Amazing Spider-Man (1st series) #203

Issue Date: 
April 1980
Story Title: 
Bewitched, Bothered and Be-Dazzled!

Marv Wolfman (writer/editor), Keith Pollard (pencils), Mike Esposito & friends (inks), Novak (letters), Sharen (colors), Jim Shooter (consulting editor)

Brief Description: 

While wandering around, Spider-Man spots Dazzler being chased by a strange glow. Dazzler doesn’t want Peter’s help, though, and flees. The glow is actually a manifestation of the villainous Lightmaster and soon gets Dazzler, absorbing a portion of her powers in order to return himself to the present dimension again. The villain had been previously banished in the “light dimension” and now intends to use Dazzler as a permanent living battery, thanks to her body being a source of light energy. After a run-in with Spider-Man, Lightmaster drags Dazzler to a lab underneath the E.S.U. campus, where he informs her that, every time she performed on stage, the music made her grow stronger and her light powers somehow affected him, allowing him to escape from the light dimension. As the villain binds Alison on a platform and activates a machine in order to charge himself with her powers, Spidey breaks into the lab. During the fight, the lab is shattered and Lightmaster seemingly vanishes back to his dimension. Dazzler, however, is now mind-controlled by the villain and attacks Spidey. Peter finally uses the reverse process of Lightmaster’s machine on her and makes Alison revert to normal.

Full Summary: 

It is a peaceful night for Spider-Man, who’s traveling around New York via his webs. Suddenly, though, he spots something peculiar on the ground: a strange glow is chasing a girl who’s rollerblading! Spidey thinks this can only mean one thing: Will-O-The-Wisp has somehow returned – but how? Peter playfully thinks that his atoms were scattered from here to Cleveland! “Come to think of it, never mind now,” he tells himself – after all, that girl needs help and something tells him he has been elected to become tonight’s one-man cavalry!

Rollerblading frantically on the street, the girl – Dazzler – fears that there is no way to evade her pursuer. He keeps hunting her wherever she races. Dazzler wonders how she got involved in stuff like this. Suddenly, the mysterious glow blasts its way through a wall right next to her, finally catching up with her. Trying to avoid the glow, Dazzler loses her balance and realizes she’s going to fall. Fortunately, Spidey, who’s standing on the wall of a building, pulls her upwards with his webs moments before the glow gets her.

Dazzler recognizes the hero. “Spider-Man?” the boggled woman utters. “Right the first time, lady… as in, your, friendly, neighborhood…” Before he finishes his phrase, Dazzler faints in his arms. Peter wonders what is it that makes all the pretty girls pass out as soon as they seem him!

A short while later, Alison wakes up, finding herself on a roof. Spider-Man is also present and addresses her as “Dazzler,” welcoming her back to the land of the living. Alison is surprised he called her by her name: he knows her? Spidey admits it took a while but he keeps seeing her posters everywhere he turns. He asks her to spill the beans: how does a disco singer finds herself chased by a creep called Will-O-The-Wisp? Dazzler, however, has no idea who he’s talking about. And she doesn’t even know if she should trust Spider-Man… even if he did save her life. In fact, she doesn’t know if she can trust anyone right about now.

Music is suddenly heard from a boom box a man carries in the street. Dazzler can feel the music flowing through her body… giving her strength. More confident now, she asks Spider-Man how she knows he’s not in league with that madman. She has read the Bugle; she knows what kind of guy he’s supposed to be… Empowered by the music she hears, Alison turns the mirrored globe she wears as a choker against Spider-Man, blasting him with a light beam and telling him to buzz off and let her get on with it alone!

Dazed from the light beam, Spider-Man falls off the roof, wondering why his spider-senses didn’t warn him. Even though his head is still reeling from that blast, he doesn’t have to see to know what to do. Shooting some web, he creates a web-trampoline right underneath him. Falling on the trampoline, he angles his body in the right way to shoot back to the roof before that disco destroyer gets away!

When he lands on the roof, though, she’s already gone. He wonders can could anyone move so quickly. In fact, he wonders how a disco singer could get a simple mirror that could both blast him and somehow nullify his spider-senses. Something tells him that the Dazzler is a tad more than a mere singer! Not to mention that this girl is definitely scared of something. And since she seemed to not know who the Will-O-The-Wisp was… just what is it that frightens her?

