Floating in the unimaginable depths of a black hole, Dazzler, dispatched there by Galactus with the mission to return him his renegade herald, Terrax, tries to evade Terrax’s razor-sharp axe blade. Terrax himself swears she shall never bring him back. He also just severed her lifeline to Galactus’ ship; there is nowhere for her to run! Dazzler cannot even communicate with him telepathically – as he can with her – to beg for her mercy! He assumes Galactus thought her beauty would sway him and convince him to return with her. If so, he was sorely mistaken. Terrax has betrayed his master – abused the Power Cosmic he bestowed upon him – but he will never return to him. Galactus’ wrath is too awful to even contemplate.
Alison thinks she’s got to get hold of herself. She shouldn’t think how horrible her situation is. After all, Galactus’ computer picked her as the only one in the universe who can bring Terrax back. Maybe they know more than she does. For now, though, she’d better concentrate on staying out of the range of Terrax.
Utilizing a small portion of the super-high-level energy that Galactus imbued her with, she propels herself beyond Terrax’s reach, takes a second to get her bearings and then blasts herself back towards her adversary and startles him with a full-force dazzler burst. On Earth, she could have leveled a small city with the amount of energy she now expends. Here, hampered by the light-consuming properties of the black hole, that energy is barely enough to keep Terrax at bay for a few seconds.
Outside of the black hole hovers the mighty starship of Galactus. Within that vessel, the robot known as Drone R-11 observes the battle on a monitor. Drone R-11 admires Alison for being truly valorous. If only its master had seen fit to send itself on this mission! But only Dazzler – in all the universe – was found worthy of the task.
The robot recalls how Terrax betrayed his master, Galactus, came to be ruled by vanity and self-love and set out to conquer worlds for his own glory rather than for the sustenance of his master. Galactus came to discovery of this and ordered Terrax to return and be punished. In fear of Galactus’ wrath, Terrax fled to a black hole – a place where Galactus could not follow, due to the fact the introduction of such an energy-intensive a being as Galactus into the black hole would destroy it and it was not Galactus’ wish to end Terrax’s life… yet.
Eventually, Galactus’ computers combed the universe and found the one being most suited to retrieve Terrax: the Earth mutate called Dazzler. Knowing of her ability to convert sound energy into radiant energy and to store that energy in high quantities, Galactus filled Dazzler with incredible power that she is now using to keep Terrax at bay. However, with her lifeline severed by Terrax, she may be in greater danger than they had foreseen. In spite of Galactus’ warning that he is not to be disturbed, Drone R-11 believes it must tell its master; he must know what to do.
Traveling on its personal jetstream, the robot soon reaches its master’s lab. The Drone asks its master to forgive this intrusion of his studies but the Earth mutate… Galactus interrupts the Drone, assuring it that it knows all that transpires; nothing is hidden from him. It reminds the robot, though, that it had told it not to be disturbed regarding the matter of Terrax and the female until she had either brought him back or perished in the attempt. The Drone, however, insists they must help her: she appears to be having great difficulty merely surviving against Terrax’s power and her lifeline has been cut.
Galactus retorts that he “must” do nothing – save that which is necessary to his survival. The mutate is of no importance. Despite the Drone’s pleadings, Galactus orders the robot to be silent since it was not programmed to advise but to serve. There are other, more pressing matters that require Galactus’ attention. Assuming that the Earthling has apparently failed, he orders the Drone to prepare all systems for immediate departure. The robot reluctantly complies.
Meanwhile, Dazzler is having a rough time with Terrax. She’s pouring on more radiant power than she ever imagined she could, and yet it barely slows him down. Terrax acknowledges she has courage but believes courage alone is not enough to defeat him! While uttering this phrase, Terrax attempts to strike her with his axe-blade – he barely misses her. Dazzler thinks she’s going to have to give everything she’s got. Summoning most of her power, she blasts him with multiple lasers. However, despite the fact Terrax’s power is muted by the energy-draining forces of the black hole, he still possesses a small portion of Galactus’ Power Cosmic and that still renders him unbelievably formidable.
Indeed, Terrax plows right through Alison’s lasers. In panic, Dazzler thinks she’s got no tricks left. Terrax tells her they don’t need to be adversaries. Soon, he will find the path which leads to the other end of this dimension they’re trapped in. According to Galactus, there’s a whole other universe there, a universe filled with unsuspecting planets – planets which will swiftly fall under Terrax’s merciless axe! He will rule them, safe from the vengeance of his former master… and he will have a beauteous queen by his side… Dazzler! “No!” Ali thinks. Terrax assures her there’s no purpose in struggling. Her only other option is to die!
