Marvel Graphic Novel #12

Issue Date: 
May 1984
Story Title: 
Dazzler the Movie

Jim Shooter (writer), Frank Springer (penciler), Vince Colletta (inker), John Morelli (letterer), Christie Scheele (colorist), Ralph Macchio (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief), Bill Sienkiewicz (cover artist)

Brief Description: 

Dazzler rejects a sleazy man named Eric Beale at her health club in favor of a nice guy named Freddy, whose confidence she boosts with a speech about self-respect, the ability to look at oneself in the mirror—and a kiss on the cheek. Later that evening, the X-Men call Dazzler to warn her about the growing anti-mutant hysteria and advise her not to flaunt her powers. Meanwhile, bankrupt singer Roman Nekoboh decides to star in a feature film and names Dazzler as his co-star. Although the news of getting chosen comes as a surprise to her—especially since she never expressed interest in such a role—Roman eventually convinces her to accept the role. He inducts Dazzler into the movie-star lifestyle by buying her expensive things, taking her to parties and expensive resorts, and attracting the attention of the media by masquerading as a couple. When Dazzler’s past associations with members of the mutant community scares away financial backers of the film, someone else steps up to fund it without Dazzler’s knowledge: Eric Beale. Later, in private Dazzler reveals to Roman she is a mutant. He shows compassion instead of fear, and the two slowly fall in love. However, Dazzler’s routine of partying, drinking, smoking and shopping steadily turns her into someone she dislikes, so she rejects her lifestyle and begins exercising again. Shortly thereafter, in order to garner press, Roman outs Dazzler as a mutant without her knowledge and organizes a public demonstration of her power. During the event, Dazzler absorbs the sound from six jet engines, but the input of sound overwhelms her and her uncontrollable brightness horrifies and nearly blinds the audience. The incident, however, transforms her body and allows her to absorb sound energy like a battery. Production on the film begins amidst a growing climate of anti-mutant hysteria. Although the film wraps successfully, Roman’s career suffers because of his connection to a known mutant. Their lives soon come under danger. After one particularly close call with some mutant-haters, Eric Beale summons Dazzler to his office, where he reveals that he’s the not only the financial backer of the film, but that he’s manipulated Roman Nekoboh and that he’s cancelled her movie and intends to destroy the last remaining copy—unless she signs into a restrictive contract. Instead of signing, Dazzler punches Beale in the face and incinerates the film herself. She then breaks up with Roman and—once again happy with the woman looking back at her in the mirror—vows to make it on her own.

Full Summary: 

At the prestigious Los Angeles Health and Racquet Club, Alison Blaire conducts the afternoon dance-exercise class. With the top of her back flat on the floor, her arms extended and her torso and legs thrust in the air, Alison tells her class to point their toes, all while managing to keep a radiant smile on her face.

From the sidelines, two club members named Mel and Marge watch Alison lead her class in reverence. Alison is the best thing that ever happened to the club, Marge says. She’s a fantastic dance-exercise teacher! Mel doesn’t disagree. He points out how packed her classes always are, and comments on Alison’s grace and beauty. The spectators watch as Alison leads her class through a set of lunges while keeping arms extended over their heads. Alison’s radiant glow slowly shifts from figurative to literal, which doesn’t go unnoticed by the spectators. Mel tells Marge he could almost swear Alison is glowing!

Fortunately for Alison, she overhears this comment and steals a glance of herself in the mirror and sees that, sure enough, she’s glowing. She urges herself to cool it—fast! In the future, she vows to be more careful of that. It’s so easy for her to slip, though, because glowing comes as naturally to her as walking or breathing comes to normal humans. Thankfully, only a few people noticed, and they may think it was just a trick of the light or something. People always invent explanations for things they don’t understand, she reminds herself. After all, it’s easier to believe ones eyes are playing tricks than it is to believe in a girl who glows like a firefly. Sometimes, Alison can barely believe it herself.

She continues with the dance-exercise class, ordering her students to twist and stretch while keeping with the music. Mel and Marge continue their observations of Alison while she takes her class through a series of toe-touches. Every woman there would give anything to look like Alison, Marge observes. Mel adds that every man there would give anything to be with her! Scowling, Marge tells Mel that if he had said that about anyone else, he would be sleeping on the couch. However, she has to admit she understands what he means about Alison Blaire… sort of.

Meanwhile, the dance-exercise class members begin to break down. They pant and wheeze while the sweat drips down their faces. Let it be over, they say! Just let them die! They surrender! One woman feels as if she’s used up twelve billion calories! She might be thrilled when she weighs herself, but at the moment, she feels awful. Alison, however, suffers no such affliction. She springs to the front of the class and throws her arms up in the air. That’s it! Class is over, she says. She tells her dance-exercise class they were all fantastic! The students in the class simply cannot believe her energy level; she’s fresh as a daisy, but they’re all totaled! Life isn’t fair, one woman groans.

Alison dismisses her class, who she hopes to see again next Thursday. The grumbling continues. One woman observes that Alison isn’t even breathing hard and she barely broke a sweat. There’s no way she’s human! If they think that’s bizarre, another woman says, they should see what she does after these classes: she lifts weights! A tired looking man comments that he can barely lift the weight of his own body at the moment.

A man with grey hair and a mustache approaches Alison after the class and introduces himself. This was his first class, and he’s impressed! He also tells Alison she’s incredibly sexy. Alison smiles and thanks him. She asks his name. He introduces himself as Eric Beale, the owner of Beale Productions. A girl with Alison’s looks could go really far with a friend like him, Beale says. He asks Alison to go change and meet him back in the lobby in ten minutes. Apologizing, Alison says she really can’t. Nonsense! says Beale. He even has a limousine waiting outside! Thanking him again, Alison once again insists she just can’t do it, citing the club’s policy forbidding employees to socialize with members. She says she’ll see him next week, though, and ducks into the weight room.

Moments later, while lifting dumbbells in the weight room, Alison dwells over Mr. Beale’s persistence. He must be used to getting what he wants, when he wants it. Alison just hopes she wasn’t too cold; she doesn’t like hurting anyone’s feelings, even someone as pushy as Beale.

She switches to doing lunges with a 120-pound barbell on her back, thus attracting the attention of a young man in the weight room. She lifts more than most men—and twice as much as he can, the awestruck man says! He bets she’s as strong as the bodybuilder Lisa Lyons. Ever the humble one, Alison says she doubts it, but concedes she is in pretty good shape. She worked her way up slowly, which takes a long time. Anyway, she introduces herself to the nice man and asks his name. After he gives his name—Freddy—Alison tells him she’s pleased to meet him! Surprisingly, this catches Freddy off-guard. He admits he joined the club to meet people, but hasn’t had much luck so far. He doesn’t make friends very easily. Alison, while pressing the barbell over her head, tells Freddy that a lot of men are shy; he’ll get over it. He claims he has tried talking to a lot of people at the club, but Alison is the first one to actually respond! There seem to be a lot of snobs around the place, he says, who don’t pay attention to anyone who isn’t as rich or important as they are. Still lifting weights, Alison admits she knows what he’s talking about, but encourages him to focus on the positive attributes of people instead.

Suddenly, Freddy feels a surge of courage and goes for it. He asks Alison if he could treat her to a carrot juice at the health bar upstairs and maybe talk to her some more. He immediately regrets his decision, however. He asks her to forget what he said; of course she must be busy! He hopes he didn’t spoil anything. He just enjoys talking to her so much.

Unfortunately for Freddy, he is bumped aside by the arrival of Eric Beale and Mr. Witwicky, the club’s owner. Beale excitedly tells Alison they have news for her! He gives Witwicky the honor, who announces to Alison that Eric Beale just bought the club! Now, Beale makes the rules. Beale tells Alison if she joins him for dinner, they can discuss her promotion to assistant manager! Although Alison is clearly stunned, Beale continues, adding that he knows a little about her desire to sing. He claims he can help her career along by introducing her to the right people. He asks her to put down her barbell and get dressed; he’s a busy man!

Finally turning to face him, Alison lowers the barbell down to her chest and tells Mr. Beale she just cannot make it; Freddy has already asked her out for a carrot juice. She hands the barbell over to Beale and asks if he can hold it for her. Not realizing the weight of the barbell, Beale reaches out and takes it, and as soon as Alison lets go, finds himself dragged to the floor by its considerable weight. Alison, meanwhile, grabs Freddy by the hand and heads for the exit. She supposed Eric Beale wasn’t ready for the weight! After they leave, the conciliatory Mr. Witwicky apologizes and assures Beale he will fire Alison right away! Beale, however, simply sits on the floor and stares at the door through which Alison left. He finds her fascinating—simply fascinating.

