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Dazzler #37 (1985, May)

February 5, 2015

I won a book today, which I’ll talk about a bit more in my pull list on Sunday. And tomorrow’s my birthday. I’ll turn 30. Damn, that makes me feel old. For today, by Bob DeNatale and Tom Morgan, “The Girl In the Machine.”

The Girl In the Machine

This series doesn’t even have the draw of Bill Sienkewicz covers any more.

Alison’s walking through some woods in heavy rain, and a couple big dobermans attack her. She’s visiting a friend named Diana, who she hadn’t seen in years. The dogs are called off by some dude named Peter. He tells her Diana died six months ago. Alison’s brought inside to talk to Diana’s father. He’s rich and fat, so right off, you know he’s going to be involved in something shady. And yep, his thought bubble does have him wonder about making use of her, but he also thinks he can’t endanger her life. He brings her into another room to get changed, and he tells her she shouldn’t be there, and to leave as fast as she can.

He goes out to talk to a guy he’s doing business with, Abrams. Abrams is a dick. Diana’s father proves himself an excellent pool player. Alison explores the house, thinking there must be some reason why she was called out there, and wondering if Diana left a clue, since Diana was always fond of games. Peter follows her, and asks if she wants to know how the giant video game thing she found works. They sit in chairs on opposite sides of a big dome. Inside are holographic samurai robot samurai. The holograms start fighting, and Alison’s samurai is fighting, even though she’s not even touching anything. Peter’s chair short-circuits.

Alison runs off to tell Diana’s father, but winds up in a different room, where she finds Diana hooked up to a whole bunch of wires. She tells her story. After her mom died, her dad lost all will, until they were approached by Revenge, Inc. They operated on Diana, creating a mental link between her and their computers, to use her for corporate espionage. She became more and more dependent on the machines, but eventually escaped and faked her own death. Her father had risen pretty high in the organization, and the two started using the group’s money to finance their own revenge scheme against Revenge, Inc. She’s going to kill the people in the house. That includes Alison, who she simply can’t let leave alive.

In the den, Abrams runs in and collapses, dead from a laser shot to the back. Diana’s dad dies when Abrams’ associate stabs him in the back. Peter and the other dude try looking for a way out, when a hologram samurai chases them. The other dude ends up being killed, leaving only Alison and Peter left. They find Diana’s room, and she creates a hologram of Diana’s father. Diana opens the door, and Peter goes in with a gun. Alison blasts the gun, and a samurai hologram walks in. It goes past them, and smashes the computers. It was also part of Diana’s plan, so she could kill herself. She tells Alison and Peter to leave, and Alison blows a hole in the wall. She could’ve gotten out any time, but was worried about Diana. The house explodes. Peter wakes up first, and decides not to kill Alison.

This issue is lame filler. DeNatale and Morgan were just doing a fill-in issue before the next creative team took over. And the story they chose to tell simply wasn’t all that compelling. It brings back Revenge, Inc, which could’ve established them as an ongoing threat, but this is literally the last time they will ever be mentioned. That leaves the story feeling even more like filler. I suppose it’s not entirely fair to blame DeNatale and Morgan for plot points later writers don’t pick up on. But at the same time, it does make this issue feel less important. And it already felt unimportant, being a fill-in issue on a book that was already suffering from having become mostly filler.

And it’s not even particularly good filler. There’s nothing about the story that really says “Dazzler.” My guess is that DeNatale had the basic story – bad guys force a woman to meld with a computer, woman gets some revenge while also killing herself – but hadn’t yet had a chance to write it. If he’d done a fill-in of Captain America, he would’ve done it there. If he’d done a fill-in of New Defenders, he would’ve done it there. He didn’t have a Dazzler story he wanted to write, he just slotted her into another story he wanted to write. That hurts the sense of connection. He does a good job fitting her into it, but it still has the sense of not being a Dazzler story.

Morgan’s art is OK. Nothing special either way. Totally bland and forgettable.

After this, the series gets a permanent creative team for its final five issues. Those five issues suck.

Song of the day: City of Refuge by Abigail Washburn.

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From → 1980s, 1985, Dazzler

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