Dazzler #19

Issue Date: 
September 1982
Story Title: 
Creel… and Inhuman Treatment!

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

Brief Description: 

Instead of facing the immensely powerful Absorbing Man on her own, Dazzler seeks help first from the Avengers, whom she cannot reach, and second from the Fantastic Four, who fail to answer their phone. Desperate, she sneaks into the Baxter Building in search of her friends, and by her good fortune, inadvertently enlists the help of Black Bolt of the Inhumans. By combining his ability to create unfathomably loud sounds and her ability to transduce sound energy into light, Black Bolt and Dazzler succeed in overpowering, thereby defeating, the Absorbing Man. After the battle, both Angel and Ken Barnett arrive to congratulate Dazzler on her victory, putting her in a somewhat uncomfortable position. The next morning, a psychiatrist pays a visit to the befuddled Carter Blaire, while Dazzler’s friend Vanessa Tooks makes a shocking discovery while in the home of her voice instructor, Barbara London.

Full Summary: 

Dazzler has just filled the Absorbing Man with so much light-power that he not only now stands at fifteen feet tall, but he appears to be composed entirely of deadly, living light. He now has power to destroy both Dazzler and the Avengers. First, he intends to get rid of the pesky, modified radio he wears around his neck. He rips it off and vaporizes it before the astonished Dazzler’s eyes. He doesn’t need it any more than he needs her as a hostage; in fact, he has not felt this powerful since he absorbed one of Odin’s cosmic bolts. “See ya around, lady,” the Absorbing Man tells Dazzler as he glides away on a ray of light. “I got me a date to kill some Avengers!”

Alison watches in horror as the Absorbing Man leaves. He seemingly propels himself through the air using nothing but raw light energy. If the way he effortlessly vaporized her weapon is any indication, he could easily be the most dangerous person on the planet! She realizes she must call the Avengers immediately.

Unfortunately, her attempt to take responsibility fails, because the person who answers the phone at the Avengers Mansion is the butler Jarvis, who assumes Alison’s call to be nothing but a childish prank. He hangs up the phone after some terse words. Dazzler, still dressed in her performance makeup, sulks in the phone booth for a moment. She needs to gather her thoughts before making another call; her frantic tone must be why Jarvis thought she was kidding. She decides to call the Fantastic Four instead, this time remembering to stay calm. Unfortunately, they don’t answer the phone either, and she has to listen to their answering machine. Alison refuses to give up. The Baxter Building is nearby, and oftentimes, people neglect to answer the phone while at home. She breaks into a sprint and heads to the Baxter Building, hoping to find someone who can help.
Meanwhile, Warren Worthington III broods in the Plaza Hotel’s presidential suite. His investigation into the whereabouts of Dazzler’s estranged mother has not been as easy as he imagined. He recalls how he went to Judge Carter Blaire’s home to speak with him directly, but instead found Carter’s mother, Bella. After explaining to her his intentions – as well as his status as a mutant – Bella revealed she knew Alison was a mutant. She has always known, in fact, and so has Alison’s father. They never said anything to Alison, however, so as to respect her privacy, but it was quite hard on Carter, who only wanted for his daughter to become a lawyer. “He denied the real Alison – tried to make her in his image. That – and other things – opened the rift between them,” Bella said. At that point, she told Warren to say more would be disrespectful to her son, and asked him to leave. He did. He continued the investigation on his own, but has yet to find a single clue regarding the disappearance of Alison’s mother. Dealing with real people and their real emotions is more difficult than he imagined. Now, slouching in his hotel room, Warren wonders exactly for whom, exactly, he is making this effort.

At the Baxter Building, Dazzler enters the lobby just as the guard answers a call. She manages to slip past without him noticing. After arriving at the elevator, she remembers the Fantastic Four have a security signature required to activate the lift. Fortunately for Dazzler, not only has she seen them perform the security procedure, but the security code is light-based. All she has to do is turn her radio on to its softer setting, and emit a beam of light at the required frequency. She shuffles through the light spectrum, pinpoints the correct frequency, and gains access to the lift.