Moments later, outside the club, Freddy apologizes to Alison if he got her in trouble. She assures him it wasn’t his fault and thanks him for offering a ride home. A short time later during the journey home, Alison assures Freddy there are lots of nice people in the world. He shouldn’t give up hope! Freddy supposes he might be the problem, then. He admits he’s a bit of a nerd. Alison turns to him and asks why he has such a low opinion of himself. She finds him very nice—and better than ten Eric Beales! Any woman can see that! A huge smile spreads across Freddy’s face; does Alison really think so? After all, Beale offered her anything—everything—she wanted! That doesn’t matter to Alison. She wants to make it as a star, but more importantly, she wants to make because she deserves it! Once she accomplishes that, she intends to finally find a good man with whom she can settle down. She assures Freddy it will not be someone like Eric Beale! Freddy just hopes it works out for Alison. He has a feeling it will!

After Alison thanks him and reciprocates his sentiments, Freddy admits to her that for the first time in his life, he almost believes things might work out for him too! In fact, he feels like a million—all thanks to Alison. “Believing in yourself is the first step toward anything!” Alison reminds him. “You’ve got to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and have confidence in the person looking back!”

A few minutes later, the car pulls up to Alison’s apartment. She turns to Freddy and thanks him for the ride. He thanks her in return; she made him feel like he’s worth something! He’s going to start believing in himself, just like she said. Alison takes the opportunity to be the first one to congratulate the new Fred—a very nice, charming, handsome and confident man! She leans in and the two share a kiss. As Alison climbs the stairs to her apartment, Freddy tells her he hopes to see her name in lights soon. Sure, Alison says. As a side note, she tells Freddy he’s a great kisser. Fred is delighted to hear this, and when he starts his car back up, he slams down the accelerator in elation and speeds off into the distance, singing to himself with jubilation.

Meanwhile, Alison Blaire opens to door to her second-story apartment. “Be it ever so humble—and boy, is it humble!—there’s no place like home,” she says. Leaving the lights off, she walks over to her stereo cabinet and turns on the record player. The music begins playing. Alison stands in the center of the room and just absorbs it for a moment. Then, she starts radiating light out of her hands. It feels so good for her to cut loose. All day, every little sound sends a tingling of energy surging through her body. It’s murder for her to keep it bottled up inside until it fades, instead of turning it into light and letting it shine! She wonders what sound feels like for normal people, though. Can they feel it soaking through their flesh and into their bones? Can they feel it as it swirls around inside their bodies? Or, do they only just hear it? She wonders if it is one of those things that could change with the throw of a switch inside the regular human brain. Maybe everybody could feel, gather, and shape the energy like she does under different circumstances. Alison especially loves absorbing music. She loves the harmonies, rhythms and cascades of synchronized layers of energy!

As Alison changes out of her exercise clothes, she returns to pondering how regular people experience music. She feels sorry for them if they can’t experience sounds the way she does. As a kid, she used to receive blank stares from people when she talked about music—almost as if she were talking about something totally foreign to them. They thought she was weird, and honestly, so did she—especially when she turned fifteen and discovered the truth about herself. While other girls only had to worry about pimples, Alison had to worry about going off like a flash bulb at pep rallies. Back then, she would have given anything just to be normal! Now, she’s glad to be the woman she is; she wouldn’t trade with anybody. Alison, now stripped down to only her underwear, takes her hair out of its ponytail and lets it hang loose. Her radiant glow bathes her in light as she looks at herself in her dressing room mirror. “Hello, there! My we’re looking all aglow today,” she tells her reflection. “And would we care for a nice hot bath, now? Why, yes, I believe we would!”

Sometime later, Alison—now wearing her blue bathrobe and a red towel around her head—sits at her kitchen table and reads the newspaper while eating dinner. She wonders if other starlets eat cold spaghetti and asparagus right out of the can. Something in the paper catches her eye, however, taking her mind off her pitiful dinner: a whole barrage of articles about mutants. “Mutants: #1 World Menace!” one particularly shocking story reads. Alison wonders what’s wrong with these people. Why are they so afraid of mutants just because they can do things other people can’t? It’s the same as having a special talent, she says—yet she doesn’t get upset because she can’t write newspaper articles. Has the world gone mad? Heck, Alison hasn’t even eaten any children since the oven broke!

Suddenly, the phone rings. Alison supposes it might be someone calling to offer her membership in the Monsters’ Guild. When she picks up the phone, however, she’s delighted to discover the caller is actually Ororo Munroe, her old friend from the X-Men. After Ororo assures Alison she and the X-Men are all doing well, she informs Alison that she called to check in on her, as she fears for her well-being out on the West Coast. A wave of anti-mutant sentiment is sweeping the country, and Alison has a tendency to flaunt her mutant ability in public. Storm fears for her! Alison asks her not to worry; when she uses her light powers onstage, the audience assumes it’s a stage gimmick! They’re used to seeing light shows with musical acts, after all. Regardless, Storm urges her to be careful; times are not good for their kind. She thinks Alison would be safer in Westchester in the secret stronghold of the X-Men. After asking Alison to please consider it, she wishes her well and says goodbye.

Storm gets up off the couch and heads upstairs. Nightcrawler follows her, wondering if she thinks Dazzler will take her advice. Storm doubts it; Alison is a willful young woman, driven hard by her dreams. Such people are seldom convinced of the wisdom of caution. Nightcrawler, walking alongside Storm using the palms of his hands, supposes Alison could be right; perhaps mutants have no reason to worry! “Look at it this way,” Nightcrawler adds, “—at least a mutant like her isn’t quite as obvious as I am!” While hanging by his tail in Storm’s room in the attic, he adds that it’s not as though Alison is out there making little rain clouds to water her plants like Ororo is. True, Storm admits as she waters her plants. She just worries that eventually, if Alison keeps putting her powers on public display, someone will suspect!

Meanwhile, Alison applies her lipstick in front of the mirror. Why did Storm have to get her all upset over anti-mutant nonsense that night of all nights? She’s already nervous enough over her big gig that evening! Sure, it might only be a lounge job, but it’s Hollywood! Maybe some producers will be in the audience. Alison checks her makeup in the mirror under the scrutiny of some simulated stage-lighting and decides she looks good. After putting on her outfit, she takes one last look at herself in the mirror and declares the Dazzler’s first performance in L.A. is going to go well—for sure! “I believe in you!” she says to her reflection.

Meanwhile, in Beverly Hills, the luxurious estate of Roman Nekoboh lies dormant. Inside the sprawling mansion—obscured by all the Gold Records, Academy Awards, autographed photographs of celebrities and grand staircases—Roman sleeps late in the afternoon. The knock of his butler at his door at seven in the evening finally wakes him up. The woman in Roman’s bed sits up first. She can’t believe it’s already seven P.M., but supposes that is what happens after staying up as late as she and Roman did. She tells her bedmate she had a wonderful time and hopes he calls her again.

After getting dressed, the woman leaves a few minutes later, greeting the butler as she goes. The butler gives the woman an obligatory salutation and heads inside to rouse his employer. “Ziggy—it’s the crack of dusk!” the groggy Roman Nekoboh says. Ziggy was just doing what he was asked to do. Roman, already smoking a cigarette, stands up and grabs his house robe. A paunchy, baldheaded man, Roman admits he feels a little under the weather. Ziggy understands what he means and prepares a headache-relieving hangover beverage. “My head feels like the Goodrich Blimp!” Roman says. Goodyear, Ziggy says, correcting him. “Yeah, to you too, Zig! Lord what a hangover!” Ziggy asks if he at least had an enjoyable night. Roman did; that girl, whatever her name is, is a fun kid.

Roman puts on his glasses and examines himself in the mirror. Noticing his thickening waistline, he tells Ziggy he thinks he’s getting a little out of shape. He asks his loyal butler to do some calisthenics for him. Immediately, Ziggy begins a set of toe-touches. He tells Roman he had better hurry up and get dressed, as the gentlemen from the press will be arriving shortly. Roman thanks him, downs his fizzy water and hops in the shower.

