Dazzler #17

Issue Date: 
July 1982
Story Title: 
The Angel and the Octopus!

Danny Fingeroth (scripter), Frank Springer (penciler), Vince Collette (inker), Don Warfield (colorist), Janice Chiang (letterer), Jim Shooter (editor)

Brief Description: 

After recording backup vocals one day, Dazzler is approached by Warren Worthington III, the superhero known as the Angel, who asks her for a date. She politely declines, as she already has a nice boyfriend. Warren refuses to drop it: he stalks her at dinner and at her apartment, finally convincing her to let him take her for an aerial tour of New York City. During the flight, she grows so enamored with the romance of it all that, despite her better judgment, they kiss. She asks to be set down. A few days later, after her dreadful appearance on a late-night talk show, Warren takes Alison on another date, this one to get breakfast. While en route to the restaurant, however, they witness a prison break attempt by Doctor Octopus. The two heroes defeat him and return him to custody, but after the incident, Alison makes it clear to Warren she has no interest in the superhero life and wants to stick with her current boyfriend. Warren claims to respect her wishes, but while leaving her apartment, learns of Alison’s search for her estranged mother and decides to help. Meanwhile, the Absorbing Man arrives in New York in search of the Dazzler.

Full Summary: 

Standing on a New York City street corner at 3 AM, Alison Blaire and her boyfriend Ken Barnett are so captivated by each other they fail to notice the approaching gang of street thugs. The gang’s intentions are unclear; they may want money, they may want Alison, or they may just want a fight. What is clear, however, are their actions. One thug throws Ken up against the wall and knocks him to the ground. The others focus their attention on the beautiful Alison. While the helpless Ken watches, one of the thugs grabs Alison by the waist and asks if she wants to try a little tenderness. Alison, however, is far from helpless. As long as she has a steady supply of noise, she can access her mutant powers as the Dazzler!

Alison switches on the radio in her purse and instantly transduces the sonic energy into a blinding white light. After the staggered thugs fall to the ground in defeat, Dazzler helps Ken up off the ground. Her powers inadvertently affected him as well. He even tried to close his eyes, but the light was much too powerful to withstand. After getting Ken to a safe place, Alison heads to a payphone and summons the police, giving them a false reason as to how the gang ended up unconscious. Amidst the anti-mutant hysteria in which she lives, Alison cannot verily reveal her mutant powers to many people, including the police. She only hopes the gang members have other crimes on their records that warrant detainment.

Alison hails a taxi cab and sends Ken on his way home. As much as she would enjoy spending the rest of the night with him, she feels far too shaken by the attempted mugging to take care of Ken in his current, befuddled state. They embrace one last time before parting ways. Alison feels so close to Ken when they kiss. If only those thugs hadn’t ruined their night! Ken soothes her and promises there will be other nights.

Upstairs, in her apartment, Alison slips off her dress and prepares for bed. Even in the safety of her own home, she still feels awfully rattled because of night’s events. Strangely, it was not the mugging that disturbed her, but having to use her powers offensively. She may never be comfortable using her mutant powers for anything except performing. Of course, she has very little choice in the matter. Life keeps forcing her into positions in which she has no choice but to fight. Things might be different if she had a superhero for a boyfriend, who could not only show her a good time, but deal with the inevitable muggings and super-villain encounters. But then I’d have the heartaches that go along with that type of guy, Alison realizes. Besides, she really cares for Ken, and wouldn’t trade him for anything.

Alison’s eyes wander to her unopened stack of mail. A letter from private investigator Jessica Drew snags her attention. Despite the mutual animosity with Jessica, Alison excitedly opens the letter, hoping for an update on the case of her estranged mother. Unfortunately, the letter reveals nothing new. It is merely a polite message from Jessica telling Alison she has nothing new to report. However, if her mother is somewhere on the West Coast, she and her partner Spider-Woman will find her. Thanks, Jessie, Alison sighs. But I won’t hold my breath.

The next day, Alison walks into her manager’s office and, as per usual, begins speaking to his secretary, Cassie. To her surprise, Lance is sitting at Cassandra’s desk instead, frantically answering all the incoming phone calls. His inexperience with multiple phones lines becomes quite evident when he keeps accidentally dropping calls. Where’s Cassie? Alison asks. Lance explains that the dopey dame called in sick too late in the morning for Harry to find a temp, forcing Lance to act as the impromptu receptionist. Amidst the mayhem, Lance still has time to ogle Alison. Hey, nice brooch, he says while accidentally dropping another call. She thanks him for the compliment and explains the brooch belonged to her mother, whom she never knew. It is one of the only tangible connections she has with her mom.

