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X-23 is named due to her being the 23rd attempt to clone Wolverine and the intact X chromosome that was duplicated to replace the damaged Y one, which resulted in her being female. She is the only successful cloning attempt of Wolverine. [X-23#1] - Submitted by Liam Johnson


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Dazzler #16

Issue Date: June 1982

Story Title: Black Magic Woman!

Staff: Danny Fingeroth (script), Frank Springer (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Don Warfield (colors), Janice Chiang (lettering), Jim Shooter (editor)

Brief Description:
Fearing that Dazzler, who serves as his warm-up act throughout his West Coast tour, is stealing his thunder, rock star Bruce Harris decides to fire her just as she is about to perform before a packed stadium in Seattle. Distraught, Ali still manages to go on a high, delivering one of her best performances. Thankfully, she is consoled by the unexpected arrival of lawyer Ken Barnett, who comes to visit her. The two of them spend a few hours together and eventually become romantically involved. The following morning at the airport, Ken and Ali are waiting to get on board and fly to New York, when Ali spots an extraordinarily beautiful yet hauntingly familiar woman. After the plane takes off, Ali spots the same woman on board. She then goes to the restroom but, after she exits, she realizes she has been teleported to Asgard, in the castle of the Enchantress! The vicious sorceress – actually the woman on the flight – wishes to exact revenge, after Dazzler previously bested her in a song audience and foiled her plans of taking over the universe. The Enchantress begins exacting her revenge by enshrouding her palace in a spell of silence. However, the sorceress’ spell does not go unnoticed by other Asgardians and the Warriors Three are dispatched by Odin to interrogate the Enchantress. However, the Enchantress has now cast a new spell of silence exclusively on Dazzler that prevents her from communicating her reactions, verbally or otherwise. The Enchantress lies to the Warriors Three, claiming that the silent Dazzler is her guest but then decides to follow them, together with Dazzler, to face the Grand Vizier’s inquisition, the latter acting on behalf of the absent Odin. After the Enchantress claims that Dazzler has done her wrong, the two women confront each other in an arena, cheered by the crowd and about to engage in combat. However, the Vizier, who has already discerned that Dazzler is enchanted, dissolves the spell and Dazzler is now able to defend herself. Despite her best efforts, though, the Enchantress naturally prevails in the combat and is about to transform Dazzler into dissipating light when Odin returns and demands they solve their differences in a fairer manner: a song competition! In the end, Alison is judged as the better singer and is teleported back to Earth, where she is reunited with a dead worried Ken.

Full Synopsis:
Seattle. The Kingdome.
It had all seemed like a dream for the fledgling singer Alison Blaire, being hired at the last minute to open for rock superstar Bruce Harris on his West Coast tour. However, it has suddenly turned into a horrible nightmare, as Ali has just been told she’s fired! Waiting in the backstage, ready to go out for her show, a tearful Ali is unable to believe that they fired her – and did it just as she’s about to go on.

A voice presents Ali to the audience: “Ladies and gentlemen, from New York, Bruce’s good friend… the Dazzler!” Ali realizes that’s her cue… for the last time. She immediately enters the stage, joining her ever-faithful band, Hunch, Beefer and Marx. She knows they haven’t heard the news about her yet. One would think that Harris’ manager wouldn’t have told her yet either. It can’t help her last performance any!

As she hears the crowd cheering her (“Awright! There she is! Go for it, Dazz!”) Ali realizes that’s exactly why they did it now. She’s heard rumors that Harris thought she was too good, showing him up, winning over his audiences… She realizes Harris wants her to be upset, to be lousy! “Well, we’ll see about that, mister” Ali thinks.

The audience is wild with anticipation; they have hard the advance reports from Los Angeles and San Francisco about this hot, new singer. Ali decides not to disappoint them; especially not tonight. As she begins singing, the audience is quickly enraptured, unaware that Dazzler is a mutant, a living transducer who converts the music around her into a brilliant, multi-colored light show. This is, perhaps, the finest performance Dazzler has ever given.

