Wolverine: First Class #16

Issue Date: 
August 2009
Story Title: 

Peter David (writer), Gurihiru (artists), VC’s Rus Wooten (letterer/production), Williams & Strain (cover), Ralph Macchio (consulting), Nathan Cosby (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Dazzler receives a death threat and turns to the X-Men for protection. Professor X assigns Wolverine and Kitty Pryde to protect her during her gig at the Mega Bowl, but Siryn tags along as well, much to Kitty’s chagrin. Siryn becomes one of Dazzler’s backup singers for the halftime show after one of her regulars calls in sick, further irking Kitty. Eager to prove her worth during this assignment, Kitty confronts a suspicious man in the audience and causes a scene that leads to Dazzler’s light powers flaring out of control and nearly blinding the audience. Her quest for validation leads to even more false accusations. Although the death threat turns out to be a misunderstanding, Dazzler ends up getting hit in the face with a pie—an act Wolverine deliberately chose not to prevent due to his dislike of Dazzler’s music.

Full Summary: 

Alison Blaire, the disco superstar also known as the Dazzler, walks back to her dressing room after another successful concert. Her friend Artie tells her she rocked and gives her a high-five; Dazzler returns the gesture in-kind, telling Artie that when he’s right, he’s right. Dazzler’s manager, Kathleen, agrees with Artie’s assessment; she definitely performed at her peak. She assumes Alison is pumped about next Sunday.

Alison sounds confused for a moment; is she supposed to do something next Sunday? “Oh! Right! Only the Mega Bowl halftime show in Philadelphia!” Dazzler says. “First disco act to ever play the Mega Bowl,” she reminds Kathleen. Her manager tells Alison this performance is exactly what she needs. It should get her the critical attention she needs to remake herself once disco goes out of style. Dazzler tells Kathleen to bite her tongue. As she opens the door to her dressing room, she reminds Kathleen that disco will never…

What Alison sees when she opens the door shuts her up mid-sentence. Scrawled across the opposing wall of her dressing room in big, red letters is the word DIE!

Westchester, New York…

Professor X tries to get the story straight. Someone wrote the word ‘DIE’ in Dazzler’s dressing room? Painted it, Alison says, correcting him. Her manager Kathleen figures it was simply someone who hates her act. However, Alison knows something that Kathleen doesn’t know—something Xavier knows as well: Alison Blaire is a mutant. She thinks the perpetrator might have been someone else who knows this, like the Hellfire Club. Although Professor X doesn’t think firing a warning shot across their bow is exactly the Hellfire Club’s M.O., he does concede that someone connected to the club following his or her own agenda might be responsible. Alison strokes her chin; they did smack around a lot of guards. One of them could be seeking payback. Just to be safe, Professor X recommends Alison remain at the mansion for a few weeks.

“Alison Blaire doesn’t run from threats!” Dazzler snaps.

At this moment, Wolverine enters the room, dressed in a hockey jersey and holding a bottle of beer. “Who’s Alison Blaire?” he asks.

I am, Wolverine!” Alison responds.

You’re Wolverine?” Logan asks.

“No, I’m Alison Blaire!” Dazzler snaps back. Wolverine tells her to make up her mind. Enraged, Alison asks Xavier why Logan is even there. After he reminds her he lives at the mansion, Logan asks why she is there. Gently laughing, Xavier tells Alison that it takes a while to adjust to Wolverine’s sense of humor. Fortunately, during her stay at the mansion, she’ll have plenty of opportunity to do so.

Both Alison and Logan are taken aback by this statement. Xavier clarifies; someone has expressed an interest in exterminating Dazzler, he says. “Maybe they heard her sing,” Logan suggests. Dazzler glares at him, but Logan defends himself. “Aretha Franklin ain’t losing any sleep. I’m just sayin’,” he says.

Getting back on topic, Professor X tells Wolverine he’d like for him to accompany Dazzler and keep an eye on her until they can determine the nature of the threat. Dazzler objects; ten minutes with Wolverine, and she’ll kill herself! Logan tells her not to worry. He has someone in mind—who he suspects will be more enthused about the assignment—to act as a buffer.

Upon hearing the news of her latest assignment, Kitty Pryde flips down the hallway in jubilation. Her friend and current resident of Xavier’s School, Theresa Rourke Cassidy, asks why she’s so excited. Kitty grabs her by the shoulders. She’s going to be Dazzler’s bodyguard at the Mega Bowl! Terry cannot believe it; she’s going to be the bodyguard for Dazzler? The singer? At the Mega Bowl? She gets to go backstage and everything? She asks Kitty if the professor assigned her. Yes, Kitty tells her. Suddenly, Theresa wants in on the deal. She tears off toward Xavier’s office. Right away, Kitty’s gleeful expression shifts to one of dismay. No—this is her gig, she thinks! Siryn doesn’t get to horn in on her gig! No way!

Unfortunately for Kitty, Siryn ends up getting the gig as well. That Sunday, they head to Philadelphia on Dazzler’s tour bus, the outside of which bears a full-size decal of Dazzler’s likeness. Inside the bus, Kitty sits with her knees curled up to her chest, her face a portrait of misery. Siryn, however, exhibits nothing but excitement. This is awesome, she tells Kitty! Isn’t this awesome?! “Totally,” Kitty says insincerely.

As Terry stands up, Kitty stands up alongside her and gives her the score. She’s with the X-Men, but Terry’s just visiting. She’s fought alongside Dazzler; Terry hasn’t. Therefore, she tells Terry she must follow her lead, remain in the background and act as her backup. Understand? Sure, the smiling Theresa says. She understands.

Meanwhile, in the front of the bus, Kathleen finishes up a phone call and gives Dazzler some bad news. They don’t have to stop in Trenton and pick up Danielle; she’s got strep throat and can barely speak. Terrific, Dazzler says. Wolverine, who sits across the aisle from Alison, cannot help but overhearing. He asks about Danielle; who is she? Ali asks if he even cares. No, not really, Logan says, returning to his magazine. Kathleen chimes in and tells Logan that Danielle is one of Dazzler’s two backup singers. That’s too bad, Logan says; Dazzler needs the help. Annoyed, Alison asks Logan what his problem is with her. “I think ya use the light show angle to distract from deficiencies in your voice,” Logan tells her. “Aretha don’t need lights. I’m just sayin’.”

Suddenly, Theresa appears right behind Dazzler’s seat and asks if she heard correctly; did she lose a backup singer? Yes, Dazzler says.

Enraged, Kitty storms toward the front of the bus, phasing through the seats she passes. She swears she’ll kill Terry; what part of ‘follow her lead’ was unclear?

At the front of the bus, Terry informs Dazzler she sings a little, and she’s told she has a pretty good voice. Alison smiles and tells her to hit her with her best shot. As Terry prepares to sing, Kitty lunges at her, declaring no one’s hitting anyone with anything. However, before she can reach Terry, the young, red-haired mutant begins singing the opening lines of “Amazing Grace.”

Oh my God, Kitty thinks to herself. Terry’s voice is so beautiful, so pure. Kitty knew Terry had that sonic scream and could knock down buildings, but she had no idea she could do this as well. Terry’s singing affects not just Kitty, but everyone else on the bus. They watch her in wonder; Dazzler even begins singing along toward the end.

When she finishes, applause erupts from a most unexpected source: Wolverine. “Now that’s singin’. Perfect harmony. Aretha would approve,” he says. With the audition over, Dazzler welcomes Theresa Cassidy to showbiz—much to Kitty’s chagrin.

Later, while preparing the stage for the halftime show, Logan asks Kitty which team she’s rooting for. She asks what he means. Logan clarifies; it’s the Sea-Eagles versus the Colossal. Which team does she think will win? Colossal, Kitty tells him. When Logan asks why, she explains that sea eagles are birds and colossal means gigantic—and big stuff can crush birds. Sweat drips down her face as she hauls yet another cart loaded with heavy sound equipment across the turf. Logan could help her carry this stuff, she says. “Sorry. Gotta keep my hands free,” he says with a smile on his face. “Never know when I gotta leap into action.”

“You’re enjoying this way too much!” Kitty yells after him as he walks away. It’s so unfair, she tells herself. The professor handpicked her for this mission. She was supposed to run interference between Dazzler and Wolverine because of their personality conflicts. Now, however, Terry has become best friends with Dazzler just because she sang one freaking hymn, while Logan’s done a total one-eighty. Where has this left Kitty? As a fifth wheel—just like always.

After the sound check ends, Kathleen calls out to Alison and tells her to clear out, get into costume and wait for her big moment. “Yeah, I hear there’s gonna be a football game here,” Alison says from the stage. Wolverine asks Dazzler which team looks good to her. “Sea-Eagles by six points,” Alison says with confidence. Wolverine rolls his eyes. She’s kidding, right? The Sea-Eagles may have the best defense in the league, but when compared to the offensive stats of the Colossal…

Theresa interjects, adding that the Sea-Eagles have been on a tear the past four weeks; they’re a young team and they’re hungry. She asks Kitty to back her up on this, but Kitty just glares at her from the turf. You were supposed to back me up, she thinks. She marches away, stating that she thinks the Sea-Eagles are going to scratch out the eyes of the Colossal. Dazzler comments on the kid’s interesting pick system after she leaves. Logan adds that it’s actually pretty flexible.

