Dazzler #14 – Without Getting Killed or Caught…!
Harry gets Alison and her band a gig opening up for Bruce Harris in LA so Alison, Beefer, Hunch, Marx and Lance all head out for the gig. Meanwhile the mob hires LaFarge; an assassin, to take out Joe Cartelli who is also in LA at the time at Dazzler’s concert. Naturally Alison stops the hit and creates enough of a distraction for Joe to leave and come back as Blue Shield. There’s some confusion and the mob in LA actually thinks Lance is Blue Shield since he was seen running around shortly before the hero arrives, so Lance and Alison are taken hostage. It turns out that the mob has She-Hulk (her first appearance in this book) under a form of mob control and is using her to try to kill Lance. We basically see a retelling of the time Alison fought Hulk but this time with She-Hulk. The issue is a fun little story and I’d probably read it again, its fun for what it was because it didn’t really try to be anything but what it was. One thing I’m sick of is the whole ‘Alison could have been a lawyer’ thing, does it have to be mentioned practically every page? I can’t really complain though because She-Hulk had a similar struggle so at least this time it makes sense.
Dazzler #15 – Private Eyes
Alison and her band continue to open for Bruce Harris, this time the tour takes them to San Francisco which just so happens to be the home base of Spider-Woman. Alison sees a truck that has the same symbol of the piece of her mother’s jewelry she recently found and decides to investigate. After a rough start she contacts Jessica Drew and hires her to look into her missing mother. It’s a little odd that Alison didn’t know that Jessica was Spider-Woman, but that could be just me. I assumed that since the X-Men know Jessica’s secret and Alison’s, and that Jessica knew the X-Men’s secrets, and Alison’s, and that Alison knew the X-Men’s secret that she’d naturally know Jessica’s as well. The animosity between Jessica and Alison, and later Alison and Spider-Woman is a bit odd considering they didn’t fight the last time they met up. Anyway, it turns out that the truck leads to a S.H.I.E.L.D. training facility that Alison and Spider-Woman barely get out of unscathed. So Alison’s mom might have had government ties… that fits in with her father being a lawyer, and it might explain the distaste he has if he thought his wife operated outside of ‘normal’ laws – but I’m not sure how that would translate to Carter hating Alison picking music over being a lawyer….
Dazzler #16 – Black Magic Woman!
Alison meets up with Ken (I guess those two are on their way to being a couple now) after Bruce has Dazzler and her band fired (from upstaging him) and make their way back to New York. On the plane Alison gets kidnapped and taken to Asgard where the Enchantress has been plotting her revenge. It makes sense that Alison pretty much held her own in the physical combat between herself and Enchantress since she is powerful enough for Galactus to use her for his own needs. And I like the idea of Alison battling Gods, it kind of puts her on a whole different power level and takes away a rather large chunk of the cheesiness that comes with her character – but my problem is that the epic battle between an evil God and a mortal suddenly turns into a sing-off. This is just as bad as Alison defeating the Techmaster by beating him senseless with her purse, this time she won a battle against a God by singing. What’s next, Alison besting Dark Phoenix in a roller skating competition?
The Uncanny X-Men #158 – The Life That Late I Led…
The X-Men are back on Earth now, along with Lilandra, Oracle and the Starjammers. Charles is still out of it and Oracle tries to wake him unsuccessfully. Scott and Corsair have taken off and gone to visit Alex and Lorna to tell them everything that has happened and that Corsair is Alex’s father. The remaining Starjammers go toe to toe with Carol and Senator Robert Kelly officially declares the X-Men outlaws. Logan and Carol use their military clout to get themselves (and Ororo) into the Pentagon so they can erase all the files the government has on the X-Men and set loose a computer virus that Kitty designed. At the Pentagon the three of them bump into Rogue (I’m not sure why she’s there, but she is) and they fight which draws the attention of Mystique (who works there under her Raven Darkholme identity) who then follows Carol and attempts to kill her. The issue is good, but it does raise more questions than it answers. Why was Rogue at the Pentagon? Why did Carol only erase her files and not the X-Men (she does implant the virus though)? With Mystique in custody how will it be explained that Raven isn’t around? Why has no one still returned Illyana to her home? – Yes, that still bothers me.