Backstage, Dazzler’s manager, Lance Steele, confronts Bruce. Lance angrily reminds him that Ali’s been working her tail off for him and now he fires her; that’s some attitude! Bruce claims he had nothing to do with it. His people decided she wasn’t good enough. It’s not her fault – the just demand the best. “We?” an exasperated Lance exclaims. He knows Bruce’s people are a bunch of yes-men; they’ll do whatever Bruce says. It was Bruce who wanted her canned… and he gave the order. Bruce admits that maybe he did. However, he’s the star here. He’s got to look out to his own best interests. Lance clenches his fists in anger.

Bruce’s manager tells Lance they don’t want any trouble; why doesn’t Lance calm down? Bruce’s manager argues that he can’t have his performer upset before he goes on! Lance, however, knows that’s what they did to Dazzler: firing her before she went on and getting her all upset… only she’s still out-singing Bruce by a mile! He suggests Bruce’s manager listens to that crowd. The manager assures her hears it – that’s why Dazzler was canned. He suggests that Lance starts packing before he says something he’ll regret. Lance retorts he doesn’t have to say anything: Dazzler’s saying it all for him… and then some.

Ali finally finishes her third encore and the crowd erupts in an explosion of excitement, admiration and love, cheering her. Ali then skates triumphantly off stage. Backstage, she meets a man, Bill, who congratulates her on her show. Ali, in turn, congratulates him on the engineering: she couldn’t have done it without him. She then turns to Bruce and assures him she couldn’t have done it without him, either. His juvenile attempt to humiliate her didn’t work. Ali hopes he will get a new warm-up act that won’t steal his thunder; she hears Alvin and the Chipmunks are looking for work! Bruce mumbles that’s real funny and tells her to get out.

“With pleasure,” Ali replies. As she’s about to turn around, she stumbles on a man… whom she identifies as Ken Barnett a second later! Ali wonders what the heck he’s doing here; why is he not in New York being a lawyer? Ken explains he had some vacation time coming, so he decided to hop out here and see Ali and maybe tag along with them for the rest of the tour, crash on their floor… After all, he wasn’t always a stuffy lawyer! Ali assures him he’s not one now, either. Even though it’s wonderful to see him, though, she’s got some bad news…

After Alison relates her unhappy tale to Ken, the two go to Ali’s dressing room. While undressing, Ali reveals to Ken that it’s been a wild tour and it’ll mean a lot to her career but all good things have an end. “And a beginning,” Ken adds. He felt something beginning with the two of them, that’s why he sent those flowers, called her and came out here. He hopes Ali doesn’t think he’s jumping the gun… “Ah, what’s life without romance?” Ali admits. She wouldn’t be in the business if she were Miss-Nine-to-Five, doing everything by the book. Still, it’s hard for her to believe that just a few weeks ago he was successfully defending her in her trial for the murder of Klaw and now he’s here in…

A knock on the door interrupts Ali. Lance asks them if they’re ready. “Be right there,” Ali tells him and then tells Ken that it’s time to party!

Dazzler, her band, Lance and Ken go to a pre-fab highway diner, “Danny’s Diner.” However, the mood of Dazzler and her band is far from festive and Ken tries to lighten the evening by exhibiting his skills at toss juggling, using the cups and everything else at the table. When one of his objects crashes down, Ken remarks that now they know why he never joined the circus, bringing smiles to the group’s faces.

In the day before their departure for New York, Alison and Ken tour the great port that is Seattle and explore the treasures of the city – Puget Sound, the Space Needle, the Monorail, Pioneer Square – and simultaneously discover the joy of nascent love.

The following morning, at Seat-Tac Airport…
Ali informs Ken that their flight is leaving in a little while and admits she’s not really upset that Lance and the others couldn’t get on this flight. It’ll give them a little more time together… “Ken! Are you listening to me?” she suddenly asks him, realizing that Ken is absorbed with something altogether different, his look fixed on a woman with sunglasses surrounded by various men. Ken admits he couldn’t help noticing the crowd surrounding that woman. “The crowd, lover boy… or the lady herself?” a jealous Alison asks him. Ken argues she should admit there’s something exotically appealing about her. “And what am I… yesterday’s news?” Ali angrily retorts. Still enchanted by the beautiful woman, Ken asks Ali to give him a break; he’s only human! Dazzler realizes the woman is not just beautiful but there’s also something familiar and disturbing about her.