While the football game progresses, Kitty lingers around in the backstage area, feeling sorry for herself while she watches Dazzler talking with her backup singers. What is she even doing there? Why is she even with the X-Men? They all have powers like weather control, super-strength and metal claws—and then there’s her, who can phase through stuff. Yippee.

Kathleen sidles up to Kitty and asks how Dazzler’s doing. Kitty thinks she’s doing fine. Good, Kathleen says, adding that she has a lot wrapped up in Alison. Kitty asks what she means. Being Dazzler’s manager has become her whole life, Kathleen admits. She used to have a boyfriend, hobbies and a whole other existence. Now, her life is just Dazzler, twenty-four-seven. Kitty asks if she resents her for it. At first, Kathleen acts like such a thing is unfathomable, but then she admits that sometimes, maybe she resents Dazzler—just a little. It’s so easy to resent people, after all. “Yeah, I know” Kitty says, shooting a jealous glance at Siryn, who seems to be enjoying her time as a member of Dazzler’s inner circle.

The game reaches halftime. After the announcers review the standings of the two teams—of which the Colossal is emerging the lopsided victor—they announce the halftime show with the spectacular disco Dazzler. Meanwhile, inside the stadium, Dazzler and her entourage walk toward the arena. Kitty Pryde mopes in the back of the crowd. Logan approaches and tells her to move it; she’s supposed to be on station toward the back of the stage. Kitty tells him that between him and Siryn, they should have Dazzler covered. Kitty isn’t even sure why she’s needed.

Wolverine elbows her in the shoulder. While Kitty cries out in pain, Logan tells her to get her head in the game. In this game, if her head’s not in it, then she can lose the game and her head before she knows it. Kitty insists her head is in the game! If that’s the case, then she needs to start acting like it, Logan says. He tells her to act like an X-Man instead of a sulking teenager. If she can’t do that, then she’s of no use to anyone. Not to herself—and certainly not to him. He leaves her behind to soothe her bruised arm.

The halftime show begins. The announcer draws the crowd’s attention to the stage in the center of the field, atop of which stands the honey they’ve all been waiting for—Dazzler! Dressed in her white jumpsuit, platform shoes, disco-ball necklace and blue face-paint, Dazzler holds her mic in one hand and waves to the crowd with the other. Siryn and the other backup singer stand behind her in anticipation of the big moment.

Meanwhile, Logan speaks into his headset and asks Kitty what she can see from her position behind the stage. Kitty, looking at the crowd through a pair of binoculars, tells Logan she doesn’t see anything unusual. Maybe the whole thing was just a prank—or an inside job. Logan asks what she means by that. As Kitty begins to explain, something in the crowd catches her attention. She sees a scowling man in a turtleneck sweater and a trench-coat moving through the crowd toward the stage. Not only does he look really out of place, Kitty observes, but he’s also wearing sunglasses at night. Suddenly, the man reaches inside the left breast-pocket of his trench-coat. Kitty thinks he’s going for a gun. She tells Logan to shield his eyes while she switches communication channels.

Changing over to Theresa’s channel, Kitty orders her to amplify her vocals during Dazzler’s light show. The audience doesn’t realize Dazzler takes sound and channels it into the pyrotechnics, creating them herself with her mutant power. Siryn amps her vocals just as Dazzler unleashes one of her light displays; the crowds thinks it’s all special effects. However, Dazzler didn’t expect Siryn to jack up the decibel level. The sudden burst in sound energy provides way more power to Dazzler’s light burst than she expects—or can control. She accidentally unleashes a blinding pulse of light from her left hand.

With the crowd flash-blinded, Kitty darts out from her hiding place behind the stage and phases through both the stage and the crowd. The burst of light not only blinds Dazzler’s audience at the concert, but also everyone watching on television. Nevertheless, Kitty, her back turned to Dazzler, moves through the crowd in search of the potential gunman. She finally happens upon him and grabs his hand before he can withdraw it from his coat. The man tells her to get away. When he reaches out to push her, however, he sees his hand pass right through her body. What kind of freak is she?!

My kinda freak,” Wolverine says, appearing from the man’s blindside. He pops his three claws under his chin. Kitty tells Logan to be careful; the man was acting suspiciously— and he’s wearing sunglasses! The supposed gunman claims he has an eye infection. Kitty reaches into his jacket. If that’s so, she says, then how does he explain this—video camera? To her surprise, the device she thought assumed was a gun is none other than a handheld camcorder. The man says he was simply making his own recording. Who are they, the copyright police? As a matter of fact, they are, Wolverine says as he grabs the guy by the collar. “This telecast is copyrighted for the private use of its audience. Any other use of this telecast or of any pictures, descriptions, or accounts of the game without consent is prohibited. You got consent?” The man fearfully admits he does not. “Then knock it off,” Logan says. The bootlegger gives his compliance.

