There were a number of miniseries' released between 1983 - 1986 in the form of graphic novels, limited series, and special events. I haven't been sure where to put them since most have only slight impacts on the larger X-Men universe. I ultimately decided to cover them all together in this one post.
Dazzer: The Movie (Original Graphic Novel)
Oh, Dazzler. Oh, Jim Shooter. What am I going to do with you two? What...the hell...were you thinking? There have been a lot of impactful comics I've read that have left an impression on me. Some have incredible fight scenes or big payoff on character moments. Sometimes an issues is so bad I can't stop thinking about how terrible it was. This, this was just...wrong.
We start by catching up with Allison Blaire as she is an aerobics instructor at a local gym. Of course, EVERY guy is hitting on her and the girls just want to be her. This one douchebag, Eric Beale, decides that he wants her (either to sing for him or date him...not sure) and she turns him down. At first I was thinking that this might be an issue of woman empowerment and that Dazzler standing up to a powerful man was a great thing. That's what I thought at first.
Then we meet Roman Nekobah. He is first presented as an aging, balding, overweight, washed up actor who goes to considerable length every morning to hide his true looks. They let us know right away that these flaws don't get in the way of him being a womanizer and having "success" with younger ladies.
Then this very disturbing scene happens. Roman starts hitting on Dazzler and essentially forces his way into her apartment. She is turning down his advances and yet he keeps getting more and more grabby. He is pushing so hard that he eventually breaks a table while on top of her. Allison is furious and kicks him out of her place.
If the comic would have stopped right here, I would have been ok. This would have been a comic showing that men in power try to use their position to force woman into doing what they want. I could see MeToo activists telling young ladies to go back and read this and try to be just like Allison Blaire.
That was if it stopped here. I'm going to go ahead and spoil this right here. He eventually "redeems" himself and she ends up falling in love with him! He is the hero of the story. As I was reading I just couldn't believe it. I kept waiting for it to turn out that Roman was a telepath and he had been coercing and tricking her. But the further I got into the comic and that didn't happen, the more I felt sick to my stomach. Ugh, let me show you a bit more.
This Creeperton 10,000 starts following her in his car and won't take no for an answer. He's literally flying through traffic trying to follow her. She tries running, hiding, and eventually using her power to stop him from pursuing her. Yea, this guy is super creepy AND the future love of her life.
Look at this shit. The guy faked a heart attack to get her close, then quickly admits it was a trick and immediately starts getting cocky and creepy again, but this time she gives him a chance! Why!?
This really happened. She ends up spending a very long time with him (maybe years) and we see her enjoying fancy new clothes, trinkets, expensive food, etc. She is very clearly captivated by all of the glitz and fame. This is NOT a role model for young ladies! This is an instructional manual for douchebags.
Guess what? This was written by a man? Not surprised? This guy, Jim Shooter, was actually the editor-in-chief. Ok, well let's go on because it gets worse.
Roman decides to tell the world that she is a mutant as a publicity stunt. Yea, he totally fucks her over by sharing that worldwide and doesn't ask her about it. She is slightly put off but ends up just rolling with it.
Now there is a potentially redeeming point here where Dazzler decides to embrace the mutant agenda and create a movie with Roman that would help to change public perceptions about mutants.
In a publicity stunt, Roman sets up a nationally televised event where Dazzler can show off her powers and try to let everyone see that they don't need to fear her. Unfortunately, Roman gets a bunch of jetliners to start a rumble and the power/noise she takes in is too much and she ends up scaring, disorienting, and slightly hurting everyone there. This does not help the mutant cause, the movie, or Dazzler herself.
The movie ends up getting bought out by the creep from the beginning, Eric Beale, which he promptly shut down. Dazzler is really proud of the movie and thinks it will help mutants. He holds this against her and tries to force her to sign a contract saying that she would work for him and essentially be owned by him. She ends up burning the only copy left of the movie and walking out.
Oh, and we learned that Roman ended up signing a contract saying that he would agree never to see Dazzler again. After she burns the movie and finds out about this, she forgives him and tries to get back together again. Terrible.
Out of all the short stories I'll be covering in this post, this one actually has the biggest impact on the X-Men story lines. This is a significant tipping point in human/mutant relations and is referenced constantly by other mutants about how this set them back.
Beauty and the Beast
More Dazzler action for you. Hot off the heels of Dazzler: The Movie, Allison Blair can't find any work. If you were expecting this miniseries to improve our image of her, think again.
She's down on her luck and can't find a singing gig so she ends up getting convinced to "perform" at an underground arena where mutants battle each other to the death. At first she is just singing, but then she becomes a combatant herself. While there is a mutant there who is coercing her, it becomes pretty clear that she loves a crowd and is ok with fighting or possibly killing others as long as the crowd loves her. It really doesn't do much for the reader's impression of her. Eventually, after some heavy pushing from Beast, she realizes that the owners are evil and rebels by helping to bring the place down, but it's too little, too late.
The B plot is that Beast and Dazzler "fall in love." I put that in quotes because it was a really weird love story. Allison is a complete biotch to him at first and he gets really pushy. He seems to become infatuated with her and becomes a little too pushy himself, which isn't a great look for him. Even though we see Beast as a hero, seeing her once again give in to a man who is being overbearing and pushy isn't a great look for her either. Sigh. There were some interesting parts in this series, such as showcasing a large group of new mutants, but none of them have any staying power in the larger Marvel universe, so ultimately it's ok if you skip this one.