Soon, they are airborne and thoughts and words turn to other matters. Seated next to each other, Ken admits that he loved the look on Harris’ face when she told him the Chipmunks needed work; he wishes he had it on film. Dazzler admits it’s too bad Bruce’s such a jerk; he can really sing and is cute. She just hopes positive word-of-mouth about her shows spreads quicker than the malicious rumors Bruce and his P. R. flunkies are sure to circulate. Ken assures her that if he tries that, Ken himself will habeas his corpus so fast, he won’t know what hit him!

Ali rises from her seat and tells Ken that she’s got to go powder her nose. Ken urges her to hurry up so he doesn’t have to do any of the work he brought along. Alison makes her way to the rest room when she suddenly spots the woman from the airport, resting in a seat. Puzzled, she realizes she didn’t see her on board when they got on the plane. She assumes the woman boarded at the last minute and decides to move on, after realizing the woman is giving her a creepy stare. Entering the rest room and putting some lipstick on, Dazzler keeps thinking that lady seems so familiar. She knows she’s seen her somewhere before – but where? Unbeknownst to her, the mysterious woman’s left eye suddenly glows, as she sports a devilish smile.

At that exact moment, Ali feels strange for a second and assumes they must have hit an air-pocket or something. Alison rushes from the cubicle… only to suddenly find herself in a world of seeming madness!

Confused and shocked, Dazzler finds herself in what appears to be the large room of a castle, wearing her stage costume instead of her street clothes, with the rest room, the plane and everything else gone and replaced by this castle! She wonders what’s going on. Where is she? What’s happening to her? “Perhaps I can explain, my dear,” a voice replies. “You!!” Dazzler exclaims upon seeing none other than the Enchantress.

The Enchantress welcomes her to her Asgardian palace. Dazzler immediately makes the connection and realizes the woman at the airport and on the plane was her – following Dazzler, watching, waiting… The Enchantress confirms that she was waiting, as she had these months past, for the moment to exact the revenge she swore she’d have upon Dazzler for the ruination she’s caused her!

The Enchantress remembers the day when the cosmic axis was about to shift, opening, for a few short instants, a doorway to a dark dimension – a dimension which lay incalculable sorcerous energies which would give their possessor mastery over the universe itself. The doorway was to materialize upon the stage of the Numero Uno club – and the Enchantress had secured the role of featured singer for herself so as to be there, incognito, when the axis shifted.

However, despite the Enchantress’ sorcerous abilities and her power over males, Dazzler auditioned and stole the engagement from her. Worse, when the Enchantress attempted to usurp Dazzler’s place on stage by force, Dazzler held her at bay with her light powers until the portal to the dark dimension closed permanently, shattering the Enchantress’ dreams of omnipotence. The Enchantress swore vengeance upon Dazzler that day and vengeance she shall have… now!

In an instant, the Enchantress gestures and Alison rises in the air, alighting upon a hideous, gnarled tree which grows from the castle’s gleaming floor. The Enchantress urges her to behold the gibbering monkeys on the tree – all of them would-be suitors of the Enchantress, the “lucky” ones who overcame her palace guard. She asks Dazzler to listen to their simian prattle. Loud… raucous… they could provide her with sound… a weapon, could they not? “But they never shall!” the Enchantress snarls – for before Dazzler can bring her powers to bear, the Enchantress will enshroud her palace… in a spell of silence!