The Uncanny X-Men #159 – Night Screams!
Well for this issue we see the first (X-book) appearances of Harmony Young (Misty Knight’s roommate) and Dracula – though I’m not entirely sure why. The title has felt very disjointed lately and I’ve found myself often looking back at the issue numbers to make sure that I hadn’t inadvertently skipped an issue without knowing. Last issue the X-Men were on Magneto’s island and then they were in the Pentagon and now all of a sudden the issue starts with them at Misty’s apartment while Kitty goes to visit her parents. I don’t know why Dracula was chosen to be the villain of the piece here but he is. It’s interesting because for the first time we really see how important God and religion is to Kurt (and Kitty, although as the series progresses that particular plot obviously is more Kurt-centric) and how Logan doesn’t really have faith in anything. Dracula tries to turn Storm so most of the issue is about Ororo slowly recovering from her attack and then her humanity slowly being eaten away. One thing I found interesting was the mention of Ororo’s age, the paramedics state that she’s in her mid twenties which makes sense sort of – if you forget that through the years various titles (I’ve covered here already) alternate between Ororo being younger than Bobby and her being older than all of the original X-Men. We get a continuation of sorts with Scott, Lorna, Alex and Corsair reconnecting but that’s not really the focal point of the story and honestly it’s barely the ‘c’ plot. What makes this issue feel even stranger for me is that it wasn’t even an October issue, so I can’t even just wrap this up to being a Halloween issue. I know I don’t talk much about the art of these books – mostly because I am so far behind that I choose to ignore it, but some times something just sticks out for me. I spoke about it briefly before with the whole Nightcrawler teleporting and not going ‘bamf’ scene before so this isn’t unheard of, I guess I’ll keep it up if something really grabs me. Like this image here... the art over the course of the book seems to go from being good to looking weird, but this image here – to me I looked at that and was stunned. I don’t know what it is about it, but it’s breathtaking and it really pops on the page for me.
The Uncanny X-Men Annual #6 – Blood Feud!
Well this particular annual features a sort of follow up to the recent encounter between the X-Men and Dracula. We see Rachel van Helsing and Dracula’s daughter Lilith for the first time in an x-book and we learn that Kitty’s parents are planning on getting a divorce. The plot is pretty straightforward Rachel has a book that contains a spell which will destroy all vampires so Dracula turns her in order to force her into giving him the book. Once he learns that Rachel has placed safeguards around the book which will prevent a vampire from getting it Dracula uses his bond with Storm to compel her into doing his bidding, and once she breaks herself of his spell he simply threatens her into doing his work. Meanwhile Kitty starts acting very strangely, and it turns out she has been possessed by Lilith, Dracula’s daughter who exists to destroy him. The X-Men eventually slay Dracula and Lilith leaves Kitty’s body and soul intact, the only loose end is Rachel who is now a vampire. Ororo tries to kill her, but Logan spares her from carrying the weight of that on her shoulders. Now free of Dracula’s power Ororo and Logan (who was also bitten) are left to wonder if the battle is truly over.
What If? #24 – What If… Wolverine Was Lord of The Vampires?
This issue brings us an alternate universe in which Ororo was turned into a vampire when she met Dracula the first time and didn’t turn on him which allowed Dracula to turn Wolverine, Colossus and Nightcrawler into vampires. To make a long story incredibly short, Logan doesn’t like taking orders from Dracula so he challenges him for the position of Lord of the Vampires, after a heated battle Logan wins and begins his reign of terror. Pretty much this entire story can be summed up by saying: “in this story everybody dies… which teaches us that everybody dies.” It would take way too long to list all the characters that were killed, turned, and staked so I won’t get into that. The resolve of the issue is a little too quick, Punisher dies and the spirit of Doctor Strange convinces Logan that part of himself is still human and uses the spell to destroy all vampires.
Dazzler #14 – Without Getting Killed or Caught…!: B
Dazzler #15 – Private Eyes: A
Dazzler #16 – Black Magic Woman!: B
The Uncanny X-Men #158 – The Life That Late I Led…: B
The Uncanny X-Men #159 – Night Screams!: B
The Uncanny X-Men Annual #6 – Blood Feud!: B
What If? #24 – What If… Wolverine Was Lord of The Vampires?: B