Friday, 8 June 2012
DAZ #24: "A Rogue In The House"
(Much ado about nothing.)
Rogue arrives at Dazzler's flat and smashes up the place as a message: the Sisterhood is coming. After all that cathartic vandalism, though, Rogue figures she might as well take a breather, wait for Alison to show up, and then give her the message in person. Only Dazzler's warning from a neighbour who saw Rogue acting suspicious saves our heroine from a damn good thrashing, and affords her time to phone her bodyguards: the Heroes for Hire.
Over at their place, Luke and Danny are clearly at a loose end, spending their time firing elastic bands at each other in-between kicking coffee mugs. These people need gainful employment, and beating up a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants sounds like just a ticket. They meet Dazzler outside her building, then head to her flat, bursting in and challenging Rogue.
Iron Fist doesn't want to hit a girl, though, which makes things a little tricky; he goes down pretty quickly. Power Man is rather more pragmatic about the situation, but after trading bone-shattering punches with Rogue for a few moments, she tosses him through the wall, hoping he'll hit the street four stories below (at least, it looks like four, Springer seems to be having problems making his mind up between four and five, and Dazzler herself claims it's six a little later). Luke scrabbles desperately as he falls, slowing his descent, but he's still stunned when he hits the pavement, leaving Dazzler without back-up. Alison concludes she'll have to sort Rogue out herself.
It takes Dazzler a little too long to get up to the battleground, though - if you ask me, attaching her skates whilst still on the ground floor was probably an unwise move in a building without a working elevator - and Rogue is leaving as Alison arrives. This strikes our heroine as odd, of course - why wait for your murder victim and then flee after beating her bodyguards, but Rogue has a plan; she's read Dazzler's noticeboard and knows she'll be visiting half-sister Lois at State University in two days. Why wade through an oncoming storm of police/Feds, when she can take Dazzler out across town soon enough?
Unaware that the creaking above her is some of Damocles' finest kitchenware, Alison scopes out the damage done to her apartment, and her friend. Danny is in bad shape, though I'm finding it a little difficult to feel much sympathy: not wanting to hit women is one thing, but taking one woman's money to keep her alive against another woman, who you already know you won't punch despite your entire selling point being your "Iron Fists", is something else. That shit is just false advertising.
Shaken though she is, Dazzler still has the rest of her life to be going on with: she records some vocals for her album, gets the number of the producer who's hassling her for a date, and then shamelessly heads over to Ken's so he can cook her dinner and "hold [her] and let [her] pretend everything's OK." Might help to pretend you're not tramping yourself around half of NYC while you're at it, dear. Ken rather drives home the point that he's too good for her by silently swearing he'll place himself between her and Rogue if needs be. Angel, meanwhile, is flying around private sports halls so that the Sisterhood don't see him. Maybe he and Dazzler deserve each other after all.
The next day, Dazzler takes a taxi to the Durbach dormitory to visit Lois, whilst Rogue, heavily disguised as "preppy" watches from close by. Upon entering Lois' room, Alison finds her on the floor. She's had another fainting fit (LATENT MUTANT!), but Rogue arrives before we can really get into that. The villain demands to know where Angel is hiding, and isn't impressed by Dazzler's (entirely accurate) claims to ignorance (actually, shouldn't Angel have told her where he was, in case she, say, needed superheroic assistance when the Sisterhood came calling? I really don't like Fingeroth's Angel; he's a dick). Irritated, Rogue slaps Dazzler across the room, and grabs Lois, hoping some vicarious torture will get the job done.
Alison responds by throwing herself through the window.
The gamble pays off in one sense; she hits the ground running (well, skating), and Rogue leaves Lois to chase after her. On the other hand, she's dropped her radio, which leaves her defenceless, especially since she's managed to skate her way into the library, where sound is at a minimum (though a top-heavy cleavage-spilling woman skating in terror from a flying supervillain might be enough to overpower the social contract on this issue). Heading for the recordings room, Dazzler grabs the nearest player and jams its lead into the PA system. "Ode to Joy" blasts out at tremendous volume, charging Dazzler up almost instantly, and she opens fire.
Rogue is too smart to fall for a dazzle burst twice, however, and she quickly grabs her foe, and drains her powers. Only the sudden arrival of Power Man and Iron Fist (now over his distaste of handing out kung-fu sandwiches to the fairer sex) save Dazzler. Luke and Danny are all for pummelling Rogue into unconsciousness before she can recover, but Alison opts to talk, pointing out that the X-Men are MIA in space, making Angel's intel on them a spectacular irrelevance. Her pride hurt by her defeat at the hands of non-mutants, at the fact her plan turned out to be a waste of time, and her shame at having defied Mystique's orders in beginning all this pointless tussling, Rogue retreats, announcing that Dazzler and Angel are now safe from her attentions.
It looks more or less like a happy ending for all concerned. Lois isn't really feeling the party spirit, though. She and her half-sister might be safe from any more super-powered slaps for the forseeable future, but these fainting fits are getting worse and more frequent, and it seems undeniable that something is coming to a head...
This, by the way, is Danny Fingeroth's last issue in his continuous run (though he also wrote DAZ #26), having taken over from Tom DeFalco with issue #8. Fingeroth's run was pretty uneven, though more in terms of tone than quality (which wasn't entirely consistent either, in fairness), but he did produce a lot of good stuff, mainly when he focused on Dazzler's career and social life, and presented it as kind of averagely complicated, difficult and rewarding, rather than the outrageous melodrama it lurched into towards the end.
Rogue's note gives the date of the rendezvous as being on Tuesday, the fifth of October. I can't for the life of me work out what Fingeroth is thinking here. I guess given the February cover date, he might have been writing this in October, but he gave the month in DAZ #18 as early April, and the story has continued more or less uninterrupted since, as Dazzler's family saga unfolded. There's simply no way six months could have passed. We're going to be vetoing this one, I'm afraid, though we can still put the re-match on a Tuesday.
Dazzler mentions that the arson attack on her building happened "the other day", suggesting less than a week has passed. Combining this with what we can salvage from Rogue's note, we'll therefore set the beginning of this story four days after Flame's defeat last issue.
This issue itself takes place over three days.
X+5Y+101 to X+5Y+103.
Pioneer 10 becomes the first man-made object to leave the Solar System.
"I feel terrible thinking this... but if I was a mutant, I'd sure rather be like Rogue than a patsy like Alison." - Lois.
LATENT MUTANT! WILL CLEARLY BE EVIL!