Friday, 16 March 2012

DAZ #16: "Black Magic Woman!"

(A Song For Asgard.)


Disaster strikes!  Dazzler's West Coast support tour has just been cut cruelly short.  Bruce Harris doesn't want the competition, apparently.  Or to have to tell her himself.  Or to have the guy he gets to tell her to wait until after the Seattle gig Lance has driven the band to.  Or have him not wait until she's just about to go on stage?  Why fire your competition when you can try to sabotage them at the same time?  The little shit doesn't even want to fess up at first, trying to blame his management.

Fuck that guy.

Dazzler manages to hold it together enough to deliver one last killer performance, but Bruce has still won (though three encores from his support act probably hasn't cheered him up any).  At least there's some good news, though - Ken the lawyer has flown in from New York to hang out.  Alison takes a moment to freshen up - in the standard manner,stripping to the waist (hello, Hollywood Elbows!) and splashing water on her face, like all women do - and then they head off to dinner.

Ken's attempts to cheer up the shit-canned band don't go tremendously well, but they do provide some comfort (better an out-of-work bass player than a lawyer who can't even juggle, I guess), and it certainly works on Alison.  The two spend the following day sight-seeing and face-sucking along the Pacific Coast, and the next morning, they prepare to board a plane together back to the Big Apple.

Someone else is catching the same flight, though - a woman so beautiful she manages to distract Ken from his insanely hot girlfriend of less than twenty-four hours, and who Dazzler finds strangely familiar.  I'm not sure if this would be much of a mystery even if the cover hadn't blown the gaffe, but I guess we'll never know.

In fairness, we're not kept in suspense long in any case.  Alison's first clue that the Enchantress might have returned for revenge comes when she leaves the plane's bathroom to find she's been transported to some kind of magic castle.  The second is that the Enchantress shows up to tell her she's returned for revenge.  The Asgardian sorceress introduces Dazzler to the witch's former suitors, now transformed into monkeys (Alison might well sympathise with that idea, actually), before casting a spell of silence to render our heroine helpless.  That done, it's payback time.  First on the menu: turning her hapless victim... into weather.

Maybe that was scarier fate in the Dark Ages.

Still, whether or not Dazzler's ordeals are sufficient to violate the Geneva Convention, Odin is not pleased at the sudden arrival of a cone of silence in his domain, and he dispatches the Warriors Three with a cease and desist order.  Her haughty demeanour, they warn her, will avail her naught.  You know, in case she was wondering.  They escort her back to Odin's court, which is currently being presided over by the Vizier, since the All-Father himself has better things to do.  It's kind of like Game of Thrones when Sean Bean was in charge whilst Full Monty was out stabbing pigs, only this guy has concentric plant-pots on his head, or possibly an archaic coffee machine.

Much like Ned Stark, the Vizier manages to come up with an ostensibly fair ruling that's actually the worse plan possible: he demands the Enchantress gains her revenge in a trial by combat against Alison.  The Enchantress is well satisfied - as a goddess she already has a major advantage over Dazzler even if her spell of silence wasn't still clinging to young Ms Blaire like farts after egg foo yung.  The Vizier is smarter than he looks, though, and as the entirety of Asgard assembles to watch two women beat the crap out of each other, he surreptitiously undoes the enchantment.

Then, battle is joined.  Line-of-sight spells against radiant brilliance bound by the laws of physics.  Maybe a fairer contest than one might think, especially since Dazzler isn't above socking her opponent when the opportunity presents itself. 

Fisticuffs aren't enough to get the job done, though, nor can the duel's accompanying rhythm section (who to a man hate the Enchantress) send sufficient sound her way to provide the power needed to end the confrontation.  Just as Dazzler seems finished, however, Odin returns, and demands to know what's going on.  The Enchantress explains that Alison owes her for cheating during their original auditions and Odin, who whatever else one wants to say about him rarely misses a trick, demands the two try out for him, so he can judge whose talents are superior.

(I am not going to make a "talents" joke here, I assure you.  I'm simply going to note that if Odin replaced Simon Cowell, it would make the world a better place.  Not just on TV, either.  I mean across the board.  If Cowell just became Odin whenever he took a shit, that would still be something.)

The Enchantress's song is perfect.  Not a note out of place.  Every intonation and inflection exactly what the most intelligent computer imaginable would choose if its processors concluded it would be best to break your heart.

Dazzler responds by singing like a human.  Perfectly imperfect.  Nothing reinforces beauty like the tiny flaws that bring the rest into focus.  Hell, she does so well she reduces Volstagg to tears, a response you have to assume is exceptionally unusual, save for days when his roast boar arrives at the table with the fat trimmed off.

(Full disclosure: that would reduce me to tears as well.  Possibly tears of cider, though that would depend on whether or not I'd ordered the boar for breakfast.)

The victor is clear.  Odin hands Alison an Asgardian lyre as her prize, and returns her to Midgard.  There, she meets a very worried Ken, and, after warning him that there are some aspects of her life she doesn't intend to share (a slightly odd position, I'd have thought, since he already knows she's a mutant), the two of them take a cab from the airport, back into New York City.


We'll assume that, once again, Mr Harris spent two nights in one town, and then took a night off.  This issue itself takes place over two days, taking us into the middle of the initial Wolverine mini-series.  I guess romance has gone global in the Marvel Universe at that point.


Friday 16th to Sunday 18th of March, 1983.


X+4Y+340 to X+4Y+342.

Contemporary Events

Ivan Matveyevich Vinogrado, a Russian mathematician who specialised in analytic number theory (yeah, like that's any great shakes) passes away.

Standout Line

"If he tries that, I'll habeas his corpus so fast, he won't know what hit 'im!"

Our latest lesson in lawyer banter.

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