Changing the subject, Alison tells Lance she came by to see if her manager found her any gigs. Lance tries to call him on the intercom. Failing once again, he decides it’s much easier to just yell. Dazzler’s here, he shouts! Send her in, Harry S. Osgood shouts back. Upon entering his office, Harry calls her over to the phone and tells her to sing. Alison shrugs and does as she is told. She breaks into a rendition of “Blue Suede Shoes” so lovely it instantly convinces the listener to hire her. Harry takes back the phone and relays the gig details to her. She will be recording backup vocals at Pacifica Studios. She asks when it starts. Right now, Harry shouts!

Alison arrives at Pacific Studios as fast as she can. She is dumbfounded as she enters; this state-of-the-art studio serves only the best musical artists. She wonders whose backup vocals she will be recording. She scans the room, and the first person she recognizes is her very own drummer, Beefer! Ali runs over to him and says hello. Beefer congratulates her on landing this gig, and explains he will be laying down the percussion tracks. “You mean – you’re not faithful to my group alone?” Alison asks. Touring with Alison and her band may be Beefer’s favorite pastime, but a musician’s got to eat, especially one as big as Beefer. “I’m just teasing,” Alison says. “You’re the best there is, and I’m grateful you play for me, but the world deserves to hear as much of your playing as it can get.” Thanking her for the wonderful compliment, Beefer begins explaining the intricacies of drumming, but fortunately for Alison someone else enters the studio.

Beefer introduces Alison to his friend Vanessa Tooks, a striking black woman in a beautiful green dress, who will be accompanying Alison on backup vocals. Vanessa greets Alison and tells her she saw her perform at the Numero Uno Club, but barely recognizes her without her performance makeup. Vanessa tried out for the gig herself, but lost it to an eerie blonde woman. The Enchantress, Dazzler corrects. Even saying the name gives Alison the creeps. Nevertheless, Vanessa calls Alison a terrific singer, but implies her superior singing ability must have come with age. Slightly insulted by this comment, Alison assures Vanessa she is no Grandma Moses! Vanessa apologizes, admitting her jealousy. She escorts Alison to the office to fill out the proper employment paperwork. Several hours later, they finally begin recording.

Alison and Vanessa work extremely well together. In fact, Alison is so engrossed in their singing she forgets to ask for whom they are recording. She finally learns, to her surprise, the artist is none other than Bruce Harris! Bruce fired her as his warm-up act because of his jealousy over her talent. Ali cannot help but relish in the irony; if only he knew she was now recording his backup vocals.

Meanwhile, at her father’s house on Long Island, Judge Carter Blaire furiously sorts through his possessions in the attic. He curses the storage chest filled with memories of his wife. His mother finally enters and asks what is wrong. What’s wrong? He lost Katherine all those years ago, and now he is losing his daughter to the empty profession of musical performance, he says. Now, he feels like he is losing his mind on top of it all! His mother embraces Carter as tears roll down his face.

Later that evening in New York, Alison and Vanessa exit the recording studio and say goodbye. Now that Vanessa has Alison’s number, she will be calling her soon. “Hey,” a guy’s voice says from behind Alison, “as long as you’re giving out your number, can I jot it down?” She turns and faces the handsome blond man, but is repulsed by his audacity. You talking to me? she asks. Yes, he replies, and asks if she remembers him. Alison can’t say she does, although she admits he looks familiar. Asking if she wants a memory refresher, he whips out a copy of Fortune magazine, of which he graces the cover.

“You must be a famous rich guy. You’ve got your picture on the cover of Fortune,” Alison says, dryly. The man asks if she now realizes who he is. It tells me the guy that’s hassling me is rich, Alison jokes to herself. Rich or not, a creep is a creep. She turns and hops aboard a city bus. The blond man follows, but finds he cannot make the exact change needed to board. The driver refuses to even accept a one-hundred dollar bill. Fortunately for the blond man, a courier riding the bus gives him the exact change. Unfortunately for Alison, this slight diversion does not slow the man nearly enough. She moves to the back of the crowded bus and slips out the back door, but the man has enough time to follow. She runs as fast as she can to Central Park with the stalker close behind. Hopefully she can lose him amidst the park’s twisting trails.