After the disastrous halftime show ends, Kathleen meets her star backstage. “Effects malfunction. At least it didn’t involve wardrobe,” she groans. Irate, Dazzler marches past her, throwing her hand up in frustration. The network had to cut to a commercial and the switchboard lit up with people complaining they were half-blinded by the show! Kitty sulks after them, whimpering that she thought someone was trying to kill Dazzler. When Kathleen asks if the man was trying to kill her, Kitty has to admit he wasn’t. So, they still don’t know who threatened Alison, and on top of that, the network is angry with them.

“Oh, I have an idea who’s threatening her,” Kitty says. “You!” She points a finger at Kathleen, who seems taken aback. Kathleen asks how she came up with that theory; Wolverine would like to know that too. Getting in Kathleen’s face, Kitty tells her she resents Dazzler because she’s consumed her life! So, to get back at her, she’s decided to terrorize her! Kathleen calls this accusation crazy—not crazy like a fox, but crazy like a nut. Finally having had enough, Dazzler turns away from her quarreling helpers and tells them she’s had enough! She’s going back to her bus and crawling into her seat, where she hopes she can forget she ever had anything to do with any of them.

“Disco sucks!” someone yells. Suddenly, a cream pie hits Dazzler square in the face. Surprisingly, Kathleen identifies the attacker as Tommy, her ex-boyfriend. What is he doing there?! While Wolverine pins Tommy to the wall, Tommy explains that Kathleen dumped him because all she cared about was boosting Dazzler’s career. He had to get revenge! He even warned them it was coming!

Suddenly, everything clicks together. Wolverine asks Tommy if he’s the one who wrote ‘DIE’ on the wall. Tommy claims he wrote ‘PIE’, not ‘DIE’! It sure looked like a ‘D’, Kathleen says! Tommy claims he ran out of room and he was in a hurry. They can sue him, he says.

Meanwhile, the pie pan finally drops from Alison’s face. “Told you she was involved,’ Kitty says to her. “That counts for something, right?” Dazzler glares at her and, through the cream pie filling covering her face, bares her teeth. Kitty covers her face and looks away in humiliation.

Later, back at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, Kitty buries her head with a pillow. She feels like such an idiot. Wolverine asks how she figures that. Kitty elaborates, saying she was jealous of Terry and felt like Logan thought she was worthless. Her determination to prove just how much she was needed screwed up her judgment. She did dumb things, made bad calls. Plus, she got so distracted that she let Tommy get to Dazzler! What if he had thrown acid, or anthrax?

Terry, who sits at the foot of Kitty’s bed, tells Kitty she should have just said something to her. They could have worked through it; stewing about never does anyone any good. “No kidding,” Kitty says.

Wolverine suddenly rips the pillow off her head. Yeah, she made some mistakes; it’s called the learning curve. Next time, she won’t make them; it’s as simple as that. As for the pie guy, he tells her not to sweat it. Kitty might have been distracted, but Logan wasn’t. He smelled the cream pie and knew it wasn’t anything dangerous. Suddenly, Kitty and Terry perk up and look at Logan. He could have stopped the pie-thrower, but didn’t? “Yeah,” Logan says with a smile on his face. The girls ask why not. “‘Cause disco really does suck. I’m just sayin’.”

Characters Involved: 

Sprite, Wolverine (X-Men)

Professor X

Dazzler (ally of the X-Men)

Siryn (guest at Xavier’s School)

Kathleen (Dazzler’s manager)

Tommy (Kathleen’s ex-boyfriend)

Artie (one of Dazzler’s people)

Backup singer

Guy wearing sunglasses

Mega Bowl announcers

Story Notes: 

Dazzler tangled with the Hellfire Club in X-MEN (1st series) #130-131. She and Kitty Pryde teamed up with Cyclops, Phoenix and Nightcrawler to save the rest of the X-Men from the clutches of the Hellfire Club in X-MEN (1st series) #131.

Siryn has been showing up at Xavier’s School every now and then since UNCANNY X-MEN #148. She first appeared in this series in WOLVERINE FIRST CLASS #6.

Kathleen’s comment about a wardrobe malfunction refers to the infamous Janet Jackson incident during the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show. During that performance, Janet’s fellow performer, Justin Timberlake, ripped part of Jackson’s outfit, exposing her right breast and a nipple shield.

Only appearance of Kathleen, Dazzler’s manager

Dazzler eventually gets the chance to grow more accustomed to Wolverine’s humor when the two serve on the X-Men together from UNCANNY X-MEN #214-251.

Issue Information: 
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