Unbeknownst to Alison, the building’s security systems monitor and track her every move. The building’s genetic scanner identifies Alison’s DNA and, after matching it up with Mr. Fantastic’s files, deems her a non-threat. Lucky for Alison; were her genetic record not on file, she would have to deal with the building’s formidable security. She wanders through the lab in search of the Fantastic Four, but finds it completely vacant.

Alison, refusing to give up, spots a machine that appears to be a communication device. She turns it on and it reactivates its last transmission, giving her a live picture of two unfamiliar humanoids. They must be friends of the Fantastic Four, she assumes. Coyly, she begins speaking into the machine and asks if they know where the Fantastic Four went. The two figures turn around. The woman, who boasts a head of eerie, floating red hair, speaks, while the man, dressed in a black suit adorned with a strange antenna on his forehead, stands silently. She introduces herself as Medusa of the Inhumans, and the man with her as her cousin, Black Bolt. However, she has a few questions of her own for Alison: who is she? How did she get into the Fantastic Four’s headquarters? Why would she disturb them at their sanctuary on the moon?

The moon? Alison gasps. She never would have guessed! Cutting to the chase, she explains why she called: she accidentally super-charged the Absorbing Man, and unless the Fantastic Four stop him, he will kill the Avengers! After Medusa orders her to calm down, Alison finally takes a breather and introduces herself. Fortunately, Medusa recognizes her name. “The Fantastic Four has often spoke of you – and your remarkable powers,” Medusa says. “You are a friend.” Medusa tells Dazzler to hang tight for a moment; Black Bolt will arrive to help her momentarily. Dazzler begins to ask how, since they live on the moon, but before she can finish her question, Black Bolt appears in a bright flash of light with Lockjaw, the Inhuman teleporter dog.

Lockjaw departs after a gesture from Black Bolt, leaving Alison alone with the Inhuman King. Relieved to finally have some company to help her through this mess, Alison explains the whole situation – the Absorbing Man and his kidnapping attempt, his vendetta against the Avengers, how she accidentally super-powered him, her interaction with the dismissive butler at the Avengers mansion, her break-in at the Baxter Building – before she realizes Black Bolt hasn’t spoken a word. “Am I being lucid, or am I still hysterical?” she asks him. He remains silent. “Answer me, blast you! Can’t you talk?” Black Bolt shakes his head from side to side. Alison instantly feels guilty and apologizes for her insensitivity. Nevertheless, she still needs his help to stop the Absorbing Man.

Suddenly, Black Bolt scoops Alison up into his arms and flies out of the top of the Baxter Building. Although she is certainly thankful he came to help, Alison hoped he would save the day without dragging her along. Her powers, after all, only enhanced those of the Absorbing Man. What use can she possibly be against him in battle? Nevertheless, she resigns herself to the situation, and serves as an extra set of eyes for Black Bolt as they fly over the city. Dazzler spots the Absorbing Man in the streets below. As Black Bolt lands, she requests he set her down before tackling the villain; fighting just isn’t her thing. She promises to do all she can to help from the sidelines, though. Acknowledging her wishes, Black Bolt sets her down before flying away to deal with the Absorbing Man.

Crusher Creel laughs at the sight of his new challenger. Does this jerk in long underwear really think he can stop him, Creel asks? What chance does he have against the power of living light? He blasts Black Bolt with a concentrated energy beam. Black Bolt weathers the attack, and counters it with a full-force electron blast of his own. Again, Creel just laughs. Anything his foes use against him, he can absorb and make a part of himself! He takes a swing at Black Bolt, who is surprised to find his opponent physically solid in addition to being composed of light. Nevertheless, Black Bolt realizes a solid form must be capable of being struck. He flies toward the Absorbing Man’s head and punches him across his face. Although the blow carries much power, Creel merely absorbs it and channels it back toward Black Bolt in the form of raw-light feedback. It puts Black Bolt in unspeakable pain and knocks him to the ground. Crusher Creel prepares to deliver the coup de grâce.

Before the Absorbing Man can smash Black Bolt, however, Dazzler, having finally summoned the courage, rolls onto the scene in her skates and hits the villain with a blast of light. Go ahead, he tells her! Her attacks will only provide him with more power! Alison knows this. However, she could not in good conscience sit idly by while the Absorbing Man killed the person who came to help her. Black Bolt, meanwhile, slowly picks himself up off the ground.

