The Uncanny X-Men #151 – X-Men Minus One
The Uncanny X-Men #152 – The Hellfire Gambit
It appears that some time has passed since the last issue because Carol isn’t hanging around the mansion (more of a plot device because it works best if she’s not here for this) on top of that Scott appears to be back with the team and now Kitty’s parents have withdrawn her from Xavier’s school and now placed her in the Massachusetts Academy that Emma Frost runs. There’s a little hiccup though, why didn’t the X-Men ever bother to check and see if Emma was truly dead after their last encounter? On top of that Kitty’s parents… Jean mindwiped them into thinking that being at Xavier’s was the best for her, so did this wear off once Phoenix died? Charles said that he could sense no psychic altering on Emma’s part to their minds, but could that be because of what Phoenix did to them altered them so drastically that anything Emma did would be over shadowed by it? The main plot revolves around Emma bringing Kitty to the Academy in order to come in contact with Storm to switch bodies with her so she can defeat the X-Men once they’ve been beaten down by Sentinels. This itself has a few problems, Emma had to know in advance that someone would come with Kitty to her new school, I suppose that Emma could have switched with anyone, but given Emma and Ororo’s history it seems a little too easy that it be her she switches with. On top of that, I know the Sentinels can be programmed, but we would have to assume that Emma mindwiped Henry or whoever programmed them into leaving out the Inner Circle’s distinct DNA code so they wouldn’t be attacked, that becomes an issue because like I said Emma would had to have known in advance who she would be switching bodies with. The idea that Emma didn’t brainwash Kitty’s parents goes out the window when at the very end Emma says that since the X-Men won they can have Kitty. All in all it was good, I’m glad to see Emma back but this entire story seemed to come out of nowhere and it left a lot of unanswered questions.
Dazzler #8 – Hell… Hell Is For Harry!
Dazzler #9 – The Sound and The Fury!
Well we learn the reason why the Techmaster hired The Enforcers to kill Harry. It turns out that years before Harry took Alison on as a client Harry worked with Billy Bitzer (now Techmaster) who created light shows for his clients. One night things went horribly wrong and ultimately Billy was struck with a bolt of electricity so strong that it melted a large portion of his face and caused him to have to have both of his hands amputated. I guess this is why Harry has been so intent on finding out all about Alison’s light show and how she causes them. Alison ends up having to get involved and fight the Enforcers after they break into her apartment and take Harry the end result is Harry learns that Alison is a mutant. I could say it’s odd that he’s okay with it, but he sees it as a huge marketing potential, and on the other end he probably assumes that since the light show is a part of her because of her mutant powers that she can’t hurt herself with them. Alison doesn’t have any time to rest after convincing Harry not to publically out her as a mutant because she is soon taken hostage by Mr. Meeker and his assistant who had been following her around for some time now. Meeker takes her to a government facility to test her energy abilities under the guise of creating alternative energy recourses. We meet Quasar, Solarr, Nuklo and Klaw for the first time (in an X-book, not their first actual appearances) and Klaw takes advantage of Alison and manipulates her into allowing him to escape. The two battle and unfortunately Klaw gets too close to Alison and she absorbs all of him, Quasar tries to talk Alison down but he’s unsuccessful when the rest of Project Pegasus insists on running more tests on Alison. Meanwhile a mysterious figure watches the events on a monitor screen. I actually liked these two issues, my only problem was that they both are plots that have been done to death (especially in this genre) and other than Alison’s uniquely specific mutant powers nothing new is brought to the table.
Dazzler #10 – In the Darkness… a Light!
Dazzler #11 - …Lest Ye Be Judged!
Okay here we have what is possibly the strangest crossover that we’ve had so far. Galactus (the first time he’s been featured in an X-book) abducts Alison after monitoring her for some time now. He and his robot servant Drone R-11 believe that she alone contains the power to stop Galactus’ current herald Terrax the Tamer. It turns out Terrax’s lust for power took over him and he took over a planet of his own that he was supposed to feed to Galactus, this didn’t go over too well with his boss and Terrax fled into a black hole in order to save himself from his master’s wrath. Being that Dazzler’s mutant power involves light she can fend off the effects of the black hole without causing it to self destruct. Galactus infuses her with his power and pretty much shoots her into the black hole with the vague promise that if Dazzler succeeds he might consider not devouring Earth. After some not so subtle help from Drone R-11 Dazzler is able to overpower and knock out Terrax, she plans to leave him there but thinks better of it when it dawns on her that Galactus will just send someone after her for failing him too. Back on Earth everyone connected to Alison is wondering just what the heck has happened to her. I get the point of this but it’s way too odd that all of Alison’s band, her manager, Harry, Paul and her father all show up at the exact same time at her apartment. And it was a little odd that instead of assuming that Alison was sick her father just assumed that she was strung out on drugs and walked out. There were a few interesting things that I wish they'd touch on more, the idea of Alison not needing music to use her powers. I get that she's a singer and that music will always be a part of the character, but it was nice for it not to be the central focus of what she's doing, and on top of that we get to see how truly powerful the character can be once you strip her away from all her gimmicks.
