Dazzler #39

Issue Date: 
September 1985
Story Title: 

Archie Goodwin (script), Paul Chadwick (pencils), Jackson Guice (inks), Jim Novak (lettering), Petra Scotese (coloring), Michael Carlin (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Blaming Dazzler’s brilliant displays of light for his daughter’s catatonic state, a scientist named Dr. Piper constructs a special suit that emits a charge lethal to mutants, which he intends to use to get revenge on Dazzler and to snap his daughter back to reality. Meanwhile, Dazzler, after saving three kids in a daring roadside rescue, plays a show at a country bar, where Dr. Piper ambushes her. After a struggle, Dazzler defeats him using a burst of radiant light. Although her display of power inadvertently brings Dr. Piper’s daughter out of her catatonic state, it sends Dr. Piper into one. Unfortunately for Dazzler, after her triumph, she is apprehended by the bounty hunter O.Z. Chase, who then takes her on a road-trip to his employer in Denver, Colorado.

Full Summary: 

Inside a darkened laboratory, a green, electrified hand, belonging to Doctor Piper, crushes a rat in its grip. Outside the locked door to the lab, a security guard named Ruiz asks if Doctor Piper is inside. Dr. Piper tells the guard to wait just one moment—he claims to have not realized the door was locked. From outside the locked door, Ruiz states that he heard noises from this area but knew none of the chemical division folks were working late, and they’re usually the ones who use this particular lab. He asks Dr. Piper if he isn’t strictly an electronics scientist; he’s supposed to make a note on the sign-in sheet if he’s going to be in other sections. He adds, though, that Dr. Piper is such a permanent after-hours fixture lately that he’s gotten careless.

Growing impatient, Ruiz knocks on the door again and asks the man on the other side if he’s having trouble with the lock. The door suddenly opens. Dr. Piper, now standing there wearing a suit, tells Ruiz he caught him as he was packing up a device he’s developing. It had to be tested on a live specimen, he claims. Worried, Ruiz asks if it’s something that could get him in trouble. Those lab folks can be really fussy about their animals, he warns. Piper assures him it’s not a problem. He explains he was working with a rat from a group no longer valid as a test species. Some of their chemical research, it seems, had turned the strain mutant.

Inside the darkened lab, obscured from Ruiz’s view, the ashen remains of the rat simmer in their plastic container, smoke from it drifting upward.

Locking the door, Ruiz remarks how often he hears people talking about mutants these days. He didn’t know they could be animals too. “Wasn’t your daughter hurt in some kind of big demonstration one of them put on—one of the human kind, I mean?” Ruiz asks Piper. Piper tells him he’s correct. Ruiz, trying to console him, says those people down in the Los Angeles medical centers are supposed to be real good. That is where the incident occurred, right? His daughter will probably be better soon. Piper, still looking away from Ruiz with a stern expression on his face, simply says that his daughter is home now—and that he’s doing what remains to be done.

In downtown San Diego, much that was once tawdry and dangerous has been wiped away by rebuilding and reconstruction. Still, some blocks resist transition more stubbornly than others.

A Ford truck sits parked outside a shop that dispenses spiritual advising. Nearby, in the shadows, two armed men scout out the seemingly empty vehicle. One of the men, a blond-haired man wearing a seedy jacket, asks his partner if they should go for it; it looks like just one man is inside, hunched over the wheel. His associate, a black man bearing a monkey wrench, thinks they should. The street is clear, he says—and no trap would be this obvious. Besides, it’s a sweet set of wheels—talk about gift city. Plus, a bit of head-busting always helps them keep in practice.

Without wasting an iota of energy on stealth, the two thugs approach the open window, brandish their weapons at the vehicle’s occupant and threaten to kill him if he doesn’t exit. To their surprise, it’s not a man, but a wolf, who responds to their threat.

Upstairs, a man inside a window advertising theatrical bookings responds to the commotion in the street. It’s always something in this neighborhood, he sighs. He asks his client if that truck down on the street is his, and if so, if he always leaves it open like that. The client, O.Z. Chase, replies that with a few little precautions, he finds he can generally trust folks. The man infers that he must always come calling decked out like a member of the A-Team. Is that how he gets people to cooperate? Chase assures the man he’s legitimate; he’s seen his identification card, which clearly lists his credentials as a professional bounty hunter. He’s got a professional image to maintain, he adds; surely a theatrical booking agent like him understands.

