Dazzler #2 (1981)

Dazzler #2 (April, 1981)
“Where Demons Fear to Dwell!”
Writer – Tom DeFalco
Pencils – John Romita, Jr.
Inks – Alfredo Alcala
Colors – Ken Klaczak
Letters – Jim Novak
Edits – Jones, Shooter

Happy Sunday – Happy Mother’s Day. Apologies for the lateness of this piece (assuming anybody out there noticed), I’m running a bit behind today. I seem to have been a little too overzealous with yesterday’s “Anatomy of a Slap” piece… wasn’t planning on publishing it until today… but, accidentally his the “Publish Immediately” button, and figured I’d just roll with it. Generally, I like to have tomorrow’s piece ready to publish today… that’s been the way I’ve operated for… well, as long as I’ve been doing this.

Welp, with today’s piece… I’m putting it together right as it’s going to go “live”. Hopefully I’ll be able to squeeze in some “double duty” in order to get back ahead of the game.

Add to that, WordPress is having one’a those mornings… as in, it hasn’t yet decided if it’s going to allow me to upload my images. So, I’m looking forward to a couple hours worth of “negotiations” with my laptop… which hopefully won’t end with me chucking it thru the wall. I guess if you’re reading this… my computer still lives!

Anyway — it’s Dazzler time! With the novelty of the first ish out of the way — it’s time to strap in for the continuing story. But first, I wanna thank the folks who reached out to let me know they enjoyed the first Dazz-article! Really means a lot. I hope you’ll pop back in with me for the rest of the run!

As we open, Dazz’s big break is about to… well, break! She’s sat before her dressing room mirror, carefully applying her “facial makeup”. I dunno why, but they refer to it as “facial makeup” several times throughout the issue. I’d think just plain “makeup” sounds a bit less stilted… maybe “facepaint”, if they absolutely need to specify where the stuff goes? Anyway, as she’s paintin’ away, she’s recapping the events of the previous issue… out loud. I know celebrities can be eccentric, but, Ali talks to herself (out loud) quite a bit during this ish. Well, we’ll allow it for this scene, as poor girl’s doing anything she can to fight off a bit of stage fright. It stands to reason that she’d be a bit nervous… this is her big debut (it’s like a dream come true)… okay, I don’t have the pipes of a Michael McDonald, so I’ll just move on to some more reasons she’s got a case of the nerves. Ya see, she’s going to be singing before a star-studded crowd! Such as… Benjamin Grimm and Johnny Storm!

And the X-Men (including Angel, who if upcoming covers are any indication, Ali’s gonna be making time with before long)! They’re… where else? The Danger Room, where we get a bit more Kitty-continuity here, as she’s still quite upset that the Prof won’t let her take part in the training seshes.

Also, the Avengers! Wasp calls Cap out for wearing his shield under his suit jacket. C’mon, Jan, give a fella a break. I mean, Steve going to a disco ought to be enough…

From here, we jump to the Numero Uno Disco and see just how packed the place is. Tony Stark’s here… also, Beast — in his full-on Eddie Munster look. Man, earlyish blue-Beast was kinda ugly, eh? Also, Romita, Jr. appears to have been a hyooge fan of widows peaks.

So, Dazz takes the stage, and starts belting out some disco funk, bathing the entire place in Ali-Orbs (still looking for a better name for those things, if anybody wants to help a fella out). Behind the scenes, the Enchantress… who apparently now lives in the Disco, goes about making her move. In the crowd, we see a very seventies-ed out Peter Parker trying to make time with, in his words, a perfect “10”… hmm… perhaps a nod to the potential cinematic-Dazzler… Bo Derek? Even though the gal Pete was lingering around looked more like Mary Jane.

So, Dazzler’s singin’ while Enchantress is doin’ some spooky stuff with her fingers, yes? The hoo-doo that she do, turns out to rapidly age Ali… to the point where she very nearly dies!

