Dazzler #25

Issue Date: 
March 1983
Story Title: 
The Jagged Edge

Steve Grant (writer), Marc Bright (penciler), Danny Bulanadi (inker), Michael Higgins (letterer), Christie Scheele and Ken Feduniewicz (colorists), Ralph Macchio (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Despite the warnings of her managers, Dazzler goes on a date with a fan of hers named Karl Fredericks – a man she doesn’t realize is both a stalker and a gun-nut. They have a good time at dinner after one of her shows, but Dazzler flees after Karl comes on too strong, making it clear she never wants to see him again. Seeking retribution, Karl trashes her manager’s office, harasses her over the phone, and breaks into her apartment so he can leave a threat about killing the person who has harmed her most. Dazzler heads to Karl’s place of employment to stop him but discovers he has shot his boss. She then heads to Karl’s home, where she learns he intends to kill her father, Carter Blaire. Dazzler frantically heads to her father’s courthouse and prevents the assassination. Karl escapes, however, and returns to Dazzler’s concert that night to finish her off. He assaults her backstage, but Dazzler, using her wits, disarms him and knocks him unconscious. As the police lead her vengeful fan away, Dazzler wonders if she will have to spend the rest of her life worrying about people like Karl Fredericks.

Full Summary: 

Alison Blaire, the struggling rock singer called the Dazzler, innocently steps into her manager’s office and is greeted by an explosion of light. She tells her manager Harry S. Osgood that she thinks this is his silliest idea ever for a photo session, directing his attention to her ridiculous pirate outfit as evidence. Surprisingly, Osgood concurs; he blames the whole ordeal on Dazzler’s field manager, Lance Steele. Lance asks her to give it a chance. He insists the buccaneer look is popular at the moment, citing the band Adam and the Ants as an example. “If Ali had that image, she’d be famous overnight!” Lance says.

“Yeah,” Dazzler says as she marches out of the room. “Everyone would know how ridiculous I’d look!” She heads to her dressing room and casts off her pirate clothes, all the while mentally scolding Lance for his incompetence. He may be a great field manager, but when it comes to anything else in the business, he’s clueless.

After Alison changes into some comfortable civilian clothes, Lance knocks on the door. “What’s on your mind this time? An Andrews Sisters revival?” Alison snippily asks as she opens the door. Lance, bearing a box of roses, asks her to go easy on him; it’s bad enough he has to serve as her delivery boy without the added bonus of her insults. Once again, he tells her if she listened to his ideas, her career would be over the top! “Over the hill is more like it,” Alison says. She asks what is in the box. Lance claims not to know, so Alison places it on her desk and opens the lid. Inside, she sees a beautiful bouquet of roses. What a sweet apology, she says! Surprisingly, Lance informs her he did not send for them. Alison notices a small note tucked away in the box and read sit aloud. “I’ve watched you with great joy, and I hope these roses bring you joy in return. May I visit you backstage after tonight’s show? – an admirer,” she reads. “How lovely!”

Lance folds his arm and groans. He explains to Alison that because she is now famous, she needs to watch out for certain types of fans. Dazzler seems confused. Fortunately, her manager Harry interjects and reinforces Lance’s point. Celebrity serves as a magnet for all sorts of fans – especially the crass and the crazy, Osgood says. He implores Dazzler to be extra careful about the company she keeps in the future. Alison tells her manager she swore she would never let celebrity change her. She likes herself the way she is, and refuses to start acting like some swell-headed rock star! She instructs Osgood to put her mysterious admirer on her next show’s guest list. Osgood complies, but fears Alison is about to learn her lesson the hard way.

Unbeknownst to Alison, Harry and Lance, a man named Karl spies on their conversation from a roof across the street using a pair of binoculars. This relatively normal-looking man perks up when he sees Alison walking out of her dressing room. He dashes toward the building’s elevator in an attempt to get down to the street in time. If he did his recon work right, he should have five minutes before Dazzler reaches the street, he thinks. He darts out of the elevator when it reaches the lobby, knocks a man out of the way, sprints across the street in the middle of traffic and runs into his place of employment inside the mall, eliciting several annoyed comments along the way. Why do they call me names? Can’t they see I have important things to do, Karl wonders? They’ll pay for that when I’m a big man! When I have the Dazzler!

Karl makes it back to work at the key-making shop with two minutes to spare. His manager, however, is not pleased. Several customers have complained about his performance and his chronic tardiness has become an issue. Karl claims he had an errand to run for his mother and promises it will not happen again. Nevertheless, his manager threatens to fire him if he makes any more mistakes. Karl acknowledges this, takes his seat at the sales counter and stares longingly out the window, just in time to see Alison Blaire walk by.