Meanwhile, Galactus’ spheroid starship has just begun its journey away from the black hole. Inside the ship, in the energy bombardment chamber – the room where Dazzler was so recently saturated with incalculable sound energy – a deafening roar is again heard. Sound upon sound is fed into the energy chamber – the same sounds that filled Dazzler with enough power to challenge the black hole itself. These sounds, guided by some unseen hand, solidify and ricochet thunderously within the chamber. The individual shafts finally coalesce into an incredibly powerful beam of sound, a beam which soars from the hull of the craft. The beam passes through billions of miles of dark desolation and reaches its target, descending into the depths of the hole.
Back on Earth, in New York City
In the studio, Dazzler’s manager, Harry S. Osgood, and her road manager, Lancelot Steele, put her band through its paces. A furious Lancelot scolds them, asking them if they call that playing; that was the lamest excuse for music he’s ever heard! Beefer, Hunch and Marx, the members of Alison’s band, all gloomy, seem to silently agree. Hunch even openly admits that Lance is right: for once, they sounded terrible. The other band members remind him that Dazzler’s been missing for over a week: they need her. They hope she’s okay: that lady has a knack for getting into trouble.
Lance tells them to loosen up, telling them that both he and Harry are worried about Dazzler but they don’t let it getting to them. Lance asks Harry to back him on that. Harry, however, apologizes for not hearing him. He was thinking about Dazzler.
In Riverside hospital, Dr. Paul Janson tends to a young patient. His mind is on his work but his heart is elsewhere. Paul tells his patient, a young boy named Bobby that he can go home now; he should just make sure he takes care of that arm. The lovelorn Nurse Collins thinks that Paul is so gloomy since he returned from Canada – and all because Alison Blaire hasn’t called him. She hopes Alison has found someone else so that the doctor will finally find her.
In Gardendale, Long Island, Judge Carter Blaire ponders the fate of his daughter while looking at a photo he’d long ago sworn never to gaze at again: his wife, Katherine’s, photo. Talking to her photo, he “reminds” her that, when she was taken from him, he swore he’d take care of their daughter and raise her to be someone they could both be proud of. But she defied his wish to study law and became a performer instead. He disowned her, withdrew his love, refused to even speak to her. Now she’s missing and he doesn’t know what to do. She’s headstrong, just like Katherine was.
Carter’s mother, Bella, enters the room, apologizing for disturbing him. However, he seemed so upset. Carter assures her it’s alright. He needed to be startled from this reverie. There was a decision to be made and he made it.
In the black hole, Terrax tells Dazzler to cease her resistance. What he wants, he takes – and it is her he now desires! Suddenly, though, a beam of solid sound pierces the surrealistic stillness of the black hole. Terrax realizes the beam must be from Galactus! He was a fool to think he’d give up is search once she were defeated! He wonders, though, what weapon this is that he sends after him.
Ali believes Galactus must be probing with some kind of death ray, since he’s after Terrax. Thinking it’s better to go that way than spend the rest of her life with Terrax, Dazzler moves to the direction of the beam. As she screams, she realizes that she didn’t die as she expected. The beam didn’t hurt: she actually feels energized! This beam is solid sound like when she was exposed to in Galactus’ energy bombardment chamber. Galactus hasn’t abandoned her. He’s recharging her! Thinking with enthusiasm that she’s going to live, she blasts Terrax with a light beam.
As the sound beam locks in on her, it feeds her with a continuous stream of ultra-high-level sonic energy. Alison feels new energy coursing through her, filling her with power. Terrax attempts to retake the offensive. While relentlessly pressing her attack on Terrax, Alison ducks and weaves, avoiding Terrax’s energy cosmic blast.
Finally, Terrax is knocked out and collapses. Dazzler realizes she’s filled with such power even Terrax couldn’t stand against it. She thinks she owes Galactus for getting her out of the jam – only he’s the one who got her into it to begin with, which means she doesn’t owe him anything. She decides to leave Terrax behind her and split, since she doesn’t want to be around when he wakes up. Besides, she thinks that Terrax is better off this way. All he’s got facing him back with Galactus is certain punishment. At least, where he is, he’s got hope – hope of finding the other end of the black hole and attaining his dreams.
Ali also realizes she is able to follow the beam as she absorbs its energy and find her way back. She will just tell Galactus she failed and… Suddenly, she pauses as she realizes that Terrax failed Galactus and he was so terrified that he ran into a black hole! In order to evade Galactus’ punishment, she will have to take Terrax back with her. Floating towards his unconscious body, she tries to extract his potentially dangerous axe from his fist but finds out it’s impossible to pry it loose. Even unconscious, Terrax is holding onto it like it is a part of him.
Ali gives up on prying the axe loose but realizes she’s got another problem. How is she gonna get a grip on Terrax? He’s so big and bulky that he keeps slipping out of her grasp. Finally, she manages to grab him. Carrying him in one arm, she uses the other to focus the incoming energy and follow the beam. However, she realizes she’s not flowing with the currents of the hole; she’s going against them and it feels like they’re fighting back! Still, she presses on.
