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Quote1 Chuckles, I had one dy-no-mite debut goin' till you jokers crashed the gate. Now it's ruined. And for that, sucker, you gonna pay! Quote2
-- Dazzler

Appearing in "Dazzler"

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  • Professor X's Rolls-Royce

Synopsis for "Dazzler"

Continued from last issue.

Cyclops, Phoenix and Nightcrawler investigate a Manhattan dance club to seek out the mutant detected by Cerebro. Cyclops orders Nightcrawler to stay outside and remain on the lookout from the shadows for trouble while he and Jean search the nightclub for the new mutant. They are all unaware they are being watched by minions of the Hellfire Club, who have been sent out to capture the new mutant as well.

Entering the club, Scott and Jean find the club and its patrons to be extremely decadent. As they canvass the room to find the mutant, Jean can’t help finding the sordid thoughts among the crowd somehow attractive.

At the Hellfire Club's headquarters, Jason Wyngarde and the Hellfire Club’s leader Sebastian Shaw get a report from the soldiers surveying the night club. Jason tells Shaw that he will personally see to Jean Grey.

Shaw then checks in with the White Queen in Chicago. Emma reports back showing that she has captured Wolverine, Storm, Colossus (whom she holds in cages) and Professor X (who is being held in a comatose state). The young mutant named Kitty Pryde has escaped, however - for the time being. Unbeknownst to her, Kitty has used her phasing ability to sneak into Emma's industrial complex. Approaching Storm, she discovers that something about the cage has dulled Ororo’s mind. But Storm does rally and manages to rip a tag off her costume to provide Kitty with a phone number to call. Kitty is spotted by one of Emma's guards and she to escape using her phasing powers.

Back in New York, Jean continues to search through the crowd when she is confronted by Jason Wyngarde and instantaneously finds herself experiencing another “timeslip”, seemingly living the past life of an ancestor once more. She finds herself in a burned-out church in the middle of a wedding ceremony between her and Jason, with Sebastian Shaw presiding. After they have exchanged vows, Wyngarde removes Jean’s wedding dress to unveil her as the Black Queen. As the assembled guests (members of the Hellfire Club) cheer, she lustily kisses Jason.

Just as suddenly as it began, Jean finds herself back in the present but kissing the modern day Wyngarde right in front of Scott! Before Jean can even begin to explain (or comprehend) what happened, the club’s musical act takes the stage amid an amazing pyrotechnic light show. She is a singer known as Dazzler. Cyclops mini Cerebro unit indicates that she is the mutant they are seeking.

Outside, the X-Men’s car phone rings and Nightcrawler answers; Kitty is calling for help. Before Nightcrawler can learn anymore, he is attacked by Hellfire Club soldiers in a specially designed suit of armor to combat his powers. The soldier attacks him with a sonic device that is strikingly similar to a Danger Room device that stopped him once before.

Two more soldiers burst through the club’s skylight above the stage. Jean uses her powers to change her and Scott’s street clothes into their X-Men uniforms, shocking Scott at her display of power. The armored soldiers have also been specially fashioned to combat their mutant abilities as well, including one who lobs a glop of ruby quartz material onto Scott’s visor, preventing him from firing his optic blasts, and one who attacks Phoenix with a psionic distorter (which Cyclops notes would require her attackers knowing her specific brainwave patterns.) The soldiers hadn’t anticipated Dazzler entering the fight, distracting them with her light powers. Dazzler’s power renders one of the soldiers catatonic -- something that surprises even Dazzler herself. This allows Jean to free Cyclops and the two switch opponents, easily defeating them.

The last soldier and Nightcrawler crash through the skylight while mixing it up. Phoenix easily dispatches the third opponent. Nightcrawler explains to Cyclops and Phoenix that the X-Men in Chicago were ambushed. Cyclops very quickly explains to Dazzler that she is a mutant and that they need her help in saving their friends. Dazzler is surprised by all this, but agrees to help. As soon as they have departed, the the club explodes, destroying all evidence of the battle. (Obviously the soldier’s armor was detonated in the same manner as the White Queen’s lackeys last issue.)

