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Dazzler #31 (1984, March)

August 24, 2014

I finished reading The Big Wide Calm. I’ll talk about it a bit on Tuesday. For today, by Jim Shooter and Frank Springer, “Tidal Wave!”

Tidal Wave!

The Punisher’s finally weaponized the ocean.

Alison’s on an outdoor movie set, watching a stunt being filmed. She chats with the stuntman’s mother, who asks if Alison’s an actress. Alison says no, but “some day.” And with this, we see a bit of a shift in focus of the book, moving away from music and towards general show business stuff. The stunt is absurd – a guy runs along the top of a moving train, knocks down two more stuntmen, jumps from the train into a moving car, throws out the driver, and then drives off a cliff. I’m not really sure the scene would be shot the way it’s depicted here. Oh well. Alison’s introduced to the stuntman, Billy. He immediately hits on her in the most obnoxious way possible, and she seems to like him, because Alison just seems to really like obnoxious assholes. As shown by her thing with Angel.

Alison then goes to check out an apartment. The landlords are nice, but they hate mutants, and say they won’t rent to a mutant. But they think Alison’s normal, so they agree to rent to her. That night, she looks through the want ads, and sees a position for an aerobic instructor. She gets the job. While there, she bumps into Billy. He hits on her some more, but she still declines his dinner invitation. She does hope he keeps hitting on her, though.

Later, she calls her manager, Harry. He tells her he doesn’t want to renew her contract. He thinks she deserves a better agent, someone with more connections in LA. This is the last time we’ll ever see Harry, Lance and Cassandra. Meh.

The next day, Billy’s in her aerobics class, and hits on her some more, until she agrees to go to lunch with him. He invites her to watch another of his stunts the next day. The stunt goes bad, because, for some reason, they decided to film it in the rain. Why? Why would they do that? That’s a terrible idea. Anyway, he winds up on fire. He’s put out, and he’s fine, and he invites Alison out to dinner, since something reminded him of cooking. She invites him to her place. She’s glowing before she opens the door, and has the lights off without realizing it. This is another nice, subtle touch on how powers would actually affect a person’s behaviour. I actually really like that. It’s neat.

After dinner, he tries to talk her into some bow-chicka-wow-wow, but she doesn’t seem into it. He feels rejected, but she makes him feel better. They go for a drive in the rain. As they go to his house, they learn that a tsunami’s heading for the shore. Billy keeps driving to his house, saying it means a lot to him because he grew up poor. This was a very, very common story back in the day. Anyway, he’s been homeless, so he worked all his life to have a great home, and he doesn’t want to lose it. He’s willing to die with his house. They start making out before she remembers the tidal wave. She leaves, and Bill follows her. But she doesn’t know he followed her, so she runs back to find him. And then she finds herself trapped against the wave. She absorbs all the sound of the storm and the wave, and blasts it.

Billy finds her later, washed up on the beach, not breathing. He revives her with mouth-to-mouth, and then brings her back into his house. He tells her he needs to work on fixing himself up, and that he’ll call her as soon as he’s changed the problems with his life. He will never appear again.

This is an OK issue. Billy comes across as arrogant, which I find annoying. Alison fighting the wave could’ve been a pretty cool moment, but the captions get a bit much, and the art isn’t particularly inspiring. In the end, what could’ve been a badass scene becomes corny. In the end, the best scene was probably when Billy pointed out that her lights were off, just because it seems like something where Shooter put a lot of thought into how Dazzler’s powers affect her everyday life. The art, overall, remains strictly OK. This is Springer’s last issue as regular penciller. As a result, this issue also largely marks the end of Dazzler having an actual creative team. For the rest of the run of this book, she goes through several writers, artists and directions, as Marvel tries to find something that works. Spoiler: They fail.

There’s one other comic I should mention. There’s a couple other comics I should mention. In Defenders #129, by J.M. DeMatteis and Don Perlin, the Defenders fight the New Mutants – sort of. Iceman and Beast fall quickly, and Angel doesn’t do much better. Valkyrie kicks ass, and Gargoyle has to keep her from killing anyone. And then Moondragon realizes it’s all fake. It turns out Professor Power is trying to brainwash them into killing the New Mutants as revenge against Xavier.

I also want to mention the cover to Amazing Spider-Man #250. It’s billed as a “Special Normal-Sized 250th Issue!” Also, in the little corner box, Hobgoblin says, “It’s great! Steal it!” I just love the cover. Avengers #241 features Jessica Drew returning to life, devoid of her powers. For the record, this “no powers” thing is something to remember for much, much, much later (5 years later, actually, assuming I get that far). Also in this month: G.I. Joe #21 – “Silent Interlude.” This comic just got re-issued last week. It’s really, really cool.

Song of the day: Gosh, Darn, Damn by Rebekah Higgs.

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One Comment
  1. I thought it was bizarre that Harry & Co. get ditched so unceremoniously here. In fact, I feel like we never actually saw Alison decide to stay on the West Coast. She fled there with her sister Lois, Lois oddly decides to stay in California with her father and Alison essentially declares Lois dead to her, but then Alison decides to stay out there near Lois? And presumably break up with Ken? And not see the mother with whom she’s recently been reunited and the father with whom she’s only just become un-estranged? Wasn’t her singing career just started? Doesn’t she have a lease? You can really just tell no one had much of a direction in mind for this series. Based on your review, I should really prepare myself for it to get worse, but that seems hard to believe.

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