Dazzler #1 (Marvel)

Dazzler

Rating: 3.5/5 – Disco lives on in the pages of Dazzler #1.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

The origins behind the creation of Dazzler are pretty interesting.  A short lived record label by the name of Casablanca Records were looking to find an actual singer within the disco genre that could be promoted and marketed within the pages of Marvel Comics.  As both companies went back and forth on the creation, look, and origin of the character, the plan was eventually scrapped due to Casablanca Records backing out of the deal as disco was dying towards the end of the 1970’s.  That left Marvel Comics with a new character, but no plan on how to use her.  So what did Marvel decide to do…they gave her a series of her own, and in 1981 they released Dazzler #1.

In a lot of ways, this first issue is a product of its time.  In the first few pages, Allison Blaire (Dazzler) is being chased by a bunch of thugs.  As she’s cornered in an alley, she stops, straps on her magnetic roller skates, blasts music from a portable speaker no bigger than her hand, and sings her way out of trouble.  It reads just as silly as it sounds.  Writer Tom DeFalco took the concept of a disco singer in a white jumpsuit who fights alongside the mainstream Marvel heroes, and tried to make it as serious as he could.  In some ways he pulls it off, in others not so much.  This issue is full of forced appearances like the X-Men, who appear in a few pages as Dazzler calls the mansion to potentially join their group, but hangs up before ever saying hello.  Do the X-Men appear…yes…is their appearance meaningful….absolutely not.  That same thing can be said for the appearance by the Avengers and Spider-Man as well.  Towards the second half of the issue, the Enchantress appears with a meaningful appearance as the issue’s villain.  And she’s drawn beautifully by John Romita Jr.

Romita Jr.’s art makes up for some of the story’s missteps.  There are many guest appearances in the book and Romita handles all of them with ease.  Where his art truly shines though is with his interpretation of the Enchantress.  She looks regal and majestic, and the way he draws her surroundings within Asgard adds to that majestic feel.  Although the story calls for Enchantress and Dazzler to battle each other in an audition to be the next disco singer at club Numero Uno, Romita still delivers solid art despite the corny story.

Dazzler has become a very different character since her beginnings as a disco dancing superhero.  Although corny, this issue was still a fun read.  I’m curious to see just how far they go into this series with disco as a theme, since by the time this first issue was published, disco was all but dead.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
(shawn@comicspectrum.com
)
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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