Dazzler #14

Issue Date: 
April 1982
Story Title: 
Without Getting Killed or Caught…!

Danny Fingeroth (script), Frank Springer (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Don Warfield (colors), Rosen & Chiang (letters), Jim Shooter (editor)

Brief Description: 

Dazzler and her band fly to L.A. in order to perform in the Memorial Auditorium as the warm-up act to rock star Bruce Harris. During the concert, a sniper attempts to assassinate a man in the audience, Joe Cartelli, who hails from the N.Y. underworld. Ali’s intervention saves Cartelli’s life and the latter dons his secret identity – the costumed crimefighter known as “Blue Shield” – and takes out the assassin. Infuriated by the Shield’s intervention, the mobsters that hired the assassin to kill Cartelli – unaware that Cartelli and the Shield are actually the same man – deduce that the Shield is none other than… Dazzler’s stage manager, Lance Steele! The mobsters kidnap both Lance and Ali and drag them to a warehouse, where they unleash a brainwashed She-Hulk against them! After a brutal battle, Ali’s light blasts shock She-Hulk back to her senses and Blue Shield also shows up to punish the gangsters.

Full Summary: 

In a seedy Los Angeles hotel room, a somber man sits and prepares the tools of his trade: his guns. He is a hired killer. Tonight he will strike again. On his bed there are several photos of a man and a newspaper article about Dazzler’s concert.

New York City:

Harry Osgood begs Dazzler to hurry. Her flight leaves in forty-five minutes. If she’s late for the show tonight, all his work to find her this gig will have been in vain! Ali tells him to take it easy: she still has a few more things to pack. Bordering on nervous breakdown, Harry assures her he’ll send her everything she needs: they should just get going!
Packing her things, Ali confides in her teddy-bear that, if they keep Harry waiting any longer, he’ll bust – and good managers are so hard to find these days! The duo hastily exits Ali’s apartment and enters a taxi waiting at the front of the building. Later, in Kennedy Airport, a Jumbo 747 lifts off and reaches L.A. within six hours.

After a frenzied cab ride to downtown Los Angeles, Dazzler meets her band, Beefer, Hunch and Marx at the place they’re going to perform, the Memorial Auditorium. She asks them how they’re feeling after their last-minute flight. Beefer remarks that, at least, they made the flight… unlike Lance! Hunch believes they shouldn’t worry about their semi-moronic field manager. Marx admits that all he’s thinking about is how good they’re going to play. They’re going to make tonight’s crowd forget they’re paying to see Bruce Harris and that they’re just the warm-up act. Ali urges them not to be so tough on ol’ Bruce. If he hadn’t hired them for this West Coast tour when his regular warm-up group quit, she’d be still delivering singing telegrams!

Entering her dressing room, Ali sees a bouquet of flowers waiting for her. Wondering who her secret admirer is, Ali reads the card (There is no defense against your charms. Lots of luck, Ken) and realizes Ken Barnett – the defender who successfully defended her against murder charges – telegraphed the bouquet all the way from New York. Beefer and Hunch retort that nobody sent them flowers. Apparently, they’re not cute enough. The guys leave, telling Dazzler they’ll see her on stage.

A little bit later, Bruce Harris walks into her dressing room. Ali instantly recognizes the rock star: any red-blooded American girl would! “Yeah, I am something special, aren’t I?” Bruce admits! He came to wish her luck and offer her some advance consolation: the audience is here to see him, so if they’re hostile to her, she will just have to remind herself she’s getting paid. Ali replies that’s very thoughtful while thinking this guy is a conceited butthead!
After he leaves, a too hasty sound check and rehearsal follow. Ali then sits in her dressing room to put on her make up, thinking it’s been so long since she had a real singing gig, she’s forgotten what it’s like.

Outside the auditorium, a youthful group of rock’n’roll fans gathers, waiting for the auditorium’s doors to open. Among them is also the hired assassin. Soon, the doors open and the crowd shuffle inside. Among them is Lance Steel, Ali’s stage manager, who’s looking for the stage entrance. Bernie, one of three men in tuxedos, points him to the correct direction. As Lance moves to the stairs, one of Bernie’s friends, Ed, tells him to cool it: they don’t want anyone to know he cased this place. The third man, Phil, tells Ed not to worry. What harm can that clown do?