At that same moment, Ken Barnett returns from a long day at the office and switches on the TV to unwind. To his utter surprise, he sees Alison on the news fighting a monster made of light. Similarly, Warren Worthington III catches the same broadcast in his hotel room. Ignoring the newscaster’s order for citizens to stay away from the area, he dons his Angel costume and flies out the suite’s window. Ken does the same thing, but travels on foot. He may not have any super-powers, but sitting in his room watching the broadcast would surely drive him crazy. He needs to be near Alison.

Back at the scene of the battle, the police watch in horror as Black Bolt carries Dazzler away from the fight. If the two superheroes are quitting, what chance does anyone else have, they wonder? Appearances, however, are deceiving. Black Bolt merely carries Dazzler over to a nearby sidewalk and tries to form a plan of attack, a difficult task without the aid of words. He constructs a shield to protect them from the Absorbing Man’s attacks and gestures to Dazzler that he has a plan, and needs her help. At this point, she has nothing to lose – if they fail, the Avengers might die, after all. She agrees to help out. The Absorbing Man arrives and begins pounding away at Black Bolt’s energy shield.
Inside, through a painfully long series of gestures, Black Bolt explains to Alison that he needs her to create a beam of light more powerful than Creel can absorb. It’s possible, Alison sighs, but for that, she would need a super-powerful sound source! Where can she find something like that? Black Bolt gestures toward himself. Finally, Dazzler understands; Black Bolt doesn’t speak not because he is mute, but because of the sheer power of his voice. He will speak; she will convert it into light and channel it toward the Absorbing Man. It just might work, she says… if it doesn’t kill her first.

The Absorbing Man finally breaks through Black Bolt’s shield. The two heroes run for their lives. Alison cannot help but compare the ruthlessness of the Absorbing Man to that of Klaw, the villain whom she inadvertently killed by absorption while at Project Pegasus. Her actions in that moment have haunted her ever since, and she vowed to never take another life. Despite her best efforts to avoid such a scenario, she may have to do so again tonight.

Once Dazzler positions herself between Black Bolt and the Absorbing Man, the villain scoffs at Black Bolt’s apparent cowardice; is he sending the lady out to do the fighting, he asks? No matter; he intends to kill both of them anyway. As he lifts his arms to attack, Alison turns and gives the signal to Black Bolt. The Inhuman opens his mouth as if to speak, and unleashes a mighty shout. The earth-shattering sound of his voice, which he releases only in desperate times, travels into Dazzler, who struggles to contain every iota of its power. If she lets any of it go astray, she realizes, it might level the entire city.

Using the absolute totality of her concentration, she manages to absorb all of the sound-waves. Their power flows through her body and fills her with energy, almost overwhelming her. I feel so good – like I’m not Alison Blaire – like I can do… anything, she thinks. This must be how the Absorbing Man feels, she realizes. However, she is not Creel. She is not evil. She still intends to stop him.

Alison, arching her back and holding her arms skyward, lifts off the ground. The Absorbing Man stares at her in astonishment. What is happening, he asks? First, the man in black opens his mouth, and now Dazzler is floating? She explains to him she is levitating to get out of his reach. She now has more power than even him, power enough to do what needs to be done. “Power enough,” she says, hitting him with a barrage of light, “…to put you OUT!” A light of unimaginable intensity flares up, and the Absorbing Man, his powers neutralized, collapses. Her power drained, Alison collapses too, but unfortunately for her, she happens to be high in the air. She plummets toward the hard asphalt of New York City’s streets.

Black Bolt watches helplessly as she falls to what might be her death. He tries to break her fall, but is simply too far away. Before she hits the ground, however, Angel swoops in and catches her, saving her life. Talk about a guardian angel, one of the police officers laughs! Alison, barely conscious, sees the face of Warren Worthington III and realizes he saved her life. She thanks him. He brings her down to the ground.