Later that afternoon, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Karl returns home to his mother’s apartment with an armful of groceries – including a box of her favorite cookies. His worried mother is in no mood for sweets. She tells her son the Veterans Hospital just called and said he missed yet another appointment. As Karl puts away the groceries, he tells his mother the doctors took their best shot, but blew it. He doesn’t need their help anymore! Besides, after tonight, he will have everything he needs in life.

Karl wanders into his bedroom. Two decorative themes stand out in this room: lots of guns, and lots of pictures of the Dazzler. While whistling a merry tune, he proceeds to his closet to pick out an outfit for the concert and, much to his dismay, notices his old military uniform hanging in his closet. “Maaa!” he shouts. He storms into the kitchen with the newly pressed military garb in his hand. “Why do you keep doing this to me? I never want to see this lousy uniform again!” His intimidated mother tells him she did it because he looks so handsome in his uniform. Enraged, Karl throws the uniform in her face, telling her he never wants to be reminded of the war again. She defends herself, but he turns his back on her and walks to the door. “Don’t forget who takes care of you, old lady! You’d starve without me,” he says. “Watch your step – or maybe I’ll walk out on you like dad did!”

That night, at a Soho night club, the very air in the venue throbs to the beat of Dazzler’s music. The captivated crowd watches her accompanying lightshow without realizing its source is Alison herself. After all, no one knows she is a mutant. After closing her set with a cover of “Psycho Killer”, Dazzler thanks the crowd, reminds them she plans on returning the next night and heads to her changing room. Karl, her stalker, tries to follow her backstage. The venue’s security guards stop him at the door. Karl explains to the bouncer that he sent roses in advance; Dazzler is expecting to see him! The bouncer asks Dazzler’s manager Lance if he knows anything about this. Lance, sizing up Dazzler’s secret admirer, begrudgingly admits the man has permission to go backstage. He makes a point of mentioning that Alison is new at having fans, though. The bouncer steps aside and lets Karl through, but reminds him to be cool – or else. Karl ignores him. You’re on my list, creep, he grumbles as he walks to Dazzler’s dressing room.

Karl raps on the door and asks for Dazzler. At first, she has no idea who he is, but after he introduces himself, Dazzler greets him with enthusiasm. Karl asks if he can take her to dinner sometime. Dazzler accepts. She asks for five minutes to change into her street clothes. She knows Lance will hate her for accepting this stranger’s offer, but chalks it up to asserting her independence.

A few minutes later, Dazzler, wearing her hair down and dressed in a pink dress, meets Karl Fredericks in the hallway. She asks where they are getting dinner. Honestly, Karl did not expect her to want to get dinner tonight, but after Dazzler tells him how hungry she feels, he tells her he knows of a great place nearby. The two acquaintances march out of the venue and hail a cab. Lance tries to stop Alison at the door so they can review some notes from the night’s performance, but Alison tells him it can wait. “Remember what I warned you about!” Lance says as she climbs into the cab with the total stranger. Karl ignores Lance’s comment, but inside, he glows with glee. The way he sees things, Dazzler is his now… and Lance Steele has lost her forever.

Alison and Karl share dinner together at a hip restaurant in the Tribeca district called Club 10’. Over the course of the meal, Karl spills his life story, which culminates with his father leaving the family because Karl decided to join the military. Apparently, Mr. Fredericks did not want his kid to become a soldier. Alison can totally relate; her father rejected her for a long time because of her career path. When Alison gets to the point in the story about her father’s eventual change of heart, however, the waiter interrupts with a bottle of champagne. That’s expensive stuff, Alison exclaims! She asks what Karl does for a living. He nervously tells her he deals in securities. “Hmm…sounds interesting, that’s really great,” she says. Lifting his glass, Karl tells Alison she is the great one and proposes a toast in honor of her career… on the surface, that is. Secretly, he toasts to their life together.

After their meal, Alison and Karl walk outside, arm in arm. Ali thanks him for the wonderful meal, even calling it the best one she has eaten in months. Karl asks what she wants to do next. She reminds him it is three o’clock in the morning. She has to get home; she has rehearsal early the next day. After thanking him for the wonderful evening and hailing a cab, Karl grabs onto her arm. “Everything’s going so well! You – can’t go,” he states. “I won’t let you go, ever!” He twirls her around and pulls her close to his body. Alison asks him to stop making a scene, but Karl has clearly moved beyond caring. “Don’t fight it! I love you and you love me, too!” he says. He tries to press their lips together. Alison gasps. She pushes him away, noting both his antiquated manner of speaking and his powerful grip. Karl persists. Only he can truly appreciate her, he says. Why waste her talents on creeps?

