Needless Character Analysis: Dazzler
On April Fool’s Day, we made up a story about Sony making a Dazzler feature film. Yes, I know Fox has the film rights for Dazzler, but since it was a fake story anyway, we really didn’t need to correct that detail. Since we haven’t done a character analysis in almost a month, I decided we’d revisit that well for a certain mutant named Alison Blaire.
Allison Blaire was the daughter of a prominent judge and was a promising student with a future as a lawyer, but after her mutant power to convert sound into light, Allison decided to use those powers with her love of music and try to make a name in the music industry. Calling herself “the Dazzler,” she let everyone believe that the light show she generated during her performances to be technological special effects.
At one of her shows she met the X-Men who were looking for a new mutant that Cerebro had discovered, which turned out to be Dazzler. After the Hellfire Club attacked, Dazzler aided the X-Men in defeating the Hellfire Club and rescuing their captured teammates and another young mutant, Kitty Pryde. She turned down their offer to join the X-Men and continued to pursue a career in the music industry, but found herself drawn more and more into the world of super-heroes, fighting with Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four. She found herself at odds with powerful foes like the Enchantress, Absorbing Man, Doctor Doom, and the Hulk. She even once had her powers enhanced by Galactus in order to retrieve his herald Terrax.
She moved to Los Angeles to pursue her career and in the process is publicly exposed as a mutant and after getting some training from the X-Men, goes into hiding as a keyboard player in Lila Cheney’s band. After she is possessed by the entity Malice, she joins the X-Men and is with them when they are apparently killed saving a city from a mystical foe. She joins the X-Men in the Australian Outback, where she begins to develop a relationship with her teammate Longshot. After the team disband, going through the Siege Perilous to be reborn. She washes up on a beach in Los Angeles outside of one of Lila Cheney’s many homes. Nursed back to health, she doesn’t regain her memory until found again by Longshot, and she goes with him to Mojoworld to topple its dictator. When she returns she has had an apparent miscarriage, but it is later revealed that she gave birth to X-Force/X-Factor member Shatterstar.
She returns to Earth after leaving Longshot, and aids the X-Men. She also begins to re-establish a music career, using nostalgia for the disco era. Her path continues to cross with the X-Men, rejoining them at different times, and leading a version of the team on an alternate Earth. She passes up an offer to join Wolverine‘s Jean Grey School, and later joins S.H.I.E.L.D., only to be temporarily replace by Mystique. When rescued, she joins Cyclops’ team of X-Men and drastically alters her appearance.
The interesting thing about Dazzler that makes her stand out among Marvel heroes is her actual origins, created practically by committee. Casablanca records commissioned Marvel to create a female super-hero that was also a singer that could be cross-promoted. The two companies would also work together to create a film featuring the character. Brian Cronin detailed the process in his column Comic Book Urban Legends. Casablanca pulled out of the deal after Tom DeFalco, Roger Stern, and John Romita had revised the character proposed by Casablanca, making changes at the record company’s insistance to make her resemble actress Bo Derek. What was left became the character Dazzler, and plans to promote her in the Marvel Universe were carried through with her debuting in Uncanny X-Men, and going on to star in her own series.
Despite her convoluted origins and unsuccessful series, the character has an appeal among comics fans which has sometimes been mirrored in the comics with the Hulk, Juggernaut, Colossus, Northstar, The Rhino, Molly Hayes, Shadowcat, and Pixie being shown as fans of her music.