Ken Barnett breaks through the crowd and rushes to the side of his girlfriend. He tells Alison he has never seen anything so magnificent in his life, and asks how she feels. Sure, feeling great, she stutters. I don’t know which is worse, she asks herself while looking at both Warren and Ken, …fighting Creel or having to deal with the two men in my life at once! She asks them to get reacquainted while she finishes up her hero business. While they awkwardly shake hands, Alison runs over to Black Bolt and congratulates him on their victory. Her mood, however, remains solemn. Did they kill Creel, she asks? The two slowly walk over to his body and are relieved to find him still breathing. “Thank God,” Alison sighs.

Warren approaches and tells Alison he contacted the guards at Ryker’s Island. They are already en route to apprehend Creel. She thanks him for his help, and turns to Black Bolt, whom she gives a big hug. “I’ll never forget how you came through for me,” she tells her silent guardian. Suddenly, Lockjaw reappears out of nowhere, and a moment later, returns to the moon with Black Bolt. Alison waves goodbye.

“And they just disappear,” Ken Barnett says. “But after what I’ve seen tonight, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.”

Although Alison Blaire’s ordeal is now over, Carter Blaire’s continues. The following morning, he sits in a lounge chair in his living room, still muttering nonsensically. His mother Bella has summoned a psychiatrist, who sits opposite Carter, but the doctor is clueless. In all his years of practice, never has he encountered a patient like this one. None of his methods have broken through Carter’s befuddlement. He only wishes he could understand what was happening in his patient’s mind. Meanwhile, Bella watches from the kitchen, also at a loss. She wishes Alison were here to possibly shed some light on his catatonia. Unfortunately, she has not been able to reach her all night, and, no longer having any other options, places a call to Warren Worthington III at the Plaza Hotel.

Later that morning, Alison Blaire relaxes with her friend Vanessa Tooks over coffee and breakfast at a hip café in Greenwich Village. Vanessa takes the opportunity to ask Ali about the heart-shaped brooch she wears on her shoulder. This brooch has a story, Alison says. She confides in Vanessa the story of her mother’s disappearance when she was a little girl, and how her father would never tell her anything about it. To this day, she hasn’t the faintest idea where her mother is, or even whether or not she is alive. The last time she was at her father’s house, however, she came across a trunk filled with her mother’s old stuff while rummaging through the attic. She found this brooch and decided to keep it, because it gives her a feeling of connection to her mother. Vanessa is touched by the story. She cannot imagine what it must be like to go through life without knowing one’s mother.

Suddenly, Vanessa realizes she needs to get to her singing lesson on the Upper West Side. Her new voice instructor works wonders, she tells Alison, and in the competitive field of singing, a gifted vocal coach can mean all the difference between fame and obscurity. Ten minutes later, Vanessa arrives at the home of her teacher, Barbara London, and sings her heart out. She knows how good her teacher is and works extra hard to please her for that very reason.

After reaching a break in the lesson, Vanessa asks Barbara if she can get a glass of water before they continue. Sure, Barbara tells her. She tells her where to find the kitchen. Vanessa walks down the hallway but, forgetting her teacher’s directions, opens the wrong door and beholds a room not intended for her eyes. It can’t be, she says, as her jaw drops in amazement at the sight she sees.

Characters Involved: 

Black Bolt, Lockjaw, Medusa (Inhumans)
Angel/Warren Worthington III

The Absorbing Man

Bella Blaire

Judge Carter Blaire


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

Vanessa Tooks (Dazzler’s singer friend)

Barbara London (vocal coach)

Jarvis (Butler for the Avengers)

Baxter Building security guard

in flashback only:


Story Notes: 

The Absorbing Man absorbed one of Odin’s lightning bolts in Journey into Mystery #122. Odin defeated him in the following issue by hurling him into the farthest reaches of space.

Dazzler accidentally killed the villain Klaw while at Project Pegasus in Dazzler #9. Speaking of Klaw, the mystery surrounding his “death” is addressed in Marvel Super-Hero Secret Wars #6-12.

The Absorbing Man also appears next in Marvel Super-Hero Secret Wars #1.

Dazzler found her mother’s brooch in the attic in Dazzler #13.

The secret of Barbara London’s room is revealed next issue.

Issue Information: 

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: