Dazzler #7

Issue Date: 
September 1981
Story Title: 
Fort Apache the Hulk!

Tom Defalco (Story), Danny Fingeroth (Script), Frank Springer (Pencils), Frank McLaughlin & Armando Gil (Inks), Janice Chang (Letters), Don Warfield (Colors), Danny Fingeroth & Jim Shooter (Editors)

Brief Description: 

Dazzler continues to battle the rampaging Hulk at Gordon University. She manages to keep him from hurting any of the students but isn’t able to stop him from demolishing large sections of the university buildings. When she attempts to stop him physically instead of with her light powers she is incapacitated. Before the Hulk smashes her he is distracted by the approach of Army soldiers, ignoring Dazzler in lieu of this new threat. Hulk is successful in beating back the soldiers and their new weapons and retreats to the Hall of Science. While in the laboratories, Hulk is calmed when he sees some dogs trapped in cages. Dazzler catches up to him at that point and sees the softer side of the Hulk cuddling the animals he freed. Some soldiers however interrupt the scene and Dazzler stops them from attacking the Hulk again. Hulk mistakes Dazzler’s actions as an attack against him and threatens to kill her. Dazzler however, manages to convince him that she is not an enemy and uses her light powers to soothe him back into transforming to Bruce Banner. Dazzler sneaks Banner out of the University and loans him cash to make his way on his own. Meanwhile, the mysterious bald man continues to follow Dazzler throughout this adventure and back to her apartment. Dazzler tries unsuccessfully to meet with Paul once she gets back home. Elsewhere, a trio of hired guns called the Enforcers are hired by a mystery man to kill Harry Osgood.

Full Summary: 

The students of Gordon University are running frantically out of the auditorium where the Hulk has just gone on a rampage during a Dazzler concert. The students are panicking and the windows in the building are shattering behind them. One of the students yells that Dazzler remained behind to distract the Hulk and worries that she will be massacred.

In the midst of the stampede of students, Dazzler’s stage manager, Lancelot Steele. is pushing his way back toward the building, very confused. Lance thinks to himself how he only stepped out for a minute and everything went crazy. Lance comes across the members of Dazzler’s backup band, seeking shelter behind a tree to keep from being crushed by the crowd. Beefer is even taking time to munch on a sandwich. When Lance asks the others where Dazzler is, Hunch is so shaken up that he can’t get out the words to tell him. Marx takes over and lets Lance know that Alison stayed behind to distract the Hulk so that everyone else could escape.

Lance freaks out and says that it looks like he’ll have to save her butt again. So that only the band members can hear, Marx asks when he ever saved her before, but Hunch tells him to shut up as Lance marches off playing the hero. Confidently strides toward the auditorium, Lance talks to himself, saying that now everyone (especially Harry Osgood who pays his checks) would see what a real man was made of. Suddenly, a piece of debris flies straight at Lance, which he only barely ducks. The close call avoided, Lance loses his nerve and decides that Dazzler is a big girl and can take care of herself. Besides, somebody has to stay outside and keep the crowd calm.

Inside the buildings connected to the auditorium, Dazzler skates pasts large amounts of debris in pursuit of the Hulk. Despite her obvious fear, she continues to track the green goliath as she remembers the events leading to her current predicament. As Dazzler leaps over a pile of discarded filing cabinets, she thinks about how there is a human soul within the monster and she has to get through to him. She thinks further about how fortunate it is that most of the students were either at the concert or in their dorms and not in the Hulk’s path. Suddenly, she hears a scream coming from a lounge. She rounds the corner and yells for the Hulk to stop.

Inside the lounge, Hulk has a pool table lifted over his head in the center of the room while several students are cowering in a corner opposite Dazzler. Hulk yells that he does not stop unless he wants to and throws the table into other tables and pinball machines. Dazzler is relieved that she got him to throw the table away from the terrified students but realizes that he’s got a severe mad on for a terrified singer – herself! The students take this opportunity to rush for the exit. One worries about Dazzler’s safety but not enough to stick around. Dazzler takes a stand and begins to use her light powers against the Hulk but he isn’t fazed, saying that ‘Silver Lady’s’ light didn’t stop him before and won’t now.

