Issue(s): Dazzler #29, Dazzler #30
Dazzler and her half-sister Lois are hanging out at the house of Nick Brown, Lois' father, the man that led Alison's mother down a path of drugs and abuse. He's now a successful agent. Neither Lois nor Alison trust him.
However, Nick arranges for Ali to meet with Roman Nekoboh (Namor Hoboken backwards), a famous star hanging on to his glory through a rather amazing transformative process.
After a photo shoot, Alison meets Roman and he immediately tries to impress her, buying a fancy sports car off the lot and driving it to his plane, where he tries to put the moves on her.
It's hard not to find that incredibly creepy considering how old he is and the fact that he's hiding it.
But he's cut short when another plane attacks them. Ali responds by blowing it out of the sky.
However, both Roman's pilot is shot and Roman himself has passed out, so it's up to Ali to get them into parachutes. She gets Roman out first and then takes the second and last parachute out with the unconscious pilot. Dazzler uses her powers to attract help for herself and the pilot, and when they bring her to the hospital she finds that Roman has already arrived there safely.
Eventually she's taken back to Nick's mansion, and he admonishes her for not milking the experience, even to the point of faking injuries, in order to get some publicity.
Alison is pretty put out by that, but surprisingly Lois comes to her father's defense.
Considering the earlier scene, i'd almost suspect brainwashing, but it could also be due to the fact that we've got a different writer and editor between issues #29-30. Or that was just one heck of a convincing talk that they had. Whatever it was, it doesn't work on Dazzler, so she takes off (really awful dialogue here).
And with the cliffhanger from #29 resolved, that's when we get into the Assistant Editors' Month portion of issue #30.
Let's start with the cover which has the Bill Sienkiewicz depiction of Ralph Macchio along with some irrelevant elements (neither the sports car nor the rollerskates figure into this story). And let's just revel in this disturbing corner image.
While Dazzler is walking aimlessly away from Nick's mansion with nothing but the clothes on her back, Ralph Macchio stops and picks her up and gives her a ride to San Diego.
He also insists that she take a $20 loan from him since she didn't bring any money with her. But as soon as Dazzler is out of the car, she calls Harry Osgood and has him wire her some money.
Meanwhile, we learn that the people that launched the plane attack are part of a covert military group with an anti-mutant agenda. It's not clear if they are related to the Mutant Hunters that Gyrich authorized in the previous arc, but they don't seem to be. They're targeting Dazzler because she "is potentially the most powerful and dangerous mutant yet known".
When the general has to leave for a Pentagon meeting, his number two, named Crespi (after Marvel production manager Danny Crespi?) initiates a new plan.
By the way, if you're scoffing at the idea that Dazzler is considered really powerful, recall that it was demonstrated in the Project Pegasus storyline that she can basically absorb and wield an unlimited amount of energy. That was reinforced in the Galactus follow-up arc as well. So she really is potentially very powerful.
Back at the Marvel office, Bob Harras is nervous because he's not getting his regular call from his boss Ralph.
The other Assistant Editors are enjoying (and abusing) their lack of supervision. Harras gets a pep talk from Ann Nocenti.
Nocenti's pep talk works really well because soon Harras is initiating a takeover of the Marvel offices.
One thing i can really get behind is his declaration that they'll be no more pin-up girl shots. It's too bad Harras never really took over the Marvel EiC role so that he could implement this policy.
Meanwhile, Dazzler heads to the San Diego comics convention so she can return the $20 to Macchio. But that's when the anti-mutant group shows up. They've got a device that causes mutant powers to activate automatically. They reason that even though there's a large group at the convention, mutants are such a minority that Dazzler is likely to be the only one affected. But it turns out one of their own, Zalme, is a mutant (and he apparently didn't know it), and the device causes him to transform into a big purple lizard man.
Dazzler destroys the device but Zalme is still out of control.
It's too bad she doesn't try using her soothing light powers the way she did on the Hulk. Instead she buries him in rubble.
If you're on the edge of your seat about the fate of Ralph Macchio, rest assured that Dazzler saves him and gives him back his $20. Ralph immediately calls Bob at home, bursting his (red) bubble.
Ali gets on a bus back to LA, determined to make it. The end blurb promises a "New Beginning". We're then left with this final AEM offering.
This is an aimless period for Dazzler. It's interesting to see. In one regard they're really trying to write a soap opera style book with little in the way of super-heroics - Alison and her sister on the run, and then the seedy side of Hollywood, all just human drama stuff. But the mutant angle is also being played up here. Dazzler's sister's powers manifesting. The attacks from the Mutant Hunters and/or the military guys. There's no reason why this all couldn't have worked and been interesting, and the mutant angle might even have made it commercial. Unfortunately, the creative teams haven't been up to the task. Frank Springer draws soap opera but it's a really old fashioned soap opera. And whoever has been doing the scripting, it's been terrible. As it stands, this "New Beginning" won't last very long and we'll have a more super-hero oriented "New New Beginning" in another 8 issues.
That's the main story. But it's worth noting that as an Assistant Editors' Month entry, it's really the issue for explaining what's going on this month, since it actually shows the assistant editors in charge. Other books put out something goofy, some actually took some chances and told a serious offbeat story, and some just paid lipservice to the event by having a little insert in the back. This one really focuses on the real life impetus for the event and that's a fun distinction.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Dazzler #30 takes place concurrently with Marvel Team-Up #137; Spider-Man and the FF head to the west coast to investigate the disturbance at the comics conventions.
Crossover: Assistant Editors' Month
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showCassandra Ferlenghetti, Dazzler, Harry Osgood, Lance Steele, Mortis, Nick Brown, Roman Nekoboh
"Zalme" refers ro Ron Zalme, colorist/Marvel Age cartoonist.
The mayor on the sign is Shel Dorf, the guy who pretty much created San Diego Comic-Con.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 14, 2013 1:44 PM
@fnord12: What was Hoboken's connection to Namor?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | July 10, 2016 7:04 AM
I think the "Roman/Namor" connection is just a coincidence/red herring... the "Nebokoh" is Hoboken backwards because the character is vaguely a parody of Sinatra, who was born in Hoboken. Some people think the reference is that the amnesiac Namor was found in Hoboken but I think it was actually the Bowery. Not sure where the Roman comes from, I think it may just be a reference to Sinatra being Italian-American.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | July 10, 2016 10:20 AM
Claremont fans: you get any mileage out of the panel with Bob Harras rubbing his palms together, saying "I'm going to do what I want!"?
Posted by: George Lochinski | October 25, 2016 7:04 PM
I thought that the book started getting more interesting, with her step-sister, who is a mutant, and the sister's abusive power, and add some themes about LA and fame...
And it all leads nowhere. Especially the end of the sister subplot is weird.
Posted by: Karel | November 4, 2017 1:00 PM
Comments are now closed.
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