Ali lets out one last blast… firing at the disco ball spinnin’ from the ceiling. This is, somehow enough, to undo the Enchantress’s spell. Imagine that, being undone by a disco ball? I’m actually surprised this didn’t become a running joke anytime the Enchantress shows up. Then again, that would assume that anybody writing comics a) knew this series existed, and b) read it past issue one.

So, y’all got enough story for now? Cuz… we’re kinda done tellin’ one. From here, all the heroes in the crowd rush to the bathroom to change into their “workin’ clothes”, while Enchantress calls forth some generic trollish monsters from… I dunno, maybe Asgard’s “other side of the tracks”? She refers to them as her “Hateful Harbingers of Horror and Holocaust”, which sounds like a killer band name. Anyway, the battle rages for the next several hundred pages. In a cute bit, Kitty tries to get in on the action… but, decides to powder out at the last minute, leading the baddie to smash his dome on a wall. Wolverine approves… before “busting loose”.

As the melee roars on, Dazzler finds her way backstage to confront the Enchantress… who, she calls “mama”, like she’s A.C. Slater or something. There’s a lotta “mama” in this ish, by the by. Maybe Tom D. knew I’d be discussing it here 31 Mother’s Days later? Anyway, Enchantress decides to summon yet another “grisly messenger” for Alison specifically.

Which our gal is able to fight off with one massive dollop of disco funk.

Enchantress is all “eff this noise”, and bugs off back to Asgard. As the dust settles, the heroes assemble. Dazzler is worried she just blew her big debut… though, Spidey says she ought to be proud of how she handled things. Ya know, I wonder if there were ever any plans on hooking Pete and Ali up? Stranger things have happened…

Just as Alison is at her lowest point… an old man crawls out from under a toppled table tent. He’s Joseph R. Ercoli, a (um) music publisher. He wants to hook her up with some Boss Hogg lookin’ agent, named Harry Osborngood. He hands over his card… which is the size of a small piece of paper.

That Monday morning, an Avengers quinjet shows up to take Dazz to the agent. Turns out, even with the card, she can’t get a meeting. Janine from Ghostbustas tells her it’s a no-go. And so, Eddie Munster shows up to provide a distraction. Janine is flaggerghasted, and assumes this blue fellow is Ali’s “exotic pet”. Is that offensive? I feel like it might be. I dunno. Anyway, while Janine tries to figure it out, Alison’s able to slip in to chat up Boss Hogg.

… and, well… he throws her out. He doesn’t wanna hear or see anything outta her. Unfortunately for him… outside his 39th floor office window, nearly a dozen of Marvel’s Finest are there to apply some pressure. Even an oddly smirking Wolverine… who, I thought for a split second was Batroc ze Leepair. I gotta say, I love how Thing just calls this dude a creep. Benji’s not one to split hairs. The heroes… uh, bash their way through the safety glass to further put the screws to our man. I wonder if Ali’s contract (should she be offered one) will be binding… like, will it be like a coerced confession or something, that’d get tossed outta court? I dunno…

All that matters for now is, Ali’s getting her audition. Wolverine (oddly) plays master of ceremonies, bowing and introducing the disco queen… while Iron Man’s armor pumps out the jams. I almost wish that word balloon was going to Logan… I’d like to picture him beatboxing and rhythmically drumming on his belly or something. Maybe Boss Hogg has an empty jug he can blow into?

Turns out, Dazzler’s able to rock Osgood’s socks off… and she’s immediately signed to a contract. None of the heroes seem to feel all that bad about, ya know, forcing him to do this — and so, it’s high-fives all around. But, with the good news, comes some bad — our next issue blurb promises that Dazz’ about to cross paths with… Doctor Doom!

Ya know, the “first issue” shine might be behind us… but, we’re still so early into this little reading/writing project that I’m still having quite a good time with it. Yeah, that might not seem like high-praise just two issues in… but, trust me when I say that it is. Not only is this fun to read… but, reliving it in the writing is also kind of a blast. It’s not too serious… but, it’s not completely off the wall silly either. Well, I suppose our disco ball mileage may vary, eh?