The Enchantress’ last word doesn’t echo, nor is any other sound heard. The monkeys rant on in a horrifying pantomime, their every silent shriek a taunt to Alison. And then, the terror truly begins… An inexorable sense of horror sweeps across Dazzler, as she feels her body begin to change… grow light… lighter… less and less corporeal. By some impossible ancient incantation, she becomes transformed into a cloud… a cloud which bursts forth into rain… rain which collects into a puddle… a puddle out of which re-forms Ali’s human self! After she experiences this, Alison starts screaming, even though it’s unhearable. She can’t believe this is happening. She thinks it must be hypnosis or something. It can’t be real!

Meanwhile, on the Rainbow Bridge, gateway to Asgard, stands Heimdall, guardian of the Realm Eternal. Heimdall, who can hear a leaf fall in a distant forest, senses something amiss in this moment: a zone of silence in the midst of Asgard itself! He believes Odin must be informed of this strange phenomenon. However, he is sworn never to leave his post. Thus, Heimdall sends another man, a royal messenger, to go and alert the All-Father and tell him all that Heimdall has related to him. The messenger assures him that he will not falter in his step.

Shortly thereafter, in Odin’s royal chambers…
The messenger delivers to Odin the message Heimdall has entrusted him with. Odin recalls how Heimdall’s keen hearing has many a time saved the Realm Eternal from its enemies’ sinister stratagems. He decides to dispatch his two ravens, Hugin and Munin, to comb the kingdom in search of the silence Heimdall warns off. Like pieces of the night itself, the two ravens glide off.

Very soon, the ravens return and inform Odin that the zone of silence emanates from the palace of the Enchantress. Odin urges the Warriors Three – Hogun the Grim, Fandral the Dashing and Volstagg the Valiant – to delve more deeply into matters. Odin also declares he must now attend to other matters royal. However, his Vizier shall act in his place when the Warriors Three return.

Soon, the Warriors Three find themselves at the gate to the foreboding castle of the Enchantress. Volstagg commands the guards to stand aside: they come on a mission from the All-Father himself. One of the guards tells them to enter then. However, he also warns the Warriors Three that they shall meet again when the authority of the highest one shall not be protecting them… and then a reckoning will come.

Inside the castle’s chambers, the Warriors Three confront the nefarious Enchantress, with a mortal “houseguest” – Dazzler – also seated nearby. Fandral realizes that the Enchantress has ceased her spell of silence but now they discover that, in defiance of Odin’s law, she has a mortal here! “What right hast thou?” he reviles her. Volstagg asks her to speak quickly or face his wrath! The Enchantress asks him to hold his laughable ire and explains she was merely entertaining an esteemed guest – where is the harm in that?

Fie upon thee, Enchantress, thy haughty demeanor shall avail you naught!” Fandral rants and raves and demands she tells them what they have been dispatched by All-Father Odin to discern: what transpires here? Hogun intervenes and expresses his view that the mortal could tell them much and more truthfully than the vile mistress of this unholy place. Yet, he observes that she seems unwilling – or unable – to speak.

Indeed, Dazzler seems unable to protest, verbally or otherwise. The Enchantress put her under a spell which prevents her from speaking or acting to save herself. She’d love to tell the three men what’s going on but hard as she tries… she can’t!

The Enchantress proclaims that they have no right to disturb the sanctity of her home. True, she has brought a mortal there. However, she wonders: is it not their right as gods to toy with them as they please? “You revolt me, woman!” Fandral exclaims upon hearing this. In the name of Lord Odin, he orders her to the court of the Royal Vizier! “Where I will, no doubt, be absolved of any wrongdoing” the Enchantress confidently asserts and they all depart.

A little bit later, the party is approaching the Palace Royal, the Warriors Three on foot, Dazzler and the Enchantress riding a horse. “Yonder lies the Palace Royal. There shall I be vindicated,” the Enchantress declares. “We shall see, woman,” Hogun remarks. “No wonder they call you the “grim one,” Hogun,” the Enchantress scoffs at him and advises him he should have a cheerier outlook on life, like she does. She then sneers at Alison, asking her “dear friend” is she’s comfortable.