Hey, I need to give Marvel credit. It wasn't that long ago I was complaining that Nightcrawler wasn't getting much love. Since then he's become religious, a doctor/medic, and the temporary team leader. Now they give him his own miniseries. They are certainly trying.
This was a fun little read with absolutely no impact on the larger X-Men cannon. Kurt finds himself accidentally sent to another dimension where he gets to live for a short time as a space pirate. He is also transported to a dimension that appears to be the same from Kitty's fairy tale, letting Kurt meet an entire army of little BAMF's.
Similar to the Nightcrawler series, this is another goofy one-off adventure that has no impact on the larger Marvel or X-Men Universe. Similar to Nightcrawler, Iceman accidentally gets sent on a whacky adventure outside of our universe, but this time he goes through and outside of time. It was a slightly entertaining read, but definitely not necessary reading.
The Firestar comic really came out of left field. Up until this point, the only comics that were given a limited series were established characters. This miniseries was used to introduce a brand new character, Angelica Jones (Firestar). Firestar is a young mutant with the ability to control microwaves, allowing her to fly, shoot heat blasts and manipulate the waves in multiple ways.
I'll say right off the bat that I really liked this comic. It was an enjoyable read and has some direct correlations to things happening at this point in the X-Men universe.
When we meet Angelica, we see her as a very sweet, naive, simple, and gentle child. She is very close with her grandmother (who dies early on) and has a trouble fitting in with other kids.
Like most mutant stories, she has a traumatic coming party in high school when some bullies are picking on her and she lets loose.
The Hellfire Club is STILL hacking into Cerebro and Emma Frost is able to get to her before Professor X can. Emma recognizes right away that her powers make her an incredibly powerful mutant and she sets out to manipulate and control her.
One example of her manipulation is that she tries to keep her away from other kids. While the Massachusetts Academy is full of kids, she is encouraged to keep to herself. In the panel above, Angelica had to beg to go to a dance where she met Sam (Cannonball) and they had a first kiss, but the White Queen quickly showed up and mentally told her to stay away.
A big plot point comes in the form of Randall, one of the Hellfire goons assigned to Angelica as a bodyguard. He ends up growing fond of her.
We learn that Sebastian Shaw and Emma Frost are planning to use Angelica to kill Selene, the new Black Queen.
In addition to being separated from the average students, Angelica is kept apart from the Hellions. They don't know why and assume she is stuck up, which doesn't help her emotional well being.
Her bodyguard Randall is attacked and eventually murdered for trying to undermine Emma, but not before he can tell Angelica the truth. Angelica completely comes out of her shell, embraces her power, refuses to kill Selene, and attacks Emma threatening her and forcing her to leave her alone.
We do see Angelica in an Uncanny X-Men comic that I'll be featuring next. I'm excited to see if she shows up any more in upcoming issues, however I know that she eventually joins a Super Hero group called the New Warriors in the early 90's.
I actually read a few New Warriors comics when I was a kid and am strongly considering blogging about them in the future if/when I get to present day with the X-Men. They aren't a group that got a lot of attention in the larger Marvel universe, but it would be fun a read through. They consist of Night Thrasher, Firestar, Marvel Boy (a favorite of mine from the original Guardians of the Galaxy), Speedball, Kid Nova and Namorita.
So this is a pretty big one! While Longshot has never made his way to any adaptations I was familiar with, I know that Longshot eventually joins the X-Men and has a big impact on X-Men lore. Longshot is a being from the Mojoverse who has the special ability of luck.
I always mention that I started this journey by starting to read the 90's Claremont/Jim Lee run before realizing that I needed to go back further to the read beginning. Well, one of the things that clued me into that being a bad spot to start was the fact that there were a few pages in the back of every issue that checked in on Longshot and Dazzler. I never understood why we were supposed to care about either, but now I'm starting to get it.
Here's a shot of Longshot with his signature throwing knives. Longshot escapes the Mojoverse and lands on earth without any memory.
In addition to a bunch of aliens chasing after him, there is this one furry creature that he calls "Pup" who follows him around. This kind of reminded me of Spawn as this creature continued to grow larger and become more sinister as the issues progressed. He eventually becomes one of Longshot's main antagonists.
In the Mojoverse, everything is a big TV show. Longshot was a star and decides to become a stuntman on Earth to make some money. Here he meets Rita Wayword, another stunt actress, who falls in love with Longshot and follows him at the end back to Mojoverse to continue a revolution.
The Mojoverse dimension is run by Mojo, a fat, spineless creature that enslaves all creatures in his dimension and treats every moment of life as a TV show. His sidekick is Spiral, a 6-armed creature who can impact time and dimensional travel by dancing. There is a lot more than meets the eye with Sprial and we'll see her a bunch more in the near future as she is soon to pop up as a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.
Previous Post - 27: UXM 189 - 192 (Birth of Shadowcat)
Next Post - 29: UXM 193 - 195 (Warpath, Nimrod, Power Pack)