Sunday, 29 July 2012
DAZ #27: "Fugitive!"
Stone the crows, Dazzler's gone bi-monthly! Which is handy, since it means at long last I've caught up with UXM and NMU. It's the little victories, y'know?
Anyway, onwards. That's a lovely cover. Particularly the way the checks on Dazzler's dress match up with those on the settee. I presume that's a reference to the fact she's on the run and so she's trying to blend into the scenery. I seem to say this a lot, but whilst it's hardly subtle, it still gets points for trying something different.
But is this lovely image indicative of a creative renaissance? Or is it just to distract from another penciller-as-writer disaster lurking within?
Well, it starts off reasonably enough. We get two pages which are basically a recap of the comic to date, but I guess that's forgivable when a new writer is taking over (though that said, I'm not sure the summary is particularly helpful). This is no time for brooding on the past, though; the woman in the seat in front of Dazzler suddenly reveals herself to be Rogue!
Alison is stunned, as well she might be. How did Rogue sneak on board wearing her trademark green hood without our heroine noticing? And how did she know Alison was on board in the first place? Actually, I'm betting this is probably - oh no! Rogue's grabbed Lois, absorbed her power, and seems to have killed her! Yeah, this is definitely looking like - CHRIST! Rogue's used Lois' power to melt Dazzler's face! There's no way this isn't a - oh, and now the bus has fallen off a cliff and everyone's dead.
EXCEPT IT WAS ALL A DREAM! Phew, what a relief! Except not really. Three pages of reminiscence I'll grant Springer, but a seven page dream sequence? That's not a good way to kick things off. We're almost halfway through his first issue as writer, and all we know is that the half-sisters are still on the run.
As such, they find themselves a motel by the bus station. Having now gotten to LA, their interim plan of heading west has pretty much run its course (Utopia still being some 350 issues away), and something new is called for. Alison returns to the idea of contacting the authorities, but alas, she's still stuck on trying to convince Lois she might not have actually killed anyone (because girls are, like, totally hysterical sometimes), and making it worse by injecting some narcissistic "I know what it's like" bullshit into the bargain. Newsflash, lady: you are not "haunted every minute" by your power. You've used it to further your fucking career. There's nothing wrong with that, obviously, but trying to compare it to a girl who's mutant ability is to kill people at random (plus melt ashtrays, apparently) is breathtakingly self-absorbed, even for our favourite starlet.
Unsurprisingly, Alison's suggestions seem to be falling on deaf ears, but events overtake our duo in any case, as pictures of Lois' struggle with the hobo from DAZ #26 are posted under the door, along with a phone number. Lois puts two and two together and surmises that someone has been trailing them from New York, which seems obvious, but rather begs the question of why. Is it blackmail? Lois doesn't exactly look loaded, and there's going to be some expense involved in tailing her across the country. It all seems like long odds, quite frankly, though I suppose given whomever we're talking about happened to be hidden nearby when the original fracas took place, and had their camera, perhaps they're just used to things breaking their way.
(Writing that paragraph suddenly gave me a mental image of Longshot as a stalker/peeping Tom, and I'm going to have to lie down for a while to recover.)
Not sure of what else to do, Dazzler calls the number they've been given. A man picks up the phone and explains the deal. It is blackmail, but he doesn't want money; he wants Alison and Lois to murder someone. He gives them an hour to consider the alternatives: snuff the man he wants snuffed, or the negatives end up with the police. With that done, our would-be assassin-maker phones his own boss, who it turns out is blackmailing him; he has to find Lois, or some rather interesting details are going to be sent to the FBI.
Okay. I think I can just about tie together what's probably happening. Blackmailer #1 presumably want Blackmailer #2 dead. Perhaps he lacks the will to try to do it himself, and the money to pay off anyone else to do it. Instead, then, he's going to blackmail Lois into pulling the trigger. If he was following her on the orders of Blackmailer #2, that explains why he has the photos, and this way, if Lois kills his boss, he's in the clear, but if something goes wrong, he can spring from the woodwork and point out he's delivered Lois.
Which is a reasonable plan, except that he's blown the fact he's following Lois, and if she fails to kill his boss, he has to find a way to explain why she was trying. Other than that, it's a brilliant scheme.
Dazzler persuades her half-sister that their best move is to pretend to go along with their mysterious stalker's plan, but she phones Angel in the hope he's nearby and willing to provide back-up. Alas, the call goes through to voice-mail, so our heroines get in the car provided by Blackmailer #1 without any idea as to whether Warren will show up before they're ordered to kill their target and rifle through his safe.
WWIII (as he likes to be called) hasn't shown up by the time they've gotten into their quarry's mansion, however, and Dazzler freezes, unsure of what to do. Disgusted by her brief hesitation, Blackmailer #1 emerges from the shadows and accuses her of trying to pull a fast one. He's got a gun in his hand. JUST SHOOT THE GUY YOURSELF, we scream.
Maybe he'd have done it, actually. Maybe his synapses would finally have started firing, and he'd realise he's inside the home of the guy he wants dead, and he's the only person there with a pistol. We shall never know, though, because Angel chooses this moment to smash through the window. Blackmailer #1 is so surprised he almost doesn't manage to immediately shoot him down.
Worthington's arrival has at least provided sufficient distraction for Alison to leap towards the TV set, turn it on full blast, and channel the sound into a burst of light sufficient to incapacitate their opponent. Warren proves to be badly injured but alive, but they're not out of the woods yet. The man Blackmailer #1 wanted dead has awoken (despite being drugged by someone: SHOOT THE GUY YOURSELF), and he and and Lois recognise each other...
It's been three days since Alison and Lois left Pittsburgh, and this issue takes place over a single day.
Dazzler describes the events going back to at least DAZ #8 as having taken place over a year or so. By our count, it's more like seven months, but Alison might be thinking of earlier events as well, or just rounding up.
Saturday 6th of August, 1983.
Shehu Shegari retains his title of President of Nigeria following national elections. His government falls to a military coup on New Year's Eve that same year.
"I'm all right! Alive! Pretty!"
If nothing else, Springer's got the character down, you can't deny that.