Tuesday, 12 March 2013
DAZ #32: "Moon Lighting"
(Just look what it did to Cybill Shepherd.)
Let's take a break from watching half the Marvel Universe punch each other in the face, and take a look at what Dazzler's up to.
This is a hand-off issue, as Jim Shooter departs the title to dedicate himself full time to calling curvy women "bloated" and shouting at people to hand in their pages on time. I don't recall reading anything by Mike Carlin before, so I'm not sure what to expect, but this issue is both less intense than Shooter's last issue (the surprisingly emotionally draining "Tidal Wave") and a bit less funny than Shooter was in general.
Since we last saw Dazzler, it transpires that she's gotten a job as an aerobics instructor, perhaps misinterpreting Olivia Newton-John's "Physical" as career advice for young starlets. At least it's a steady wage, if nothing else. Alas, her other life once again intrudes when the Inhumans teleport in mid-session, desperate for Alison's help. Somewhat worried about her cash flow, our heroine turns Medusa down, even after the Inhuman Queen points out that Dazzler is only still alive to sweat through her leotard because Black Bolt saved her life less than a year before. Clearly despicable self-absorption is a trait that's survived the authorial hand-off.
Once Alison has finished the class and had coffee with a friend, however, she bumps into Medusa and Lockjaw again - apparently the terrible crisis affecting Attilan isn't so serious there's no time for window shopping - and finally Dazzler relents because, hey, free trip to the moon.
Of course, this may not be the best time to plan a lunar holiday - why else would the Inhumans have asked for help in the first place? It turns out there's a giant field of impenetrable darkness marching across the moon's surface, heading straight for the Blue Area, and Black Bolt wants Alison to use her powers to work out what's going on. Apparently Dazzler has been interrupted in her official job so that she can spend time lighting the moon OH MY GOD YOU GUYS I SEE WHAT CARLIN'S DOING HERE.
In actual fact, the darkness is being caused by the supervillain Blackout, who's on the run with fellow miscreant Moonstone after they escaped Project: Pegasus and a battle with the Avengers. Moonstone needs more of her eponymous fuel to get her back in the game, and Blackout is her best chance of stealing it from the Inhumans; a gigantic cloud of psychic squid-ink being the best of all forms of infiltration, obviously.
Not that the villainous duo even get the chance to try. Black Bolt begins feeding the awesome power of his voice into whatever conversion process Dazzler instinctively uses, and the resulting burst of energy quickly reveals the interlopers. Seeing the enemy and capturing them are two different things, of course, and a strange kind of tug of war (more of a push of war really) develops between Dazzler's light and Blackout's darkness, with the latter strengthened by bursts of light from Moonstone, which really just makes everything more confusing. Eventually, Alison wins out - having Black Bolt's mumbling as a power supply tends to make things fairly easy, and Blackout, er, blacks out. This is somewhat problematic, as Blackout's darkness was the only thing the villains could use to breathe. This makes absolutely no sense, of course, any more than the idea that Quicksilver can apparently outrun the effects of hard vacuum exposure, but this is the '80s, and basic science hasn't been invented yet.
With our heroes victorious, there's just enough time for a round of delighted back-slapping, and then Lockjaw is pressed into service returning the villains to Pegasus and Dazzler to her apartment, just in time for her alarm to go off. Another day of work beckons. Moon lighting is never an easy thing to get right...
This story takes place from some time after 2pm Thursday afternoon to around 9am Friday morning. Quite how so much time is sucked up whilst Alison is on the moon, I've no idea.
This is Dazzler's third weekly class, so it's been at least a fortnight since her first work-out, and the script makes it clear it took her some time to find the job. Aside from a reference to Nekoboh, this issue has pretty much nothing tying it to recent issues, so we can put it more or less where we like. Since it's been three months since the last Dazzler issue, then, we can place this three months further ahead without any problem, and thus bring it closer to what's happening in the other X-Books that month.
Thursday 3rd to Friday 4th of November, 1983.
X+5Y+199 to X+5Y+200.
Just one day after President Reagan signs a bill creating Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Reverend Jessie Jackson announces his candidacy for US president.
"I thought hangin' out on the dark side of the moon'd be cool... 'til I found out it ain't really dark -- just turned away from the sun." - Blackout.
You heard it here first, people. Night time isn't dark, it's just unable to access sunlight. A critical difference, I'm sure you agree.
These are the two ringworms Project: Pegasus were so interested in studying? I assume it was part of a research grant investigating the links between super-villainy and a failing educational system.