A little later, Ali is about to go on stage to perform. No matter how many times she does this, she still gets butterflies every time she goes on stage. As the piano plays the intro to her first song, she finally goes on stage and welcomes everybody to the show.
The audience is apathetic at first: they have come to see Bruce Harris, not some time-filling warm-up act. However, as soon as the pounding music flows into her body – and out again as equally frenetic light effects – they are awed. As she performs, Alison’s thinking that this is what she was born to do. The Avengers and the X-Men may get off on saving the world from super menaces but they’ll never know the satisfaction of making a hall full of people feel a little better about life.

Suddenly, Ali spots a reflection on a box far away, on her right. No one but her can see it through her dazzle effects. She is suddenly able to tell what it is: a rifle’s telescopic sight… and a sniper! Ali realizes the sniper’s about to fire and releases a strobe blast that dazzles him, causing him to throw his aim off, missing his target. The bullet merely grazes the shoulder of its intended victim – a man in the audience – and embeds itself in the seat in front of him. The crowd is unaware of it all.

The intended victim is none other than Joe Cartelli, a man who makes his living as a top man in a New York crime family but dedicates his life to smashing crime as the Blue Shield. Feeling the bullet grazing his shoulder, Joe realizes that someone’s out to get him. He came to this concert to see his friend, Dazzler, perform. But it looks like things aren’t going to be that simple. Cartelli goes to the bathroom and changes to his Blue Shield colors. From the angle at which the bullet grazed him and hit the seat, he can tell where it came from. If he hurries, he still has a chance to nab whoever fired it.

Meanwhile, realizing it’s dangerous to stay here, the assassin decides to leave the box. The Blue Shield breaks through the door of the box, though, and fiercely kicks him. The assassin shoots at point blank range but his 45 caliber shells bounce off the Shield. The Shield corrects him: not off him but off his impenetrable blue aura! Blue Shield knocks the sniper out with a punch, thinking that he knows all the East Coast hitmen but he doesn’t know this one. He deduces it must be a local guy.

The Shield wonders whether the sniper is stupid enough to carry any ID. As he searches the unconscious hitman, he discovers a card with a number: the number to his own New York office! He wonders whether there could be a mole in his organization. He needs to adjust his plans. He came out here as Cartelli, ostensibly to take advantage of the chaos in L.A.’s underworld and muscle in on behalf of his “family”. What no one knows is that he is also the Blue Shield who will do anything to break up the entire mob - but now someone’s got an eye on him as Joe Cartelli.

Unbeknownst to the Shield, the three guys in tuxedos are watching him from another box in the auditorium, thanks to their binoculars. They realize the Blue Shield just scragged LaFarge. One of the men, Bernie, is shocked to see Blue Shield being here: New York is his turf! Ed remarks they’ve got enough trouble here that puts pressure on them. They don’t need extra aggravation now! Ed believes they can forget Cartelli for a while. The Shield’s the one they’ve got to eliminate first. The others wonder how this is going to be: they can’t shoot him or even get near him.

As the three men exit the auditorium and move towards their limo in the street, Ed asserts that if, they could figure out who he is and get the drop of him while he’s not the Shield, they could put him out of the commission. Ed believes he must be somebody from New York – and he’s got to be built pretty well. It suddenly dawns to him that the stage manager for that woman, Dazzler’s band – he could be the Shield! How else could the Shield have so coincidentally been at the concert? Ed confides in the others he’s getting an idea which will not only get rid of him for them but will also put Ed himself on top of the L.A. mobs, all with the help of his “secret weapon”.

The other two mobsters ask Ed to tell them. They’re his lieutenants: they ought to know. Ed narrates how this sporty little compact zig-zagged past his car on the Santa Monica freeway the other day, as if he was standing still. All of a sudden, the other car was overturned and was totally wrecked. Ed pulled over to help out and this is when he made his big find. The cops came by a few minutes later and found an empty car… whereas Ed found a goldmine! The others ask Ed how this “secret weapon” is going to beat the Shield. What is it? Ed corrects them: it is not a what… it is a who! The limo stops outside a warehouse. What awaits them inside is… She-Hulk!

Sometime later, backstage, Dazzler and her crew relax after the show with a friendly game of poker. Ali has found out that none of the guys saw or heard anything about that sniper before. Lance believes she was all excited and nervous about the show, so she must’ve imagined it. Dazzler insists she didn’t. Suddenly, she asks the guys if they heard something outside. She thought everybody had gone home…

“Everybody has, lady. Which is how we got in here” a man is heard saying and then grabs Dazzler from behind and puts a gun to her temple. Another man – whose face is covered with a mask, just like his colleague’s – enters the backstage and grabs Lance, telling him “You… Blue Shield! You’re coming with us!” He informs him that Dazzler is also coming with them as insurance, so that Lance doesn’t give them any trouble. Flabbergasted, Lance asks him how he called him: the Blue Shield?! The man insists he called him that because that’s who he is! He also doesn’t care if Lance switches his lousy “aura” on, because if he tries anything, they’ll off his lady friend!
The two men drag Lance and Ali to a car and instantly depart. Ali thinks that she’s one of the few people who know the Shield is Joe Cartelli. These guys think Lance is the Shield. It would be funny… if it wasn’t so deadly serious.

A little later, the two men – who are actually Bernie and Phil – have delivered Lance and Ali in the hands of Ed, in his truck-filled warehouse. Lance keeps telling them he is not the Blue Shield. Ed believes he’s lying; he’s afraid to take on anybody who’s ready for him! For Ed, the Shield’s being here is just what he needs. Once Ed’s secret weapon demolishes the Shield, everyone will fear him. He’ll be king of the rackets out here! Turning to another of his accomplices, Doctor von Stratten, Ed asks him if everything is ready. Von Stratten’s response is affirmative.

The tractor-trailer’s rear doors swing open, revealing She-Hulk. Ed explains he found her dazed and disoriented after an accident. He knew he had a hot item and knew the one guy who could help was Doc Von Stratten here. Ed hustled her over to him and von Stratten rigged up a mind-control machine that has just about made her his slave! Von Stratten insists it wasn’t quite that easy. Ed believes it was easy for him: he just had to pay the Doctor and She-Hulk will do whatever he says. Indeed, as if to prove this, he orders her to kill the Blue Shield now!

“He… shall… be… killed!” the brainwashed She-Hulk pronounces and moves towards him. Lance insists that she may be big and green but she’s still a girl and he can lick any… He doesn’t have the chance to finish his phrase as She-Hulk knocks him out with a punch. Seeing Lance unconscious, Ed believes he’s faking it and orders She-Hulk to finish him off. Dazzler, however, instantly turns on her radio and transduces the sound into a light blast that knocks them all out… save for She-Hulk.

Ali thinks that the blast didn’t have any effect on her, just like it couldn’t handle the Hulk. Jennifer quickly moves menacingly towards her and Ali barely avoids being hurt by one her adversary’s punches, which smashes the truck behind Dazzler instead. Ali tries to make She-Hulk understand they’ve got her brainwashed or something – in vain she tries, as She-Hulk is programmed to defend her masters and destroy their enemies no matter what. Running away from her, Ali locks herself inside the coach-work of a truck, hoping she’s safe… only She-Hulk easily rips the coach-work apart!

She-Hulk jumps inside the coach-work and tries to get Ali with one of her punches. Dazzler notices that she seems a little unsure of her movements and wonders if this is because of the mind-control she’s under. Jennifer finally grabs her and violently hurls her away like a fly. Ali tries to get herself together after being thrown like that and sees She-Hulk moving towards her again. Ali thinks she should be able to slow her down with a light burst. She just has to turn her radio on. However, as she looks into her purse, she finds out that her radio was broken when she was hurled to the ground.

As She-Hulk approaches again, Alison kicks her in the face. She feels like she just kicked a brick wall but she realizes she surprised her adversary: She-Hulk didn’t expect her to recover from her attack so soon. Seeing She-Hulk down for a second, Dazzler feverishly thinks she’s got to do something… like run or hide! Seeing a truck with the keys on the ignition, she hops in. She never took one of those drive-a-truck courses but she can drive a car, thus she should be able to figure out how to get this truck to kick over. The motor growls and whines and Ali finally gets it on.

Alison starts driving the truck, just as She-Hulk crawls on the driver’s window. Alison absorbs the cacophonous noise produced by the mighty roar of the motor and the continuous blast of a high-powered air horn and unleashes another blast of searing light. She-Hulk reminds Ali that her light blasts can’t stop her. “Wanna bet?” Dazzler retorts and focuses it all on She-Hulk on point blank range, finally knocking her out!