Fortunately for Alison, nearby, someone flips on a radio, providing her with an instant source of energy. She transduces it into light and dazzles her attacker. He falls to the ground, screaming for her to stop. Alison dashes toward a passing cab, hails it and climbs inside before Karl can grab her. As she slams the door in his face, she tells him she thought he was a neat guy at first, but clearly she was wrong. She tells him to stay out of her life as the cab pulls away. Karl watches longingly as the love of his life leaves him forever. Like the flip of a switch, his mood changes from solemn to vengeful. He calls Alison a witch and vows to make her his own. “I’ll get you yet, Dazzler!” he shouts.

The next morning, after catching a few hours of sleep, Alison wearily trudges into her manager’s office. Walking past the mall’s key shop, with her mind already having moved on from the previous night’s unpleasantness, she braces herself for the assuredly busy day Lance has planned. Unbeknownst to her, the day holds some unscheduled surprises – deadly surprises. Inside the key shop, Karl stares out the window at Alison as she walks by. His emotionless eyes don’t even flinch.

Dazzler steps into Osgood’s office thirty-nine floors up and freezes in shock. She looks around the room and sees total chaos: papers strewn about, furniture tipped over, possessions broken, etc. She asks Harry if he started signing hurricanes as clients. “A deliciously droll jest! But the dismal damage isn’t as bad as it might seem! Nothing is missing,” Osgood says, “except all my promotional pictures of you!” Alison’s jaw drops; why her? Osgood has no answer, but raises another curious point. Their thief managed to not trip any alarms or even break the locks on the door. Harry asks if anyone has been haphazardly handing out keys to the office.

The phone suddenly rings and Cassandra answers it. She hands the phone to Alison as per the caller’s request. Alison wonders who could possibly know she is already in Harry Osgood’s office. “Probably a fan magazine – like Jack and Jill!” Cassandra jokes. Alison asks her to cut it out; she just isn’t in the mood today. Unfortunately, the phone call only exacerbates Alison’s already foul demeanor. It’s her stalker Karl. He tells her to quiet down and let him speak. After apologizing for what he did to her manager’s office – an act he blames on his vicious temper – he asks her to give him one more chance to prove himself. Maybe they can still be together, he says!

Suddenly, the call goes dead. Karl turns and sees his manager has unplugged the phone from the wall. His angry boss tells him making personal calls on company time is a violation and grounds for termination – a course of action he finally decides to take with Karl. He tells him to never show his face around the key shop again. Karl, calling his boss a fat imbecile, blames him for ruining his chances with Alison. He vows to get even.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the line, Alison calls out Karl’s name after the line goes dead. He hung up, she mutters. Cassandra chalks this up to Alison’s inability to hang on to a man. Ignoring her cruel joke, Alison tells Osgood that it was Karl, her personal stalker, who ransacked the office. Osgood notices Alison trembling and asks her to take the day off; they can easily reschedule her rehearsal. As he walks her out the door, he asks for her stalker’s name so he can report the man to the police. Surprisingly, Alison refuses. Although she struggles to explain why, she believes if she can just sit down with her obsessed fan and talk, she can remedy the situation. Osgood shrugs. He asks her to call if she changes her mind.

Alison finally makes it home to her apartment hours later after a dreadfully long bus ride. Fighting exhaustion, she fits her keys in the door, anxiously awaiting the comfort of her bed. She opens the door and gasps. Someone has been in her apartment and left a box of roses on her couch. Clearly, Karl has broken into her apartment as well, once again without breaking the lock. She nervously approaches the box of flowers and spies a small, hand-written note nestled amongst the stems. Hoping it will provide some insight into her stalker’s madness Alison opens it up and reads it. “The Roses don’t excuse my behavior. But soon I’ll destroy the creep who hurt you the most – and that will prove I’m worthy of your love,” it reads. Alison drops the note to the ground and buries her face in her hands. Who could he possibly mean? Lance? Cassandra? As far as Alison can remember, no one has truly hurt her!

Dazzler realizes she must do something before someone gets hurt. Scrambling to find Karl’s note, she puts on her jacket and heads for the door, intent on going straight to the police. If only she had spoken to Karl and calmed him down when she had the chance, she thinks. Now, she has to get the authorities involved – as well as getting new locks for her door. At this thought, Alison freezes in her tracks. The locks are the answer! She realizes she actually knows Karl Fredericks and knows exactly where to find him.

