Essential Dazzler—Volume 2

essential dazzler volume 2 cover trade paperback
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Art: 6/10

Dazzler: The Movie was an important issue of the '80s

Some really uneven writing and characterization

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Dazzler/Marvel Graphic Novel/Beauty and the Beast/Secret Wars II

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer:  Danny Fingeroth/Steve Grant/Frank Springer/Jim Shooter/Ken McDonald/Ann Nocenti/Linda Grant/Bob Denatale/Archie Goodwin

Artist:  Frank Springer/Marc Bright/Geof Isherwood/Don Perlin/Tom Morgan/Paul Chadwick/Al Milgrom

# of Issues:  27

Release Date:   2009


Marvel Graphic Novel #12

Reprints Dazzler #22-42, Marvel Graphic Novel #12, Beauty and the Beast #1-4, and Secret Wars II #4 (December 1982-March 1986). Dazzler is headed to the West Coast and in trouble again. First finds herself the target of the Sisterhood of Evil Mutants but then she makes the mistake of being revealed to be a mutant. Now, polarizing the world, Alison Blaire finds herself trying to hide from the fame she always wanted and trying to find a place where she can fit in.

Written by a number of writers and illustrated by a number of artists, Essential Dazzler—Volume 2 is one of the biggest Essential books out there. The collection also helpfully collects the sometimes difficult to find Dazzler: The Movie which was presented in the oversized Marvel Graphic Novel #12 which became a linchpin in the whole anti-mutant push that effect almost all the Marvel Universe in the late ’80s and beyond. Like all the Essentials, the stories are reprinted in black-and-white.

Dazzler was on the racks when I started reading and she was a frequent addition in comic grab bags at the time.  I was always pretty familiar with the character and Alison had a soft spot as a result.  Unfortunately, the Dazzler comic did not always hold up.


Dazzler #38

It is always a bad sign when there are tons of writers and artists for a collection. It usually shows that it is a second tier book that has almost been given up on. Dazzler was always teetering on failure, since by the time of her premiere disco was dead. This book really shows Alison distancing herself from her disco look and going for a more modern look (until finally getting a more official costume when the X-Men are called in for a boost in Dazzler #38 (July 1985)). Also, Alison’s family kind of disappears and Dazzler’s goal to not be a superhero is just kind of forgotten.

The real surprise was how much Marvel pushed into Marvel Graphic Novel #12 (Ocotber 1984). Unlike a lot of graphic novels, this one had reach and was continuously referenced in other titles around this period. The comic put the anti-mutant battle on the forefront in a time when the A.I.D.S. crisis kind of copied the anti-gay/anti-mutant sentiment in the story (which was one of the basic premises for the X-Men). The story was followed by a four issue series with Beast of the X-Men that dealt with Dazzler’s “outing”. It was a pretty big move for a comic that was written off.

Essential Dazzler—Volume 2 really lacks direction but it has some of the important issues of the ’80s. It is worth checking out for some of those issues, but the other issues are just not very good (especially near the end). Alison always seemed like a bit more of a superficial character in the X-Men universe and many of these stories don’t help that image.

Related Links:

Essential Dazzler—Volume 1


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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