Shortly afterwards, at Peter Parker’s Chelsea Street apartment…

Getting his dinner out of the oven, Peter thinks that he’s had so many of these TV dinners lately that he’s gonna grow rabbit ears! Suddenly, though, he hears someone knocking at the door. Opening the door, he sees his buddy, Harry Osborn, standing on the threshold, greeting him. Surprised to see him, Peter welcomes him in. He tells Harry it’s good to see him since they haven’t really seen much of each other lately. Harry agrees that ever since Peter and Betty broke up and Peter started teaching and working, their paths haven’t crossed all that often. At least, though, they’ll all be together tonight! Peter wonders what he means by that when he hears a knock at the door.

Peter opens the door, wondering since when did Chelsea Street become Grand Central Station! Flash Thompson comes in, asking Peter why he’s not ready yet. Peter asks him for what. With a smile, Flash reminds him that they have agreed to all see Star Trek tonight! Peter admits he forgot all about it.

Twenty minutes later…

A huge line can be seen outside the Forum Theater, where Star Trek is shown. Peter can’t believe this line – it goes around the block! He asks them if they are sure they’ll get in. Flash tells him not to worry. His ex-girlfriend is the cashier. She’s already put their tickets aside so they will definitely get in.

Meanwhile, behind the theater, a weary Dazzler realizes she can’t keep skating – she’s got to rest – but she can’t let it get her. It’s already too late, however, as the strange glow finally catches up with her and seemingly enters her body. Like a rag doll, Dazzler slumps to the ground. Her mirrored globe seems to rise slightly from around her neck, glowing with a multi-colored fire that coalesces into sparkling tendrils of light and color. The writhing tentacles sputter and spin and wend together until they seem to expand and take shape and form.

What is materialized is none other than the villainous Lightmaster! The villain triumphantly exclaims that he has done it at last… like Lazarus he’s been slain and returned from the dead! The Dazzler’s powers have plucked him from the dimension of light he had been banished to. Now that he has returned, he shall hunt down the man who killed him and, when he finds him, he shall prove that the Lightmaster’s vengeance is swift and merciless!

Dazzler asks him what he did to her – she feels so weak. Why has he been hunting her? Lightmaster explains that the two of them are rather similar. She is a source of light – it seems to grow within her body – whereas he constantly requires light’s all-powerful energy to sustain him… to give him power… to give him life! Dazzler will be his battery: with her as his helpless prisoner, he shall always be close to unlimited energy!

Dazzler tells him he’s crazy and refuses to have any part on this. Lightmaster advises her to not attempt to run. Her powers have been too depleted for her to make a successful escape whereas his powers have been increased. Indeed, to demonstrate that, Lightmaster manipulates light, turning it solid, causing it to become a hand which lifts Dazzler from where she stands! He then focuses his light powers into destructive beams that destroy the wall behind Alison.

Inside the theater, the viewers watch the Star Trek movie. At this moment, they watch as the Klingon heavy cruisers rocket toward a great crimson cloud. A photon torpedo scratches the blackness of space. However, instead of an explosion tearing across a 70mm movie screen, an explosion seems to rip through the screen! The movie-goers realize in horror that the movie’s exploding. As the theater gets on fire, one of the spectators awes on how incredible those special effects guys are!

As the people evacuate the theater in panic, Peter thinks that he doesn’t have to possess spider-senses to tell him something’s wrong. The explosion blasted into the theater. That means it came from outside and that’s where he decides to rush at once.

Within mere seconds, Peter has already put on his Spider-Man costume and now stands over the roof of a building and spots Dazzler in an alley behind him being chased not by Will-O-The-Wisp as he originally thought… but by Lightmaster! Jumping to the ground, Spidey catches Lightmaster by surprise, kicking him. He thought “Lighty” had gone to “bye-bye land”: he should have stayed there!

As he falls to the ground, Lightmaster admits he is not yet prepared to stage their final battle, therefore he shall give Spider-Man only a mere demonstration of his power. Indeed, he creates cymbals out of solid light which clang into Spider-Man, leaving him dizzy. Lightmaster shapes his hand into a giant flapper, attempting to swat Spider-Man like the insect he sees him to be! Thanks to his reflexes, Peter avoids being swatted. However, Lightmaster shapes his other hand into another swatter and sends Peter smashing into to a wooden water tower on a roof. Peter, weak and in pain, feels like every muscle of his has gone on vacation. He can’t stand… can’t pick up his head… he just wants to lie down.