The scene moves to a plush office in the World Trade Center:

Three men are gathered around a man, seated at a desk. The man in the middle of the three is dressed in a suit and cowboy hat and is twirling a lasso. He introduces the group to the man behind the desk as the Enforcers. He identifies himself as Montana, adding that he is a wiz with a lasso. The man to Montana’s right, a very bulky, red-headed man states that his name is Ox and he’s strong. The third and last of the Enforcers is balancing upside down on the desk supported by one hand and adds that he is Fancy Dan, a martial artist and acrobat. Fancy Dan flips to the floor while saying that the Enforcers are the best hired muscle in the business which the man must know already, since he sprung the trio from Ryker’s Island.

Fancy Dan is so wrapped up in his spiel that he doesn’t see where he’s flipping and smashes right into Ox, knocking the banana Ox was eating into his face. Fancy Dan mentions that they might be a bit rusty but Ox is enraged and threatens Fancy Dan with a very large globe. Dan’s pleading that it was an accident is abruptly cut short by the man in the chair. He warns the Enforcers that they are on his time and their petty squabbles can wait. The man in the chair tells them that the assignment he has for them should be easy enough even if they are rusty. Montana asks who he wants them to “off” and the man holds out a picture of the target. He answers that they are to kill a promoter… a manager of musical arts… and a mass murderer who’s evaded him for years. Their target’s name is Harry S. Osgood!

Back at Gordon University:

Dazzler is skating circles around the Hulk, trying to out-maneuver him and somehow “dazzle” him. However, Dazzler is starting to think that it’s no use, since Hulk won’t give her time to concentrate long enough to set off a powerful enough blast. Her light, though, has managed to blind Hulk. Enraged, Hulk yells that he can’t see but he will find Silver Lady anyway. Thrashing about without seeing anything, Hulk is causing even more damage to the building. Dazzler becomes frustrated that all she seems to be doing is making him angrier. Hulk continues swinging blindly and several times comes very close to clocking Dazzler. She decides that she needs to change her tactics. She skates quickly away, thinking to herself that she has an idea that just might work. Hulk tells “Silver Lady” to run and he will let her live.

Suddenly, Dazzler grabs hold of a building support that has been busted to the point of resembling a pole. She raises her feet in front of her and momentum swings her around 180 degrees and she hurls herself through the air at the Hulk feet first. However, this plan is completely ineffective, as Dazzler simply bounces off the Hulk’s massive stomach muscles. Dazzler is shocked at how little damage her shot did but then realizes that she is flying fast directly at the wall. Dazzler smashes against the wall and falls to the floor. Hulk takes this opportunity to rush her, saying that now she will pay for hounding him. Dazzler tries to buy time by asking Hulk to listen to her but Hulk disregards her request. He says she want him to listen after she tried to hurt him! “Shiny woman is stupid!” When all seems lost for Dazzler, Hulk is suddenly distracted by a sound he recognizes outside.

Outside the building, Hulk sees a company of soldiers marching with guns in hand accompanied by jeeps and tanks. Seeing the soldiers really puts Hulk over the edge, as soldiers have fought the Hulk on several occasions. The unit commander encourages his men by telling them they have Hulk cornered and, if they can destroy him, it will put Fort Pendergrass on the map. He continues that he has been through three wars and never lost a battle and he intends to keep his record intact. A couple of soldiers whisper about how they don’t believe the Hulk is real. One soldier says he’ll believe in Santa Claus if Hulk is real. Before the unit commander finishes his pep talk, he hears a crunching sound behind him and turns to see Hulk holding a giant piece of broken concrete wall above his head. Hulk challenges the soldiers, saying, “Go ahead! Shoot puny guns, Hulk will smash!”

