1980 · The 80s

December 1980: Dazzler 1 – Or Beast missed his calling as an agent

 

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Synopsis:Dazzler 1 was written by Tom DeFalco and pencilled by John Romita Jnr, with inks by Alfredo Alcala and opens with Alison (Dazzler) Blaire running from a gang of thugs.  Cornered in the alley, she puts on her roller stakes and switches on her minature radio and uses the sound from it to generate a powerful light show with her mutant powers. One of the thugs fires wildly and the ricochet trashes the radio. Without more ambient noise, Dazzler’s powers aren’t really much use and the thugs advance, only to be stopped by a passing Spider-Man, who hands the thugs a more comprehensive beating. Dazzler thanks him, but points out that they were sent by her manager and as a result, her career is in the pits. She wanders home dejected.

 

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At home, Dazzler monologues how her life is going, her father cast her out for not being a lawyer, she’s broke and more than a little lonely. Knowing few people who understand, she calls the X-Men. Storm answers and asks if Dazzler wants to join up. Shocked by the question, Dazzler hangs up as soon as she can and reflects on her life so far.  We get the single dad doing his best, but not understanding his daughter, we get a bit of a mutant power origin and we see her father turn his back on her, when she refuses to go to law school at his behest. She becomes Dazzler shortly after this and wants to keep her music career alive.

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We then move to Asgard, where an Asgardian battles stairs and giants alike to stand before his beloved, Amora, the Enchantress. When he finally bows before her, promising her anything she wants, he is turned into a tree. The Enchantress then views her fountain to learn that a rift in reality will appear in a New York disco, so she plans to be there, but in disguise.

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On Earth, Hank (The Beast) McCoy is at his current home of Avengers Mansion, when he reads in the paper of an opening at this same disco and he races to Dazzler’s home (Dazzler, whom he doesn’t know at all) to tell her about it. She goes and auditions for the open singer spot, as does the Enchantress, but Dazzler gets the gig, the Enchantress vows revenge as only Marvel’s Asgardians can.

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Notes: As one of the earliest direct marketed comics, Dazzler has earned it’s place in history. It was also supposed to be a cross promotion with the music industry, that kind of didn’t go anywhere. Dazzler herself is one of those characters to spin off the X-Men and do better for herself on her own, much like Alpha Flight and Deadpool. Her power to turn sound into light is interesting and her desire to be a singing star is one that many people can relate to, as they can her trials and tribulations of trying to pursue this dream. There is a lot of potential here.

Sadly I don’t see it realised. DeFalco’s writing is decent enough and her certainly has an interesting take on the character, fleshing her out more than Chris Claremont did in her introduction. But for me not enough happens through most of the issue. She spends more time moping at home that doing anything else, while the plot happens around her. There is a distinct lack of agency in her character, despite this being her first issue. The Enchantress as a villain works well here, both need an audience, for different reasons and both love the limelight as a result, but again not much happens. The art is not JR Jr’s best, but he is yet to grow into his own and this issue suffers those growing pains.

I wanted to like this more than I did and it’s a shame I didn’t.

 

Next Time: Tony Stark in convention season.

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