Lightmaster ominously proclaims that they have work to do elsewhere and contains Dazzler and himself into a giant sphere of light that rises upwards. Across the blackened sky, the golden ball rockets with the speed of a falling meteor and finally swoops toward the campus of Empire State University only to vanish as it plunges underground.

Deep below the sprawling college campus, is a laboratory constructed years before. Lightmaster has Alison strapped in a metallic platform, with various wires connected to several parts of her body. Running some tests in the machines of the lab, it finally becomes clear to him that Dazzler is a mutant. That explains her energy absorbing power.

Alison still doesn’t understand… how does he know about her? How could you use her? Lightmaster explains that it is her music. Each time she gave a concert, the music increased her power. Since her power is based on light, it somehow affected him while he was trapped in the light dimension. With each concert she gave, he felt himself gain strength until he possessed power enough to create a light globe on earth in order to capture her. And indeed, he captured her, absorbed enough of her powers to return himself to this dimension and now will continue to absorb her power in order that he may get stronger and stronger! He assures her that the two of them will be quite a team!

Suddenly, Spidey breaks into the lab. Lightmaster asks him how he found him there. Peter reminds Lightmaster he knew he was once E.S.U.’s vice-chancellor; it didn’t exactly take a lot of brains to figure out where he would run off to. When Spidey got there, his spider-senses took him the rest of the way.

Lightmaster instantly unleashes a light blast against him, which Peter manages to dodge, much to the villain’s amazement. Lightmaster can’t believe he did that. Spidey assures him he can sing, too!

Lightmaster informs his “webbed-friend” that the only song he shall sing is his funeral song! He asks him to observe what happens when he pulls this lever. Indeed, as he pulls it, the now unconscious Dazzler begins to glow. Her lithe body seems covered with lambent flame.

Spidey realizes everything’s going up all at once, a damage propelled by Lightmaster’s ill-aimed shots. What’s worse is that there’s no time to scram out of there. Shooting copious webs, Spider-Man creates webbed domes around both him and the seemingly comatose Dazzler, domes that cover their bodies and protect them from the mayhem in the lab.

A sudden, inexorable moment of fiery hell quickly fades into smokey vagueness. Peter opens a path through his self-made domes, telling Dazzler that it’s all over. The only thing is that he doesn’t see any sign of the Lightmaster. He must have fled before this place went up.

Peter turns to the now conscious Dazzler, asking her to give him her hand, so as to help her stand well on her feet after her ordeal. However, Alison declares that she doesn’t need his help. Spidey retorts that she doesn’t have to be so… Suddenly, though, his spider-senses are buzzing like crazy, warning him that… it can’t be… Dazzler informs him his senses warned him correctly. “I am your murderer!” she viciously proclaims. “Not quite, Dazzy!” Peter remarks as he barely avoids the light blasts Alison unleashes against him.

As Alison continuously unleashes her blasts against him, she declares that it may take longer than she wishes but he will most assuredly perish. Spider-Man assures her that’s what they all say but he still comes up alive and kicking. He also thinks that, of course, he usually has the common sense to know when to split! He tells her that, since he likes to operate in the open, he’s leaving this joint!

Peter flees, thinking that humor is not going to save him this time. For some reason, Dazzler really wants him out of the way and, unlike most of the foes he scrambles with, she’s got the power to do just what she says!

Suddenly, Dazzler generates a carpet of light under her feet and rises in the sky, intent on hunting him in mid-air. She tells the web-slinger he cannot escape: he is merely a human with superior powers but she possesses the energy of the sun itself! She can move at the speed of light and not even Spider-Man can do that.

As the aerial pursuit continues, Dazzler unleashes a light bolt that smashes Spidey’s webline. She triumphantly exclaims that now he can fall to his doom! Peter, however, falls on a building and sticks onto it, informing her that he’s got these hands that make crazy glue look like floor paste!

Still, Alison approaches and assaults him yet again. Much to her surprise, though, Peter twists his body and avoids her double light barrage. Peter then makes a superhuman leap and lands to the roof of another building. He also boasts he’s got enough power to put her away for good!

