Tuesday, 30 April 2013

DAZ #33: "Chiller!"

("Without the soul for getting down...")


"Chiller!" is another example of the new direction Dazzler has taken, where encounters with Marvel A listers or even super-powered villains are becoming less common, with the title exploring instead how Alison's mutant status and powers informs and interacts with what would otherwise be an entirely... well, not normal life, but pretty much physically possible.  Last issue was certainly superpower themed, but other than that there's been nothing but a rampaging purple dinosaur to spice things up since the end of issue #28.

We rejoin Dazzler more or less where we left her; trying to keep her new job as an aerobics instructor whilst periodically attempting to re-start her music career.  Apparently she also takes time out now and then to see a movie, though apparently she's not much of a horror fan, fleeing "Bloody Mary" (alas, not a real film) the instant things get dicey.

The horror film angle will unsurprisingly become important later, so we'll come back to it. After walking out of the cinema, Dazzler's found herself at a loose end, so she quickly accepts an invitation from her womanising agent Roman Nekoboh to attend a swanky LA party.  The plan is for her to schmooze with as many of the great and good as possible, hoping to find inroads on a project or two, but for some reason Roman won't let her talk to one gentlemen in particular; noted film director Bob Benson.  Bob directed the film Dazzler only just ran out of, but even after she blurts this out, he wants her to audition for a music video he's putting together.  Hmm.  Music video? Zombies?  Rhymes with "Chiller"?  What on Earth are we referencing here?

Roman is far from happy about the idea of Alison working with Benson.  Given his earlier behaviour, there's every chance this is just jealousy, but he insists Benson isn't nearly so careful with his talent's well-being as he should be.  I thought that's the sort of thing unions were supposed to jump on? Then again, whomever looks out for bit-part dancers in LA probably doesn't have quite the muscle you'd see from SAG.  Maybe it's all academic anyway, because just after Benson leaves the party, his car explodes.

Except somehow he survives it.  Indeed, he's several metres away, amongst the undergrowth, when Alison finds him without a mark on him.  Hmm...

The next day, Alison is too busy scanning the papers for her name and hoping Benson still wants her as a dancer to wonder about how Benson's "curse" can generate such significant geographical irregularities.  Fortunately for her (in the short term), the gig is still on, so Alison shows up, gets the gig after a five-second audition,  and the next day gets a zombie makeover, ready for the shoot.

By this point Dazzler is finally beginning to smell a rat: dance auditions usually last longer than a strong sneeze, and also there's the little matter of Benson disappearing to make a phone call about a disaster on set that hasn't actually happened yet.  Curious, Alison decides to play along, to see what Benson is planning.

Actually, what Benson's planning is utterly, inescapably ridiculous. He wants all the dancers to be buried alive on set so that they can rise up and threaten Lingard as he does his "pelvis thing" along a nearby road.  Alison, however, is to be secretly buried without a breathing tube, so that she suffocates, and Bob can get another hit of publicity as his "curse" claims another victim.  That's... a rather strange plan to begin with, to say the least, but what rises it to the level of batshit lunacy is the idea that neither the guy shoveling dirt onto Dazzler's head, nor Dazzler herself, will notice the lack of feeding tube whilst the burial is ongoing.  I'll admit that I've never been buried alive, but I'm confident suggesting ensuring access to oxygen is something one would do prior to saying goodbye to daylight.

Benson plan somehow works, though, at least to begin with.  Perhaps he bribed the stage hand he intends to kill Dazzler, and Dazzler herself simply uses a tiny laser to create her own breathing hole once everyone's backs are turned.  Once Benson's had enough time to believe she's dead, though, he starts the scene, pretends to be concerned when Alison fails to rise from the dead, and heads over to check up on what's going on.

Which, of course, is when Alison thrusts her hand through the dirt she's already weakened with her lasers, and grabs the guy's leg. Nothing beats the classics.

Terrified by the possibility that the girl he wanted to pretend to be the living dead might not be pretending to  the living dead, Benson flees, and when Dazzler rises and chases after her, he breaks down and confesses to trying to kill her, and blowing up his own car, all in front of the news crews he himself had tipped off would gt to see something noteworthy at the video shoot.  Ooh, the irony.

With Benson led away by the cops, everything is right with the world.  Except, of course, for Dazzler not getting paid.  It's always the little things, isn't it...


This story takes place over three days.  On the second day Dazzler's calendar is clearly open on March.  That's something of a hefty leap forward time-wise, but Dazzler's recent (comparative) job stability means it's not unreasonable.  We'll set this story as early as we can, though, bridging the end of February and the start of March.


Wednesday 29th February to Friday 2nd March, 1984.


X+5Y+365 to X+6Y+1.

Contemporary Events

Canadian premiere and sometime Alpha Flight guest star Pierre Trudeau announces his retirement.

American actor Jackie Coogan passes away.  On-screen, he was probably best known as Uncle Fester in the original iteration of The Addams Family, but arguably he made a bigger contribution to American screen acting by suing his parents over their squandering of the money he earned as a child actor, a court case that led to the Coogan Act, the first ever legal protection for the earnings of child actors.

Standout Line

"I like your work and I like to think that you like my work like I like your work." - Teddy Lingard.

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