Issue(s): Dazzler #8, Dazzler #9, Dazzler #10, Dazzler #11
Dazzler takes a break from squaring off with the most powerful people in the Marvel Universe, like the Enchantress, Dr. Doom, Nightmare, and the Hulk, and soon... well, we'll get to that. But for now, she's just fighting the Enforcers. No sweat.
She and her manager Harry Osgood have a fight when she won't reveal the secret of her light show because she's afraid of the mutant hysteria she experienced last issue. But then a villain called the Techmaster...
...orders the Enforcers to kill Harry, and Dazzler users her powers to save him. Harry is grateful to her and agrees to keep her secret.
Then, at the end of the Enforcers story, Dazzler is approached by the goons that have been trailing her since issue #6. She's forced into a car at gunpoint by a guy that is unquestionably a thug.
It turns out that they are working for Project Pegasus, and this storyline depicts them in a different light than Marvel Two-In-One ever did, that's for sure. After being forced into their facility, she's told that if she tries to leave they will expose the fact that she is a mutant to the world. And they perform a series of tests on her, testing the limits of her powers. Dazzler is of course upset by this but, in a development that i'm just going to go ahead and call sexist, her imprisonment is sweetened a bit by the fact that she gets to hang out with Quasar, who is such a hunk.
She gets a tour of the "facilities", by which i mean "prison".
From the studies, we learn two things: first, that there's no limit to how much sound energy she can convert into light, and second, that she can actually keep the sound stored in her body for a time until she needs to convert it.
After one halfhearted escape attempt (ok, it's not really halfhearted. I mean, she does shout "Go for it!"), Dazzler resigns herself to being stuck at Project Pegasus for the time being. But when she runs into a fellow prisoner being tortured, she can't help but act to rescue him. Unfortunately, that fellow prisoner happens to be Klaw, who is able to convince her that he's being held unfairly, which is entirely believable since it's not too different than her situation. He's surprisingly ungracious when she frees him from his cell, which is also stupid from a strategic point of view.
Why not continue the charade of not being a bad guy and have her help you fight your way out of the facility? Anyway, Klaw is a challenge for Quasar and Dazzler...
...until Dazzler figures out that Klaw is literally made of solid sound (whatever that means) so she is able to absorb him! Cool!
Having absorbed so much energy from Klaw, she is now bursting with power, and she's able to free herself from Project Pegasus. She's also attracted the attention of a powerful cosmic entity. Yep, that's right. It's Dazzler meets Galactus!
Galactus apparently uses Marvel Handbook entries to find people to work with.
Actually, to start with, Dazzler doesn't get to talk with Galactus himself. She's a bit beneath his notice. He's got a robot, Drone R-11, who he seems to be using as a substitute herald, and it's the robot that seems to be responsible for talking with Dazzler.
But Dazzler doesn't appreciate that so she launches an attack on the big man. Recall that she is currently super-powered, having just absorbed Klaw. Well, she unleashes all that power, and it's just enough to get Galactus' attention.
The reason that she has been abducted goes like this:
Galactus' current herald, Terrax, has been very bad. Instead of going off to find planets for Galactus to eat, he instead decided to take over a planet and become its ruler. When Galactus found out about this, he got mad, and Terrax fled to a black hole. Now... Galactus can enter a black hole, but "the introduction of so energy-intensive a being as himself into the black hole would destroy it... and Terrax with it. It is not Galactus' wish to end Terrax's life... yet."
So Dazzler has to enter the black hole and retrieve Terrax instead. You see, the Drone explains to Dazzler, "In all the universe, none is more suited than you to combat the force of a black hole. The black hole is a dimension of anti-light. You are a being capable of radiating unlimited luminescent energy. Such energy would enable you to see and maneuver within the hole, yet would not disrupt it enough to cause it to self-destruct."
That's physics, people! And they say you can't learn anything from a comic book.
Oh, and Dazzler has "the heart of a true warrior".
To be fair, Galactus also imbues her with a cosmic force field to protect her from the black hole. Dazzler encounters Terrax in the weird/cool black hole...
...but she's no match for him.
However, Drone R-11 sends her a sonic lifeline that she can use to power herself (against Galactus' orders)...
...and she's able to defeat Terrax...
...and somehow carry his gigantic bulky body back to Galactus' ship. After a brief mock-trial...
...Terrax is allowed to be Galactus' herald again. Yay!
Throughout all of this, Dazzler has been missing for days, first at Project Pegasus and then in the far reaches of space. There are a number of scenes throughout the issues with her various supporting cast members wondering where she is, culminating in a very silly scene where they all show up at Alison's apartment at once...
...only to find her passed out on the couch after Galactus has returned her there, mumbling about her cosmic adventures.
They all assume she's been out partying for days and is whacked out on drugs, which is unfortunate because Alison's father had just resolved to make amends with her and this kinda ruins it.
Meanwhile, in deep space, Galactus is sad.
Frank Springer does fairly well with all these cosmic stuff.
I generally think of him as a down-to-earth romance artist, but his super-hero stuff isn't bad. My one complaint is that Galactus' head is consistently disproportionately small.
As far as the story goes, the treatment of Galactus isn't exactly appropriate, but it's really not terrible compared to a lot of the 70s stories he was in, and overall... this actually isn't all that bad.
No underwear shots in issues #10 or 11, but Dazzler is effectively naked while she's getting powered up by Drone R-11.
Go for it!
And i guess in space, no one can hear you scream, "Go for it!".
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place before ROM #26
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (13): show
With Vince Colletta starting on inks for this story, Dazzler starts showing more cheesecake shots of the heroine, eventually--probably not in these 4 issues--culminating in a splash page showing her with watermelon-size boobs, each one bigger than her head. That particular splash infuriated most female comics fans & creators, many of them labelling it the worst example of sexism in comics ever. People complained about that page for years afterwards, and some longtime fans & professionals still remark about Shooter's sexism being "legendary". I mention it here because I can't remember what issue # it was in.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 11, 2011 7:57 PM
Very nice review.
It should be noted that Galactus' origin related in these issues differs somewhat from the "official" origin.
Posted by: Dar | April 22, 2013 8:46 PM
Thanks for pointing that out, Dar.
Posted by: fnord12 | April 22, 2013 10:27 PM
Very little thought was obviously given as to what kind of adventures Dazzler should be having given her premise and powers. It's the first year, and we are all over the place. Asgardian goddesses, street level thugs in the Enforcers, Dr Doom, and misunderstanding fight with the Hulk. It's basically a random encounter every issue. Nothing really organic to the character. These are just random villains and not the beginning of a recognizable rogues gallery (which I consider essential to any character's success). Most seem to be "I know who Dazzler is, and I need to use her powers."
She's supposed to be an incidental superhero (which simply can't last as a concept truthfully, it strains credibility after so many times) so conflict should somehow be based on her career or other interests. It's also a very title targeted to girls, so you need more female villains as well. And the villains need to be within her same league, and there are too many that are over powered or under powered.
Posted by: Chris | August 7, 2016 4:17 PM
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