Though well-trained, the soldiers break ranks and flee, dropping their weapons in their haste. The two soldiers who didn’t believe in Hulk are running side by side. One of them jokes with the other by asking what Santa is getting him this year and gets told to shut up. Hulk says that the soldiers are smart to run: they know Hulk cannot be beaten. Suddenly, from above gas canisters fall all around the Hulk who yells that he hates gas because it makes him sick. He looks up at the helicopter dropping the canisters and hurls a piece of rubble at it. From within the battle-torn building, Dazzler watches the cripple chopper land roughly but safely and worries that Hulk really is unbeatable. Outside, the battle continues as a fancy new tank called the Grappler rolls into view and instead of artillery fire, the turret shoots out titanium steel bands that wrap around the Hulk. The coils squeeze Hulk and bring him off his feet.

From a safe distance away, Lance and the band watch the action. Lance cheers the apparent victory over the Hulk but Marx states that he doesn’t think the battle is over yet. Beefer, meanwhile, remarks that all the action is making him hungry and pulls out another sandwich.

Hulk rages about how the wires would never have caught him if the gas hadn’t slowed him down. He yells that men can catch Hulk but men cannot hold Hulk, as he uses his enormous strength to snap the titanium steel cables like thread. Before the remains can be retracted, Hulk grabs the cables and starts swinging the Grappler in circles. The men operating the Grappler barely manage to bail out before the machine is airborne. Hulk swings the tank round and round and finally lets go, flinging it back at the soldiers who scatter. The tank collides with a statue and the soldiers finally give up the fight and run for their lives.

Hulk announces that he is tired of these stupid games and wants to be left alone. He walks into the Hall of Science so he can hide and think. Dazzler thinks about how horrible it is that he is going to possibly demolish the Hall of Science but also realizes that there is nothing she can do about it. She thinks that she is lucky to be alive right now but then wonders if there are students in that building. What if he kills somebody? Can she con herself into believing they were just unlucky?

Despite her reservations, Dazzler decides that she has to try to stop him again if she ever wants to look at herself in the mirror. She flashes bright again, thinking that, while her power isn’t in the Hulk’s league, she still has the best chance against him so she’ll have to give it her best shop and hope. As Dazzler skates out of the hall, the man who was seen following her last issue is again lurking in the shadows, watching her every move.

Meanwhile, in a laboratory in the Hall of Science:

A Student is working at desk on a chemical solution. He exclaims to himself that, after six months of work, he’s finally got the solution right! As he pours a liquid from one flask into another, he is startled by the entrance of the Hulk. The student is so shocked that he drops the flasks, which shatter on the floor. As he flees, Hulk tells him that he better run or Hulk will crush him with his fist. Hulk wants to be alone!

Hulk looks around the laboratory and recognizes it as a place where scientists work. Hulk considers scientists puny and weak… like Banner! Hulk pictures the face of his alter ego – Dr. Bruce Banner: the man he considers responsible for his tortured existence and whom he hates more than all others. Hulk rages and begins smashing things, screaming for Banner to leave him alone or he will tear the whole place apart. Dazzler enters the room and is startled to hear Hulk yelling at someone who isn’t there.

Hulk hesitates to throw a desk when he sees a set of cages containing some dogs. The sight of the dogs has a calming effect on the brute and he gently lowers the desk to the floor. He seems to relate to the little dogs saying the dogs are in cages just like soldiers want the Hulk. He states that he will let them out and opens their cages. Dazzler watches as the fierce monster starts cuddling one of the dogs very gently. She starts to wonder if he really is such a “monster.”

Dazzler flashes back to when she was involved in an altercation with some thugs called Satan’s Creeps. She thinks to herself that she is no stranger to blind prejudice. She remembers how, when she used her light power to take out the thugs, the crowd in the subway station turned on her because she is a mutant. Dazzler associates the Hulk’s desire to be left alone with her own desire to not be hounded for being a mutant. She realizes that leaving him alone is the way to beat him. She sees that he is calm, almost serene and does not wish to disturb him. However, she then hears the footsteps of soldiers, who have regrouped to attack the Hulk again.