Alison heads straight to the mall key shop. Unfortunately, she finds it empty, except for the bleeding, barely conscious body of the shop’s manager lying in a pool of blood on the floor. Dazzler screams and frantically runs into the mall, shouting for someone to call an ambulance. She returns to the manager and comforts him while they wait. He mutters a few harsh words about his jaded employee before passing out from blood loss. At least he is still alive, Dazzler notes. While she waits, she obtains Karl’s address from the office rolodex and bolts as soon as the paramedics arrive.

Later, while wandering the garbage-strewn streets of Karl’s neighborhood, Alison second-guesses her decision to flee the scene of the shooting so quickly. The cops probably put out an APB for her arrest, she thinks. However, she could not afford to waste any time. Only she can stop Karl. She just prays he is at home.

She knocks on the door. An older lady with curls in her hair answers. The old lady’s face lights up after Alison introduces herself. “Karl’s fiancée? I’m so happy to meet you!” the lady says. Even after the weirdness of the past day, this comment still surprises Alison. She enters the apartment. Karl’s mom tells her how happy she is her son has finally connected with someone. He hasn’t socialized much since his father died, she says. Confused, Alison confesses she thought Karl’s father left the family when Karl went to Vietnam. Miss Fredericks has no idea what she means; Karl never went to Vietnam. The army discharged him shortly after his father died, she says. She calls for Karl name, but hears no answer; Karl must have just left.

The two women decide to check and see if he is in his room. Alison enters and is stunned to see a shrine on the wall in her honor. She turns away from the creepy collage of photos, but her eyes fall on an equally disturbing site: Karl’s gun rack. Alison notices one of the guns has clearly been removed recently. Feeling faint, she rests on the corner of Karl’s bed. Someone she knows is going to die and she is powerless to stop it! Alison then notices a file folder resting on the mattress. She flips it open and, to her absolute horror, finds it filled with newspaper clippings about her father, Carter Blaire. Karl has even scrawled “MUST DIE!” across some of them in thick black letters. Realizing Karl has no idea she and her father made amends, Alison darts out the door. Miss Fredericks says goodbye and promises to let her son know she visited. “Thanks,” Alison says, secretly hoping Miss Fredericks doesn’t get the chance.

After a quick stop at her manager’s office, Alison cruises down the Long Island Express in Lance’s bright-red sports car, which she only barely convinced him to let her borrow. After creeping along amidst the frustratingly slow rush-hour traffic, Alison finally arrives at Carter Blaire’s courthouse. Although it took her a while to get there, she assumes she beat Karl, who probably had to take the bus. Alison parks the car on the curb in front of the steps, ignoring both the no-parking sign and the parking attendant and rushes up the stairs. As she runs down the hallway, she flips on her pocket radio in advance, fully expecting a confrontation. She enters the courtroom but finds it empty. Her father must be in his chambers, she thinks.

Sure enough, at that very moment, Judge Carter Blaire swings open the door to his private chambers and looks at his calendar. A stranger approaches him from behind. “Hello, creep,” the gun-wielding Karl Fredericks says. Carter spins around and gasps. How did this man enter his chamber, he asks? Karl tells him to shut up. “You’re accused of arrogance, and I find you guilty!” he shouts as he points the gun at Judge Blaire. At that moment, Dazzler bursts in the door with her radio blaring and unleashes a surge of blindingly bright light. Both Karl and Carter scream and avert their eyes. With both men dazzled, Alison fires a high-intensity laser at Karl’s handgun, obliterating it in his hand. As the guards arrive, Alison darts out the room’s side door, just before her father sees her, and assumes the guards will arrest Karl. Unfortunately, Karl leaps out Carter’s window before anyone can apprehend him.

Relieved, Alison returns to her illegally parked car. No one got hurt, and she hopes Karl can finally receive some professional help. Her heart sinks when she notices a parking ticket tucked under her windshield wiper. No way can she afford a ticket for fifty dollars, she says!

Meanwhile, the police question Carter Blaire about the attack. He tells them everything he recalls: there was a man with a gun, some music, and a flash of light. He even thinks he heard his daughter’s voice. Other than that, he has no idea what happened.

Unbeknownst to him, Karl Fredericks eavesdrops on this conversation from outside Carter’s window. He secretly curses Alison’s name, figuring she played him for a fool all along. Karl vows to get revenge.