Alison finally stops and catches her breath, confident she put enough distance between the stalker and herself. To her disbelief, he pops around the bend and asks if they can finally talk. You, she shouts! He begs her not to run, promising to keep his distance as long as she hears him out. Hesitantly, she agrees. When he starts removing his jacket, however, she gets nervous. “What are you doing?” Dazzler asks. He claims he has something to show her. “Yeah. I’ll bet,” she replies. As he continues to remove his clothes, she reaches into her purse and puts her finger on her radio. If she doesn’t like what he has to show her, she will dazzle his eyes out.

His secret turns out to be quite the pleasant surprise. After removing his shirt, he reveals a sprawling set of bird wings. Alison finally realizes the man’s identity: Warren Worthington III, the mutant millionaire who went public with his identity, the Angel! What does he want with her? Ali asks. Warren explains he was trying to ask her on a date. Alison scoffs. With that arrogant come-on, did he actually believe she might accept? He begs her to listen to his proposal. She tells him to go ahead; she can use a laugh. Warren explains how he first felt attracted to her when they met at Club Numero Uno, but later, while they both auditioned for the Avengers, he began sensing something special about her. Later, while in traction after a battle with Ghost Rider, he reevaluated his entire life, particularly his long-stagnant relationship with Candy Southern. He had forgotten there were other women in the world. During this time, his mind continually returned to thoughts of Alison Blaire. “I decided to fly to New York and see if you could help me sort my life out,” he explains. “I thought we might even have some fun while we’re at it.” Dazzler tells Warren how flattered she feels. However, she has her own life to sort out and isn’t about to drop everything for him. Warren accepts her response and just asks her to consider it. If she needs him, he is staying at the Plaza.

Later, Alison enjoys Ken’s company at a fancy restaurant. Her pleasant time is ruined, however, when her waiter turns out to be none other than Warren Worthington III. She asks what he is doing there. Waiting on her, he replies. After he found out she would be eating at that restaurant, he bought it just so he could see her again. Alison is stunned. “I guess I’m supposed to be impressed, huh? Well, I am! I’m impressed by how big a jerk you are! I don’t care if you’re rich enough to buy the whole blamed world! You can’t buy me, buddy – understand?!” Ken asks what’s going on. Nothing except some rich kid trying to show off his money, Alison says. Grabbing Ken, she begins marching out of the restaurant. Warren asks if they can talk it over, but Alison emphasizes there is nothing to discuss. “You own this place,” she adds. “The tab’s on you!”

Outside the restaurant, Ken asks if that man was Warren Worthington III, also known as the Angel. “Yep,” Alison says. “The super hero without a secret identity – or any tact.” Later, at her apartment, Alison relays to Ken the full story of her encounter with Angel. Ken finds the story funny and laughs it off, a reaction which honestly surprises Alison. Does Ken really have that much faith in her and their relationship? Does he even suspect she might be flattered, even tempted, by the advances of the dashing superhero? While she ponders these questions, Ken notices her distance and asks if something is wrong. No, Alison says, but admits to Ken she wants to spend the night alone. He leaves, somewhat hesitantly. His departure, unfortunately, is duly noted by Warren.

With the boyfriend figure gone, Warren flies over to Alison’s window and gets her attention. He thought Ken would never leave, he tells Alison as she opens the window. Shocked to hear he spied on her, she calls him swell-headed, conceited, and disgusting. “Hey! Flattery will get you everywhere,” he jokes, adding he only watched her front door and wouldn’t ever dare peeking in her window. He invites her to take a special aerial tour of the city. Alison cannot believe his nerve. However, she admits to herself his assertiveness is slightly charming, and agrees to the tour. Angel swoops her up in his arms, pulls her out of the window, and takes her soaring over the majestic cityscape.

Alison feels quite anxious at first; she even tells Warren she might get sick. He urges her to relax and enjoy the ride. Alison, eventually heeding his advice, grows comfortable in his arms and begins enjoying the experience. Warren is an experienced flier, after all, and has a truly unique experience to share. The fear leaves Alison’s body, and she becomes literally awe-struck by the sights she sees. Warren flies her up close to the Statue of Liberty, and then back over the tops of the city’s skyscrapers. She begins looking affectionately into Warren’s eyes, completely forgetting the chillness of the surrounding air. Drunk on the magic of the moment, she leans in, and they share a passionate kiss.

“Warren…” Dazzler says, “…we just kissed.” Warren knows. Sensing he’s not getting the point, Alison asks him to take her home. She absent-mindedly waves goodbye as he leaves, still in disbelief over the kiss they just shared. For the next twenty-four hours, this dreamlike kiss is all Alison Blaire thinks about.

Somewhat recovered by the next night, Alison takes the stage on a late-night public-access TV show and gives less than stellar performance. It doesn’t bother her. After all, she can’t fathom more than five people would be watching. After her performance, the host thanks “the Dazzlette” and has her sit down for an interview. She corrects him on her name. He ignores it and he gives her a supposedly positive on-air review, although Alison fails to hear the compliment scattered amid words like “old” and “disgusting.”

After taping the show, Alison ribs her band members for leaving her hanging in the interview. They sat their, silent as statues! As they begin to defend themselves, a car arrives and honks its horn at Alison. She turns and sees the beaming Warren Worthington III behind the wheel. Forget about our date, he asks? “How could I? I never knew about it!” she answers. She reluctantly enters the car and waves her band-mates goodbye. Although she hates to admit this to Warren, she finds his persistence flattering. He told her he would grow on her! After she asks where they are going, he tells her they have reservations at a nice little restaurant for a sunrise breakfast. She will love it. He promises. Alison doesn’t care, just as long as it costs Warren a small fortune.

Their whimsical flirting is soon interrupted by a disturbance in the road. Up ahead, an armored truck is taking a severe beating from within. Huge bulges appear in its side while a loud pounding noise resonates from inside its box. Soon enough, the armored side of the truck bursts open, and out jumps Doctor Octopus. The sweet air of freedom is his once again, he shouts. He begins to effortlessly scale the side of a nearby building with his metallic octopus arms. His freedom shall not be taken so easily again.

The hero within Warren refuses to let a villain like Doc Ock escape unhindered. He strips off his civilian clothes, revealing his red and white Angel uniform underneath, and tells Alison to ready herself. It is up to them to stop Doctor Octopus. Without even gaining her consent, he takes her in his arms and flies them both up in the air. He knows Alison possesses some pretty incredible powers, but warns her not to get cocky! Alison has no such intent; in fact, she doesn’t want to fight the escaped villain at all. She asks Angel to put her back on the ground. She wants to use her powers to entertain, not get in life-threatening fights with super-criminals. This sort of thing scares her to death!

Finally complying, Warren sets Dazzler down on the roof and tells her to stay put while he apprehends the villain. Dazzler begins to wish him luck. However, while Warren’s back is turned, Doctor Octopus topples over an entire smokestack and sends it crashing down on Warren. Those who choose to pursue Doctor Octopus pay the price, the mad villain shouts! Dazzler screams and dives out of the way. Although unable to fully alert Warren, he manages to get far enough away that the falling bricks only graze him, instead of crushing him completely. He gathers his senses. Upon looking back up, however, he sees Alison held captive in Doctor Octopus’ powerful robotic arms.

With Alison as his hostage, Doc Ock insists Angel let him escape. Warren complies; they will play his way, he says. This agreement doesn’t sit well with Alison, however. The supposedly heroic Warren got her into this mess, and now he leaves her in danger! She decides to save herself. Reaching into her purse, she clicks on her pocket radio and immediately converts the sound waves into light energy. “Let go of me, you creep!” she shouts as she fires a laser into the super-villain’s face. He drops Dazzler. Warren follows her lead, swoops in, and begins pummeling Doctor Octopus. Even while blinded, however, Doc Ock has enough control over his robotic limbs to strike a hefty blow to Warren’s skull, knocking him unconscious. He calls him an arrogant mutant idiot as Warren tumbles off the roof of the building. Unconscious, Angel plummets toward the hard pavement below. Fortunately the rush of the air past his face brings him back around and he opens his eyes just in time to assess his situation. Acting purely on instinct, he reverses his deadly freefall and pulls up in the air.