Changing the subject of his visit, he asks about Alison Blaire. She’s wanted in Los Angeles for jumping her bail, Chase states. The local police are usually too busy keeping the lid on to deal with cases like these, he adds; bounties allow him to be a little more single-minded. Brandishing his paperwork, he tells the agent, Mr. Erskine, that he can make his job a bit easier, but with or without him, he’ll get it done.

Mr. Erskine wipes his glasses. “You’re that good, huh?” Erskine says. “Well, I’ll tell you—I’m retired, Mr. Chase. I rent this place cheap. Come down evenings just to keep my hand in…and to get a few hours away from my wife, bless her soul, you want to know the truth. This girl—the Dazzler she calls herself—is a talent. She’s also a mutant. Makes singing jobs hard to come by—not that she whined or complained. So…I know some people, some places. Nothing big time. Some…toilets. But they all use singers. Mutant singers…who knows? She kissed me for giving her the list anyway. You also want that list—” he says to Chase, “—I won’t fight you, Mr. Bounty Hunter. It can’t buy her enough time. But these charges..! Nobody would pursue them if she were normal. You want a reward for helping in that, it’s your business—me, I wouldn’t care for it. But maybe I understand what she’s up against better than you.” With that, he moves out from behind his desk, revealing he’s wheelchair-bound, and hands Chase the list.

As Chase descends the steps outside Mr. Erskine’s office, he remarks that there are days when this job loses a lot of its glamour. When he gets to his car, he orders Cerberus to get out of his seat. Just because he scared off some street thugs doesn’t mean he’s big enough to drive. Cerberus growls back at his master. Chase lifts his hands and backs away. As he hands Cerberus a cigar, he comments that some dogs protect their masters’ property out of sheer devotion, never expecting rewards—much less his favorite smuggled-from-Havana cigars! Cerberus chomps down on the cigar without remorse. If Cerberus actually smoked them, Chase wouldn’t mind so much! Considering Cerberus drinks cheap beer and eats expensive cigars, Chase wonders if he’s not a dog at all, but a goat with fangs. He hopes the snack has primed the dog for travel, at least. According to the list he got from Erskine, their mark’s next stop might be in Arizona.

Elsewhere, on a highway running through the canyons of America’s Southwest, a line of traffic sits behind a segment of road that slid away in a rockslide. Two panicked parents try to wave down help from the people in the approaching cars. Their van went over the edge with the rockslide, the father shouts. His panic-stricken wife cries that their babies are still trapped in the van! Sure enough, a few meters down below, an orange van sits on its side, perched precariously on a ledge overlooking a steep cliff. Several meters to the side of the van, a drainage pipe juts out of the cliffside and releases a trickle of water into the canyon. A section of the shoulder just gave away when they stopped to take a photo, the man says. His family’s still trapped inside! A bystander remarks that there has been a lot of rain lately; it must have weakened the whole cliff! The father worries that this same rain also weakened the rock that’s currently supporting their fallen camper. If it crumbles away too, their family is doomed. They wonder hopelessly what they’re going to do.

A bystander who stopped to help turns back to the line of vehicles and asks everyone to pool together all of their ropes, chains, and anything else they can use to reach them. Someone else warns that if they try climbing around on that slope they may set off another rockslide and lose the family for sure! The man responds that they must do something; time’s running out! Where’s the highway patrol? he asks.

Hearing the commotion, a woman wearing a white jumpsuit and carrying a red duffel bag steps off the bus stopped in traffic. From her window at the back of the bus, the woman—Alison Blaire—has gotten a better overview of what’s happening than most people who rushed to get close. Having observed, she is now ready to act. Taking off her jumpsuit, she stands with arms outstretched, wearing her signature blue costume and red headband. Who is she supposed to be, someone asks. She replies that she’s someone who may have a way to reach the children, if someone is willing to spare a coil of rope. After a cowboy hands her the rope, she takes off running in the other direction. Confused, the cowboy tells her she’s heading away from the problem! Dazzler replies that she doesn’t think the kids will care—if her plan works the way she hopes, that is.