A little bit later, inside the Vizier’s chambers, the Vizier – by the power vested in him – demands of the Enchantress to relate to him what cause has she to bring this mortal woman to their hallowed home. The Enchantress is about to begin her fib: “As I told these cretins three, my Lord…” However, the Vizier brusquely cuts her short, demanding to know the truth! The Enchantress congratulates him: he’s shrewd indeed. She finally reveals that this mortal recently did her grievous wrong; humiliated her; she must punished for her misdeeds! She explains that she spirited her to Asgard to exact that punishment.

However, the Vizier wonders: are not the mortal’s kind beneath their notice? How could a mortal such as this have wronged the Enchantress? That is immaterial, the Enchantress retorts. She reminds Vizier that this is a mortal whereas she is an immortal of Asgard. That is reason enough for her to do with her as she pleases!

The Vizier retorts that she merely being immortal does not resolve her of all moral responsibility. He decides that the Enchantress and the mortal shall confront each other fairly… in a trial by combat! “Trial by combat?!” Ali ponders in despair. She realizes she may as well go and pick out a coffin: she’s dead meat. In sharp contrast to Ali’s hopelessness, the Enchantress revels in the thought of trial by combat. Vengeance shall be hers… with all Asgard the witness!

While news of the upcoming combat goes out to all corners of the Eternal Realm, back to Earth, in the airplane where Dazzler disappeared, a flight attendant informs Ken that they’ve searched everywhere; they can’t find Alison Blaire! Horribly distraught, Ken is at loss: nobody just disappears from an airplane! He is confident she’s got to be here somewhere! The flight attendant promises they’ll look again, although she doesn’t know where Alison could possibly be.

In Asgard, the duel between Dazzler and Enchantress is about to commence, in the arena of a packed stadium. Ali is still under the spell, powerless to defend herself. In resigning mood, Ali thinks that maybe it’s just as well; if she could fight, she’d just be prolonging her agony.

However, up in the Vizier’s box, an irked Vizier contemplates that the Enchantress must think those who rule the Realm fools; if she believed she could so easily deceive them! For he has been able to discern that the mortal is obviously bewitched. With a gesture, he undoes the spells which bind her. He has also perceived Dazzler’s power over sound and light. With her free now to use it, they shall indeed see a combat whose outcome cannot be foretold!

On the arena floor, Alison can indeed feel that the spell is gone. However, she wonders: even now, how can she fight the Enchantress? Last time they met, the evil Asgardian was holding back… and she still almost turned Alison into oatmeal!

Dazzler’s morbid thoughts are suddenly interrupted as a trio of Asgardian trumpeters sound the call to combat and a team of mighty-thewed drummers rises, holding their mallets poised, waiting for the signal to begin. The Vizier rises from his seat and announces that the Enchantress’ magicks are her weapon, whereas the mortal’s weapon shall be blazing light fueled by the pounding of the royal drums and the cheers of those who would see her triumph! “Now, let the drummers drum and let the battle begin!” he declares.

The Vizier has barely uttered his commands when the Enchantress strikes Dazzler with her mystic bolts. The Enchantress challenges Ali to taste the sting of her bolts: they shall turn her to ash! “Not if I can skate out of their way, mama!” Ali mockingly replies and indeed she skates away. However, she realizes that last bolt was close; too close. Still, she knows that the Vizier has arranged things so she has a fighting chance and she’s not going to blow it!

Indeed, she quickly skates around the Enchantress and generates a strobe-sphere in front of her, in the hopes of confusing her and buying enough time to focus this laser barrage at her! The Enchantress realizes that these flashing lights make it difficult for her to see. However, she believes such trickery will only delay Dazzler’s demise.

The Enchantress effortlessly dissolves Alison’s light sphere and her searing beams. Alison watches in despair as her opponent takes her lasers full force and disperses them into light. She realizes she’s got to attack again – use her lasers another way – before the Enchantress can catch her breath! Legs pumping, heart racing, Dazzler skates round and round the malevolent sorceress, her lasers hewing chunks out of the arena’s stone floor and hurling them at the Enchantress.