After showering, Roman puts in his dentures, cinches his gut with a girdle, pops in his contact lenses, dons his clothes and loafers, and—as the finishing touch—sets his carefully combed toupee on his head. As he dresses, he reveals to Ziggy that he has an interesting day ahead. “There’s a girl I met recently—Alison something or other—the best looking dame ever!” Roman says. “You can’t believe this woman, Zig! Her eyes, her hair, her legs, her tickets… what a woman! She goes by the name ‘Dazzler’! Can you believe it? Sheesh!” He admits to his butler he spent the whole day with this woman yet got no action from her; she turned him down! Imagine that! Roman doesn’t know if that has ever happened before. Needless to say, he intends to go after her again—and this time, he’s going to do it right! However, he must admit he enjoys facing a little challenge. It could be fun having a bit of chase before the big score. Ziggy, still doing calisthenics, is loath to inform Roman his accountant has been calling constantly about his financial problems. “Details, Zig! In show biz, you’re broke today, a billionaire again tomorrow! What do I care about financial problems? I’m Roman Nekoboh, show biz legend,” Roman says, “—and those people ringing the doorbell are reporters! Let ‘em in, Zig—then take five!”

Later, at a downtown nightspot, Alison Blaire, the Dazzler, makes her Los Angeles debut. She performs the Elton John song “I’m Still Standing” before a packed room of lounge patrons, among them Eric Beale and his associate, Smythe. On the stage, Alison’s piano player notices the glow about her and remakes that must be why they call her the Dazzler. After finishing her song, Dazzler thanks the audience.

Smythe agrees with Beale—Dazzler is fabulous. She’s just like she said, and with a fantastic voice, to boot! He asks Beale how she pulls of that sparkling effect. Beale admits he’s been wondering about that himself.

Back on the stage, Dazzler thanks the man playing the piano, Claude Rubio. Under the noise of the audience, Claude asks Alison how she does the trick with the lights. She tells him it’s merely stage magic and takes another bow before the crowd.

Suddenly, a horde of photographers and reporters bursts onto the stage and begins pressing Dazzler for information. While the photographers tell her to smile while they flash a series of photos—much to the chagrin of the audience—the reporters ask Alison to quit playing coy. They just heard from Roman Nekoboh earlier that evening that she intends to co-star with him in his upcoming movie! This certainly comes as a surprise to Alison. The reporters, meanwhile, ask where she first met Roman, how long they’ve been romantically involved, when she first realized she loved him and a flurry of other invasive questions.

Still at his seat, Beale grows annoyed by the flashbulbs. They’re blinding everyone, he tells Smythe! However, he notices they don’t seem to affect Alison. She’s taking the brunt of the flashes, but she hasn’t even blinked!

For Alison, the questions continue. Is she aware of the rumors of Roman’s money troubles? Has she made other films? Is it true she used to be a porn star? Is Roman as good in bed as his legend indicates? Does Alison know he was seen with Libby Schilling the previous night—and Susan Twobooms the night before that? Is Alison the jealous type? Alison has no comment. She escapes the whirlwind of reporters and hides in her dressing room. Now that she has a moment’s peace, she wonders what the hell just happened. What has Roman done? Realizing a departure out the front door would be impossible, Alison sneaks out the back way into the alley and hails a taxi.

Alison only makes it a few blocks before she asks the taxi driver to puller over. Although they just got started, she doesn’t have enough money to pay more fare than she already owes. She thanks the driver and, flat broke, begins the long walk home while cursing Roman’s name.

She arrives home an hour and a half later and trudges up the stairs to her apartment. Her performance shoes were not designed for hiking, she mutters as she climbs the stairs. She can’t wait to get to bed. To her shock and dismay, however, she opens to door to her apartment to find Roman Nekoboh himself sprawled out on the couch with roses, champagne, a smile on his face and a cigarette in his hand. How did he get in there? Roman reveals her super is a big fan of his. He’s been waiting for her to get home—and she should feel honored! “Time and tide wait for no man, and Roman Nekoboh waits for no woman—usually!” he says. “I made an exception tonight, because I knew you’d want to celebrate!”

Alison insists she just wants to go to bed. Luckily, that’s exactly what Roman had in mind! He puts his arm behind her back and forces her onto the end table. She screams for him to stop, but the kiss of his lips restricts hers. He asks her to melt in his arms—or at least stop squirming. Suddenly, the table gives under the weight, and Alison and Roman go crashing into the carefully decorated coffee table. Angered, Alison demands Roman leave her apartment—and her life—immediately. In response, he tells her she’s magnificent when purple with rage, but adds that it’s unnecessary. She just needs to stop fighting and let passion overwhelm her!

Enraged, she asks if he’s crazy and tells him to get out of her apartment—and most importantly, leave her alone. Roman is dumbfounded; women don’t turn him down! “I do! Got it?!” Alison says. “You think you’re special—above common things like decency! I’ve had enough with your kind today!” When Roman insists she just doesn’t know how Hollywood works, Ali once again commands him to leave. Her persistent suitor claims lot of beautiful young singers would give anything for what he offers! Does she want to live in this pigsty forever? “Can’t you hear?” Alison asks. “Out! Out! OUT!” After telling her that her career is dead, Roman finally leaves, slamming the door behind him. Alison stands in silence for a moment. She then looks around her ravaged living room. So much for dreams, she tells herself as she picks up a piece of broken mirror off the floor. Examining her crying reflection in the mirror fragment, Alison wonders if she has anything left to be shattered.

The next morning, Alison gets dressed and walks into town. She keeps the classified ads section of the newspaper tucked under her arm. Although she could easily roll into a ball and die—or worse, run home to her father—or even start over, Alison decides she is not ready to give in just yet. Unfortunately for her, Roman spots her from the intersection across the street and drives to her side in his convertible car. Alison groans at his arrival. “Good morning, Ali!” he says. “This is ‘morning’, right? It’s a new experience for me, being awake at this time of day!?” He tells her she looks terrific—almost as good as he does! He suggests they take a ride together and watch the lesser mortals gape. Once again, Alison insists he just leaver her alone. He asks if she realizes the sacrifice he’s making for her; it’s morning, after all! The least she can do is talk to him! Ali asks what she must to do to get rid of him.

As she marches away, Roman puts his car in reverse and trails her down the sidewalk. He wants to discuss their movie, but Alison firmly states she is not interested. She asks if he realizes he’s driving in the wrong direction. He happens to get caught in traffic, giving Alison the chance to escape. She runs into a nearby crowd in hopes of losing herself. Not content to give up, Roman pulls a quick, illegal U-turn and chases after his target. Alison decides she has few options remaining. She darts around the corner, finds a spot where no one can see her, and absorbs the ambient sounds as she waits to strike. Then, just as Roman’s car comes into sight, Alison emerges from the shadows and hits his two passenger-side tires with beams of laser-intensity light, shredding them to pieces.

Roman screams as his vehicle careens out of control. “I can’t die—I’m a legend!” he cries as he crashes into a brick wall. Horrified by what she has caused, Alison hurries over the site of the accident, but when she hears Roman saying that his entire life flashed before his eyes—and what a movie it would make, he says—she decides he’s okay and walks away. Much to her chagrin, however, Roman is more okay than she wanted. He springs out of his vehicle and chases after her. Alison calls him a maniac and asks why he doesn’t go corrupt a troop of girl scouts instead. “I’m not going to let you get away!” Roman yells after her. No traffic, no tires to blow—just my lithe, bronzed body pursuing yours, until you collapse into my arms, your succulent breast heaving!” Alison rolls her eyes; that’ll be the day.

As she puts even more distance between them, she tells Roman to give it up before he hurts himself. He calls her concern nonsense; he’s not tiring, he just saving up his energy for an all-out dramatic sprint to the finish. While speaking these words, however, he grows short of breath, clutches his heart and collapses to the pavement. For the second time in mere minutes, horrified guilt overcomes Alison. She rushes to Roman’s side to check his vital signs—but vows revenge if he’s faking. Between his stressed breaths, Roman insists he’s serious. He claims his heart hurts. Alison shelves her distrust, says she’ll call an ambulance right away and leans in to listen to his heartbeat. To her surprise, she finds the heartbeat completely healthy. What gives? “Aha!” Roman says, smiling at her. “You do care! I knew it! Tell me, just when did my fatal charm get to you?” Irritated, Alison sits up, puts her hands on her hips and calls him slimy. Not getting the message, Roman stands up and asks her if it was love at first sight, or if it took a few seconds for it to sneak up on and overwhelm her?