A few moments later, Dazzler emerges from the drainage pipe jutting out of the cliff. She is now eye-level with the van, but an un-traversable section of sheer cliffside remains between them. Up above, the bystanders wonder aloud how Dazzler made it to through the storm drain; its opening is clear up the mountain! Dazzler, meanwhile, address the kids in the van. A feisty-looking group like them shouldn’t be stuck in there, she says. How about they make their way over to her? The kids want to, but remind her that there’s nowhere to put their feet! Not yet, Dazzler replies—but she’s working on that. Lifting her hand, she releases a laser beam and begins carving a foothold on the face of the rock. Under the dangerous loose dirt, she says, there’s enough solid rock for a special path. The kids squeal with delight at the woman shooting laser beams from her finger. After carving the footholds, Dazzler throws the coil of rope to the three children. They loop it around their waists and begin moving to safety.

Carefully, calmly, never allowing her trained performer’s voice to betray how little time is left, Dazzler guides the children step by step. They’re so high, the oldest child says. And those rocks keep falling! Dazzler urges them not to look down; she tells them to keep their eyes on the little lights she’s creating, and to use them as guides. Suddenly, a boulder comes loose and tumbles toward the first kid in the line. Dazzler incinerates it with one of her laser beams, insisting the whole time that the kids not worry about the rocks!

A thin line of perspiration on Alison’s brow begins to betray the effort and concentration she exerts—drawing on the sound vibrations stored within her, translating them into two separate forms of light and praying they’ll accomplish what’s needed—before disaster strikes. Then, it does: the rocks beneath the camper finally come loose and the vehicle careens into the canyon, taking the footholds and the rock ledge with it. The people up above scream in terror; the kids are still on the ledge! However, Dazzler, having already pulled two of them into the storm drain, swings the third and final kid to safety, moments before the cascade of rocks wipes away the spot where he once stood. With the kids safely inside the storm drain, Dazzler orders them to keep the rope around them; they have a slippery, uphill climb before them, and the storm drain is short and spooky. The worst part is over, though. Thankfully, she says, they have a candle that won’t blow out.

After their short trek, Dazzler and the children emerge from the hole she cut in the storm drain. The bystanders correctly deduce that she must have sliced her way into the drain just like she carved out a path for the kids. The hysterical parents, meanwhile, rush over to meet their kids, worried sick that they might have been hurt.

With her mission accomplished, Dazzler begins to leave. The cowboy, however, stops her. Those folks will sure want to know who saved their young’uns, he says, and they don’t get too many super hero types out their way. In fact, he didn’t even realize she was one at first! She’s still struggling with the concept herself, Dazzler says coyly. Only her outfit is new, though, she says. Her name and reputation may have preceded her: she’s the Dazzler.

The family huddles together. The oldest son remarks to his dad that the Dazzler is the mutant they talked about on television—the one that caused so much trouble demonstrating her powers. The horrified daughter claims that can’t be her; she’s nice! The woman on the TV was a mutant, and they’re bad—her daddy says so. She can’t be a mutant if she helped them, right? The inflection at the end of her voice implies that she’s asking her dad this question. Hesitant, her father remarks that there may be some things about mutants he didn’t understand. An incident like this makes one wonder.

Others, however, are not swain by this turn of events—among them Dr. Piper, who happens to be at the scene of the rescue. He climbs back into his car and returns home. When he arrives, he asks his caretaker, Mrs. Shaw, if there’s been any change in his daughter’s condition. There hasn’t. Despite the Los Angeles medical people’s misgivings about bringing her home so soon, Mrs. Shaw sometimes wonders thinks if Dr. Piper spend more time with his daughter instead of always working late—

Dr. Piper interrupts her; she’s paid well to attend his daughter, he says—not practice psychotherapy. He tells the caregiver that he has plans for later in the evening. Please go to dinner now, he tells her—adding that he means no offense. He just wants to be alone with Melissa.

