Thursday, 29 March 2012

DAZ #18: "The Absorbing Man Wants You!"

(Ingratitude and incandescence.)


Today's comic answers one of the most persistent and fascinating questions in the Marvel Universe: do the Thing's rocky lips allow him to play woodwind?

The answer, True Believers, is yes.  He's absolutely no good at it, but he has just about enough skills, accompanied by the Human Torch on guitar, to provide backing for Alison as the three jam out in the Baxter Building.

Turns out, this isn't entirely a social call, though.  Mr Fantastic has a new invention for Dazzler, a device which gives off a massive amount of sound that she can process to create exceptionally brilliant light shows. 

Dazzler reacts like he's passed over a self-administered rohypnol kit.  Gods, Alison has been a pain these last couple of issues.  Maybe Reed shouldn't have called it a weapon (referring to it as a can of mace, as he does later on, is a much better idea), but watching Dazzler throw a strop about how she only wants to be a singer is infuriatingly ungrateful, and totally unmindful of her own history.  Since she started up her singing career, Dazzler has been possessed once, kidnapped at least four times, been attacked by witches, demons and aliens, and been forced to face off against Doctor Doom, the Hulk and She-Hulk, and motherfucking Galactus.  It's like being offered a better deal on car insurance and screaming that you don't intend to be a drag racer.

Eventually the FF talk Dazzler into accepting her present, mainly because Dazzler finally recalls just how many supervillains have tried to take chunks out of her recently, but rather than apologise, or even admit Reed has a point, she states she will only use it in order to improve her stage act.  Reed offers to show her how to work it, but she blows him off.  He's only a fucking super-genius with no communication skills, how important can a demonstration be.

(So does she practice with it before using it on-stage?  Does she hell.  She just grabs it, turns it on, and temporarily blinds her entire audience.  Because massively powerful weapons might need tinkering with before you use them as stage-props. Did she learn nothing from Techmaster?  And obviously, she immediately blames Reed entirely, for leaving the dial turned to "IMMEDIATE DANGER!!!" instead of "upcoming finale."  First she blames Angel for her cheating on Ken with him, and now it's Reed's fault she waves a loaded gun at her audience only to claim surprise when it goes off.  I liked this character an awful lot more when she understood the concept of personal responsibility.)

Speaking of Angel, what else is going on in our characters' lives?  Well, Angel himself has flown over to the house of Dazzler's father, and explains his cunning plan to Carter's mother. You'd assume this was an obvious dead end, to be honest, since it's hard to imagine Alison's grandmother knows anything about Katherine Blaire that she hasn't shared with Alison herself.  On the other hand, if anyone is going to be arrogant enough to assume Dazzler just wasn't up to the job of quizzing her grandmother, it's going to be Warren.

Meanwhile, Carter himself is in a frightful state.  Confronting Alison after she rifled through her mother's boxes has apparently brought an awful lot back, too much it seems for him to handle.  I feel more than a little sorry for anyone who's future is riding on his judgements today.

Lastly, we take a look in on the Absorbing Man, who's arrived in town to get his long-delayed revenge on the Avengers.  For reasons I don't entirely understand (presumably either an editor-mandated explanation, or blatant page filling), we're treated to an extended flashback letting us know what Creel has been up to lately.  Frankly, this is another one of those occasions where the flashbacks seem a much better story than what's going on right now (making this the exact opposite of Lost, of course) - Creel battles the Hulk somewhere in Polynesia, is knocked out mid-way through absorbing the properties of the island they're fighting on, and goes all Jasconius as he's awoken by a tribe he immediately takes over.

Of course, total control probably isn't all it's cracked up to be when your followers have nothing to offer but coconuts and grass skirts, so he's back in town to get him some payback.  And in order to do that, he needs our heroine.

Meanwhile, Alison has taken Ken to a baseball game (he doesn't like the sport, but he's happy to go along because of understanding the concept first described by Carl Jung as "not being a pissy bitch"). Not surprisingly, he wants to talk about the night Dazzler unceremoniously chucked him out of her apartment, and whether Warren was involved.  It's a little hard for him to hold Alison's attention, though ; he's just her boyfriend, and she has a game to watch and an angel to daydream about.

The next night, Dazzler is gearing up for a gig (the one where she sears the retinae of everyone in the building), and the Absorbing Man, having already threatened Harry and Lance, bursts into the venue.  He knows that the Avengers are fans, and wants to exchange her life for theirs.  So guess what Dazzler needs now?  Maybe some kind of weapon?  It's too late, though, she's left it in her dressing room following the rods-and-cones apocalypse a few minutes earlier.  Creed gets to the device before she does.

All is not necessarily lost, however.  Creel doesn't know that Dazzler is a mutant, and assumes the sound-generator is a light-generator, so it's pretty easy to get him to turn it on.  Then, whilst he's overcome by the cacophony, Dazzler has the opportunity to soak up the vibrations and blast the Absorbing Man to hell.

That was the plan, at least.  Instead, Creel absorbs everything Alison can throw at him, and in the process becomes a fifteen-foot being of angry, angry light.  This, as might be obvious, is Not Good...


This story takes place over two days.  It's also described as early April, which is a bit surprising, given Crusher Creel arrived in New York a few days after Alison got a letter dated early March.  There's also the fact that Angel seems to have only just begun his search for Katherine.

I suppose one could assume that Creel has changed motels at least once since he got to NYC - especially considering he starts smashing up this one as soon as he gets there.  It's also possible that Angel has just been too flighty (no pun intended, kind of) to get down to business until now.  On the other hand, it can't have been too long, as Ken has only just gotten around to asking about the Angel situation.

Let's assume that Spider-Woman's letter was delayed by an extra week, and that this story takes place about a week and a half after the fight with Doctor Octopus.  That puts it at the very start of April, just after the conclusion of the first Wolverine limited series, and just before UXM Annual #5.


Friday 1st to Saturday 2nd of April, 1983.


X+5Y+31 to X+5Y+32.

Contemporary Events

Matt Lanter is born, an American actor best known to geeks as the voice of Annakin Skywalker in The Clone Wars series (the mediocre CGI one, not the phenomenal earlier version).

Standout Line

"I was just gettin' into the "Tiger Rag"!"
"What?  But I was playin' "Purple Haze"!" - The Thing and the Torch.

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