Alison asks if he’s finished yet; she’d like to move on with her life. Certainly, Roman says. He notices she dropped her newspaper and leans down to pick it up for her. To his surprise, he sees she has been reading the employment opportunities section. Is she looking for a job? She says she was—but thanks to Roman, she is now a mess! She’ll have to go home, get cleaned up and start all over. Roman agrees—she’s far too disheveled to present herself to a prospective employer! Admitting it was his fault, he offers to buy her a cup of coffee to make amends. Alison accepts his offer under one condition: after he speaks his piece, he must leaver her alone forever. Got it? Roman agrees and tosses the newspaper in the garbage.

To Alison’s surprise, Roman takes her to a classy restaurant with vaulted ceilings and well-dressed waiting staff. This is his idea of a coffee shop? Roman admits it isn’t much, but claims it was convenient, and that Alison seemed in a hurry. She asks what he has on his mind. He levels with her—she’s an unusual woman and he likes her. Although she thanks him, Alison says he has a funny way of showing it. “I know! At any rate, you’re obviously more than just another bimbo ready to do anything with anybody to get ahead! You’ve got strong principles! You even resisted my charm!” he says. “I admire that—and I haven’t admired anyone except myself for a long time!” Alison thanks him, but Roman once again interrupts her; he wants her to succeed! It’s about time someone like her succeeded. He wants her to be in his movie—no strings attached. Alison isn’t sure what to say. That doesn’t stop Roman, who says it’s time he made another movie—at least according to his accountants. It’s a lot of hassle, but it will bring in some money, perk up his record sales and help support all of his lawyers, agents and ex-wives, who’ve all become accustomed to extravagant lifestyles. A good movie with a newly discovered, hot young starlet who has real talent could be just the ticket! With her looks and talent, and his influence and rep, they could both do okay! Alison asks if he really means it; he could have his pick of every girl looking for her break! Does he really think she would make a difference? “You’ve got what it takes, kid! I believe that with all my heart, soul, and wallet!” Roman says, taking her hand. “Now let’s get started!”

Roman kicks off the whirlwind of activity by leading Alison out of the restaurant by the arm. His limousine ought to have arrived by now, and they have much to do! They have to find a studio, a script and raise money, for example. However, the business people will handle those details. First, they need to take care of Alison Blaire. They need to get her out of the dump she lives in, get her a new wardrobe, some jewels and maybe some fine fur. Alison objects, but Roman reminds her image is everything! To make it in this town, one must appear as though she already has!

Soon, in an exclusive Beverly Hills shop, Roman purchases an entire display of expensive clothes, costing almost a hundred thousand dollars total. Alison gasps. Later, he buys her a ridiculously expensive house with a beautiful view of the valley. Alison is reticent to accept the offer, but Roman insists she take it and whisks her off to Tiffany’s for more shopping.

That night, Alison and Roman dine at a swank Hollywood club. Roman asks her if she finds it adequate. In Alison’s mind, it’s much closer to a fantasy she’d have in a dream. She couldn’t afford the down payment on a club soda in this place! She asks Roman why they came there. He informs her they’re being seen! Everyone in the room is talking about them. He guarantees it will be in all the next day’s scandal sheets.

To further the gossip, he asks Alison to dance. They take to the dance floor and move to the music. Roman asks if she knows she has the sexiest eyes in the world. “No, but hum a few bars,” Dazzler jokes. Roman chuckles at her cute joke.

Much later that night, Roman escorts the well-dressed Alison outside to their limousine. The photographers lining the exit struggle to get a shot of the ravishing blonde-haired woman in the beautiful, low-cut, blue gown. Roman smiles as they flash the photos. Right now, scandal researches are digging up every little bit of dirt in her past, he tells her! They’ll probably even invent some. His, they know by heart already. They get into the limo, where Roman fixes himself another drink. Nothing perks up the press like a sizzling Hollywood romance, he says! “Pretending to be an item is fun!” Alison adds. Roman tells her they could stop pretending. Alison asks him to cut it out.

The next week, at the Nekoboh mansion, Roman sits by his pool and enjoys a drink and a cigarette while he makes some phone calls. He can’t believe the bad news his manager has; what does he mean he can’t get any backers for the film? He orders his manager to run some trade ads that feature Alison’s face almost as much as his. She’s the problem, his manager says! It seems that a while back, at a few small singing gigs in New York City, Alison was seen with those mutant weirdoes the X-Men. There are even photos of them together. He needn’t remind Roman that money people are afraid of mutant associations. Roman sits up angrily in his chair. He tells his manager to run the ads anyway, and to get him some new scripts; the ones Roman has are garbage. His manager complies, but reminds Roman it’s a waste of time.

Days later, at Alison Blaire’s plush new home, Alison excitedly reviews some headshots with Roman. She cannot wait to get started on the film! As he downs another drink, Roman claims he can’t wait either. Alison asks him to help her choose photos for her publicity shots; she can’t make up her mind. Sure, Roman says—right after he gets another drink.

While she continues rifling through the photos of her and Roman, she expresses how much she likes them to Roman. He barely pays attention, instead focusing more on his new beverage. “You really have the most beautiful eyes,” Alison says. Roman agrees absent-mindedly. Alison asks him to pay attention. Urging him to put down his drink for a moment, she walks over to him, grabs his hands and tells him that even if there doesn’t end up being a movie, she’s really glad she got to know him. The two lean in and share a passionate kiss.

They finish, and Roman pulls away. What does she mean ‘if there’s no movie’? Of course there will be a movie, he assures her! Reluctantly, Alison admits that she knows he’s had difficulty finding financial backers. He reminds her to leave that stuff to him. Everything will be fine; she’s in good hands with Nekoboh. As he walks toward the exit, he insists he’s merely waiting for the right backer. A few of them await his decision in suspense. However, he tells Alison the time has come for action! He departs.

After he leaves, Alison looks at the mess of newspaper articles, magazines and publicity photos of her and Roman. She hopes it all works out—for his sake, not hers.

The next morning, in the Beverly Hills office of Eric Beale productions, Mr. Beale himself pores over the reports in Variety about Roman and Alison’s stalled movie production. He tells his secretary to arrange a meeting with Roman’s business manager right away. If they still need backers, Eric Beale may be interested! He just needs to discuss the terms—his terms—with Roman’s people.

That evening, as Alison arrives at the Nekoboh mansion, she finds it alive with excitement and activity. Roman greets her on the steps as she exits the limo; he never thought she would arrive! Alison asks what’s happening, at which point Roman informs her they finally got backing! He takes her by the hand and begins to dance. With it being time to celebrate, he orders everyone to have champagne. “Oh, Roman,” Alison says. “I’m so happy for you!” Roman pulls her close; she’s happy for him? “And me too,” Alison admits. He asks if she really means what she said: does she truly care about him? With all her heart and soul and wallet, she tells him. They two share another intimate kiss. It takes the rest of the partygoers a few moments to realize Alison and Roman might want some alone-time together. Those that don’t take the hint, Ziggy ushers inside, assuring them Mr. Nekoboh will rejoin the party shortly. After Roman and Alison finish kissing a few minutes later, Roman suggests they go inside. “Yes,” Alison agrees, “…but not to the party… okay?”

Later that evening, Alison and Roman unwind with some drinks on Roman’s lush, blue sofa. He tells Alison finding a backer was really no big deal; he only through the party because he knew she would want to celebrate. She thanks him, admitting she does indeed want to celebrate. Great, he says! They’ll dance the night away. However, he adds he might want to retire early—around three or four in the morning, for example—because it’s been such a long day for him. For once in his life, he just wants to go to bed. Fortunately, that’s exactly what Alison had in mind. Roman suddenly experiences déjà vu. Leaning in close, Alison tells him to melt in her arms—or at least stop squirming. The two lovers kiss once more.

Alison rests her head on his chest and just smiles. Roman asks her if he should kick the table over for old time’s sake. Alison, taking advantage of the comfort and security of the moment, tells Roman she has something to tell him. He tells her to stop fighting it; she’s human and should let passion overcome her! She doesn’t find his joke funny. She sits up and turns away, the sadness in her face obvious. She just can’t do it, she says. She’s sorry. When he asks what’s wrong, Alison begs not to explain. She just can’t do it; she can’t get that involved with him. “Why, Ali?” Roman asks while rubbing her shoulders. “Because you’re a mutant?”