He enters Melissa’s room, where she sits in the dark, catatonic. He tells her that her father is home and asks if she can hear him. Is she listening? Unresponsive, Melissa just oohs and ahhs at the darkness, seemingly transfixed by something. Dr. Piper brought her something—something he created just for her. She continues gazing at some light she sees. “She’s here, Melissa,” Dr. Piper says while pulling on his green gloves. “I don’t have to leave you to hunt her down. If I were a superstitious man, Melissa, I’d take it as a sign. Proof that I’m correct in what I’m doing.” He pulls on his helmet. Melissa continues staring at the lights in her head. Continuing, Dr. Piper claims he doesn’t need the affirmations of superstition. He’s known—he’s always known, even when the Los Angeles doctors insisted it was the drugs. They claim if the mutant’s performance hadn’t triggered the shock, something else would have.

“No, it was her, Melissa,” he says, now standing fully garbed in the special suit he built. “—her arrogant display of unnatural, unchecked abilities. With this suit, I’m going to help you break free of her light—by putting out its source.” The air surrounding his green gloves crackle with electric energy. He claims that the electronic impulses he generates are attuned to the brain wave patterns of the mutant nervous system. When he applies sufficient power by gripping with the suit’s gloves, the target’s nervous system will overload and burn out. When Melissa sees the thing that traumatized her eliminated—and she will, he insists—she will be saved, and he’ll have his little girl back again, just like she was before. Even better, everyone who even hinted that his coldness and neglect drove her to do drugs and run away to Los Angeles will see just how wrong they were. Removing his helmet, he leaves Melissa’s room, leaving her to stare at imagined lights like a zombie.

Meanwhile, at a roadside venue called Sweet Sue’s, Dazzler finishes up her show. If they had as much fun as she did, she says, come on back! The band is Sweet Sue’s Stampede, and she is the Dazzler! Outside the concert hall, nestled near some snowy mountains and coniferous trees, the audience returns to the packed parking lot to leave. One car—a Ford pickup truck—sits idle.

After the crowd clears, the band’s guitarist tells Dazzler that was the best night the place has had in a long time. They were really cooking on that last set, he adds; he could’ve believed they were Willie’s Family or better, instead of just another local rip-off. The lady stretched them a bit, his band-mate says, before asking Alison to join them for beers. He tells her she should relax, now that the crowd has left. To his surprise, though, she appears to be crying. Alison asks him to giver her a moment; she’ll be fine. It’s just that she loves doing this so much, and after a good performance, she can hardly contain the glow. Only, it’s frustrating knowing how seldom these opportunities come along these days, because of the mutant thing. She brushes back her hair. Doesn’t being a superhero make up for that a little, the guitarist asks? Plus, judging from tonight’s crowd, the rescue she performed today turned a few heads around. “Sure,” Dazzler replies. “But compared to making the music—rock, country, blues, whatever—to feeling it, storing it, reshaping it into light? I don’t need the super hero thing—but the performing, I thrive on! Maybe someday I’ll adjust to both.” She tells the gentlemen that she’ll take a rain-check on the beers.

Meanwhile, in the phone booth outside the rock hall, O.Z. Chase makes a call to one of his current clients. He knows it’s late, but he reminds his client that he was asked to phone day or night if something major broke. Well, he says, he’s ready to pounce. He asks if there’s been any news on the legal front regarding the lady that might make him call off the gig. On the other end of the phone, his client asks if he detects a wistful note in his voice. Their agreement is still very much in effect, he says.

Alarmed, O.Z. tells his client he doesn’t recognize his voice; he’s not the man who hired him, he says. His client replies that U.S. Bailbonds is a large, nationwide agency. If one executive has to be away, their call-forwarding system connects callers to someone familiar with the projects. He adds that he’s on the road himself—currently in Denver—but he has full authority in the matter. He trusts that Mr. Chase is not having second thoughts. He’s one of the best, after all, so they made an exceptional offer when they hired him. He was also informed that their generous advance was also speedily deposited—and dispersed. Chase defends himself by stating that he has three ex-wives, a lot of deserving relatives and an expensive cigar habit. He’s also got a reputation: when he commits, he delivers. However, in a world with a jillion skuzzballs on the run, the more he learns about Alison Blaire, the less he likes it that she’s the one he’s hounding.

His angered client reminds him that the court will decide if the charges against Ms. Blaire are unfair. All Mr. Chase has to do is bring her in—and make all those ex-wives and relatives happy by collecting the rest of his commission. As he speaks, his left hand begins to disintegrate into dust. He excuses himself from the phone call; he needs something from room service.