At Galactus’ starship, the Drone keeps watching Dazzler’s progress in the monitor. The robot is pleased to see that Dazzler has succeeded: the sound beam reached her and she defeated Terrax.
Suddenly, Drone R-11 hears Galactus’ voice behind him, calling its name. Galactus demands to know the meaning of this. Why were his commands disobeyed? Why is there transmission in progress from the energy bombardment chamber to the black hole? The robot nervously explains that it’s the Earth mutate: it couldn’t abandon her in the black hole. She did them no harm and wasn’t deserving of such a fate.
Astounded to hear such a response, Galactus asks the robot what it is about Earthlings that makes ordinarily rational creatures – even an inorganic one such as Drone R-11 – behave so insanely. The robot just disobeyed the word of Galactus which is a living law itself! The Drone however, ventures to say that it was faithful to Galactus’ intent.
“You… dared… presumed… the intent… of Galactus?!” the gigantic being exclaims, even more astounded. Gathering as much courage as it has, Drone R-11 tells Galactus that, even after he commanded the abandonment of the mutate, he maintained the invisible shield which protects Dazzler from the forces of the black hole. Galactus could have let it drop, leaving Dazzler to a crushing, choking death. He did not. The Drone believes that Galactus must harbor some feeling for the mutate.
Galactus does not respond. It’s not rage that he feels but an emptiness which no quantity of planets can ever satiate. Even though he knows the full gamut of human emotions, he cannot allow himself to respond to them – otherwise, it wouldn’t be possible for him to continue to consume worlds. Sometimes, though, in spite of himself, he is touched by one particular being or another. These are the times his emptiness seems greatest. When the Drone asks him if it’s allowed to return the ship to the black hole sector and continue the operation, Galactus’s response is affirmative. He then leaves the room, closing the door behind him.
Soon, carrying the unconscious Terrax and following the beam, Dazzler makes her way out of the black hole, unable to believe she made it! She realizes the sound beam is stopped. However, all that energy she was being fed with is more than she needs or wants ever again. The power is exhilarating beyond words but also terrifying. All she wants to do now is take all that remaining power and get rid of it!
Alison indeed sheds the incredible light energy she has been storing. After the indescribable explosion of light ceases, Dazzler and the unconscious Terrax are materialized aboard the nearby starship of Galactus. Drone R-11 secures Terrax with its master’s paralysis clamps, while it also intends to see to it that Dazzler does not perish, since the strain on her has been great.
On the Long Island expressway, a black Mercedes speeds westward towards Manhattan. Its driver is Judge Carter Blaire. Carter has swallowed his pride, realizing that the fate of his daughter means more to him than any differences which might exist between them. Thus, he goes to seek her out.
Paul Janson is also en route to Alison’s apartment. Riding his bicycle, Paul thinks that he can’t stand the suspense anymore. If Ali wants to break up with him – fine! But at least, he should tell him to his face! Paul’s cancelled all his appointments for the rest of the day and he’s going to camp out on her doorstep till he finds out what’s what.
Outside the skyscraper that houses the offices of Harry S. Osgood, Harry, together with Lance, Beefer, Hunch and Marx decide to get a cab and seek Dazzler themselves. Harry fears that if Techmaster has discovered how Dazzler thwarted his plans to do Harry in, she may be in more trouble than any of them dare imagine!
In Galactus’ ship, Dazzler fights a battle for survival. Drone R-11 realizes that the trauma of what she’s been through has finally taken its toll. Her frail human system wasn’t prepared for the sights she has seen and the things she’s experienced. However, the Drone has never programmed the healing chair for an Earthling, mutate or non-mutate. One miscalculation on the robot’s part and the spark of her life will be snuffed out! The Drone must not fail her – not after all she has done for her master!
For long seconds, R-11 looks on. Alison’s breathing seems to be shallower and shallower. Then, an eyelid flickers… a sigh is heard… and Ali opens her eyes, mumbling “Wh-where am I?” The robot informs her she’s on the starship of Galactus. Alison wearily replies she remembers it all now, though she’d rather have forgotten it. Drone R-11 tells her that – perhaps – in time she will, if that’s her wish. Now, however, it must transport her healing chair to Galactus’ laboratory. They have been summoned to attend the judgment of Terrax!
Minutes later, Dazzler, the Drone and a harshly bound Terrax are deposited on a platform, waiting for Galactus’ judgment. Finally, the Drone speaks, addressing Galactus. The robot reminds him that the transgressions of Terrax are known to them all. He has been self-seeking and rebellious. He has fled from Galactus’ judgment when his treachery was discovered. He has attempted to destroy Galactus’ chosen emissary, the Earthling Alison Blaire. Now, Terrax awaits his judgment.