Alison stands up. “Yes,” she says. “I am. You knew?” After confirming he knew, Roman shrugs and says he just figured. Isn’t that the secret of her stage gimmick? With a single tear rolling down her cheek, Alison admits as much. She tells Roman she can absorb sound waves from any source and somehow transduce them into light! Roman asks for a demonstration. Using the music coming from his stereo, Alison creates an intense laser and fries Roman’s ice bucket. He approaches the smoking wreckage in awe. She melted the ice, boiled away the water and vaporized the ice bucket—all with light?! It was a laser beam, Alison tells him, adding that she can create any kind of light. Roman thinks it’s incredible. “Yes, I know, I know!” Ali says, brushing away his hand. “And now you think I’m a freak!” She pulls away, but Roman grabs her arms. She’s wrong; he finds her magnificent. “But I’m not a woman!” Alison cries.

“But I’m not exactly average myself,” Roman insists. He pulls Alison close to his face and tells her he wants to make love to her. She smiles; he still wants to? Roman tells her she doesn’t have to, and that he wants her to know if they don’t, it’s okay. He’s just glad they got to know each other. An uncontrollable grin spreads across Alison’s face. She tells Roman she loves him, and the two pull in for more kisses. Then, the door shuts on their affair, giving the two lovers some much-deserved privacy.

The next morning, Roman greets Alison on the terrace with a warm hug. He asks if she slept well. She slept wonderfully, she tells him. She hopes she didn’t wake him up when she got out of bed; she just can’t sleep as late as he does. “You mean you recover faster!” Roman says. “I did, too, at your age! You know, a year or so ago!”

Ziggy brings Alison the newspaper she requested. After thanking him, she gets a look at the headline and is dismayed to learn the backer for their film is none other than Eric Beale. Roman asks what the problem is. Is Beale’s money no good? Is he a friend of Alison’s? The problem, she tells him, is that Eric Beale is not a nice man! She calls him ruthless and claims he would stop at nothing to get what he wants. Roman doesn’t see how that’s an issue, since Beale wants to back their film. Alison insists the man is trouble. She cites the time he bought the club where she worked just to get a date with her, but Roman simply wishes he had thought to do that earlier. Scolding him, Alison tells him it’s serious and that she’s really worried. She asks James, the waiter, for a drink.

In his defense, Roman doubts Beale himself even realizes his syndicate’s money is invested in Alison’s film. Second of all, he assured they received carte blanche as part of the movie deal; Eric Beale couldn’t interfere with the project if he tried. While Roman talks, Ziggy arrives and hands him a message, which Roman reads discretely. Continuing his diatribe, he tells Alison not to worry her pretty little head; he has absolute control. Despite that, Alison admits she still feels nervous. Eric Beale is such a snake! She asks for another drink. After she spies the note in Roman’s hand, she asks if the message was important. He tells her the note was nothing and tosses it to the ground. Once more, he begs Alison to trust him. She agrees with trepidation. With that resolved, Roman suggests she run along and go shopping or something. He says he needs to go out by himself and clean up some contract deals with the studio. Supposing she should buy some new gowns for the week’s parties, Alison takes his advice and walks away. Fortunately for Roman, she doesn’t see the crumpled message on the ground—a message from Eric Beale telling his friend Roman to meet him at his place later that afternoon.

Alison has a busy week ahead of her. Roman throws a poolside party, of which Alison and her radiant beauty are the big hit. Later, at the Monte Carlo, Alison scores big at the roulette table, but maintains her composure. Roman loves how blasé she is about her success. At the Riviera, Roman and Alison talk along the beach, arm in arm. She asks if he’s ever made an angel in the sand. No, but he’s made a few dozen bimbos, he jokes! He tells her to lie down. Sometime later, at Maxim’s, Roman asks Ali how she liked her escargot. She can barely believe she just ate snails! They arrive at the St. Regis Hotel later that week via limousine. As they enter, Roman tells Alison he insisted they receive the Presidential Suite or nothing, so the hotel staff made Ronnie take the other room!

They extravagant week later brings them to Las Vegas, where a horde of reporters flocks to them on the Strip. Roman tries to get away by telling them he can reveal no more about the film. The reporters turn to Alison and ask if she considers theirs a May-December relationship. “Absolutely not!” she says. “I’m only a few years older than Roman!” At D’Angelo’s in New York, Roman and Alison go through multiple bottles of champagne. Through it all, they remain as close as ever, often taking time to fit in a kiss.

Sometime later, Alison—now wearing her hair cut stylish and short—instructs the servants as they unload her trunk full of shopping bags. She orders them to hurry and bring them into the master bedroom; she can’t wait to try on all the new clothes! As she enters the house, the butler Perkins brings her an extra dry martini, just like she prefers. Alison thanks him, jokingly calling him a mind-reader. She grabs the drink and lights a cigarette. Moments later, she finishes the drink and asks for another, citing her lousy day as justification. She asks if someone could please call Roman and tell him she’s finally found a decent screenplay amidst the pile of dreck. It’s a good deal for her abilities, she says!

Suddenly, Alison catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror. The reflection stuns her. “Oh…my…god,” she mutters as she looks at the unfamiliar woman in the glass. Her servants ask if something is wrong; they assure her that her new hair looks really lovely. Alison asks them to please leave her alone for a moment. They set her newspaper on the table and depart, as per Alison’s wishes. Once they leave, she looks at herself more closely in the mirror. Her hair isn’t the only thing that has changed. She didn’t even recognize herself! Does she really have a cigarette in her hand? How could she pick up such a nasty habit? “From Roman!” she snaps. She spins around and examines her rear end in the mirror. She notes she has put on weight. “I never used to be flabby there,” she says as she pinches her underarm.

Alison doesn’t know what she has done to herself—or what she has become. She flips off the lights, turns on the stereo and examines herself in the mirror once again. The light emanating from her body allows her to see. She slips off her dress, takes out her earrings, removes the bracelets from her wrist and looks at her naked body in the mirror. She gets to know it again. She takes a long, hard look at the face staring back at her from the mirror.

Her introspective, meditative moment is ruined when Roman barges into the room. Alison gasps and covers herself with her robe. He didn’t even knock, she screams! She’s not dressed! Roman asks what else is new. Changing subjects, he says he is glad to see she’s not taking it too hard. She doesn’t know what he means; taking what too hard? “This!” Roman says, thumping the front page of the newspaper. “The big revelation to the world that you’re a mutant!”

“What?!?” Alison gasps. She takes a look at the newspaper and sees her picture gracing the front page, once again. Indeed, the headline next to her photo makes it clear that she has been revealed as a mutant. “Who—who did this?!!” she asks. Roman happily takes credit. Enraged, Alison asks why he did it. He tells her it’s a brilliant ploy that will generate publicity. In fact, it might be the best gimmick ever! That’s easy for him to say, Alison says as she lights a cigarette. Roman asks her not to sweat it. This revelation will make their movie unique—a landmark! He asks her to consider the possibilities. It’s the first movie starring a mutant. When it hits big, it will even make mutants acceptable! Pouring himself a generous helping of whiskey, Roman informs Alison he commissioned a new script about a mutant’s struggle. The movie will make history, and not only will he be revered as a visionary, but Alison will go down as another Jackie Robinson! He’s slightly less excited to inform her he scheduled a press conference for her the following day to demonstrate her powers. “Oh…god, Roman!” Alison groans.

The next evening, at the Greater Los Angeles Airport, the gentlemen and ladies of the press gather in force to witness a most unusual demonstration. The sun sets over the valley, bathing the arrangement of airplanes, stages and news cameras in deep purple light. The news reporters have their technicians meticulously examine the stage to ensure there are no tricks. They find none. If Roman Nekoboh is pulling some colossal hoax, this isn’t it!

A cameraman reports that it’s almost eight, but the subjects of the evening have yet to arrive. Another report suggests they could have gotten caught in traffic, which has slowed to a standstill for miles around the airport. A female news reports begins telling her audience she has yet to see signs of Roman Nekoboh or budding starlet—and alleged mutant—Alison Blaire when someone directs everyone’s attention skyward. Up above, Alison and Roman sit in a seat suspended from a helicopter. Roman Nekoboh sure knows how to make an entrance, one reporter says. He practically invented entrances, adds another!

Roman greets the press and thanks them for coming. After he and Alison take center stage, he recaps how he revealed the mutant nature of the co-star of his upcoming film with Eric Beale productions. Tonight, she is there to demonstrate, for the entire world to see, the magnificence and splendor of her unique talents. He presents to the ladies and gentlemen of the press the fabulously beautiful Alison Blaire. Alison removes her robe, revealing a two-piece bikini. “She don’t look like no dangerous mutie to me!” one audience member says. “Check out those bazooms!”

To ensure this is not a hoax, Roman asks two women from the press to inspect Alison’s body up close; he wouldn’t trust any of the men around her! The audience roars with laughter. Their curiosity satisfied, the two women return to their seats, assured there were hidden gadgets or tricks on Alison’s body. With everything in order, Roman instructs the pilots of the nearby planes to start their engines!

The engines roar to life. Over their deafening noise, Roman tells the audience that, to Alison Blaire, who is known by some as the Dazzler, the loud noise they hear is actually fuel—pure energy she can absorb, convert and release again in the form of light! He gives Alison the signal. After taking a moment to compose herself, Alison thrusts her arms upward and begins glowing. The audience can barely believe what they’re seeing, but it’s true; she’s creating light! The skeptics still wonder if it’s a gimmick, though. Roman, meanwhile, orders the jets to make their engines roar louder. They comply. The noise increases to unbearable levels. Dazzler, standing alone on the stage, can feel that Roman is overdoing it. Although no amount of noise can hurt her, she can clearly see the audience members clutching their ears in pain. She’s got to absorb more of the noise! Her arms quiver, but she keeps them raised as she absorbs as much of the sound energy as she possibly can.

Suddenly, everything goes completely silent. Roman wonders why they cut off the jets. He looks to the audience but hears no noise coming from them either. Are they in shock? He looks closer and can clearly see them shouting and screaming—but there isn’t any sound! Roman realizes Dazzler must be doing this. He turns back to her and sees her shining brighter than ever. In fact, he can barely see her behind the pure white light.

Like a star, Alison shines brighter and brighter. The light she emits reaches to the sky, higher than any manmade building. Scientists at NASA detect it on their computer screens. Her light even reaches all the way to the moon, where man left his monument years earlier. Still, the audience watches, having no choice but to observe in silence.

Finally, the pilots cut the jet engines. For a moment, near-silence prevails. The crowd remains hushed with awe. Alison, meanwhile, wipes away the sweat from her forehead. She feels strange—buzzed, even. She immediately senses something is wrong. Something inside her feels different. That was a lot of energy! I hope I didn’t hurt myself, she thinks. Are you happy now, Roman?

The performance has the worst effect possible. Terrified for their lives, the members of the audience flee toward the exits, causing a veritable stampede as they try to get as far from Alison Blaire as possible. She’s a mutant—she could kill them all, they shout! Eric Beale, meanwhile, commends Roman on his nice work and tells him he’ll be in touch. Roman doesn’t feel as good about the demonstration. Nevertheless, he approaches Alison and tells her the audience loved her! Alison is no fool. She could clearly see they were terrified of her! After putting her robe back on, she marches toward the limousine.

In the back of the limo, Roman sips on his drink and tells Alison everything is going to plan. He’s going to go down in history, he says! “While I got down in flames, right?” Alison asks. Roman doesn’t hear her, and Alison declines to repeat herself.

Later, outside a chic nightspot, a group of mutant-haters carrying bricks waits for Alison and Roman to arrive. They read in the Star that Ali and Roman hang out at this place and ready themselves. Suddenly, their limousine arrives. After Alison and Roman step out, the men hurl bricks at them and shout slurs, like “mutie lover”. Although the attack catches Roman off guard, Alison is ready for it. She lifts her arm and effortlessly incinerates the bricks in mid-air. The terrified men back off. Alison hurls a swath of bright light at them and tells them to crawl back to the sewer—or else she’ll do the same to them. The frightened men run for their lives.

On the limo ride home, Roman compliments Alison on the stunt she pulled with the mutant-haters, but asks how she did it. As far as he could tell, there wasn’t much noise around! Alison doesn’t understand it either. She doesn’t know why or how, but something inside her changed during the demonstration at the airport. She can store energy now! Every little sound charges her batteries, it seems. She can feel the power building inside her all the time. To demonstrate, she creates a focused laser and lights Roman’s cigarette—even with the radio off. She could never do that it the past.

She admits to Roman something else changed too: she finally realized that, thanks to him, she is really committed to the movie project now! She has to make it—for the sake of every mutant on Earth. She didn’t ask for this responsibility, but she has the chance to win humanity’s respect for and tolerance of all her people. She doesn’t intend to blow it. However, she demands that Roman spring her with no more surprises. Does he understand? He tries to placate her, but Alison shuts him up. “I’m calling the shots now, understand?” she says angrily. “Because it’s my overplump little ass on the line!” Roman claims he doesn’t want to bother her with boring business matter; he only wants to spare her! Grabbing him by the bowtie, Alison demands he stop trying and move closer to her. He asks what she’s doing. “I said come here, big boy!” Alison says. She leans back on the seat and pulls Roman down with her. “I’m going to have my way with you, my little pretty! And if you fail to please me, I’m going to use my nasty little mutant powers to incinerate all your best toupees!”

The next morning, in one of the eighty-six rooms of the Nekoboh Mansion, Alison creates a private gym. She thanks the installation man for assembling the equipment and installing the mirrors. Once he leaves, Alison prepares a barbell loaded with a hundred pounds and mentally prepares herself to dead-lift it. Sweat pours down her strained face as she picks it up off the ground. Then, with a burst of power, she hang-cleans it up to her chest. In one quick, final motion, she presses the weight over her head and locks her arms. The triumphant Dazzler tosses the barbell back to the ground. That was merely the first step on the road to being her! She wishes her flab goodbye; if the fate of all mutants must rest on her, she had better be in good shape! After hearing the racket, Roman pops his head in the room and asks what’s going on. “I’m going on, Roman—with or without you,” Alison tells him. “With you, I hope!”

Later, Alison reads scripts by the side of the pool while Roman practices his putting game. The latest script in her hand is better, she says, but she still finds it hokey. She wants her film to be a true portrayal of the lives and problems of mutants. Roman reminds her they’re not making a documentary, and advises her to not exclude the sex scenes. However, Alison wants the film to be a classic, and therefore, wants it done right. Roman, on the other hand, would settle for a crummy movie that raked in money at the box office.

Days later, Alison Blaire returns home to her own residence and finds it surrounded by anti-mutant protestors. Her limo driver advises her to not try to get past them, but Alison refuses to let them keep her out of her own house. A police officer escorts her past the picketers, who shout anti-mutant slurs and carry signs advocating the deaths of all muties. She’d better hurry; these people sure don’t like her, the officer says. Alison says it’s their loss. The officer tells her to watch her mouth; he doesn’t like her much either, and for two cents, he’d look the other way and let them at Alison!

Suddenly, a lone man crosses the picket line and accosts Alison, calling her a filthy mutant witch. She shouldn’t be allowed to walk the streets with normal people, he says! He doesn’t want her kind around there! “My kind? What had my kind done to you, lately?” Alison asks. She notices no one else crossed the barricade behind this guy and commends his bravery—or asks if he just assumed the rest of the mob would follow him. She asks what it is he wants. Does he want to hit her? The man sheepishly asserts he just doesn’t want her in his neighborhood. Alison asks why; she won’t hurt him! The man claims mutants are bad for property values—and the children! They’re afraid for the children! They’ve seen what Alison can do. “Then stay out of my way,” Alison states as she walks toward her house.

The next day, the front page of the Los Angeles Times bears a picture of the incident and a headline that reads as follow: “DAZZLER” THREATENS DEMONSTRATORS.

The next day, at the location of the filming, Dazzler reviews the choreography for her next scene with the director. She wears a long, auburn wig, an open-necked pink jumpsuit and black gloves. The scene they prepare to film involved a car driving between two cliffs. With her instructions clear, Rene, the director, asks everyone to get in place. Alison reminds him the scene must be perfect! It has to look real, but the big advantage of her involvement is that her part of the action will be real!

Before filming begins, she checks in with Roman, who stands on the sidelines drinking a cup of Irish coffee. She asks if he wants to watch her film the scene—the first big action scene of the film, which establishes how a power like hers can save lives. Roman thinks he’ll just stay there, where it’s safe. The scene isn’t dangerous, she informs him. Roman claims it isn’t the scene he’s worried about. Getting the point, Ali reminds him they have a lot of security guards on-hand. Roman says he was just joking. Lighting another cigarette, he says he just wants to relax and save his energy for his big scene. Alison knows which scene he means—the love scene—and says she can’t wait either. She waves goodbye and walks over to the set.