That night, Dazzler plays another energetic show at the same venue. As she graces the audience with a cover of the Boomtown Rats song “I Don’t Like Mondays”, the embittered Karl Fredericks watches, stewing in his premeditated vengeance. He looks at the rest of the audience with scorn. What fools! Eating up her act like she was real! They don’t know it’s just an act, he thinks. She’s just using them to feed her bloated ego! I’ll soon put a stop to that! He walks over to the bouncer and asks for permission to go backstage. Remembering him from the night before, the bouncer gives him the go-ahead. Creep! The only reason he thinks I’m worth dealing with is because I know that witch, Karl grumbles as he heads down the hall. He lurks outside of Dazzler’s dressing room amid a mass of admiring fans. Right after finishing her set, Dazzler returns to her room, but not before taking the time to sign a few autographs. Karl finds fault even with this act. Look at her – soaking up the praise like a vampire. She doesn’t even notice me, he thinks. She’ll regret that!

Karl slips into her dressing room and waits on the inside of the door. As it swings open, he levels his gun, ready to fire – and ready to make all the creeps in the world pay for how they treated him. Dazzler is just about to enter when Lance catches her in the hallway and compliments her on the night’s performance. “Nice of you to say so, Lance,” Dazzler says. “The way you’ve been pushing me, I thought I’d never do well enough to suit you!” She turns back to the open door. Through the narrow band of empty space between the door and its jamb, however, Alison can see Karl waiting inside, his angry face clearly filled with malicious intent. She also sees the gun in his hand. Fortunately, Karl doesn’t see her. Dazzler realizes she has just one chance to stop this madness before Karl kills someone.

Dazzler throws her shoulder into the door, pinning Karl to the wall. In the confusion, Karl fires his gun, sending the bullet sailing through the door and just over the top of Dazzler’s head. She then strikes at his forearm and knocks the pistol out of his hand. Karl pushes off the wall and throws open the door, sending Dazzler soaring across the room. “I loved you and you spat on me,” he says, “and you’ll never do that again!” From across the room, Alison assesses her opponent. Karl is far stronger than she anticipated. Deciding she has had enough with random assailants, Alison decides to drop her nice-girl act and attack with everything she has. She swings her feet under Karl’s legs and knocks him to the ground. Regrettably, her acrobatic maneuver places him near his gun, as well as between her and her pocket radio.

Karl points the gun at Dazzler for the final time. She begs him not to kill her, but finds him beyond mercy. He tells her it is too late for begging; he isn’t a softie like all the other creeps. Alison stares at her attacker and realizes this is it – she is about to die. She backs away from him and bumps into the dressing room’s mirror. Deciding to give it one final shot, she strikes at the mirror with her hand, completely shattering it. The sound of the breaking glass provides her with the energy she needs. Dazzler thrusts her bloody hand forward and unleashes a beam of blinding light, which, thankfully, puts Karl down for the count.

All the shouting alerts Dazzler’s managers and bouncers to the attack. Later, while the police lead the deranged Karl Fredericks away, Lance asks Alison why she didn’t just scream; they would have come running immediately. She admits she thought she could handle this situation on her own. “Sorry,” she says. “Poor Karl.”

Karl wants none of her sympathy and continues shouting obscenities and curses as the police lead him away. He warns Dazzler to watch her back, because he promises to return and finish what he started. At a loss, Alison turns to Lance. “I couldn’t have put him further over the edge if I got behind him and shoved,” she says. Lance urges her not to blame herself; if Karl had not obsessed over her, he would have gone crazy obsessing over something else. Alison mustn’t blame herself. However, he advises her to be a bit more selective about the company she keeps. “Is – is that the way it’s going to be from now on?” she asks. “Watching every step, looking over my shoulder at everyone? Is it?”

Taking her in his arms, Lance tells Alison there are no easy answers to her questions. She’ll just have to figure it out as she goes.

Characters Involved: 


Karl Fredericks, the Stalker

Miss Fredericks (Karl’s mother)

Sidney (key shop manager)

Harry S. Osgood

Lance Steele

Cassandra Ferlenghetti

Club bouncer

Story Notes: 

With this issue, Dazzler becomes a bi-monthly publication.

Harry S. Osgood uses an uncharacteristically large amount of alliteration in this issue, perhaps the issue’s most telling sign that it wasn’t written by series-regular Danny Fingeroth.

It’s ironic that Lance cites the musical group Adam and the Ants as an example of the pirate-look’s popularity, as by the time of this issue’s publication in March 1983, Adam and the Ants had been broken up for almost a year.

The Andrews Sisters were an immensely popular singing sister trio in the United States during the 1940’s and 50’s.

Jack and Jill is an American educational magazine oriented toward children.

Dazzler and her father mended their long-strained relationship in Dazzler #21.

Appropriately enough, Dazzler covers the Talking Heads song “Psycho Killer” in the beginning of this issue.

Issue Information: 

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: