The Small Lebowski:
Issue(s): Dazzler #18, Dazzler #19, Dazzler #20, Dazzler #21
Since she doesn't want to be a super hero, she's not too pleased with the gift. She was just visiting the Baxter Building for a jam session (if only HERBIE were still around to rock the drum machine).
The Invisible Girl reminds her that despite her intentions, she winds up getting into fights with super-powered people all the time (which is a very good point).
Indeed, meanwhile, the Absorbing Man checks in to a dive hotel with plans to kidnap Dazzler. While Dazzler goes to a ballgame with her Weird Al Yankovic looking boyfriend...
...Creel raids her manager's office to get her next performance date and location.
While all this is going on, the Angel shows up at Alison's father's house to try and get info on her mother. Her father is still in a semi-catatonic state.
The Absorbing Man shows up at Dazzler's concert and attacks her while she's performing.
Dazzler flees back to the Fantastic Four, but they're no longer home (neither are the Avengers, per Jarvis). However, she does manage to make contact with the Inhumans. Lockjaw teleports Black Bolt from the Moon to the Earth.
Black Bolt powers up Dazzler by screaming at her...
...and she absorbs enough power to blast the Absorbing Man beyond the point that he can absorb.
Angel shows up at the end...
...to cause some tension with Weird Al.
Not great, but fun. The idea of Black Bolt's voice powering Dazzler's sound-to-light absorption is geeky cool
Meanwhile, Dazzler's friend Vanessa is at her singing coach's house, and she accidentally discovers a room full of pictures and clippings of Dazzler.
Sounds pretty pyscho, but it'll turn out that the coach is actually Dazzler's long lost mom. It also turns out that Dazzler's got a half-sister.
Next, a pair of super-powered musicians show up and harass Dazzler's bandmates. It turns out they had been powered up by the Techmaster some time ago.
Forget the Hypno-Hustler. Doc Sax is the classiest music-based villain Marvel has.
Dazzler puts a stop to them.
After the fight, Angel shows up to tell Alison that her father's gone catatonic.
Issue #21 is double-sized with a photo on the cover instead of drawn art. It also promises the "shameful secret of Dazzler's past!". It's not really Dazzler's shameful secret at all, it's just that Dazzler's mother used to be a singer but got herself into drugs and had an affair while she was married, leading to divorce.
We learn half the story from Alison's mom's conversation with Vanessa, and the rest from Alison's father, who comes out of his catatonia in order to finally talk to Alison about her mom.
Meanwhile, Alison's manager Harry Osgood sets her up with a charity gig at Carnegie Hall. It's organized by a slimy guy similar to the one who corrupted Alison's mom.
He wants to exploit Dazzler's super-hero contacts to create a big draw. He also offers Dazzler some drugs when he sees she's having issues due to her personal problems, but she refuses. She's again offered drugs by the vibraphone player (!) for the opening band.
All of Dazzler's friends do show up for the concert: the FF, the Avengers, Wonder Man & the Beast, Spider-Man, Power Man & Iron Fist... but not the X-Men because they're off in space.
Not sure where Cap's hand is in this picture.
Alison's father also comes to the show and makes amends. Vanessa also tells her that her mother's in the audience.
After the show she meets her mom...
...and then finds that all the heroes have thrown a surprise party for her at her apartment.
Mostly harmless. No Go For Its! in these issues. And the cheesecake is kept to a minimum until issue #21 (unless you count that upskirt shot while Dazzler is kicking Doc Sax), but then we get this...
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Thing is in his classic rocky skin, placing this after Fantastic Four #245. Takes place after Hawkeye and She-Hulk join the Avengers in Avengers #221, and before Iron Man quits the team due to his alcohol problems. Takes place while the X-Men are off-planet. Issue #20 and issue #21 each have a separate main plot from issues #18-19, but the sub-plot with Vanessa at Dazzler's mom's house continues directly from issue #19 to issue #20, and Angel shows up at the end of issue #20 and flies Dazzler to her father's house at the beginning of #21.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showAbsorbing Man, Angel, Barbara London, Beast, Beefer, Black Bolt, Captain America, Carter Blair, Daredevil, Dazzler, Doctor Sax, Harmony Young, Hawkeye, Human Torch, Hunch, Invisible Woman, Iron Fist, Iron Man, Jarvis, Johnny Guitar, Kenneth Barnett, Lockjaw, Luke Cage, Marx, Medusa, Misty Knight, Mr. Fantastic, Quasar, She-Hulk, Spider-Man, Thing, Thor, Vision, Wasp, Wonder Man
As if the cheesecake art inside the book wasn't enough, the uncredited model on the photo cover is pretty boobtacular as well.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 18, 2011 1:03 AM
still, i liked her weird al boyfriend. at least he wasnt your standard soap opera star good looking boyfriend like in other media of this type (her first boyfriend in the series was bland good looking doctor who looked like he stepped out of a romance comic). It gave Dazzler a little more depth.
Posted by: kveto from prague | September 18, 2011 3:58 AM
In that last panel, Dazzler is covering Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone"(not actually credited anywhere in the book).
#20 got slagged by female critics for the high heel roller skating.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | November 11, 2012 2:46 PM
When I read these reviews, I wish the book had been better. I wished that at the time too. It was always an interesting concept. A powerful mutant who just wants to sing, not fight super-villains; a combination of romance, family drama, real-world struggles, and action; an attempt to keep current with trends in popular culture (she dances in a "Thriller"-style video for a Michael Jackson knockoff at one point). But the series was just diverting at its best, terrible at worst. I don't think it ever had a creative team who could raise it to the level of inspiration that would have made it special...which it needed to be, because it was not an easy sell on the fundamentals. Communicating that the heroine was a vocal phenomenon is not easy in a "mute" format.
That art above is so crude. Look at the two panels featuring multiple Marvel heroes. Springer's work comes off rushed and/or lazy. He doesn't personalize anyone; they're stiff and identical. I think about how, say George Perez might have drawn the same thing.
Posted by: Todd | July 21, 2013 5:32 AM
hmm, noticed SheHulk is wearing the outfit Wasp made her take off before fighting the Masters of evil
Posted by: Russell white | September 15, 2013 5:04 AM
I like the Dazzler/Black Bolt combination, but to just have him turn up to defeat a random enemy seems a bit random. But an issue in which Dazzler is invited to the moon just so Black Bolt can have someone to talk too, that sounds pretty interesting!
Posted by: Berend | February 15, 2014 6:48 PM
I think this book could be done today (if it were drawn better anyway.) Ali is living in a superhero world but is totally not a superhero girl. She could be a pawn of the Grand Master, unintentionally working for record industry agents of the Maggia, Hydra or Mojo, learn Lady Gaga is wearing the Serpent Crown, and any number of other geektastic superhero storylines that all hinge on Ali not being a superhero if she has a choice. No law says the main character has to be the one to foil the villain's schemes. I think there's a good market for world-building stories set in a superhero universe, and Dazzler is one of the best characters available. If I were writing her - and I can make her a *STAR*!!! - I wouldn't even bother with the romance or family-drama. She's too career-oriented. The Marvel Universe itself has enough possible storylines to bring color to Ali's life (pun intended) without giving her a stupid boyfriend.
And cheesecake? Gimme a break. Just today I see Rihanna making headlines for showing off her boobs in some dress, and am reminded of Jessica "Sue Storm" Alba doing the same thing a decade ago. Ali's not going to turn her nose up at that idea like it's beneath her. Springer/Colletta's cheesecake shots in this series are the closest it gets to a reason for existing (although they aren't good and I'm not defending them.)
Posted by: ChrisW | June 7, 2014 9:03 PM
@ChrisW: "Ali's not going to turn her nose up at that idea like it's beneath her."
Are you sure? I'm not even a fan of Dazzler, but she strikes me as exactly the kind of person who _would_ think of it as beneath her.
People are allowed to choose not to objectify themselves, you know. :)
Posted by: Luis Dantas | June 8, 2014 2:53 AM
Yes, Ali is snotty, but she also likes shaking that thang because it's fun. And, um, helps her career too. Ahem.
Posted by: ChrisW | June 8, 2014 9:35 PM
Doc Sax clearly admires the superhero sartorial tastes of Cyclops, given his visor. Maybe he and Cipher got them at a reduced rate...
Posted by: Harry | July 4, 2015 5:24 PM
The suit and the Geordi-like visor makes Doc Sax instantly awesome. Its always awesome when you have villains that look cool while performing crime. (by comparison, Scott used to wear ridiculous suits that more or less wouldn't be worn by anyone as "fashion" outside Mike Murdoch...)
Posted by: Ataru320 | July 4, 2015 5:49 PM
Scott's most shameful 'fashion' disasters were either during the Silver Age or the 90s, so get something of a pass as everyone had at least one dodgy outfit then.
Posted by: Harry | July 5, 2015 5:54 AM
Doctor Sax is taken from the Jack Kerouac novel, and his partner Johnny Guitar is taken from the movie with the same name.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 7, 2016 11:32 AM
Heck, all the names of the guys in their band are taken from the pseudonyms Kerouac used in his novels to refer to the other Beats. Sax's real name, Jack Duluoz, was the name Kerouac used for himself in The Dharma Bums.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | August 7, 2016 11:37 AM
I think Doctor Sax and Johnny Guitar deserve to be listed as characters appearing. They get a very nice "swan song" in Avengers: The Initiative #27.
Posted by: Andrew | September 12, 2016 4:08 PM
If they appear again they should be listed. Thanks.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 13, 2016 8:38 AM
The final panel is not "Like a Rolling Stone." It is "Positively West 4th Street." Awesome song.
Posted by: Mark | October 4, 2017 7:53 PM
@Mark- Sorry to say, but those are lyrics from "Like a Rolling Stone".
Posted by: Brian Coffey | October 4, 2017 8:10 PM
Also, the title to the other song is "Positively 4th. Street", no west there.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | October 4, 2017 8:16 PM
The title to the story in issue #20 was likely inspired by the classic 1947 film noir "Out of the Past" starring Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, and Jane Greer. Not coincidentally, that film will be broadcast on TCM (Let's Movie!) a few minutes from the time I'm writing this post. Think I'll give it another look-see!
Posted by: Brian Coffey | October 5, 2017 5:56 PM
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