A small group of soldiers enter the room quietly with a weapon called a Lasertron and try to take advantage of the Hulk not noticing them yet. Dazzler thinks to herself that she knows such force is not the answer to stopping him. She decides to turn up her radio and…“Go For It!” The driving rock tune played over her headphones gives Dazzler the energy needed to create a powerful dazzle-burst which takes the soldiers completely by surprise.

Unfortunately, the Hulk mistakes Dazzler’s attack as another attempt to hurt him with her stupid lights. Dazzler attempts to tell Hulk what was going on but quickly realizes the attempt is in vain. Hulk lifts a filing cabinet up as a weapon to smash Alison, who thinks to herself that she has no more tricks left up her sleeve so this has to end now somehow.

Hulk taunts Dazzler by telling her she is like a bug to him and she simply replies that she knows that. Hulk responds that she should run or he will kill her. Remaining calm, Dazzler states that if he really wanted to kill her, running wouldn’t help. Hulk, still holding the filing cabinet above his head says, “Girl is stupid! Girl hounded Hulk! Hulk will kill her!” Dazzler stays her course by saying she guesses she deserves it but she is sorry. She continues telling him that when she hounded him she thought he was just a monster. She admits that a lot of people probably make that mistake but now she knows he is not a monster. She knows now that he can be kind and gentle.

To this, Hulk yells that he is a monster and will prove it by crushing girl! “Now is girl afraid?” Alison admits that she is terrified. This proves enough for the Hulk and he tosses the filing cabinet aside. He says he will let girl go if she doesn’t call him gentle again. Dazzler agrees to this deal and Hulk complains aloud that his head hurts from too much thinking.

Dazzler says that maybe she can help now that they are friends and begins to glow again. However, this time she doesn’t shine brilliantly bright but emits a mild, soothing lightshow similar to what she would use to accompany a slow ballad. The light show actually succeeds in calming the Hulk, much to Dazzler’s surprise and relief. Hulk says that the lights make him feel peaceful. The peaceful feeling is enough to slow his pulse and calm his mind, triggering his transformation back into the human form of Bruce Banner.

Fully himself again, Banner says aloud that the nightmare is over…for now. He looks around and recognizes Dazzler but doesn’t know where the Hulk has taken him this time. Dazzler tells him that she’ll explain everything later but first they better get out before someone finds them. They rush for an exit together but the man who has been following Dazzler is again watching. The man thinks to himself that Dazzler is a most talented woman and will be of much use to his organization. He must observe her further.

Sometime later outside the Hall of Science:

A soldier stands saluting the commander of the troops, saying that after they revived from the mysterious light flare, they found no trace of the Hulk. The commander tells him to continue looking. He considers the Hulk a menace that must be destroyed.

Nearby, Lance Steele thinks to himself that the soldiers have got to be dumb to lose something as big as the Hulk! He then turns his attention to the band members, who are in the process of loading the equipment back into the van. He pushes them to hurry, since they have a long drive back to the city. Marx comments that this would be a lot easier if that drifter Bruce were there to help. As they load a large case into the van, Beefer asks through huffs and puffs what is in the trunk anyway: rocks? Dazzler kids that she has the Hulk in there. Hunch tells her not to even mention that guy, as they finally finish loading the trunk. Lance tells them to get rolling and divides them among the car and the van. Beefer says he doesn’t care where he rides, as long as they stop to eat soon. Hunch says that for once he agrees with Beefer. Loading all that equipment gave him quite an appetite.

Fifty miles away at an all-night diner:

While the band is inside eating, the heavy case the guys lugged into the van opens to reveal it really was containing the Hulk, only in his Bruce Banner personae. Banner exits the van and thinks to himself that he hates to leave without saying goodbye to Alison but she’ll probably understand. He thinks to himself how nice it was of her to get him a new set of clothes, sneak him into the trunk and smuggle him off the campus undetected. But he realizes he can’t afford to get close to her so long, as he still has the danger of turning into the Hulk. Banner reaches into the pocket of his new jacket and is surprised to find a wad of cash and a note from Dazzler, saying, “Best of luck.” Bruce thinks to himself that if she ever needs a favor, he swears he will be there to help then turns and walks away without a backward glance.