Dazzler, having attached her magnetic roller skates, realizes she might have to deal with Doctor Octopus on her own. He just tried to kill Warren, she realizes; what is to stop him from coming after her next? She skates at breakneck speed toward a conveniently placed ramp and vaults into the air, passing over the top of an electronic billboard that adorns the rooftop. Predictably, Doc Ock follows close behind. He laughs as Dazzler seemingly overshoots her target. As he pulls himself over the top of the billboard, however, he recognizes her trap. Dazzler overshot the sign, but was able to grab onto its protruding letters. She fires another beam of light into Doctor Octopus’ face, dazzling him yet again. Warren returns and, for good measure, gives Doc Ock a swift punch across the face as the defeated villain falls to the street and smashes the hood of a police car. Warren flies to the dangling Alison and plucks her from her precarious position on the billboard letter. Safely in his arms, she watches the police arrive down below and hit the unconscious Doctor Octopus with a heavy dose of nerve gas. He is a prisoner once again.

With the situation resolved, Dazzler informs Angel she wants no one to know of her involvement in this incident. Her career is shaky enough as it is; she doesn’t need to world knowing she is a mutant. Warren understands. He flies her away and asks if she would still like to get breakfast, but she gracefully declines. She just wants to go home.

Back in her apartment, Angel apologizes for getting her involved. He would not have guessed she disliked using her mutant powers. Alison corrects him; she does like using her powers, but only for perfomances. “I know you mean well, Warren, but you’ve made a shambles of my relationship with a perfectly nice guy, and almost gotten me killed,” Alison says. “I think we’d better call it quits now.” Warren begs for one more chance. Alison insists he leave. She is going to change out of her performing clothes, and when she returns, she wants him gone.

On his way out, however, he cannot help but glimpse the letter on Alison’s desk from the private eye Jessica Drew. According the letter, Alison wants to track down her mother, meaning all Warren needs to do to get closer to Ali is provide her with some answers. Although he knows nothing about the situation, he is confident he can figure it out. As he flies away, Alison emerges from her bathroom, dressed only in her underwear. There he goes. But I don’t have to be a fortune teller to know I haven’t seen the last of him, she tells herself. Thank heaven.

Meanwhile, a small, chartered airplane lands at a New York airport. Its passenger, the menacing, bull-headed Crusher Creel, emerges and barges past the other people at the airport. One man has the nerve to tell him to watch where he is going, but one look from Crusher’s grizzled face is enough to shut him up. The Absorbing Man has come to New York to find the Dazzler, and nothing will stop him.

Characters Involved: 

Dazzler/Alison Blaire
Angel (former X-Man)

Ken Barnett (Dazzler’s former lawyer and current boyfriend)

Doctor Octopus

The Absorbing Man

Harry S. Osgood


Beefer (Dazzler’s drummer)

Hunch and Marx (Dazzler’s other band mates)

Vanessa Tooks

Frank Joelin (late-night talk show host)

Judge Carter Blaire

Bella Blaire

Street thugs

Story Notes: 

Dazzler hired the private investigator Jessica Drew to search for her estranged mother in Dazzler #15. In that same issue, Dazzler ended up working on the case alongside Spider-Woman, without realizing Spider-Woman and Jessica Drew were the same person.

Dazzler and her band began opening for Bruce Harris in Dazzler #14. He grew jealous of her opening performance overshadowing his own, however, and fired her last issue.

Angel first met Dazzler after her performance at the Numero Uno Club in Dazzler #2. At that same performance, the Asgardian villainess the Enchantress caused a scene and nearly killed Dazzler simply because she bested her in an audition in Dazzler #1.

Angel and Dazzler met once again in Avengers #211 when the former Avenger Moondragon initiated a recruitment drive for the team. Despite her incredible powers, Dazzler declined to join the team, opting instead to pursue her career as a singer.

Angel left the X-Men “in a huff” after fighting with Professor X about Wolverine’s presence on the team in Uncanny X-Men #148. Later, while driving through the Southwestern United States with his girlfriend Candy Southern, Warren was challenged to a race by Ghost Rider. Ghost Rider won and celebrated his victory by critically injuring Warren [Avengers (1st series) #214].

Angel has known Candy Southern since childhood. At this point, the two had been dating continuously since X-Men (1st series) #31.

The man on the bus who gives Warren the required fare is carrying a package addressed to Marvel Comics and bearing a “RUSH” stamp in its bottom left corner. He is actually Frank Springer, as revealed in the letters section of Dazzler #22.

The Absorbing Man, who first appeared in Journey into Mystery #114, is typically an enemy of the Avengers. Why he is after Dazzler is revealed next issue.

Doctor Octopus, one of Spider-Man’s recurring nemeses, first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #3.

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