As Cyclops drives away, he sees Wyngarde looming beneath a streetlamp and wonders what he was doing kissing Jean. As the car passes by, Cyclops vaguely notices that the shadow Wyngarde casts does not match his body, but he is too distracted to reflect on the fact. After the X-Men have gone, Wyngarde laughs over the progress he is making with Jean Grey.

This story is continued next issue.

Notes

  • Although unnamed, the nightclub from this issue can most likely be considered a topical reference subject to the Marvel's sliding timeline. The denizens of the club all sport looks (such as safety pins used as nose studs) that invoke the New Wave genre popular in 1979/1980 time period when this issue was published.
  • There is no actual Delano Street in Manhattan, but there is a Delano High School in the Alphabet City neighborhood of Manhattan's lower East Side neighborhood. In the era when this issue was published, it was a considerably blighted area but did contain a number of "underground" punk / New Wave clubs, much like the one depicted here. (Given the dramatic urban renewal of Manhattan from the 1990s onward, this issue's depiction of lower Manhattan in general may as well be considered a topical reference on the sliding timeline as well.)
  • This issue contains the first full appearance of Sebastian Shaw (although he would not demonstrate his own mutant powers for several more issues.)
  • This issue features (as the tagline states) the "dramatic debut" of the Dazzler. Claremont and Byrne did not create the character (see Trivia section below) and had not originally intended to include her in this story. However, Marvel's top brass had plans to create a big splash for the Dazzler character's introduction and asked Claremont and Byrne to work a guest starring role for her into the story because by this time, X-Men was the companies' top-selling comic book and assured the character would get the widest exposure.
  • The Hellfire Club soldier attacks Nightcrawler with a sonic weapon identical to the one Cyclops used to waylay him during a training exercise in X-Men Vol 1 125, which is in keeping with the plot point that the Danger Room had been bugged and the Hellfire Club kept notes about what went on in there. Similarly, as Cylcops notes, the soldiers use ruby quartz material against Cyclops and attack Phoenix via a method that requires knowledge of her brainwave patters -- specific information that would not likely be available to people outside the X-Men's circle.

Trivia

  • Common misconceptions have resulted from the obfuscation of Dazzler's creation, namely that many readers believe the X-Men creative team of Chris Claremont and John Byrne created her. Although they wrote and penciled this, her first appearance, the Dazzler character was created by Tom DeFalco (who came up with the idea of her light-based powers), John Romita, Jr. (who provided the initial sketches of her) and Roger Stern (who conceived of the character's name).
  • Dazzler was created as a part of an abortive attempt at cross-marketing. Bo Derek was originally slated to star in a movie about a disco singer who was also a superheroine and there was a plan to release a series of records purportedly sung by Derek's character. Marvel was asked to create the character and publish a comic book starring her in order to lay the groundwork for the other projects. However, Derek pulled out of the project so plans for the movie were cancelled and therefore the records could not be released as well (especially given that a severe backlash against the disco genre had taken hold, making it unlikely for the records to be a success). But before any of these developments took place, Marvel had already published this issue. Since they had already debuted the character, Marvel went ahead with the comic book series despite the cross-promotional projects being shelved.
  • The Hellfire Club storyline contains several allusisons to pop culture ephemera throughout. While there is a real-life Hellfire Club, the depiction of the villainous group here seems to be inspired by the 60s-era British spy series "The Avengers", specifically the episode of the series entitled "A Touch of Brimstone". In that episode, red-headed secret agent Emma Peel goes undercover in another criminal Hellfire Club posing as "the Black Queen of Sin" and sporting a risque outfit that is VERY similar to the outfit that Wyngarde imposes on Jean Grey. That episode also contained a guest star actor named Peter Wyngarde who was the physical basis for Jason Wyngarde (as well as sharing his name).
  • Additionally, other real-life actors would serve as the visual basis for the Hellfire Club members: Sebastian Shaw is modelled on actor Robert Shaw; Donald Pierce is based off of Donald Sutherland, while Harry Leland is derived from Orson Welles.
  • Also, the name "Sebastian Shaw" is possibly lifted from a character of the same name from the cult soap opera "Dark Shadows". That series repeatedly featured characters traveling in time and encountering historical personaes who look identical to characters from the "modern day" period, which is more than a little reminiscent of Jean's supposed "timeslips".

See Also

Recommended Reading

Links and References

Footnotes



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