Back in New York the following morning:

Alison is just returning home and is strolling the last few blocks to her apartment, thinking about how good the sun feels. Suddenly, she gets the strange sensation that someone is following her. She turns around but only sees a little man reading a newspaper and concludes that she must be getting jumpy from the fatigue of fighting the Hulk. However, the man is actually the same one that was following her at the university.

Alison reaches her apartment building and greets a neighbor before finally entering her humble abode. She thinks to herself that she is getting hungry again and checks in the refrigerator, only to find it completely bare. She realizes that she forgot to shop again and gave Bruce all the money she got from the gig but still thinks he needs it more than her. She wonders if Paul’s free for breakfast. She knows he always gets to work early and calls there, hoping she won’t have to talk to the ucky nurse of his.

At the office of Dr. Paul Jansen:

Paul is preoccupied with some paperwork and asks his “ucky” nurse, Ms. Collins, to answer the ringing telephone. She does and recognizes Alison as the girl Dr. Jansen is infatuated with. Clearly jealous, she thinks that he may not know what’s good for him but she does. Ms. Collins lies and tells Alison that Paul is in surgery and perhaps he can call her later. After she hangs up, Paul asks who was on the phone and Ms. Collins lies again and says it was a pharmaceutical salesman again. Disappointed, Paul says he was hoping it was Alison, while Ms. Collins thinks to herself that one day he’ll realize that she is the woman for him and not that foolish singer.

Back at Alison’s apartment:

Alison thinks to herself that it would have been nice to see Paul again but their schedules always seem to conflict. Suddenly, she is not so hungry anymore and dejectedly decides to concentrate on sleeping instead. Alison unfolds her old couch/bed and undresses thinking that she’ll be asleep before you can say… “Goodnight Dr. Jansen… wherever you are.”

Meanwhile, outside Alison’s apartment building:

The man following Dazzler over the past few days peers over his newspaper. He thinks to himself that she can definitely be of use but he has been careless. He fears that some faint suspicion may have been aroused in her. The man concludes that, if he is to make contact with her, it must be soon!

Characters Involved: 


Bruce Banner/The Hulk

Lancelot Steele (Dazzler’s stage manager)

Hunch, Marx, Beefer (Dazzler’s band)

Dr. Paul Jansen

Ms. Collins (Paul’s secretary)

Mysterious Man following Dazzler

Montana, Ox, Fancy Dan (The Enforcers)

Mysterious employer of the Enforcers

Soldiers from Fort Pendergras

Gordon University students

In flashback:

Satan’s Creeps (Thugs in subway station)

Angry crowd in subway station

In photo:

Harry S. Osgood (Dazzler’s agent)

Story Notes: 

The title of this issue is possibly a reference to a movie released the same year starring Paul Newman, titled “Fort Apache the Bronx.”

Bruce Banner turned into the Hulk and busted up Dazzler’s concert last issue.

It is unclear why there would be students in the Hall of Science, since Bruce Banner had to break in through a window to get in last issue and was confronted by security guards.

Alison’s was attacked in the subway station and nearly mobbed by an anti-mutant crowd last issue.

Lance hired an incognito Bruce Banner to help set up for the show last issue.

Alison met Dr. Paul Jansen in Dazzler #5, when she was hospitalized after a battle with Doctor Doom. They tried unsuccessfully to spend time together in Dazzler #6.

Allison’s thoughts as she falls asleep are a paraphrase of Jimmy Durante’s famous radio show signoff. The actual line is “Goodnight Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.”

The identity of the mysterious man following Dazzler is eventually revealed in Dazzler #8-9.

The identity of the Enforcers’ employer and why he wants Harry Osgood dead is revealed next issue.

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