Essential Dazzler—Volume 1

essential dazzler volume 1 cover trade paperback
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 7/10

Different character than a lot of other superheroes

Some so-so art and stories, hard to find a niche

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Uncanny X-Men (Volume 1)/Amazing Spider-Man (Volume 1)/Dazzler

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer:  Chris Claremont/Marv Wolfman/Tom DeFalco/Danny Fingeroth

Artist:  John Byrne/Keith Pollard/Alfredo Alcala/John Romita, Jr./Alan Kupperberg/Frank Springer

# of Issues:  24

Release Date:   2007

uncanny x-men #129 cover dazzler first appearance

Uncanny X-Men (1) #129

Reprints Uncanny X-Men (1) #130-131, Amazing Spider-Man (1) #203, and Dazzler #1-21 (February 1980-November 1982). Alison Blaire has a dream…she is going to be a professional singer and struggling to stay afloat in the disco world. Under the name of Dazzler, Alison is striving for the top. The strange thing is that Dazzler has a little trick: an instant light show. Alison is a mutant who can transfer music to light, and it is making her powerful allies in the X-Men, Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the Inhumans, and Spider-Man but also is putting her at odds with people like the Enchantress, Klaw, Dr. Doom, and even the world eater Galactus.

Written by Chris Claremont, Marv Wolfman, Tom DeFalco, and Danny Fingeroth, Essential Dazzler—Volume 1 is a collection of the Marvel series Dazzler in addition to the characters early appearances in Uncanny X-Men beginning with Uncanny X-Men (1) #130 (February 1980).  The collection features art by John Byrne, Keith Pollard, Alfredo Alcala, John Romita, Jr., Alan Kupperberg, and Frank Springer and is reprinted in black-and-white.

Premiering in Marvel’s popular X-Men, Dazzler joined a large group of female super-heroes like Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, and Spider-Woman who graduated to their own title. Dazzler ran for forty-two issues and this collects the first half of the series.  While I think Dazzler is a dirty pleasure, the series ranges from good to unbalanced.

dazzler #21 cover photo art

Dazzler #21

Dazzler was a product of the late ’70s disco craze, but had to find ways to adapt after disco died. Even as Dazzler premiered, her act seemed dated so the writers immediately had to start spinning her costume and look. Originally she was seen as a Grace Jones type of character but possible tie-ins with actual record companies requested a more popular Bo Derek look.  The idea of a movie with Dazzler was floated around, but thankfully didn’t surface (Jim Shooter also penned a crazy Dazzler script that can be found online).  In this collection, she keeps her traditional costume. She still performs in her one-piece outfit with disco ball necklace, but since she isn’t a super-hero, she often appears just in normal clothes. It sometimes feels pretty forced when Alison has to get on her costume. It has been interesting to watch this character evolve as music and styles have evolved, but this comic really doesn’t show much evolution.

Being “not a super-hero” is a big aspect of the original stories. Alison deals with her disappointment with her father’s wishes for her to be a lawyer (which feels a lot like She-Hulk’s Jennifer Walter’s father’s problem with her being a lawyer). Alison is continuously trying to just survive on her singing and getting pulled into battle actually hinders her. The X-Men court her, but she turns them down a number of times. This was a good aspect of the book that was lost in later issues of the series after the “mystery” of her family is solved at the end of this collection.

Dazzler is a fun character that just can’t seem to find a niche. Guys don’t necessarily want to read about a character dancing and singing her way to the top of the pop charts and her X-Men adventures are few and far between in this collection, but I always find her kind of obnoxious as an X-Man. I still enjoy the series for its quirkiness and Alison is a pretty rounded female character that isn’t always seen in comics.

Related Links:

Essential Dazzler—Volume 2

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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