Dazzler doubts that and unleashes a blast that tears off half the building behind Spidey. Flying chunks are falling everywhere and Peter uses his webs to create a net in order to protect the passers-by on the street from being harmed.

Dazzler “congratulates” him on saving those fools but doubts whether he can save himself. She instantly generates some sort of light-based vacuum that’s sucking Peter up. Peter webs up the front of the light vacuum, hoping it will cut down the pull it has on him. Realizing this is working, he moves quickly and covers Dazzler’s eyes with his webbings. Dazzler exclaims she can’t see! Peter admits that was the idea and subsequently flees, feeling that he can barely stand up let alone keep up any fight. Besides, something’s gnawing at him and he needs some time to think about it.

As Peter changes clothes in an alley, he sees Alison flying up in the sky on her carpet, provoking Spider-Man to show himself. “Not yet, Dazzler…” Peter thinks. He knows when he’s outclassed. He needs to rest and get himself at peak capacity and then he’ll get to the bottom of whatever’s going on. Bone-weary, he barely trudges home but when he does, he falls very quickly asleep.

Ten hours later, Peter feels like his old self again. He thinks he’s got to take care of some quick business and then track down Dazzler. Thus, he first shows up at the Daily Globe, where he presents the pictures he took of Dazzler to his editor, Barney Bushkin. Subsequently, he visits Aunt May to the Restwell Nursing Home, where May assures him she’s feeling so much stronger – plus, the doctors say she’ll be able to go home soon; and finally at university, where he teaches modern chemistry.

As night falls, Peter soars above the city, thinking he’s finally worked it all out. Lightmaster needs light to survive. He hadn’t been out of the light dimension long enough to absorb much light energy. The explosion probably returned him to that other dimension but not before he completed his link with Dazzler. He’s probably somehow controlling her in order to return to this world. What Peter has to do is blunder in and screw up his whole plan.

Making his way into an abandoned building, Peter finally finds Dazzler. She asks him how he found her. He explains that, when he webbed up her eyes, he placed a tracker on her. He tells her he wants to help. As Alison embraces him and Peter tries to comfort the frightened woman, Dazzler suddenly tells him she doesn’t need his help: she needs only to destroy him! She immediately releases light blast from her eyes which Peter barely avoids thanks to his spider-senses warning him. He realizes Lightmaster’s taken her over again. This time, though, he knows there’s no reason to fight and webs up her entire body.

Now bound by his webs, Dazzler struggles but her fight is in vain. Peter carries her body, telling her they’ve got a little appointment at a partially burned out lab. He hopes that, with luck, what he needs won’t be part of the mess – and it shouldn’t be, if he remembers correctly.

Moments later, beneath E.S.U.’s sprawling campus, Peter makes his entrance to the shattered lab together with the bound Dazzler. Peter exclaims this place looks like a disaster area. However, the wall unit he’s looking at seems to be undamaged. Luckily, that’s all he needs right now. He decides to leave Dazzler on a spot and go pull that switch. However, the still mind-controlled Alison finally builds up enough light energy to burn through the webs in her eyes – enough to burn through him!

Peter apologizes for that but knocks her out with a punch. He takes her unconscious body back into the machine Lightmaster had her in, connects her with a wire and pulls the switch. As energy seems to surge through Ali’s body, Peter hopes this works. By flipping this switch the first time, Lightmaster’s somehow took over Dazzler’s body; reason says that by reversing the switch, he should be able to get him out of her body and back into the light dimension.

Spidey gets Ali out of the machine. Weary, Alison mumbles she’s herself again. She realizes it owes it all to him and asks Peter how she can ever repay him. Peter tells her not to worry: he has a strong hunch they’ll figure out something.

Characters Involved: 




Harry Osborn

Flash Thompson

May Parker

Barney Bushkin (Daily Globe editor)

Movie audience at Forum Theater

Peter’s university students

Unnamed employees at Daily Globe

Unnamed passers-by in the streets

Story Notes: 

The villain Spidey mentions, Will-O-The-Wisp, was last defeated in Amazing Spider-Man (1st series) #168.

Lightmaster was banished in the light dimension in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #20.

Betty Brant broke up with Peter – and returned to her estranged husband – in Amazing Spider-Man (1st series) #195.

Peter’s first day as a graduate student teaching assistant can be seen in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #32.

“Klingon” is a warrior race in the fictional Star Trek universe.

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