Chase, chomping on a cigar, comments that he’s suddenly seeing the dark side of getting paid in advance. Something out of the corner of his eye grabs his attention and interrupts him mid-thought. He cries out moments before a charging man in a mechanized, yellow and green suit crashes into the phone booth and tips it over. Bad moment to make a call, Dr. Piper states as he fries the phone booth with electricity. He can’t ignore an armed man, or waste time convincing him of the justice in what he does!

The sound of the crashing phone booth speeds Alison Blaire’s exit from the club. Dr. Piper hoped it would lure her. It was also the last working telephone around there, he adds. He’s already severed the building’s line. He orders Dazzler to tell everyone inside to stay inside; this will not be another cheap, maudlin exhibit to make her appear a super hero, as she did earlier that afternoon. She’s gone unpunished for a terrible crime! Supposing he believes himself to be the vigilante out to fix that, Dazzler tells him they could both get hurt. Why don’t they try to talk it out instead?

As she makes her offer for a peaceful resolution, however, Dr. Piper begins to charge up his suit. Dazzler responds with a devastating stream of exploding light that knocks him to his feet. All right, they’ll do it the stupid way then, she says—fight, then talk.

Dr. Piper picks himself up off the ground. He comments that her flare burst, which hit him with an almost physical force, was more blinding and disorienting than his research indicated. Fortunately for him, his helmet’s Polaroid lenses and his costume’s exo-skeletal power minimize the effect of her blasts. He leaps at Dazzler and grabs her by the wrists.

Dazzler screams as pain surges instantly through her body to stab at her brain like a scalpel. There is no doubt it will destroy her—until her body, perfectly conditioned from torturous hours in the gym, reacts! She rolls backward with the force of his attack, plants her feet firmly in his stomach, and vaults him over her head. This move grants her a moment’s respite. Meanwhile, her fellow musicians rush outside the bar bearing bats and clubs. Whoever this dude is, they say, she doesn’t have to tackle him on her lonesome! Dr. Piper commands them to keep away; his fight is with the mutant. They don’t know what she did, he says. However, if they insist on siding against their own kind, then they can suffer for it! He blasts them with a surge of electricity. They should be grateful the shockwaves aren’t attuned to the human system, he adds; any damage won’t be permanent.

A worried Dazzler urges her friends to get back inside the bar. She doesn’t want anyone else hurt, she says, and obviously, the only way the assailant is going to let this grudge be settled is if it’s between him and her! She fires back at Dr. Piper. He tells her that if it were that simple, she’d be dead already!

Nearby, a car approaches the venue, carrying both Mrs. Shaw and Melissa Piper. An anxious Mrs. Shaw cannot help but comment on how crazy this scheme is. She shouldn’t be doing this—it’s crazy! Senseless, even! When Dr. Piper phoned her earlier and ordered her to bring Melissa, she should have refused. However, jobs are so hard to come by, and she can’t risk being fired. Dr. Piper’s a brilliant man, she reminds Melissa—surely he wouldn’t do anything that might endanger his daughter! Melissa, meanwhile, stares dumbfounded at the light—this time, accurately.

The light shines not just in the mind of a traumatized girl, but in actuality, ahead, what has a battle has become a running fight, with Rowden Piper as relentless hunter—and Alison Blaire as his prey. To give herself an advantage, Dazzler jumps onto a dumpster and uses it to leap onto the roof of Sweet Sue’s. Dr. Piper follows in hot pursuit—just as Dazzler planned. He’s staying close to her; once she gets him on the roof, everyone inside the building can flee!

Dr. Piper is not so easily fooled. He knows what she’s doing, he says. It won’t bring her help. Her friends will discover that he’s fixed their cars as efficiently as he did the telephones. By the time anyone makes another move, the business between him and Dazzler will have ended!

Meanwhile, O.Z. Chase, who lies trapped in the fallen phone booth, calls to Cerberus for help. He begs his companion to listen to him just this once and get him out of there! He’s trapped! His shotgun holster is keeping him wedged tight against the phone; Cerberus can gnaw at the straps, though, and allow him to pull free! Thankfully for Mr. Chase, the dog actually obeys this order. Chase is so grateful that he vows to take back everything he’s even said about Cerberus. However, he quickly changes his tune when he realizes that Cerberus isn’t gnawing through the straps at all, but eating all the cigars out of his pocket!

