Wednesday, 28 December 2011

DAZ #3: "The Jewels Of Doom!"



Dazzler's grand tour of the Marvel Universe continues this issue as she heads off to visit the Fantastic Four.  In short order, this leads to Johnny flirting, Ben complaining, and Reed trying her out against one of his inventions: the "deluminizer", which seems to be an intensely complicated machine which can almost perfectly replicate the effect of some heavy curtains. Alison gets so bored in the process that she has to put out the Torch with a fire extinguisher just for something to do.

Further time-wasting is mercifully avoided when the group learn there are plans afoot to put on display some of Doctor Doom's former jewels, that have been loaned to the UN by Prince Zorba, current ruler of Latveria after deposing Doom.

Johnny is concerned that showing off all his shiny rocks will bring Doom out of hiding, but over at the UN, it's Latveria's ambassador Doctor Frazen who's planning to half-inch the treasures, before Zorba can sell them to boost the country's flagging economy. 

As luck would have it, Dazzler's headed for the UN as well, as an opener for a UNICEF benefit gig.  Alison is rather unimpressed that the only gig Osgood has lined up for her won't actually gather her any scratch, but apparently Osgood has blown all his time hiring a cocky pretty-boy fashion reject to order Dazzler around, so there's nothing to be done.

With nothing else to do for the next three weeks but fail to pay her rent or fill her pantry, Alison decides it's high time she patches up her relationship with her father, and heads for his house.  Fortunately, he's delighted to see her.  Unfortunately, that's because he immediately assumes she's come back to start taking orders.  Things rather go downhill once that misunderstanding is rectified.

There are worse things in the world than having a authoritarian gitchimp for a father.  You could be one of Doctor Doom's lackeys, a job which has apparently become no easier now that he's been deposed (I guess he's still smarting over the loss of his diplomatic immunity).  If you're supremely lucky, interrupting him with a message will result in you being allowed to live ("Rewarded beyond your worth!", as the man puts it). It's probably just as well the economy of Latveria is as crappy as it is, otherwise you'd have to imagine Doom would have significant HR problems.  As it is, though, one of his grovelling toadies lets him know about the UN exhibition, which will include something known in hushed whispers as "the Merlin Stone".  This, suffice to say, is something Doom wants back very, very badly.

Fast forward to the day of the UNICEF concert.  Frazen is planning to use the event as cover whilst he swipes the jewels, using a bunch of heavies disguised as glam rockers to do the dirty work.  Given that his hired goons think a shiny skintight outfits and a face plastered in stars makes someone "punk", I don't hold out much hope for the success of Frazen's caper, even before you factor in Dazzler and Doom (best... buddy cop show... ever!)  The first stage of the plan is to sneak backstage, but already things go south when Alison's new minder Lance catches them in the act.  Outnumbered, he calls for help (well, he screams like a girl, but the end result is the same) and Dazzler leaves her dressing room to investigate.  The hoodlums have just enough time to register her approach ("Holy sucking spit!") and then battle is joined.

It's a pretty postmodern fracas, as well.  "Why do all my singing engagements turn into free-for-alls?" "Today's woman demands total equality -- and that includes fight scenes!"  Hardly Deadpool level, admittedly, but not bad for 1981.  Whilst Dazzler cracks wise and bang heads, however, Frazen and his remaining lickspittles have broken through to the jewels, only to find Doom got there first, and is in no mood for sharing.  With the flunkies dispatched and the pretty boy saved, Alison heads for the exhibit herself, interrupting Doom's recovery operation.

"Do not fear!" the soulless former dictator assures her, "Doom does mot make war on helpless civilians!"  Unless they're his citizens, of course, particularly if they work for him directly.  Still, he admits the only thing that stopped him from killing her was the fact he recognised her as being on the concert bill.  Maybe Doom is secretly a fan?

Yikes.  But clearly he's taken with her "noble, courageous spirit", so much so that he fills her in on what's going on: the Merlin Stone is the first in a set that will make the owner invincible, and Doom's finally worked out how to use this one to get ahold of the rest. Credit where it's due, Alison does her best to stop him, despite knowing full well she's horrifically out of her league, but it's not long before she's unconscious at Doom's feet.  Rather than killing her, though, Doom kidnaps her.  The next Merlin stone is a little difficult to reach, after all, so it really makes more sense for him to send someone else into peril after it...


This story takes place over three weeks, and can once again be placed between UXM #142 and #143.


Tuesday 9th to Tuesday 30th of November, 1982.


X+4Y+224 to X+4Y+245.

Contemporary Events

Yuri Andropov succeeds Leonid Breznhev as general secretary of the Soviet Union, following the latter's death

Thriller is released, becoming th best selling album of all time.
Anne Hathaway is born.

Standout Line

"In a building dedicated to international peace and cooperation -- yet more often used for inflammatory propaganda and calculated deceit..."  Tom DeFalco describes the UN.  Thank God inflammatory propaganda's been taken off the table, huh?

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