Still, the evil sorceress defies Ali and summons forces from beyond her ken to transform Dazzler’s stones into spheres of darkest evil incarnate which intend to suck Ali’s very life from her! Ali tries to escape but she can’t skate fast enough and the spheres of dark energy get to her! The Enchantress finds it fitting that a creature of light should be smothered out of existence by the embodiments of darkness itself. In pure horror, Ali realizes that these disgusting dark energies are sapping her strength, suffocating her! Overwhelmed by panic, she asks the Enchantress to call them off!

The Enchantress retorts she will do nothing… except watch as the dark forces slowly and painfully drain Dazzler’s life from her body! Ali realizes she can’t let them do this to her. She realizes she’s got to forget her pain and revulsion and concentrate… absorb the sounds of the drums and the crowd… and go for it!

Indeed, Ali, now fully empowered, unleashes a huge quantity of searing light and breaks free from the Enchantress’ dark forces. “I did it, Enchantress! My light was too much for them!” Ali boasts, while forewarning her opponent that she’s not stopping here: she’s mad now… and she’s coming to get her!

The Enchantress is bemused by Dazzler’s next “trickery,” as a shimmering mist of light appears between them, of a beauty rivaling the very Eternal Flame itself! Dazzler informs her that it’s called a light-fog… and it isn’t purely decorative!

Indeed, Alison uses the light-fog to keep the Enchantress confused and off-balance, while Ali herself gets up momentum, rolls herself into a ball and rocks the Enchantress with a Dazzler cannonball special! She then begins socking the Enchantress, while challenging her to see how tough she is now that Dazzler has the upper-hand… or should she say “fist?!”

“Foolish, deluded mortal… how dare you sully my body with your vile touch!?” the Enchantress snarls and fights her off. She admits that Dazzler’s cravenly concealed attack did take her by surprise and allowed Dazzler to knock her down but to presume that she is able to do the Enchantress harm with her fists…! As she grabs a rock, she effortlessly crushes it with her bare hands, while informing Dazzler that any Asgardian – even the weakest among them – is possessed of physical strength enough to do this! She wonders then: how should Ali be able to do her harm? Dazzler miserably realizes that nothing seems to faze her adversary. She’s got one card left… and she’s got to play it now!

Skating as fast and as hard as she can, Dazzler races to the far end of the arena, approaching the drummers. From what she can tell, no one in Asgard really likes the Enchantress. She’s an immortal like they are and has her place here but no one trusts her; she’s an entity of evil. She realizes that she’s got to make this fact – and any sympathy in the air – work to her advantage. She tells the men pounding the drums that she needs their help: it’s now or never! One of the men tells his “brothers” that this mortal is worthy of their aid. His colleagues agree. She is a truly valiant warrior; it is not her fault she is a mere mortal! The men decide to help her thwart the unholy sorceress by drumming as never before!

“Awright, you guys! Awright! That’s the way!” an almost frenzied, adrenaline-filled Alison encourages the drummers. She’s thrilled to see that the crowd’s roaring, picking up on the excitement and inspiring the drummers. She realizes now’s her chance: she’s never going to get more intense sound than in the next minute or too. In a fierce mood, she lunges at the Enchantress, declaring that she’s back and fighting!

The beating of the drums and the cheers of the crowd echo and re-echo throughout the stadium, feeding Alison who takes the sound and converts into devastatingly brilliant energy, light visible from all corners of the Eternal City, a light powerful enough to dazzle even the Enchantress… for a few seconds!

Almost immediately recovering from the effect of Dazzler’s searing light, the sorceress admits that Ali’s courage and resourcefulness continue to amaze her. However, she reminds her that mortal she is… and mortal she shall ever be… and no mortal can hope to long hold sway over the spells of the Enchantress! Saying this, she bombards Ali with her spells, causing the young mutant to scream with pain and collapse to the ground. “That’s right! On thy knees, dog… where you belong!” the Enchantress growls. “You did endeavor to evade the retribution due you… enlisted the aid of Odin’s very Vizier and royal drummers… and still thou could not defeat me,” the Enchantress triumphs.

