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Dazzler #24 (1983, February)

June 10, 2014

New Mutants started in March of 1983. But first, I’ll finish out February, with Dazzler, and “A Rogue In the House” by Danny Fingeroth and Frank Springer.

A Rogue In the House

I’d make a joke, but this cover is so bland that it actually dulls humour.

So we start with Rogue busting into Alison’s apartment. She trashes the place, and then waits around for Alison to return. But one of the neighbours warns Alison about her. So Ali calls Heroes for Hire, who rush over and fight her. Fist holds back because of his discomfort with hitting women, which allows Rogue to take him down. She and Luke trade blows, with Rogue winning that fight, too. Rogue then leaves, having seen a note pinned to Alison’s wall about meeting Lois at the State University dorms.

The next day, Alison records some vocal tracks for her upcoming album. Then she has dinner with Ken. And then we get a scene of Angel renting out a gym so he can do some flying without fear. Again, this Angel stuff actually goes absolutely nowhere.

And then we get to Alison visiting State U. She walks right into the dorms and enters Lois’ room. Is that common? Can you normally just enter dorms without a resident accompanying you? I lived in residence at Algonquin College, and you needed to have a resident with you to go in. So is Algonquin just unusual, or is this the book taking artistic license? Anyway, Lois is on the floor. Another fainting spell. She’s probably on the pot or something. Damned kids. They’re all on the drugs! Bunch’a good-fer-nuthins! Get off my lawn! Lois asks if the headaches mean she’s a mutant. Alison guesses she’s just anemic.

And now Rogue busts in. She doesn’t have the hang of doorhandles yet. She bashes Ali around, demanding to know where Angel is, and then threatens Lois. And now it’s on! It’s on like Donkey Kong! The gloves are off, and the roller skates are on! Yeah, that’s how you know it’s fight time in a Dazzler comic. Also, I love that that’s how you know it’s fight time in a Dazzler comic. When she puts on roller skates. The only other hero who’s ever used roller skates was Iron Man. Other heroes put on a costume, she puts on roller skates. So goofy. Anyway, Dazzler dives out the window. It seemed like a good idea at the time, I’m sure. She skates into the library, because where better to go when your power runs on sound, right? Then she goes into the record room, and plugs the music into the PA system, which for some reason, is located in the record-listening room of the library. Also, libraries used to have record-listening rooms? Seriously? That was a thing? That just seems so weird to me. By the way, the music playing is apparently Ode To Joy. Rogue absorbs Dazzler’s power, but H4H show up just in time to hit her a few times.

Then Dazzler lets Rogue know the X-Men are dead, and Rogue cuts out. Well, that was easy.

As usual, this issue was only OK at best.  Lois remains devoid of personality. Ken remains a bore. Angel’s scene doesn’t contribute to the issue at all, and while he’s not gone from the book just yet, his next appearance has him no longer seeming to be worried about the Sisterhood, so the scene here doesn’t actually lead to any payoff down the line. Rogue is a good villain, and Springer actually draws her looking pretty threatening. Springer was always a good artist. He ranked probably among the top talents of the ’60s and ’70s, though his style did get overshadowed by the ’80s, with guys like Byrne, Sienkewicz, Miller, Janson, Smith and others (and that’s just in the early ’80s) with bolder, newer styles. So while Dazzler looks fine, it does also wind up, compared to a lot of other books at the time, looking a bit bland. There are occasional awkward poses; I wonder if maybe Springer picked up a few bad habits from his Invaders partner, Frank Robbins, whose work I felt was just awful.

As far as the story goes, it probably could’ve used a bit less superhero action, a bit more focus on her personal life. Cut Angel’s scene, shorten Rogue’s initial fight with Luke and Fist, and her later fight with Dazzler. Spend a little more time on Alison and Lois, and flesh out Lois’ personality more. I think I also probably would’ve done something a bit different with the scene with Ali and Ken. Ken’s a painfully boring character, so I would’ve either shown some tension as she becomes bored with him, or else I would’ve cast her as being with him, not because she really loves him, but because he’s a “safe” option at a time when she feels threatened. And this would eventually lead to her breaking up with him because he’s simply too safe – she needs a little more excitement than he can provide. He will drop out soon, though. It must have been clear by this point that the series wasn’t really working, because, aside from going bi-monthly, it also moves to LA.

In the same month, in Dr. Strange #57, we get cameos from Amanda Sefton and Margali. Margali wants Strange to take Amanda as his apprentice, but Strange refuses, and so they fight, and he grabs the wand that gives her her power, and so depowers her and frees her from its control. This actually lasts a long time, as Margali doesn’t make any more appearances for several years, in 1994’s Excalibur #76 (and the ensuing arc), back to being the green-skinned magical MILF we all know and love. Also, the X-Men – along with a ton of other heroes – make cameos in Marvel Two-In-One #96, which features the Thing in a hospital after fighting the Champion, one of the Elders of the Universe. A whole bunch of villains are trying to attack the hospital to kill him, and a whole bunch of heroes get involved to stop them. Spider-Man beats up one of my all-time favourite running gag villains, Fabian Stankowicz. It’s a pretty fun issue.

In Power Man and Iron Fist #90, the writing debut of a certain Kurt frigging Busiek, the pair actually fight Unus the Untouchable, who’s given up costumed crime to wander around in jeans and a jacket, carrying a baseball bat, and robbing small businesses around Times Square. A kid hires Heroes for Hire – for a nickel. It’s actually a pretty cool moment. Unus injures Fist, and then escapes Luke. Later, in a crummy motel room, he thinks about how hitting small places will keep him under the notice of major heroes like the X-Men, and he can make enough to move somewhere else. He’s even considering getting an honest job. Eventually, Luke just picks him up and threatens to carry him to prison, Unus drops the field for a second to get out of his grasp, and Fist uses that moment to kick him and knock him out.

Another comic that month was X-Men Special Edition, a reprint of Giant-Size X-Men #1. It features a backup story by Chris Claremont and Dave Dockrum. Kitty’s feeling down, and decides to exercise to feel better. She just ends up hurting herself, though not badly. Illyana shows up and says she’s been exploring, and Kitty offers a tour. Illyana also asks Kitty a bit about her and Peter. They’re in the hangar bay when the intruder alarm goes off, and they rush back to the living room, where Kitty finds everyone’s set up a surprise birthday party for her. She turned 14 in space, and didn’t get a party, so they threw her a make-up party. It’s a pretty sweet story.

There’s also What If #37, which features a story about What If Hank McCoy continued to mutate. Basically, he loses his mind and the X-Men hunt him down, and they eventually catch him and bring him to the Savage Land.

Also, I’d mentioned that Miller finished his Daredevil run the previous month. That wasn’t entirely true. He did have a bit of an epilogue this month, where Daredevil plays Russian Roulette with a paralyzed Bullseye.

Also, Stilt-Man was in that month’s Amazing Spider-Man #237. So you know that issue was awesome.

Whew, that was a busy month.

And for fun, I’m also going to start highlighting awesome music. So each post from now on will end with a great song. Today, I’m going to go with a live version of what I think is probably my favourite song, by my absolute favourite band: Down In the Canyon by the Heartless Bastards.

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