On the rooftop, the clash continues—with greater intensity. Dazzler fires at Dr. Piper to keep him at bay, but he holds his ground. Everything is in place now, he tells her. He had to test his suit for a while in order to adjust its power to counter hers. Now, it’s time for justice, he says. She destroyed his daughter’s mind while flaunting her ability. He’s going to make his daughter whole again by destroying Dazzler!

Down below, in the car, Mrs. Shaw cries about how awful the situation is. What’s going on up there, she asks? Who are those people, and why would Dr. Piper want Melissa there? Melissa, meanwhile, steps out of the vehicle, completely transfixed by the light. She lifts her hands in adulation, while Mrs. Shaw shouts at her to get back in the car.

Up above, Dr. Piper, having calibrated his suit, now makes his move on Alison. He lunges forward and grabs her by the wrists. With his hands around her arms, his deathgrip is complete! The sight of seeing Dazzler extinguished should jolt his daughter out of her trauma, he says. Dazzler, struggling to speak, defiantly tells him she’s not quite ready to be on the losing end of his warped notion of shock therapy! She claims she let him get close so she could have a clear shot at his power pack with her laser beam. As she says this, she twists her arm over his back and fires at his energy pack. To her horror, her beam reflects off the shiny metal. Dr. Piper, triumphant, informs Dazzler that the metal forming his pack has a refractory coating that bends laser beams. Before it gives way, she’ll be mindless rubble.

Dazzler suddenly slips loose of his grip. He doesn’t have her at all, she says—just her jacket! Once free of his grip, she unleashes a strobe pulse to temporarily blind him while she reassesses the situation. She turns in time to see Dr. Piper crumble her jacket into dust with his suit. What’s happening to her jacket will soon happen to her, he threatens. His power will sweep through her nervous system and ignite the very cells of her brain! Alison refuses to let him frighten her, however. She can’t let him force her into playing this fight his way. As powerful as that suit makes him, he’s still an amateur, whereas she has trained with the X-Men. She’s the pro.

With that, Dazzler leaps into the air and grabs hold of the giant Sweet Susie’s sign that towers over the establishment. With Dr. Piper in pursuit, she begins to climb the metal scaffold. He follows, and on the maze of struts and supports that back the club’s huge sign, the difference between their abilities begins to show. With Dr. Piper still several steps below her, Dazzler turns to him and fires a beam at the back of his neck. He squeals in pain, at which point she informs him she just cut his costume a little. Obviously his refractory coating only works on the solid parts of his suit! He’d better get good at dodging as he climbs, she says.

Dazzler does not want to hurt the man, though. She refuses to take too many chances with her laser blasts; she may hit the man and not the suit. Still, Dr. Piper doesn’t have to know that she’s holding back her powers. Taunting him, she asks if that’s ragged breathing she hears. Beneath all the power trimmings, he’s out of shape! It’s bad up there too, she says—particularly with what his outfit must weigh.

With an outraged bellow, Rowden Piper tries even harder to reach the quicksilver object of his pursuit—too hard for the sign’s support struts and the burden they bear. With the snapping of just a few load-bearing struts, the entire structure begins to lean and tip. Dr. Piper clings to it for dear life, even as it falls, while Dazzler leaps to safety.

After landing on the roof, Dazzler sprints to the other side of the slowly collapsing structure and tries to pull Dr. Piper through one of the openings. Don’t hang on, she pleads with him. Just jump! She desperately tries to grab at the helmeted head thrusting toward her, but misses, by so very little. The entire structure crashes to the ground and unleashes a devastating explosion.

Dr. Piper’s helmet, meanwhile, bounces to the ground and lands at the feet of his awe-struck daughter, Melissa. She kneels down and picks it up. “D-daddy?” she says—the first deliberate words she’s spoken since the incident that traumatized her.

Up above, Dazzler reaches for Dr. Piper as he dangles from the roof. He’s luckier than he has any right to be, she tells him. Her laser blast earlier must have loosened his helmet; it just ripped off when she grabbed for him, while the momentum threw him toward the roof. Despite the temptation, she’s not letting him go the way of the helmet. She reaches down and orders him to grab her hand.

