her with her friends, including Angel apologizing for butting into her private life. The creepy stalker.

The night of the concert arrives, and Dazzler’s father gets into his car. The heroes we see show up include the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, Power Man and Iron Fist, Quasar, Wonder Man and Beast, Angel, and Spider-Man. In her dressing room, Dazzler’s very conflicted and upset, until her father shows up. She decides to leave with him, and skip the show, until Vanessa tells her her mother’s in the audience. She decides to go on after all. After two hours, she sings a song for her mother.

After the show, she kicks out all her friends, and then meets her mother on the stage. There’s a happy reunion between the two, and then her father gets in on the act. Then she goes home and finds all the superheroes gathered for her congratulations party.

There’s a lot of cheesiness to this issue. The story about her mother gets oddly dark; you just don’t expect drug abuse in a comic from the early ’80s. It did add a layer of authenticity, though. There’s no shortage of performers who get hooked on drugs, after all. The least believable part might be her leaving and getting cleaned up. But that does happen, too, I suppose. That backstory was probably the best part of the issue. Which shows the problem with this series: It’s better when Dazzler’s not there. She’s not really as dull here as she usually is, but instead, she’s a little tiring. She keeps freaking out and whining and moaning and it just gets annoying after a while. And it only stops to be replaced by an incredibly cheesy song – and again, music does not translate well to a visual medium. Reading a song is not hearing it. It doesn’t work. So all we get is a painfully cheesy poem. Just so sappy and cloying and blah.

At least we won’t have to put up with any more of her whining about how her daddy doesn’t love her and how she never knew her mommy and ugh.

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