With everything in place, Alison gives the director her cue. The car in the scene begins driving between the two cliffs. Alison chases after it, warning the driver it’s dangerous to drive through that spot! She watches from a distance as a rockslide begins and tumbles toward the speeding vehicle. To save his life, Alison’s character fires a high-powered laser beam from her hand and incinerates each and every falling rock, just before they smash the car. After such a perfectly executed stunt, the director calls a wrap.

Sometime later, a news commentator recaps the controversy surrounding Alison Blaire and her current film—but puts his own editorial spin on things. The film is said to focus on the problems of mutant-kind, he says. He supposes there must be some: any wolf I n sheep’s clothing has to put up with that annoying, itchy fleece! Additionally, protestors—barely restrained by police and Nekoboh’s own hired thugs—have constantly picketed the shooting. The newscaster doesn’t blame them. He believes mutants to be an entirely new race, each member of which possesses abilities which seem like science fiction to normal humans. He reports that some mutants have called themselves Homo superior—the next step in the evolutionary ladder about Homo sapiens. Some mutants have even mounted blatant attacks on mankind—demonstrating, to this reporter’s satisfaction, that they plan to supplant the normal humans as the dominant species on the planet! “The worst thing is that these… beings may look like you or me,” the newscaster says. “They walk among us unsuspected! One of your friends—a neighbor, perhaps—or, God forbid, even someone in your family may be quite capable of reading your thoughts, or levitating into the air, or, like Alison Blaire, killing you with just a wave of her hand! We here at WKMC believe that the mutant menace is real! We support the protestors! If something isn’t done about mutants—if we humans do not take positive action to protect ourselves—then it shall not be the meek who inherit the Earth,” he says. “That’s our opinion! What’s yours?”

Meanwhile, the filming continues on a deserted island somewhere in the Pacific. While waiting to set up a shot, Rene asks Roman if he saw the tape of the WKMC TV editorial. Pushing the matter aside, he claims when the film reaches the silver screen, the entire country will change its tune! Roman supposes so. He asks Rene to send for another bottle of liquor and some more smokes.

Alison, meanwhile, stands atop the crater of a volcano in anticipation of her next stunt. She hopes everyone else is far enough away, just in case she can’t do what she thinks she can. Just then, the rigged explosives detonate, setting off a minor eruption within the volcano—just as they hoped. Dazzler thinks it must look absolutely eerie—all this violent upheaval happening in utter silence—because she won’t let a whisper of sound escape. Instead, she absorbs it all and transduces it into light she uses to defend herself from chunks of falling rock and magma. She finds it unbelievable how much energy she’s absorbing, but remembers she’s going to need it—if she wants to survive. Dazzler continues the dangerous stunt, zapping huge boulders to powder as if it were nothing. The film crew across the valley watches in awe. They make sure to capture every second of the incredible spectacle on film, though.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, anti-mutant protestors bearing signs defaming Roman Nekoboh invade record stores and burn all the Nekoboh records. They shouldn’t carry this mutie-lover’s trash, they shout at the storekeepers. Elsewhere, protestors burn an effigy of Roman in the street.

Weeks later, at the Nekoboh mansion, Alison relaxes in bed while Roman enjoys a post-coital cigarette. Who gave him the instruction manual to her body? How can he be so wonderful when his mind is obviously a million miles away? Roman apologizes, but says he has a lot on his mind. Alison wraps her arms around him; being the most wonderful man in the world must be an awful burden, she says. She asks if he wants to talk about it, assuming correctly that it’s the flak they’re receiving for the movie. She tells him not to worry his pretty little head and assures him she is in complete control of the situation.

Roman takes issue with her cruel twist on his earlier words. All kidding aside, Alison reminds him she really, really loves him, and asks him to remember that. In fact, she even adds another ‘really’, as well as all her heart, soul and wallet. Roman grunts. Alison asks how he can be so bitter when their landmark film is nearly finished. It’s history in the making, all because of Roman’s magnificent vision! “Jackie Robinson, move over!” she says.

Later, Alison Blaire returns home to find her house completely ransacked. As she looks around living room full of broken furniture and shattered glass, she realizes the police really weren’t joking. Whoever trashed her place really did a number! Fortunately, they neglected to smash Alison’s old mirror. She walks over to the mirror and takes a look at her reflection. It’s great to have somebody she recognizes looking back at her again, she says. In spite of the vandalism, her smile shines as bright as her natural aura. Nothing is going to stop Alison Blaire, she announces! Roman, meanwhile, decides to have security doubled at his own place. He calls Ziggy and instructs him to hire more security—people they can trust—no matter what the price.

The next day, Roman Nekoboh’s armored limousine pulls to a halt at the gates of Beale Studios and is greeted by yet another angry mob. Someone must have leaked that they were coming for a private screening, he tells Alison with a dreadful expression on his face. She tells him not to worry; he’s in good hands with Alison Blaire!

The limo pulls around to a secret back entrance. Alison can hardly believe they’re about to see their movie for the first time, all finished save for some post-production. They’ve come so far and been through so much. It’s like a dream come true! She asks Roman if he feels the same way. He tells her he will answer the question after he sees the film, which will have to be another Citizen Kane to be worthy of all the grief it’s caused!

Inside, while they sit in the darkened theater, Dazzler tries to get Roman to talk about his recent troubles. He assures her he wasn’t complaining, and he certainly didn’t mean to make her feel bad. He has risked so much for the movie, Alison says; she knows how he must feel! Roman claims that is not the problem. He asks her to just watch the movie.

As they watch the film, Roman cannot help but cry out at its brilliance. He even calls it beautiful! Alison asks if he means that she looks almost as good as he does. “Huh? Oh, yeah—almost!” Roman says. “The movie, though—it’s good! It’s better than good! It’s great!” She asks if he really means it, and Roman assures her they have a bona fide blockbuster on their hands! The film is everything they hoped for, and more! Alison is so happy for him—and for herself, too. She’s happy for them both. She tells Roman she loves him so much. Roman struggles to find the right words. He admits he has never told this to a woman before—or at least never meant it—but in that moment, he leans over to Alison and begins to tell her he loves her too.

Their tender moment is interrupted by a loud crash. The projector suddenly ceases to function. They look up into the projection booth and find it full of angry, bloodthirsty anti-mutant protestors waving clubs and sticks. Although Roman is not quite sure how they broke in, he suggests they flee out the back exit. Unfortunately, they find an even larger mob of mutant-haters out back, and slam the door shut. Roman wonders what happened to the guards, but Alison tells him to worry about that later. They lock the door and watch in horror as the protestors begin breaking through it with an axe. Roman has no idea what to do. Unfortunately, Alison doesn’t either; she’s isn’t ready to fight anyone. She doesn’t have much power in reserve because she hasn’t been absorbing any. She didn’t know she’d need it!

With another crash, the weapon-wielding mob bursts into the theater. They head for Alison first, hoping to take her out before she can use her powers. Roman tries to run. Alison, however, takes a stand. The mob is too close anyway; they would never make it. To buy themselves some time, she hits them with a blinding flash, substantially slowing their approach. However, the pulse doesn’t stop them entirely, and worse, Alison has no reserves left.

Roman and Alison dart into the hallway. With no time to reach their car, they head into Sound Stage Two instead. As they enter the vacant lot, Alison wishes she had an energy source, like a radio. Some of the assailants had guns, she observes. They could shoot her and Roman before she even had the chance to soak up enough racket to drive them away! Fortunately, they find a loudspeaker in this studio. Roman fiddles with the switches, but accidentally activates the spotlights instead of the stereo. The mob nears. They arrive at the door to Sound Stage Two and find light pouring out of a crack in the entrance. Nevertheless, they try to open it, but to their surprise, the radiant Alison Blaire suddenly emerges, shining in full force. Are they looking for her? The men scream and shield their eyes. Their screams only provide Alison with even more fuel. Firing lasers out of her eyes, she repels two of the men. The others, she disarms by incinerating their wooden weapons. The terrified men whom she doesn’t incapacitate eventually flee.

After the fight ends, Roman emerges from the studio and finds Alison casually standing outside, surrounded by unconscious bodies. Alison, dressed in a revealing red top and a purple choker, advises Roman to head home in the limo. She tells him she’ll join him later—after she checks on something.

Later, in the office of the studio manager, Dazzler grills the manager about the sudden absence of any security guards. The manager confesses he did indeed remove the guards—but only for their own safety. It’s lucky for him she isn’t the monster he thinks she is, Alison says angrily. A phone call interrupts the tense interaction. The manager answers the call—which comes from Roman Nekoboh—and hands the phone to Alison. She is surprised to learn he’s calling from the executive office of Eric Beale Studios and heads there right away.

