Marvel Fanfare (1st series) #38

Issue Date: 
June 1988
Story Title: 
Duet (2nd story)

2nd story: Jo Duffy (writer), Colleen Doran (penciler), Terry Austin (inker), Jim Novak (letterer), Petra Scotese (colorist), Allen Milgrom (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief), Judith A. Hunt and Bill Sienkiewicz (cover)

Brief Description: 

2nd story: Rogue accompanies Dazzler to a club one night, where Dazzler runs into her old, famous friend, P.J. James. P.J. asks the two ladies to accompany him onstage for an impromptu performance. During the song, a trio of thugs holds up the club and tries to kidnap P.J., but Rogue, using electronics knowledge she borrows from P.J., boosts up the sound and super-powers Dazzler. After Dazzler neutralizes the criminals, she and Rogue enjoy the rest of their evening—a rare treat for people as busy as they are.

Full Summary: 

2nd story:

Her name is Alison Blaire. She's a member of the X-Men, a team of super-powered mutants. They call her the Dazzler, because that's what she does. Tonight, she’s onstage, performing in a club, clutching a microphone in one hand and emitting a brilliant, golden light from the other. Her teammate Rogue sits by herself at a table, taking in the music, soaking up the atmosphere, and indulging in a cold drink.

Poor kid. She didn't ask to be a super hero. All she wants is to be a singer, Rogue thinks. Incidentally, Alison could be—and is—one of the best. Once her powers manifested themselves, however, there was no way she could perform without everyone piecing it together. To anyone actually paying attention, what Alison does is obvious; she transforms all ambient sounds—including the ones she makes herself—into light.

Tonight, Alison insisted she and Rogue come to this club together. She claimed it would be safe; either the patrons would know her and not care about her mutation, or they would assume the lights were part of the show. Rogue wanted to believe her. After all, she is a mutant herself, and one with a power that can make a person quite lonely.

After Dazzler finishes her set, the announcer calls for a round of applause, and Alison takes a bow with her band. She then returns to their table. Nice set, Rogue says. Alison thanks her for the compliment; it has been so long since she has performed like this. She can't believe how good it feels! Rogue is quite grateful Dazzler will even have anything to do with her. Her own mutant ability allows her to steal the powers and minds of others with just a touch, whether she intends to or not. A while back, she used this power on Alison—and she did so intentionally. She wanted to hurt her. However, she has changed since then, and Alison has wiped the slate clean. "Ah'm glad you brought me. It's a nice club," Rogue says. Alison explains why she loves the club so much. Not only was it here that the X-Men first found her, but a lot of talented stars got their starts here as well. Who could believe it used to be a disco?

Suddenly, an announcement booms through the club: P.J. James has arrived! The crowd erupts in cheers. Women swoon at the sight of the chiseled, dark-haired star. P.J., however, has eyes only for Alison Blaire. Rogue understands why the crowd seems so excited to see him. These days, to catch a glimpse of P.J. James, one must shell out top-dollar for a concert ticket... or sit intently watching the rock video stations. Regardless, Rogue couldn't care less to see P.J. She has her eyes on the cute guy behind him.

Elsewhere in the club, a trio of thuggish-looking men watches as P.J. enters.

P.J. runs over to greet Alison. She introduces him to her friend Rogue, while P.J. introduces his friend, Makoto Suzuki, the "it" guy in music from Tokyo to Honolulu. P.J. hopes to convince Makoto to do a tour in the States. Makoto shakes Rogue's gloved hand.

The club DJ leaps on-stage and asks P.J. to come up and perform, if only for one number. Well, if they're twisting his arm, P.J. says. As he heads for the stage, he takes Alison's hand, hoping she will accompany him. Alison beams. This whole thing takes her back to the last time she and P.J. jammed together. In her excitement, she invites Rogue to come too, and although Rogue initially resists, an extra invitation from Makoto convinces her otherwise.

As they take the stage, P.J. asks Makoto what instrument he wants to play. Since these are P.J.'s fans, Makoto refuses to take the lead. He settles for bass—the only other instrument he knows. After all, he's not a musical genius like P.J. who can somehow play everything. Alison gets on keyboards, and the performance begins. As P.J. plays, Rogue cannot help but stand in awe of his musical talent. Makoto was not exaggerating; P.J.'s well-documented instrumental versatility is both a source of delight to his fans and a mystery to his envious critics. Rogue, on the other hand, cannot even play a note. She doubts she could get any of the sophisticated electronics on the stage to even make a sound. Nevertheless, she is glad she to be on the stage. Sometimes, like they say, the best things in life are free, she thinks. Times like this don't come often enough.

P.J. is in the middle of a guitar riff when a voice in a crowd declares the show is over. The performers look to see a man waving a handgun. His accomplices hold a civilian hostage. If any of them—especially the one with the built-in light show—make a move, the hostage dies, the gun-toting man says. His demands are simple: P.J. James has a lot of money. He and his friends want some of it. They figure his family or business manager will pay to get him back in one piece.

Onstage, Rogue sneers. She cannot believe this. Somehow, these three hopped-up thugs and their spur-of-the-moment kidnapping managed to put both she and Dazzler in a position in which neither can act without bringing harm to an innocent. Rogue watches as the thugs taunt Alison onstage. Perhaps they expect some sort of retaliation from Alison, but they expect nothing from Rogue. She takes advantage of their ignorance. Turning to P.J., Rogue instructs him to do what the men say, but first, she takes him in her hands and kisses him deeply on the lips. P.J. has no idea why; Rogue just claims it's for luck.

Disoriented, P.J. ambles toward the gun-wielding man at the edge of the stage. As he approaches the stairs, he tumbles forward, tackling the man to the ground as he falls. With the room's attention on P.J. and the man with the gun, Rogue gives Alison the signal, and then activates the electronic sound equipment. Using the knowledge she absorbed from P.J., Rogue creates a steady supply of noise, which Alison converts into blinding light. She dazzles the thugs senseless.

While apprehending the dazzled criminals, Rogue considers the possibility that P.J. might be a mutant, but quickly brushes the thought aside. Makoto, wishing he had vacationed in Hong Kong instead of New York, helps P.J. off the ground and asks if he is all right. P.J. thinks so—although he admits he thought he heard his own music playing on-stage! "Anything is possible," Rogue tells him.

The club owners take out a complaint with the police, but leave Rogue and Alison out of it. The last thing they want to do is attract bad publicity that prevents talent like P.J. or Makoto from ever coming again. Fortunately, this allows Rogue and Alison to continue their night unhindered. And I’m glad, Rogue says, because times like this don't come nearly often enough.

Characters Involved: 

Dazzler, Rogue (X-Men)

P.J. James (musician)

Makoto Suzuki (musician)

Club announcer

Various club-goers

Story Notes: 

The first story in this issue is titled “Whatever Happened to the Podunk Slam?”

Rogue and Dazzler butted heads in Dazzler #22, when the Sisterhood assaulted Dazzler’s friend, Angel. Dazzler managed to fight them off. Rogue developed a vendetta against Dazzler after this incident and attacked her in Dazzler #24, and again in Dazzler #28.

It is difficult to place this issue in continuity. It most likely takes place after the X-Men returned to New York from Muir Island in Uncanny X-Men #219, but before they headed to San Francisco to help Madelyne Pryor in Uncanny X-Men #221. However, because of their past, Rogue and Dazzler had a tense relationship until they “buried the hatchet” at the end of Uncanny X-Men #221, making it unlikely they opted to spend quality time together during this period.

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