What If? #33 – What If Dazzler Had Become The Herald Of Galactus?
So now it’s time to see what would have happened if Galactus killed Terrax and appointed Dazzler his new herald. The same deal as before is on the table, Alison helps Galactus and he’ll leave Earth alone. She goes from planet to planet searching for suitable ones for him to eat and the entire time Alison has been feeding him planets that aren’t capable of sustaining life. Eventually she comes across a planet that seems to be deserted and she sends for her master, unfortunately Dazzler quickly discovers that the plant life can actually speak. Somehow Galactus’ deems that his machines were wrong and that it turns out this planet isn’t suitable for consumption at all. It seems like Alison is getting through to the planet eater – unfortunately she’s soon ambushed by an alien armada and attacked. This sends Galactus over the edge and he obliterates them all. Feeling sorry for what has happened he offers Alison a way out of her deal if she wants it. She returns to Earth only to find that so much time has passed since she left that there is no longer any life left on her home planet. This particular story ends with Alison returning to Galactus willingly and continues to feed him planets without any life on them.
Marvel Fanfare #2 – To Sacrifice My Soul!
Marvel Fanfare #3 – Into the Land of Death!
Marvel Fanfare #4 – Lost Souls!
This next four part story sends us back into the Savage Land and introduces us to Vertigo – a Savage Land mutate, she doesn’t actually speak in this story but she makes multiple appearances over the years. We learn that Zaladane didn’t die the last time the X-Men encountered her. Karl/Sauron, Tanya and Candy are all back and Warren teams up with Spider-Man and Ka-Zar to try to stop the Neo-Mutants from taking over the Savage Land. I’m only guessing at the placement of this particular story, but I assume that this happened while Angel had departed from the X-Men because he refused to work with Logan – this fits not only because for most of the story Warren acts alone, but when he does mention Logan it’s clear that he doesn’t like him. The story also takes place after Scott rejoins the X-Men and Kitty has re-enrolled at the Xavier Institute. Both aren’t in this story but Kurt mentions that Scott is ill, I guess he caught whatever bug Kitty had a few issues ago in the Uncanny X-Men. I think this particular story would have worked better as a giant sized special or an annual instead of a story spread out over four issues – it wasn’t that it was a bad story it’s just that the Savage Land is always a mixed bag. I do like Zaladane and Vertigo, but I really didn’t need a lot of the other characters. Brainchild devolving the X-Men and Karl feeding off of them to return them to normal was good, but it was expected that he’d eventually turn into Sauron. Zaladane didn’t really do anything to move the plot along, and honestly she could have been left out of the story altogether. It was a nice touch to team up Peter and Warren, but Peter didn’t spend enough time as Spider-Man for it to even make sense, devolving Warren I guess is going to serve as a bridge to start to get him to come around and not hating Logan so much – so I guess that’s okay. I think it would have been better if this story was done a little later in the time line. They could have done Warren, Carol and Rogue and had a devolved Carol come face to face with Rogue, and maybe have Logan pull Carol back which also would have allowed Warren to see that Logan isn’t that bad of a guy and how easily it is to go over that ledge. I guess at the end of the day what I’m trying to say is the story is good, but it would have been better with a few different characters switched out and condensed.
The Uncanny X-Men #151 – X-Men Minus One: B
The Uncanny X-Men #152 – The Hellfire Gambit: B
Dazzler #8 – Hell… Hell Is For Harry!: A
Dazzler #9 – The Sound and The Fury!: A
Dazzler #10 – In the Darkness… a Light!: A
Dazzler #11 - …Lest Ye Be Judged!: A
What If? #33 – What If Dazzler Had Become The Herald Of Galactus?: B
Marvel Fanfare #1 –Fast Descent into Hell!: C
Marvel Fanfare #2 – To Sacrifice My Soul!: B
Marvel Fanfare #3 – Into the Land of Death!: C
Marvel Fanfare #4 – Lost Souls!: B