Twenty minutes later, at Eric Beale’s office, Alison enters and introduces herself to the secretary. The secretary, who claims she is quite aware of who—and what—Alison is, tells her to step into Mr. Beale’s office. She does, and finds herself once again in the presence of Eric Beale. She asks where Roman is. Beale would imagine he’s packing. After all, Roman will be leaving the next day on an extended vacation abroad, followed by a world concert-tour! Alison insists Roman wouldn’t do such a thing without telling her. On the contrary, Beale says; under the terms of Roman’s new contract with Beale Productions, he is expressly forbidden from communicating with Alison ever again! He’s lying, Alison cries! Beale tells her to see for herself and hands her the signed contract.

Alison looks at the papers. Stunned, she asks how such a thing could happen. How could Roman do this? Beale asks how he could afford not to, considering the contract was Roman’s last chance to salvage his badly damaged career—and even his life. He explains. As Alison knows, Eric was financing her ill-fated movie. However, he no longer wishes to be part of such an unpopular venture, so essentially, he’s pulling the plug! As of this afternoon, their business relationship is terminated. All copies of the film are to be destroyed. Alison says he can’t do that. What about Roman’s guarantees—or the absolute control he claimed to have? Beale, calling her a poor little idiot, informs her Roman has no power! Eric was pulling his strings all along! Does she really think Roman had the brains to suspect she was a mutant? No—but Beale did. He reveals he ordered Roman to find out for certain, a task Roman performed admirably. After all, deceiving people is Roman’s gift—stupid people, that is, whose bust measurements exceed their intelligence quotients. “You must be stupid to have believed that Roman would willingly jeopardize his career by revealing to the world that his co-star and whore was a mutant!” Beale sneers.

She asks why he would do this. Is it because she turned him down? Beale tells her not to flatter herself. If not for that reason, then why? She reminds him their film cost a fortune! Beale informs her that his insurance will cover most of it, and what it doesn’t, he can deduct. Besides, it was a small price to pay to acquire a valuable property like Roman Nekoboh. True, Roman’s worth is not much at the moment, but now that Beale owns him, he will certainly repair and rejuvenate his image. He claims he is doing Roman a big favor at this point. Who else would give him the time of day? He could even help Alison’s career, Beale says. She’s very talented and her career could be salvaged—provided she agrees to Beale’s terms. She resists.

To further his point, Eric Beale gestures toward the canister of film resting on his desk—the last print of Dazzler’s film in existence. Beale says it’s quite good. He would even gamble that, were they to release it, it would do for mutants exactly what Alison hoped it might: stem the incredible tide of anti-mutant paranoia. Plus, it would catapult her to instant stardom and make her the biggest female box-office attraction in history! However, it is risky, he says. Beale would do it only under one condition: that she sign his little contract. It’s a contract just like Roman’s, he adds. The terms are severe—but what does she care? She will do well enough! She’ll be a star and people around the world will see her movie. Additionally, Eric Beale will own her—something he has wanted to do since he first laid eyes on her at the health club. Back then, he wanted her for sex. Now, it’s strictly business. He hands her the contract and asks her to see it for what it is: a last chance for her and her race. She does want to release the film, right? Shall he burn it—or would she like to swing on a star?

Dazzler tilts her head back in her chair and begins to cry. Fighting back her tears, she takes the contract from Eric, puts her pen to the paper, and begins to write. Once finished, she hands it to him, but keeps her face concealed. Excellent, Beale says. He calls her act one small step for a mutant, but one giant step for mutant-kind. She’s so altruistic, self-sacrificing and talented, he says. She’s even built like a brick outhouse—his brick outhouse.

When Beale looks at the papers, however, he is shocked to find not Alison Blaire’s signature, but the words, “Go suck an egg!” So even Beale can understand the message, Alison emphasizes it by standing up and punching him across the jaw. Beale falls backward onto his desk. While he watches in horror, Dazzler points her hand at the canister of film—the last existing copy of Beale’s movie. It breaks her heart to do it, but she incinerates the film with a high-intensity laser. Beale screams at her; what is she doing? That film is worth hundreds of millions! “Was worth,” Alison says as she walks to the door. “Goodbye, Mr. Pond-Scum!”

She waltzes through the lobby singing Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing”. “I’m still standin’, better than I ever did, lookin’ like a true survivor,” she sings. The secretary shoots her a nasty glare. Alison turns to her, thrusts out her hand, and says “Boo!!” The terrified secretary screams and throws up her hands, scattering papers everywhere. Smiling, Alison walks out of the office, still singing her song.

Outside, she immediately runs into Roman, who comes to a screeching halt in his car. He rushes out and begs her to listen while he explains. First, though, he says he needs to go tear up a contract. Alison tells him to relax; she burned it up already. She knew he would want her to do it. It’s like she told him before: he’s in good hands. He thanks her profusely.

Later, at the Nekoboh mansion, Alison recounts the story in full detail. Roman loves hearing it. He wishes he had been there! It’s great to finally be rid of that scum, he adds. He tells Alison it was hell and that he doesn’t knowhow he got himself into it. On the positive side of things, the up-front money from the movie allowed him to pay off his debts. He’s even again! Sure, his career suffered, but that’s how it is in Hollywood. A star can ride high in April, only to get shot down in May. He doesn’t care; he’s Roman Nekoboh, show biz legend! He’ll be back on top come June.

“Without a doubt, Roman—since I won’t be holding you back anymore!” Alison says. Surprised, he asks what she means. She tells him while she still loves him, she doesn’t think he needs her as an anchor weighing him down at the moment, especially with the state of the things for mutants in the world. Besides, she wants to make it on her own—not by riding on someone else’s coattails. Roman understands. Alison assures him she loves him, and he reciprocates the sentiment—with all his heart and soul. Alison smiles and the two kiss for the last time.

As she prepares to leave, Roman says he hopes it works out for her. In fact, he knows it will! He’ll be seeing her name in lights very soon! “And I’ll be seeing yours again!” Alison replies. She heads toward the door. Right before she leaves, however, she catches her reflection in the mirror—and likes what she sees. “You’re going to be okay, Miss Alison Blaire!” Dazzler says as she strolls out into the world.

Characters Involved: 

Dazzler/Alison Blaire
Colossus, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Storm, Wolverine (X-Men)

Roman Nekoboh
Eric Beale (studio executive)
Freddy Stanachek

Libby Schilling (actress, Roman’s lover)
Ziggy (Roman’s butler)
Various butlers
Roman’s business manager
Rene (film director)

Smythe (Beale’s friend)
Miss Corbo (Beale’s secretary)

Mr. Witwicky (health club owner)
Marge & Mel (health club patrons)

Anti-mutant protestors
Anti-mutant police officer
Barricade crosser
Opinionated newscaster

Story Notes: 

This story takes place after DAZZLER #34 and continues in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST #1.

In terms of X-Men chronology, this issue takes place after UNCANNY X-MEN #173, when Storm adopted her punk look, but before UNCANNY X-MEN #185, when she lost access to her mutant powers. Judging by the presence of Cyclops in Xavier’s School as well, this must take place before he leaves for his honeymoon with Madelyne Pryor at the end of UNCANNY X-MEN #175.

Lisa Lyon is a real-life female bodybuilder from the United States who was propelled to fame in 1983 after becoming the subject of collection of photos by controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

The story of Dazzler’s mutant power manifestation at a school dance was first told in DAZZLER #1.

Dazzler first met the X-Men in X-MEN (1st series) #130-131, at which point she declined an offer to join the team. Storm and Kitty Pryde later attended a Dazzler concert at a club in New York in UNCANNY X-MEN #148.

The song Dazzler sings throughout this issue, which essentially becomes her personal mantra, is Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing”.

Dazzler calls herself a modern-day Jackie Robinson in this issue. Robinson is credited with breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball. In 1947, he became the first African-American to play on a Major League Baseball team when he debuted on the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Roman refers to Citizen Kane, the 1941 Orson Welles film widely regarded as the best film ever made.

From this issue onward, instead of having to convert it right away, Dazzler can store sound energy in her body and expel it at will as light energy.

First appearances of Eric Beale of Freddy Stanachek, both of whom turn up again in UNCANNY X-MEN #259-260

Interestingly enough, the copy of the film Dazzler destroys in this issue is not the last one in existence, as Fred Stanachek discovers another print in UNCANNY X-MEN #259.

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