Not able to withstand the pain, Alison groans that it feels like she’s being torn apart and implores the Enchantress to stop. The sorceress assures her the pain will stop very soon, for she has devised a most fitting fate for her… With her magicks, she will turn Ali into purest light… light which will glow brilliantly and beautifully until it fades away… forever! “Nooooooo!” Dazzler screams just as the Enchantress blasts her. Many a time has Alison glowed with fabulous light but never before with such an eerie brilliance, one foretelling the doom which will come! She realizes she has played the Enchantress’ game – and she has lost.

Suddenly, from the skies above, strikes a bolt of power, whose refulgence eclipses that of the fast-transmogrifying Dazzler. Where the bolt has struck, Odin instantly materializes and demands to know what transpires here; wherefore all this light and sound, this concentration of mystical energies? The Enchantress stammers that she can explain, while Ali struggles to rise to her feet, realizing that another second and she would’ve been gone, transformed into dissipating light.

Odin demands to know whether the Enchantress can explain the spell of silence around his palace earlier this day or whether she can explain to him why he arrives to find her engaged in torture most foul upon this innocent mortal, brought to their hallowed home! The sorceress mumbles that she can. She cautions Odin: the mortal may appear harmless but she is wily and evil indeed! She argues that the woman did her wrong and now, in combat sanctioned by his own Vizier, she pays for her deceit!

“You say she wronged thee… in what manner exactly?” Odin enquires. The Enchantress explains that Dazzler bested her in a competition of song – unfairly, of course. Alison angrily interjects: what about the Enchantress’ attempt to take control of the uni… Odin cuts her, ordering her to silence: this is talk between gods! Turning to the Enchantress, he tells her that if the mortal did compete unfairly against her, then he can decree another such contest – now! And he will choose the victor!

Soon, seated on his box, Odin orders his imperial musicians to let flow their tune. The competition begins and to the winner shall go title and honor of fairest voice in the Realm Eternal.

The Enchantress is the first to sing. Her song is one of unquestionable beauty. There is no denying the subtleties and grace of her melodies, the power of her phrasing… but there is also no denying the bitterness, the coldness pervading her every breath. The men in the crowd – even Odin – are mesmerized by her siren-song.

After the Enchantress concludes her song on a note of bittersweet boldness, Odin admits that truly, for all the hardness of her heart, the Enchantress is a songstress unparalleled; surely no mortal’s voice could compare! “Don’t beat the rent on it, pops! I can beat her!” Dazzler ponders with confidence, only to be immediately plagued by self-doubts: “I think.”

Faintly at first, then more assuredly, a song flows forth from Dazzler’s lips. She sings a medley of soft, powerful love songs whose simplicity makes them understandable to mortal and immortal alike. Taking their cue from the melodies they hear, the musicians harmonize along with Dazzler while she, in turn, transforms their playing into shimmering light. Transported by the unearthly sound of the instruments, Alison forgets where she is... before whom she is singing… everything but the world of light and music in and around her. The more she becomes enmeshed in the moment, the more feeling she puts into her song… and feeling is the one thing that, for all its beauty, the Enchantress’ performance lacked.

The tender emotions of Dazzler’s song are not lost upon those who look, several of them, like Volstagg, visibly moved, weeping. Odin admits that Volstagg’s sentiments echo his own: Asgard has not heard a voice so sublime in eons! Realizing that Dazzler will triumph again and that she will be cheated of both her revenge and the competition, the Enchantress cunningly ponders that perhaps with an invisible spell… Odin, however, ever-aware of her nefarious schemes, instantly turns to her and accuses her that her eyes betray her thoughts! He warns her to stay her magicks or force his regal wrath! The Enchantress complies.

Shortly thereafter, Odin announces his judgment: the fairest songstress in Asgard and Midgard – the mortals’ world, as the Asgardians call it – is the one called… Dazzler! A cheer goes up from the assembled throng and Alison falls to her knees in exhaustion, relief and more than a little awe at the power whose presence she is in.

