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Dazzler #29 (1983, November)

July 20, 2014

I’ve finished Nelvana of the Northern Lights. I’ll try to post a review tomorrow. Today, by Jim Shooter and Frank Springer, “Fame!”

Fame!

Kinda uninspired for Bill Sienkewicz. A bit of a let-down.

We start with Dazzler dreaming about success. Lois disturbs her, and they lounge by the pool. Dazzler mentions that she can stare at the sun without hurting her eyes, and only learned a year earlier that normal people can’t do that. I have to say, that might be one of my favourite lines in Dazzler’s entire run. It’s such a little thing, but it makes so much sense, and adds to her character. Anyway, Lois talks about how much she hates being a mutant, and Dazzler talks about the trouble her own power’s gotten her into. Lois then talks about how weird it is meeting her father again, after not seeing him since she was a toddler. Lois is a little scared of him, and Alison agrees. She also mentions that she’ll be meeting Roman Nekoboh shortly.

We cut to Roman Nekoboh’s mansion. He’s a fat, bald, toothless old man wearing glasses. But he puts in dentures, contacts, a wig, a girdle and some fine clothes, and then gets into the character of an arrogant, conceited asshole. He heads down to meet his business manager, who warns him about how broke he’s getting. Roman says he’ll make a pirate movie, with himself as the star, and that Dazzler’s going to be his co-star.

Then to Alison doing a photo shoot. After the shoot, Roman shows up to meet her, and flirts with her. He takes her out the back way, and buys an $80 000 car on the spur of the moment. He talks fast, and Alison feels overwhelmed. He takes he to his private jet. She looks out the window at the mountains, and we get an aerial shot of the plane. The dialogue suggests that Roman is basically trying to force himself on Alison. She keeps telling him no, and he keeps insisting. Then a fighter jet flies around them and attacks. Roman’s knocked out, so Alison fires a laser blast out the window at the attacking plane. But the pilot was shot, and is hurt badly, and Dazzler doesn’t know how to land the plane.

I hate Roman Nekoboh. He’s an asshole. There’s no two ways about it. He’s a sleazy asshole who was trying to force Alison to sleep with him. He even referred to it as a “screen test,” though the more common phrase would be “casting couch.” And guys who pull that shit are reprehensible. Beyond that, no means no. As soon as a woman says no, you back right the fuck off. You don’t keep telling the girl she wants it. She knows what she wants. So Roman’s an awful, awful person. Which makes it so much worse that, eventually, she actually does wind up falling in love with him. Of course, that was a common problem with Dazzler’s series – the guys she was put with were always either painfully dull or overzealous assholes who refused to take “no” for an answer. Maybe it’s just different times. Maybe, 30 years ago, pressuring a woman like that wasn’t seen as all that bad. In which case, holy shit, people 30 years ago were awful. Either way, reading this today is deeply uncomfortable. The fact that the “camera” cut away outside while it was going on makes it even worse, because we don’t actually see what Roman’s doing. But we can imagine. We all know what he was doing. And well know that what he was doing was reprehensible, no matter how much Shooter and Springer tried to play it for laughs.

Beyond that, Shooter’s writing is OK. Springer’s art is also OK. I do like that the story tried to get back to Dazzler’s career. The photo shoot was for album artwork, apparently, and we do get other references to it. Pretty soon, though, the book is going to shift focus to her pursuing an acting career.

Also in November 1983, Marvel Team-Up #135, by Bill Mantlo and Ron Frenz. It features the team-up of Spider-Man and Kitty Pryde. Who’s actually called Kitty Pryde on the cover. I find it funny that, prior to becoming Shadowcat, she basically had no codename. No one in the comics called her Ariel or Sprite, so eventually, it was simply conceded that she was Kitty Pryde. Anyway, it starts with Spider-Man being captured by Morlocks. Meanwhile, Kitty is babysitting a couple of kids playing Sewers & Serpents. Kitty is not having a good time. Storm says it can’t be that bad, but Wolverine says he always agreed with WC Fields on kids: “I like ’em broiled.” Well said, Wolverine, well said. She gets fed up hearing the kids bickering, and yells at them and puts them to bed. The kids sneak away to the site of a housing development. It’s at the early stages, just a pit. One of the brothers slides down, and drops a rock, which he doesn’t hear hit the bottom. Then he lets out a scream, and the other brother runs away to get Kitty. They’re attacked by Morlocks, and the second brother is taken away. Kitty follows, and finds an underground magnetic railroad. Magne-cars. How a bunch of people living in sewers managed to come up with something that advanced will never be explained. Oh, comics.

The brother is taken to the Morlock leader. It’s a group of human Morlocks. The brothers are reunited in a cell which also has an unconscious Spider-Man. The little brother is acting brave and smart, and manages to knock out the energy bands keeping Spider-Man unconscious. Kitty manages to catch up, but almost gets killed when Spider-Man kicks the door off its hinges. The Morlocks attack them all. The kids are being threatened by the leader, so Spider-Man pulls a Fastball Special with Kitty. I won’t count it towards the Fastball Special Tracker, since it didn’t happen in an X-title. They all manage to get out, in New York City.

It’s a fun story. Mantlo had a good grasp on Kitty’s voice. She was smart, brave, sarcastic, a little petulant – she was pretty much what she needed to be. The story itself was simple, but enjoyable. It does treat it as though it’s the first time Kitty and Spider-Man have met, but she did meet him once before, when Wolverine brought him home. I suppose this was the first time she got to see him in action, though. She was suitably impressed. Though she was impressive, herself. And this was before she even got a crash course care of Ogun and Wolverine! So, yeah, good story.

A couple other comics I want to mention from that month. Amazing Spider-Man #246 had a bunch of daydreams from various characters. It was hilarious. A fantastic issue by Stern and Romita, Jr. Meanwhile, Defenders #125 had Beast, Iceman and Angel as part of the core of the new team (which also included Moondragon, Gargoyle and, of course, Valkyrie, who was arguably the core Defender). And Thor #337 saw the start of Walt Simonson’s legendary, definitive Thor run. It’s definitely worth checking out.

Song of the day: Sophia by Laura Marling.

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