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Dazzler #27 (1983, July)

June 30, 2014

Summer sucks. It’s too hot. Here’s a review of Dazzler, written and drawn by Frank Springer. It’s called “Fugitive!”

Fugitive!

A gorgeous cover by Bill Sienkewicz. It’s a shame he didn’t do the interiors, too.

We start on a bus heading west. Dazzler reflects on the villains she’s faced – “Techmaster, Terrax, Dr. Sax, Galactus.” Somehow, seeing them listed like that just comes across as ridiculous. A guy with metal hands and a guy with a saxophone, compared to beings with cosmic power (or the Power Cosmic). She asks someone for the time, and it turns out to be Rogue. The fight is poorly choreographed. Rogue winds up stealing Lois’ power and using it to burn Alison’s face. Dazzler manages to blast Rogue, but then the bus goes off a cliff. And then Alison wakes up. It was all a dream. The bus has reached Los Angeles.

They check into a motel, and Alison suggests they turn themselves in. Then a note is left on their door with some photos of Lois killing the bum. There’s a number on the note. Alison calls it, and the guy tells her he wants them to kill a man, or else he’ll turn the photos over to the police. After he hangs up on her, he calls another man who’s looking for Lois, and seems to be holding some blackmail material on him. After getting more instructions from their own blackmailer, Alison calls Angel for some help. He’s gotten over his fear of the Sisterhood pretty effectively, it seems. Yeah, you remember that whole plot, right? Where Angel was hiding out from Mystique and Destiny and Rogue? Yeah, so much for that. By the way, I should note this issue takes place before the Morlock arc in Uncanny X-Men. Anyway, she can’t reach him, but she leaves a message.

That night, they sneak into a mansion, and are followed in. They’re confronted by the blackmailer, and Angel flies in to stop him but gets shot. Angel, you useless sack of useless. What kind of superhero gets shot by a two-bit hood? The X-Men should’ve left him to the Morlocks – he would’ve accidentally brought their whole society down in a week. I’m surprised he’s never hurt himself flying into a window. Anyway, Dazzler turns on a TV and used the sound to take down the hero who shot Angel. The old man wakes up, and he and Lois recognize each other.

The best part of this issue is the cover. Of course, considering Bill Sienkewicz drew the cover, that’s not surprising. But still, the issue as a whole was weak. The characterization, plotting and art were all weak. The problems start with the second page, when we start getting a review of Dazzler’s whole series. I know it was standard practice to do that sort of recap in every issue, but here, it was just poorly done. We don’t need to know about her encounter with Dazzler, or that boring doctor boyfriend she had early on. None of that was relevant to what was happening, and in fact, I would argue it would only serve to confuse readers, who would expect some of that stuff to pop up in the issue, when none of it does.

The next problem is the fight with Rogue. It’s choreographed really badly. Rogue stands back and lets Dazzler grab a boom box off the floor of the bus, and the fight as a whole just seems to move slowly. The reveal that it was all a dream also felt cheap – there should’ve been some indication of that. There should’ve been a change in the colours, or some other irregularities to clue readers in that something weird was going on. On top of that, it went on way, way too long. It was 7 pages – nearly a third of the book – spent on a dream. And it’s not like the dream really added anything (beyond an obligatory fight scene). It didn’t give any real insight into Dazzler’s character, or reflect on the situation she and Lois were in. It honestly felt like it was slipped in solely to add a fight, and that’s shit writing. As is the lame, generic dialogue all through the issue.

The art isn’t much better. It’s not that it’s bad art. It’s that it’s generic. There was just nothing particularly memorable about it, one way or the other. Having a cover by Sienkewicz didn’t help with that, either. That’s the danger of having certain artists do covers – they can wind up overshadowing the interiors. I’ve made comments in my weekly reviews along those lines, too, about Jamie McKelvie’s covers for Ms. Marvel and Nightcrawler making me want to see him do interiors for them, too. And those books have really good artists. Imagine if Ms. Marvel was drawn by, like, Greg Land or Rob Liefeld. Springer’s art is nowhere near as aggravating as those two, but the point remains, the gorgeous cover makes the bland interiors look even worse.

Some other X-appearances in July 1983: Wolverine was in Daredevil #196, written by Denny O’Neil, breakdowns by Larry Hama, art by Klaus Janson. He goes into a hospital to stop a rescue of Bullseye, but gets shot and accidentally breathes some gas. He and Daredevil team up to find Bullseye, who’s been snatched by a Japanese group. They go talk to Turk – who I love, by the way – and get some information that leads them to a ship. In the fight, a guy who hates Daredevil tries to shoot him in the back, but Wolverine cuts him down. It’s a pretty good issue. Also worth noting is Marvel Team-Up #131, by J.M. DeMatteis and Kerry Gammill. This doesn’t have any X-Men. Instead, it has the debut of the White Rabbit, battling against Spider-Man and the fabulous Frog-Man. I love Frog-Man. And White Rabbit. They’re both such goofy characters. Frog-Man’s a terrible hero, and White Rabbit’s a terrible villain, but they try, and they’re both so optimistic about it all. It’s an amazing issue. Also, Spectacular Spider-Man #80, has a fantastic JJJ story by Bill Mantlo and Ron Frenz. Both are well worth checking out.

And the song of the day: Situation by the 1990s.

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From → 1983, Frank Springer

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