Dazzler #6 – The Hulk May Be Hazardous To Your Health
Dazzler #7 – Fort Apache, The Hulk!
Okay this next storyline for Dazzler has a lot going against it for me: the Hulk, country music, the woe is me I’m a starving artist thing, and Nurse Collins – who is still acting like she’s time traveled from 1940 and thinks Alison is a bad seed and how she has to save Paul (the man that she secretly loves) from Alison. All that said the issue is kind of passable, I don’t think I’ll ever read these issues again, but I don’t feel bad that I’ve spent the time to read them. Sure there are some weird things like the fact that the cover of issue 7 is very similar to issue 3 and there’s the whole ‘Hall of Science’ thing – this is a college, shouldn’t at the very least it just be ‘the science building? – and the previously mentioned cliché and far too campy storyline that Nurse Collins is sporting; but at the same time the disco singer is performing country music and fighting The Hulk. I know I complained in previous issues that Dazzler is feeling more like a Marvel Team-Up spinoff instead of an additional X-book, but this is one time where they could have afforded to throw in some Avengers, or Spider-Man or X-Men simply given the fact that Alison and Hulk are on such drastically different power levels that it’s not even funny. We get more of the whole Alison/Paul plot which I can take or leave, and we see Alison experience some anti-mutant bashing of her own which I know this is going to sound weird is nice. I don’t like that she’s so far been exempt of the anti-mutant hysteria and everyone who knows that Alison is a mutant just loves her and accepts her. We meet ‘The Enforcers’ (Montana, Ox and Fancy Dan) who are working for some shadowed figure that believes Alison’s agent Harry S. Osgood a murder who in his own right deserves to die. On top of that Alison’s also being followed around by the Techmaster – in his first appearance. Technically he’s a Dazzler character because outside of his appearances in her book he’s only ever popped up one time and that was in an issues of an Avengers book over 20 years later. The one thing that really stuck out for me in these two issues was the story pacing – there was actually a build up and a seamless progression to the storyline instead of rapid mid-page gear shifting that has been going on for a few issues now in Uncanny X-Men.
Marvel Team-Up #109 – Critical Mass!
Spider-Man and Paladin are in a heated battle with the new villain Thermo when Dazzler runs into them while she’s on her way home from a recent performance. She jumps into the fight when Thermo is about to kill Spider-Man and distracts him long enough so the three of them can escape. Alison and Paladin take the critically injured Spider-Man back to Alison’s apartment to recover while everyone tries to figure out their next move. Thermo runs into some cultists who quickly turn into his lackeys when they are promised similar powers to his. After another rather large battle Thermo eventually falls and everyone else goes on their own separate ways. This was actually interesting, I want to know more about Paladin (so much like Spider-Woman this might be something I look into after I’m all caught up on the X-books) and I’m honestly surprised by how much I enjoy the interaction between Alison and Peter; I wish that they would team up a lot more than they do.
Marvel Super-Heroes #10 – Sabertooth Stalks The Subway
Marvel Super-Heroes #11 – Cry Vengeance
This next stop isn’t so much a retcon as it is fleshing out of history. Ms. Marvel originally had her own comic book series, but it was canceled on the 23rd issue, and these next two stories were supposed to be issues 24 and 25. The Sabertooth issue was obviously closer to being finished because this one actually had a cover done for it. I would have skipped this one but it does tie in to Department H going back on their word to leave Logan alone by recruiting Sabertooth and extraditing him to Canada to begin his training to return Weapon X to them. Carol has to deal with his escape when her friends almost get killed when the transport crashes in to the café they are in, and Carol begins to be haunted by visions of her own death thanks to her 7th sense. The second issue takes place directly before Avengers Annual #10- Mystique and Destiny are trying to keep Ms. Marvel and Rogue separated because of all of the potential futures that Destiny has seen will lead to Rogue’s death. The teenage Rogue doesn’t take this well and looks at it like she’s being excluded and she goes off to fight Ms. Marvel on her own. They do add some additional information when they talk about Rogue joining the X-Men after needing their help and how Carol eventually transitions into Binary – but those are stories soon to be told….
Avengers Annual #11 – By Friends – Betrayed!
Speaking of stories soon to be told… here we have the first appearance of Rogue. Spider-Woman finds a woman floating in the river and takes her to the hospital to be examined. A little funny nod there’s a young girl named Maddie Pryor running around the hospital. Jessica brings in Charles Xavier to mindscan the woman after finding out that she is Carol Danvers a former Avenger. Carol’s memories have been removed and Charles begins to work on helping her regain who she is. Jessica goes the Avengers for help only to find out that Rogue has been there and absorbed Captain America and Thor’s powers as well and is using them to break out the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants who have been in prison for some time now. Rogue and Mystique do manage to free the Brotherhood but when Rogue’s powers start to decrease they are forced to flee which leaves Blob, Avalanche, Destiny and Pyro back in prison after the lost battle with the Avengers and Spider-Woman. Jessica takes the Avengers back to the X-Men’s mansion to come face to face with Carol. There’s a few things that they talk about that I really had no clue what was going on because I don’t follow The Avengers but the gist of it seems to be that Carol met a man from Limbo (oh I can’t wait until we get to some Limbo stuff in the main X-books) who used his powers to make her believe that she was in love with them – he gook her with him and basically got her pregnant with… himself and she returned to earth to give birth to him only it didn’t happen, or it did and then the Avengers sent him back to Limbo or something. Like I said I didn’t really follow what was going on. I know this is an Avengers book, but I would rather have had the book focus more on Rogue and Carol as opposed to Jessica and the Avengers fight the Brotherhood. Since this was essentially Rogue and Carol’s story it feels like they spent more time on other characters than they did the two of them.
The Uncanny X-Men Annual #5 – Oh, La La… Badoon!
The next story brings us the return of Arkon and his homeworld as the X-Men and Sue Storm team up to save the Fantastic Four and Arkon from the evil Brother Royal and his Baddon warriors who have not only taken over Arkon’s world, but have now apparently been killing Shi-ar scouts and preparing to move on to Earth next. Ororo has been suffereing bouts of nightmares thanks to Sashia who has been using them to reach out to her friend in an attempt to show her that her people need help. All in all the story was good, I liked this visit to Arkon’s world a lot more than the first annual that featured him. This is what an annual should be; it’s a little bonus reward for everyone who has stuck through the book the entire year. Big events or revelations (like Amanda or introducing her mother and Kurt’s foster mother Margali, or the introduction of Rogue) or a chapter of a major over all story arch that forces you to read it. It should be a fun little outing that has little to nothing to do with the current plots of it’s main book.
Dazzler #6 – The Hulk May Be Hazardous To Your Health: B
Dazzler #7 – Fort Apache, The Hulk!: B
Marvel Team-Up #109 – Critical Mass!: A
Marvel Super-Heroes #10 – Sabertooth Stalks The Subway: B
Marvel Super-Heroes #11 – Cry Vengeance: B
Avengers Annual #11 – By Friends – Betrayed!: C
The Uncanny X-Men Annual #5 – Oh, La La… Badoon!: A