A musician brings Odin a lyre that he bestows upon Dazzler. He asks Dazzler to take the lyre as a prize and as a recompense for the suffering she has endured here. Awestruck, Alison thanks him and promises she will treasure it forever. Odin then decides that she will be returned, by his power, to Midgard. Indeed, at the All-Father’s words, Dazzler disappears in a flash of purest lightning. A disgruntled Enchantress ponders that Dazzle has made her look the fool again… but in truth, it matters not: more important matters call. If she succeeds in them, Dazzler will be forgotten. If she fails, Dazzler will most surely meet her again… and die!

Kennedy International Airport, New York
A desperate Ken urges a woman to have them check the plane again; a woman can’t just disappear in mid-flight! The woman insists they’ve already searched the plane several times. Perhaps he’d better consult airport security… or a good psychiatrist! “Thanks, you’re a big help,” Ken sighs. He contemplates that everyone from their flight has picked up their luggage… except Alison. He wonders: where could she have gone? What could have happened to her? He reminds himself he is a lawyer and urges himself to use his brain; think! Could she have been kidnapped? Is she playing some kind of weird trick on him? Is she…

“Looking for someone, handsome?” a voice interrupts his frenzied thoughts… Dazzler’s voice! “Ali! It’s you!” Ken exclaims. “Uh, as far as I know,” Ali quips. Exploding with anger and frustration, Ken demands to know where she’s been; where did she disappear to; and where did she get that… lyre? Picking up her luggage, Ali replies it’s a long story and she’d rather not go into it.

Ken retorts that she had him worried silly; he was going nuts! Ali admits she’s sorry if he was but there are certain things about her life she can’t talk about… ‘cause she’s not even sure what to make of them, she ponders. Ken retorts that she sounds like the superheroine she claims she never wants to be. Ali thinks that maybe it’s her business. She may have a crush on him but she doesn’t have to answer him. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get a cab. Alone!” she announces.

However, just seconds later, as Ali moves towards a cab, Ken apologizes. She’s right: anything she wants to keep private is none of his business… not yet anyway. As they lock lips, Ali remarks that she likes kissing him on the East Coast as much as on the West! After the kiss is over, Ali exclaims that her lipstick’s all messed up now and announces that she will go to the ladies’ room to fix it up and…

“The ladies’ room?!?!” Ken exclaims in horror! “Now way, lady,” he tells her, “I’m not gonna take my eyes off of you until I get you safely home!” Saying this, Ken hastily shoves her inside a cab. Ali exclaims that some people just can’t take a joke!

Characters:
Dazzler

The Enchantress

Odin
Grand Vizier
Fandral, Hogun, Volstagg (all Warriors Three)
Hugin, Munin (Odin’s ravens)

Guards at the Enchantress’ palace
Various Asgardians

Ken Barnett
Beefer, Hunch & Marx
Lancelot Steele
Bruce Harris & his unnamed manager

Concert audience and technical/backstage staff at the Kingdome
Various unnamed people at Seattle and on the airplane

In flashback images:
Dazzler
The Enchantress

Notes:
Black Magic Woman is the name of a 1968 song by Fleetwood Mac, which became a classic hit as a version by Santana in 1970.

Dazzler previously performed as Bruce Harris’ warm-up act in Los Angeles [Dazzler #14] and San Francisco. [Dazzler #15]

Ali inadvertently “killed” Klaw in Dazzler #9. Ken defended her in court in Dazzler #13, sent her flowers in #14 and called her in #15.

The Enchantress lost the audition in the Numero Uno club to Dazzler in Dazzler #1 and subsequently fought Ali in Dazzler #2.

The Enchantress’ ‘more important matters’ can be seen in Defenders (1st series) #107.

The Kingdome was an indoors sports and entertainment arena in Seattle that was eventually demolished in 2000.

Alvin and the Chipmunks is an animated music group that consists of three singing chipmunks.

This Issue has been reprinted in:
Essential Dazzler Vol. 1 (Trade Paperback)

Issue Summary written by: Mesmerizer


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