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Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1980s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the 1980s to examine the Marvel Comics universe through the exploits of Dazzler!
In my retro review of Dazzler #21 (1982), I observed that the story had no good-versus-evil conflict at all as it was purely character-driven and focused a lot on the personal development of Alison Blaire/Dazzler. More notably, the story shed light on both Alison’s father (a judge) and mother (who left the judge) and how the past affected the protagonist. Very clearly, Dazzler’s development really went deep since her first-ever appearance in an X-Men comic book. Speaking of the X-Men, I must say that one of the team’s notable members had an early (not the first) appearance in the next Dazzler issue I just reviewed. That character is none other than Rogue and she looks nothing like the way Jim Lee modernized her in the 1990s.
With those details laid down, here is a look back Dazzler #22, published by Marvel Comics in 1982 with a story written by Danny Fingeroth and drawn by the late Frank Springer.
The story begins in the air high above the streets of New York City. Warren Worthington III/Angel’s flight gets disrupted as a group of hawks suddenly attack him from all sides. With quick thinking, he uses different methods to gradually lure each hawk and trick them into bumping into something to end their pursuit.
Meanwhile, as Alison Blaire rides the car driven by her field manager Lance going to the studio, she saves a roller-skating lady from colliding with a car using clever methods. At the studio, Alison prepares herself for a recording session under the watch of the perfectionist music producer L.B. Holman…
As expected, the story in this comic book showed natural progression on developing the protagonist as well as her parents while also reviving the superhero trope of good-versus-evil which was clearly done for entertainment value. While the cover art had Rogue hitting Dazzler, the good-versus-evil conflict within is actually bigger than that as the story involves not only Rogue but also notable X-Men villainess Mystique plus Destiny.
As this was in the early 1980s, Rogue was not a member of the X-Men at the time and was still new (her first-ever appearance was in Avengers Annual #10 in 1981). Regarding Mystique, her appearance in this comic book was not merely just an appearance but rather an extension of the exploits of her group called the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and it has been her desire to get back at the X-Men over what happened in Uncanny X-Men #142 (part 2 of the Days of Future Past storyline). As such, having Dazzler encounter the evil group in the presence of the X-Men’s Angel was a very strategic move by Danny Fingeroth as it emphasized the crossover aspect within the Marvel Comics universe of the time complete with pretty good dialogue and details emphasized.
This also helps remind readers of Dazzler’s previous involvement with the X-Men and cleverly gave them the idea of what would things be like if the protagonist someday really joined the team of mutants.
On character development, dramatizing Alison’s mother and father shows progress from what happened near the end of the previous issue which is a nice touch. Even Alison’s boyfriend Ken got his own share of the spotlight. What is most notable when it comes to characterization in this comic book is the smooth and fine chemistry between Alison and Warren Worthington. The two made convincing friends and how their respective circumstances brought them together here was well executed by the creators.
Dazzler #22 (1982) is enjoyable and has that fine balance between characterization, plotting and spectacle. The good-versus-evil conflict here should really catch the attention of readers, especially those who are deeply interested with the X-Men-related characters and groups of the early 1980s. There is also enough superhero action to keep readers entertained and clearly this was done to make up for the lack of action in the very dramatic issue #21.
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Dazzler #22 (1982), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $57 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $113.
Overall, Dazzler #22 (1982) is recommended.
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