Alison sits limply in her chair. Despite the miraculous healing powers of that device, she is still severely weakened. However, she cannot simply sit back and watch the proceedings. Straining, she raises herself to a standing position and dares to inform Galactus that it strikes her that something wrong is here. She may not know what the correct procedure is here but for all of Galactus’ show of his “divine wisdom” he is really not better than Terrax is! They both do what they must to survive… both follow their own natures.
Alison confesses to Galactus that she likes neither him nor Terrax. However, she also believes that if Galactus were honest with himself, he’d let Terrax off easy. Terrax wanted to rule planet whereas Galactus wanted to eat them – which of the two is better? As Alison finishes her speech, she’s overwhelmed by a wave of terror as Galactus locks her in one of his unwavering stares. Sensing his power and fearing for herself, Ali waits silently. She realizes she has doomed for herself because she stood up for Terrax – who a short time ago would have sliced her in two.
Finally, Galactus speaks. He explains that he chose Terrax as his herald because of his amoral character. He knew he would eventually betray him – and require chastisement. He believes his self-exile in the black hole has been punishment enough. Terrax has been humbled and will serve again as he has in the past. He then proclaims the end of these distasteful proceedings. In an instant, Terrax’s manacles disappear into thin air and Terrax finds himself once again soaring the spaceways in search of new planets for his master.
Drone R-11 congratulates Ali on her wonderful speech. Ali thanks him but insists that all the compliments on the world won’t get her the thing she wants most – to go home! The robot explains that its master can easily arrange that. Alison wonders why he hasn’t done it. Dazzler addresses Galactus and apologizes for yelling at him before; sometimes she loses her temper! Increasingly panicky, she urges Galactus to help her. She can’t get home without him. She’s got family, friends… a life there! Didn’t she do anything he asked of her? She begs him to just send her home.
Galactus gives no sign of hearing her. His mind is elsewhere, pondering some unfathomable problem. Alison keeps on ranting and pleading and fails to notice the beam of solid sound traversing the room until it touches her. Realizing what she must do now Dazzler lets loose a brilliant barrage of refulgent light, a barrage which this time succeeds in attracting the attention of Galactus. Distracted from his labors, Galactus believes her audacity is prodigious, although others from her planet whom he has encountered have also exhibited the same trait. Alison insists that she just wants him to send her home. Zapping her with blasts from his eyes, Galactus makes her wish come true and Ali is teleported away.
Watching from a monitor, R-11 is pleased to see that it happened as it had predicted. The sound infusion it gave Dazzler enabled her to attract Galactus’ attention, though the Drone itself could only watch on the screen, for fear of Dazzler’s luminescence disrupting its optical sensors. The robot suddenly sees Terrax on screen, announcing to Galactus that he has found a planet suitable for consumption. It is a transient golden galaxy, called Galador! When the Drone informs him of that development, Galactus instructs the robot to proceed to that location and also not to disturb his meditations until they arrive.
Back on Earth, Paul, Carter, Harry, Lance, Beefer, Hunch and Marx have all arrived at the building Alison lives. Paul recognizes Dazzler’s manager and her band from photos Ali has shown him. Paul introduces himself to them. The guys realize he must be that boyfriend she’s mentioned. Carter also approaches and nervously asks them where he can find Alison Blaire – he explains he’s her father! The guys explain they’ve been ringing her buzzer but there’s no answer.
The super suddenly appears, telling them that maybe he can help them. He’s also been worried about Alison, since he hasn’t seen her around for awhile. The super guides them towards the service elevator – since the regular elevator is busted. Carter protests that they dawdle too much – this could be a matter of life and death! One of Ali’s musicians advises him to take it easy and be mellow. Carter retorts that “being mellow” is what musicians do, with all the drugs they take!
Simultaneously, a brilliant flash of light suddenly illuminates Alison’s apartment. The shimmer takes form… solidifies… and Dazzler is, at long last, home.
The men enter the apartment where they find Alison lying exhausted on the couch, her eyes closed. Everyone is wondering if she’s okay. Harry asks her where she’s been. Utterly exhausted, Alison mutters that she’s been in space… in a black hole. Harry’s interpretation, from hearing this, is that she’s been in a week-long party. He tells the other men that it’s time to go: she’s okay.
To this, Carter heatedly asks if this what they call “okay.” He believes their values are sick – as sick as his daughter has become! He’s done his duty and made sure Alison is alive but she’ll never see him again until she straightens up.
They all depart save for Paul. He wishes there were some way he could make Ali happier so she wouldn’t have to go to such extremes to find such thrills. As he kisses her goodbye, he hopes some day he’ll find that way. For now, though, he’s just going to let her be. She doesn’t seem hurt or ill; all she needs is rest. As Paul turns to go, he is too far from Alison to hear the words she softly mutters in her sleep: “Goodbye, Paul… my darling… I love you…”