This was a great issue to establish Dazzler’s connections to the wider Marvel Universe. As it stands, this issue was only her sixth appearance. She hasn’t had all that much time to hob-nob. Now, it’s like she doesn’t even have to! Everybody knows her… and, I think that’s probably for the best. Saves us a lot of awkward introductions and that forced bit’a fighting before friendship. I mean, this is Marvel, after all…

Ali’s show was a pretty organic way of having all the heroes together in one place. Rather than having a lightshow emanating from the Numero Uno, which just happens to grab the attention of heroes who… just happen to have been passing by – we get a nice, natural build. The Enchantress, has never been all that interesting a character to me… though, in fairness, I do seem to have that Asgardian allergy. Her motivations here made sense though. Here, we have a woman who’s able to… well, for lack of a better term… “dazzle” those around her with her beauty, and she’s been upstaged by our gal Ali. Naturally, she’s going to wanna get a bit of revenge. Summoning the Asgardian (?) hordes was a decent enough way to serve up a meaty action-heavy middle portion of the ish. It gave the heroes the opportunity to show their stuff, while lifting Dazzler up to their level.

The bits about Ali’s career… were weird, yes? I mean, intimidation is one thing… but, having a dozen heavy-hitting heroes force a man to give you an audition? Sure, it’s played for comedy… but, it’s really not a good look, izzit? Like, what would’a happened if Osgood still refused to let Dazzler sing? Would Wolverine had gutted him? Maybe Iron Man would’a vaporized him? Perhaps strangest of all — Captain America was hear leading the charge. You’d figure Cap wouldn’t abuse his authority in such a way… and for such a silly reason.

Oh well… I suppose it told the story it needed to tell. Like I said a few paragraphs ago — this book isn’t as deadly serious as some… so, I guess if we’re going for fun-n-dumb, we gotta accept that this story might go in a direction or two that don’t entirely “square up” with our expectations. That, or… ya know, I’m thinking wayyy too hard about something that doesn’t really matter. Well, that is kinda my gimmick.

Overall, I had a really good time with this one. Story was good, dialogue was… interesting, and the art was mostly a treat! John, Jr.’s widows peak-abuse aside, this was a really good looking book!

(Not the) Letters Page:

Here’s an interesting inclusion. As we discussed (at great length) last time, Dazzler #1 was Marvel’s first Direct Market exclusive publication. Stands to reason that some folks may not have been able to procure their copy! Don’t worry none, though — as we know, there are like a half-million of ’em floating around out there! Even nowadays, Dazzler #1 is among the easiest issues of this volume to happen across! Try finding the Michael Jackson Thriller homage issue in the cheap-o bins… that one’ll elude ya, lemme tell ya!

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3 thoughts on “Dazzler #2 (1981)

  • May 8, 2022 at 2:31 pm
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    BINGO!!!! We’ve got Spider-Man, The X-Men, The Avengers, and The Fantastic Four. That’s Marvel Bingo.
    Marvel really went heavy on the guest stars in these opening issues. They really wanted fans of every possible marvel character to pick up these issues.
    I find it interesting that since Dazzler was a new female hero Marvel felt she needed to fight a female villain. So to make Dazzler seem like a big time hero she had to fight the most well known Marvel female villain; The Enchantress. No attempt to create any original rogues gallery for Dazzler right out of the gate. I guess it was the safe call to make. At least it gave us a somewhat strong introduction to the Dazzler.

    Reply
  • May 9, 2022 at 8:10 am
    Permalink

    Starting out in the X-Men Ali sure has made the acquaintance of an assortment of Marvel heroes in record time.

    It reads as fun. Plot holes, ‘Quesada’ magic, whatever this books is fnu.

    Reply
  • May 13, 2022 at 9:17 am
    Permalink

    I feel I should point out that the action scenes with the X-Men are last minute additions pencilled and inked by Walter Simonson. I read in an interview somewhere that it was felt the book needed more action as it was the effectively the first issue for newsstand readers. A couple of years later it’s the kind of thing that would be added by the Romita’s Raiders but at this point it just went to whoever was nearest. It can be very helpful to be married to the Editor.

    Loving your reviews though.

    Reply

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