She immediately regrets the decision. Dr. Piper, unforgiving, sends a surge of his nerve-disrupting electricity through Dazzler’s body, eliciting from her a groan of agony. He defiantly tells her that the helmet was merely for protection; if she believed his suit wouldn’t function without it, she was wrong—dead wrong!

Melissa screams for her father to stop. She begs him to look down at her and listen. Dr. Piper, however, is lost to anything but the moment—his moment of triumph. While squeezing Dazzler’s forearms, he tells her that now they’ll all see. They’ll see that he’s not responsible for what happened to his daughter—Dazzler is! Everything’s going to be normal again, he declares—once he extinguishes her light. Struggling, Dazzler tells him he’s not leaving her any choice. He’s the one who’s going to see, she says.

She unleashes the totality of her abilities in his face. With her arms outstretched, she sends rays of light in every direction. Dr. Piper views the power of the Dazzler through unshielded eyes. Then, it is over.

Later, Dazzler’s friends console her. Her fellow musicians tell her everything is okay; nobody can fault her for this. Plus, the club’s insurance will more than cover the fallen sign. They were thinking or renaming the place anyway, the other guy says. He urges her to rest up for the next night’s performance. Once folks hear her sing, they’ll forget anything else ever happened.

What he says in true, except in regards to a certain person departing in the nearby ambulance. That person is Melissa Piper. In the back of the van, she consoles her injured father. It’s funny, she tells him—she was never against their being together. But when they were, he’d never listen to her. Maybe going to Los Angeles, taking all those drugs and having that accident were all just attempts to make him listen. Maybe now, he will, she states. After all, they’ll have a long time to work at it.

Dr. Piper just stares blankly at the ceiling, his face expressionless. “Ooooh…the light…! The light…!” he mutters.

Later that night, Dazzler returns to her motel room for some rest. Is this how it’s going to be? she asks herself as she climbs the stairs to her door. She had hoped using her mutant abilities for public good would improve people’s image of mutants. However, it’s just making her more of a target. “No! One obsessed man’s actions shouldn’t ruin the good part!” she says aloud, scolding herself. “You’re working, accepted as a singer…not a sideshow attraction.” Opening the door to her apartment, Alison reminds herself that, in addition, compared to anything recently, she’s home free.

“No, ma’am,” someone says, contradicting her. “What you are, I’m afraid, is under arrest. And—if I figure right—too drained by tonight’s fracas to resist.” Sitting across the room from her in a chair is O.Z. Chase, brandishing a shotgun, which he aims at Dazzler’s head.

A few moments later, he leads her out to his truck at gunpoint with Cerberus at his side. She can count on a quiet trip, he informs her. With someone who stores sound waves and turns them into light, he took the liberty of disconnecting his truck’s radio. Unfortunately, he adds, the trip is also going to be long; his latest orders are to deliver her to Colorado.

Characters Involved: 

Dazzler/Alison Blaire

O.Z. Chase

Dust I

Dr. Rowden Piper
Melissa Piper (Dr. Piper’s daughter)
Mrs. Shaw (Melissa’s caregiver)
Officer Ruiz (security guard)

Mr. Erskine (theatrical agent)
Mother and father
Tommy, two other kids
Two male musicians (Sweet Sue’s Stampede)
Various bystanders

Story Notes: 

The display of Dazzler’s power that Melissa Piper witnessed occurred in MARVEL GRAPHIC NOVEL #12: DAZZLER THE MOVIE, in which Dazzler absorbed the sound from six jet engines in front of a crowd of onlookers.

Dazzler next appears in SECRET WARS II #4. In that issue, upon falling in love with her from afar, the omnipotent cosmic being the Beyonder kidnaps the Dazzler from O.Z. Chase’s truck and transports her first to the outer limits of space, then to various locations all over Earth. He imbues her with half of his power and turns her into a cosmic entity for a while as well, but she rejects it, falls to Earth and dies. The Beyonder repairs her body, restores her to life, telepathically forces her fall in love with him but then quickly frees her again. The story of Dazzler and the Beyonder continues after that in DAZZLER (1st series) #40.

This is the first and only appearance of Dr. Rowden Piper.

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