Ed and his accomplices wake up and realize that Dazzler has inexplicably beaten She-Hulk. The men decide to hightail out of here when suddenly the Blue Shield breaks his way into the warehouse! They finally realize the Blue Shield can’t be that Lance guy.
The mobsters wonder how the Shield found them. The Shield explains it took a little persuasion on his part to convince LaFarge to tell him who he was working for. As he starts savagely beating the mobsters, Ed and his men try to get themselves out of here in one piece. Ali watches the action and realizes how brutal the Shield is when he goes into action against criminals. She knows that both he and his alter ego are good people, but he sees every mobster as the one who killed his father. As the mobsters flee into the night, the Shield relentlessly pursues them, intent on smashing them.

She-Hulk again shows up but now asks Ali to give her five: she gave her one heck of a fight! She-Hulk is grateful because Dazzler’s light attack snapped her out of the mind-control those creeps had her under. She asks Ali how she put on this impressive display. Nervously, Ali replies it’s a professional secret. She-Hulk believes they should get out of here. Dazzler agrees but also wants to see if Lance is okay. She-Hulk tells her not to worry about that wimp: he took one of the gang’s cars and beat it. Ali is amazed he could drive, after She-Hulk hit him so hard. She-Hulk explains she barely touched him: it was more his own fear that got to him!

The two women get on the truck Ali started up and She-Hulk starts driving, asking Ali where she’s headed. “The Memorial Auditorium” Ali replies and nervously asks She-Hulk if she’s driven one of these things before. “Wheels are wheels” She-Hulk replies with a mischievous smile and then drives right through the wall of the warehouse, demolishing it and leaving Dazzler more than a little shaken! Ali starts whining that she should have listened to her father and gone to law school: show business only gets you into trouble! She-Hulk reveals she went to law school and became a lawyer. But when she got this power, she decided it was more fun enjoying life as She-Hulk than spending her time as Jennifer Walters with her nose buried in some dusty books.

Ali recognizes the name: Jennifer Walters is well known as a legal eagle in New York. Jennifer thinks it would’ve pleased her father if she stayed that way. Ali admits she knows what it’s like. Jennifer tells her she can’t spend her life trying to please other people. She assumes Ali enjoys using her own light power. Ali admits it is fun – and scary sometimes, too. She-Hulk remarks that freedom is always scary and advises Ali to hold tight as they turn hard! Jennifer confesses that sometimes she thinks she should’ve listened to her dad or her conservative boyfriends and given up being big and green. However, in the end, she believes that one has to follow their heart.

A few blocks away, Dazzler’s band and the Auditorium’s manager, Mr. Minton, confer anxiously. Beefer tells the others that he got Lance all set up with that icepack. He’ll have a bump on his head but that’s all. Hunch hopes Lance gave the police the right directions to find Dazzler. Minton suggests they should go there themselves. Marx thinks they should give the cops a chance first and then, if they fail…

Suddenly, though, the truck appears. While the men watch in amazement, Alison says goodbye to Jennifer. She-Hulk advises her to keep singing, shining and trusting herself. As She-Hulk departs, Beefer asks Dazzler what happened to her. Ali admits she’d rather not talk about it now. Mr. Minton believes she can tell them the details later. Right now, though, he must say a few words to her on behalf on the management.
As they walk into the Auditorium, Minton confesses that when Harry told him she was good, he took it with a grain of salt. However, she was fabulous and he’d like to invite her back to perform next year as a headliner. She’s going to be big, maybe even bigger than Bruce Harris and he wants to sign her before she becomes unaffordable! Bruce is eavesdropping and he is not too happy to hear this.

Characters Involved: 



Blue Shield

Harry S. Osgood

Beefer, Hunch & Marx

Lancelot Steele

Bernie, Ed & Phil (all L.A. mobs)

Doctor von Stratten (Ed’s accomplice)

LaFarge (hired assassin)

Bruce Harris

Mr. Minton

Concert audience

In flashback images:


In photos:

Blue Shield/Joe Cartelli

In newspaper photo:


Story Notes: 

The title comes from the lyrics of Guy Clark’s song, L.A. Freeway.

Dazzler and the Blue Shield met in Dazzler #5.

Dazzler fought the Hulk in Dazzler #6-7.

Blue Shield’s adventures in the L.A. underworld can be seen in Savage She-Hulk #21-25.

Issue Information: 

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: