Issue Date: July 2010
In the Blood (track one)
Tough Call (track two)
Reflections (track three)
1st story: Jim McCann (writer), Kalman Andrasotszky & Ramon Perez (pencilers), Rick Ketcham & Ramon Perez (inkers), Jim Charalampidis (colorist), Dave Sharpe (letterer)
2nd story: Jim McCann (writer), Francesca Ciregia (artist), Cris Peter (colorist), Dave Sharpe (letterer)
3rd story: Robin Ha & Christina Strain (artists)
1st story: While searching for her fugitive sister Lois London in a nightclub, Dazzler falls unconscious and awakes inside of Arcade’s Murderworld, where she is forced to battle robot-doubles of several of her old enemies. After trouncing the robots, she ascends to Murderworld’s control room, where she confronts the perpetrators, Arcade and Lois London. Lois then pits Dazzler against Klaw, a sound-based villain whom Dazzler once accidentally killed—only instead of a robot, it’s the real Klaw. Dazzler barely survives the fight, thanks in part to Arcade’s meddling. With Klaw defeated, she battles Lois and knocks her unconscious. Instead of turning Lois over to the authorities, however, she claims she was a fellow victim of Arcade’s, and has her taken to the X-Men upon release.
2nd story: On Utopia, Cyclops has serious reservations about letting the comatose Lois stay with the X-Men—not just for the safety of the X-Men, but for the safety of Lois, who has few in the way of friends on the island. Dazzler insists that Lois has nowhere else to go and needs their help. Psylocke offers to perform psychic therapy on Lois to heal her mental wounds, even though it may take years for her to recover. After Psylocke leaves, Dazzler calls hers and Lois’s estranged mother, and tells her everything that has happened. The two women share a heartfelt moment and discuss their own roles in Lois’s downfall. When the conversation ends, Dazzler vows not to fail Lois ever again.
A trendy L.A. hot spot. Today…
What a joke, Alison Blaire thinks to herself as she scowls in the mirror. Waste of my time. Again. Come to L.A. for two reasons, and strike out on both. First a label rep offering to take a meeting, just to tell me Dazzler’s “toxic.” How can you be “too mutant-y”?!
Alison, dressed in her casual civilian clothes, exits the bathroom and enters the loud club, her mind continuing to wander as she moves through the crowd. She has other things to worry about, she reminds herself—something more… personal. Lois. She’s tried to reach out to her, but to no avail.
Dazzler tries to order a drink at the bar, but the bartender can’t hear her over the blaring music. It’s no surprise; Dazzler can barely hear her own thoughts. To get the bartender’s attention, she raises her fist, absorbs the sound in the bar and transduces is into a shining light, and shouts for service. Finally, the bartender notices her and serves her a drink. As she knocks it back, he casually tells her she just missed her sis. Goth chick with a creepy stare who could probably kill someone with a look? Yeah, she showed up while Alison was in the bathroom, closed out Ali’s tab, and left.
Alison curses. Lois was here, she realizes—and she missed her. Again. She can’t blame the bartender for not trying to keep her, though. After all, her half-sister, Lois London, can kill with a touch. Last time Alison saw her, she was with Selene and her death crew, screaming about Alison—but Lois didn’t take her shot when she had the chance. She just… left. She teleported away, courtesy of Blink, and went off the radar. Next thing Alison knows, Lois is calling her, asking her to meet. Now she shows up while Alison is in the bathroom—and buys her a drink? What’s her game?
Alison ponders these questions as she exits the nightclub. She barely makes it around the corner before she starts feeling woozy. As the world begins to spin, she realizes the point to Lois’s game, and curses herself for falling for it once again. She stumbles into an alleyway, trips, and falls to the ground right next to a dead man. As she loses consciousness, she hears the sounds of footsteps approaching. Then, the world goes black.
Sometime later, Dazzler begins to regain consciousness. As her eyes adjust to the light, the first thing she can make out in the room is a small, shining disco ball worn around the neck of a mannequin as a necklace. Her vision continues to adjust, allowing her to see that the mannequin is actually dressed in her old disco outfit: a white leather jumpsuit with a reflective mirrored cuffs, a disco ball necklace, and large hoop earrings. The mannequin is ever wearing a wig modeled after Dazzler’s old hairstyle, and wearing a placard around its neck that simply says “wear me.” Alison is not surprised; she wishes she could say this was the first time something like this has happened to her, but when one has a past like hers, it never stops coming back for a good haunting—especially if there are roller skates involved.
Soon, a recording begins to play in the room, which is revealed to be a starlet’s dress studio. The voice in the recording discourages her from trying to speak; the room, it says, is designed to absorb virtually all sound. They can’t have her rehearsing too much before the big opening, after all.
In response, Alison tries to speak, but finds that the sound she produces is muffled to the point of inaudibility. The recorded voice continues, telling her that its transmission is on a frequency only her highly developed ears can register, but not utilize. The voice then tells her to get ready; her audience is dying to see her—or she’s dying to see them. That’s the fun part, it adds.
Alison looks to her mirrored makeup studio. The dressing chair even has her whole name printed across the back of it. As she begins to get ready, she tries to figure out to whom the voice belongs. Because it’s a male voice, she figures she can rule out Selene—not to mention the fact that Selene is gone. The voice also isn’t Lois, she tells herself. Whoever it is, though, he wants a show. It could be worse, too; he could have left her a pink wig.
As she begins putting on her makeup, Alison tells herself she should be used to this. After all, she’s a product, packaged and sold. She started as a gimmick—anything to get her foot in the door. She put her career first. She was on the rise, for a while, on her terms. Then, the singer was shoved into the world of super heroes and super villains—a world she wanted no part of, honestly. Before long, she was outed as a mutant. The label would follow her for the rest of her life. Regrettably, she let it define her. She kept becoming what the world expected her to be. She guesses that she still does. Now, she’s a niche market—again. Perez Hilton even stopped doodling eye makeup on her face. Oh well, she tells herself; soon both she and Perez will be obscure and dated references. For now, however, her captor wants a show? In that case, she thinks while taking the stage and striking a pose, “go for it!”
The lights suddenly turn on, illuminating a seated audience, an arena the size of a football stadium, and a stage adorned with three oversized posters. Sometimes, you have to give the people what they want, Dazzler thinks. The mysterious voice, meanwhile, resumes addressing her. Miss Dazzler never misses a cue, does she, it asks? He would give her a moment to get her bearings, but she’s a professional; she should be used to this. He tells her that this is a rare performance. Consider it her comeback—her one chance. She must give the people the show of her life, or it will be her last. No encore, he says—and no lip-synching!
Suddenly, Dazzler’s old foes the Grapplers burst onto the stage and charge at her. The Grapplers. Man. Someone dug deep into my archives for these ladies, she thinks as she fires her first attack at the ferocious women. I mean, Poundcakes?!
She manages to repel Letha with a light blast before lunging at Screaming Mimi with her fists. As she punches Mimi across the jaw, Dazzler tells the costumed villainess she had heard she reformed. Besides, she liked her Songbird look way better; it was much more up to date. The irony of her wearing a disco jumpsuit as she says this is not lost on Dazzler. However, something about the fight with the Grapplers surprises her—it’s almost too easy.
Her suspicions deepen when she hits Titania with a light beam and discovers she’s actually a robot. Suddenly, Dazzler realizes exactly where she is, and calls out to her captor: Arcade!
At this point, Arcade, from the safety of his observation booth, officially welcomes Dazzler to Murderworld. He doesn’t really care if she survives the experience.
From behind Arcade, a shrouded figure tells him it was too easy; she paid him to kill her. Arcade turns to his client and reminds her that she actually paid him for all of this, he says as he gestures down to the arena. Of course, Dazzler will most likely die, he says, but that’s a fortunate byproduct. In the meantime, they have box seats to the greatest show Dazzler has ever performed—and he, for one, intends to enjoy every moment.
Meanwhile, on the stage, Dazzler finds herself having to find a robot version of the White Queen in her Hellfire Club garb. As she dodges one of robot-Emma’s kicks, Dazzler wonders why Arcade of all people is trying to kill her. They’ve never fought before, after all. Also, why is she having to face versions of these particular villains?
Turning her attention back to the fight, she tells the simulacrum of Emma that even the robot-version of her looks uptight. As she blasts the robot with a destructive beam fired from her eye sockets, she tells it to lighten up. Thankfully, Arcade provided her with an audience from which she could absorb sound. However, just as she thinks this, a new assailant hits her with an electric blast.
Temporarily stunned, Dazzler turns to face her new contenders: Dr. Doom and the Enchantress. Doom tells her that it is time to die, to which the Enchantress simply adds, “verily.” Before she counterattacks, Dazzler ponders what all these remnants from her past have in common. This was so surreal when she first started out; now it’s just insane!
“Hey Doomy, misplace the family jewels again?” Dazzler asks the Doombot. The Enchantress, meanwhile, she just insists really needs to stop crashing her gigs. She fires at the Enchantress, but the Norse goddess fires back, all the while reprimanding her for mocking one who is goddess-born. The Enchantress-bot’s attack actually hits Dazzler, however, sending her flying into the audience. She picks herself up, once again taunting her foe who claims to be goddess-born.
As she readies her counterattack, Alison supposes that at one time in her life, ignorance was bliss. She got lucky, though, and survived things she shouldn’t have by any means. She learned, evolved, and half the time never knew the meaning of the word ‘can’t’. As she stares now at the outstretched hands of deadly robots modeled after two of her most powerful foes, she wonders what she was thinking back then. That I can do whatever the hell I have to do in order to survive, she tells herself, answering her own query. With that, she returns to the stage and fires back at her two assailants.
Meanwhile, in the control booth, Arcade chortles. And people said Dazzler was washed up, he remarks. He starts to wish he had set up a merchant stand for this event; he really wants a T-shirt to remember it by. “Shut up, Arcade. Play the song,” the other person in the room tells him. Arcade tells her she’s really rather rude. In fact, she reminds him of his dear Miss Locke. Ahhh, she would hate her—it would be wonderful! But he consents, and agrees that it’s time for the big guns.
Down below, a simulacrum of Rogue, wearing the hero’s old green and white hooded tunic, flies toward Dazzler and charges at her like a missile. Dazzler deftly rolls out of the way of the cannonball attack. She knows that she and Rogue made up long ago, but just has to ask her: what was she thinking with that hair?
As Dazzler mocks the robot, a song suddenly begins to play on the sound system. It instantly captures her attention: “a little girl on a sunlit lawn, dreams of the day when she will be grown…”
Stunned, Dazzler begins to ask how this can be. She knows Arcade doesn’t take these gigs just for fun. He does it for profit, and whoever hired him as down their homework. They know Dazzler’s enemies, and they know—this song. The one she performed for her mother, just once—which means…
Before she can finish that thought, the anticipatory moans of the audience indicates to her that a new challenger has entered the arena. Wondering who it might be now, Dazzler turns around and faces yet another enemy from her past, only this one of a completely different scale: Galactus, the cosmic destroyer of planets. This is getting absurd, Dazzler tells herself as she faces the simulation of her former master. He addresses her as Earth-woman and emphasizes that she is barely of notice to him. Dazzler scoffs at his inclusion in the arena; she never fought Galactus! She was just his Herald!
As she says this, she realizes it sounds as ridiculous out loud as it does in her head. Still, she has to fight. While her touching ode to her mother continues to play, Dazzler charges her sound reservoirs and takes aim at Galactus. After thanking the folks for coming, she declares the show over, and unleashes a blinding pulse of pure white light in all directions. She’s never tried this much ultraviolet light at once, but since there’s nothing human on stage or in the crowd except for her, she figures it’s relatively risk-free. She takes in the cheers of the robotic audience, the music, and the sound of the air rushing through the vents—and uses it to bring down the house.
She does. The stage collapses, and the robots melt, leaving nothing but molten limbs scattered around the stage.
Up above, Arcade turns to his client and remarks that she never told him Dazzler was capable of that. He believes that is the curtain call. No, the woman responds; he promised she would die! Correcting her, Arcade remarks that he promised she would probably die. Now it’s time to take their bows; she’s faced all of her opponents.
This time, it is the woman who corrects Arcade. Dazzler hasn’t faced all of her opponents yet. As she says this, she melts the wall separating her from Dazzler with a touch of her hand. Standing immediately outside the makeshift entrance, Dazzler faces her would-be assassins. “We have some catching up to do—Lois,” she says to her sister.
“Hiya, sis,” Lois, now sporting a sinister new outfit, says to Alison. “Miss me?”
Arcade is stunned by the revelation that the two are sisters. This is too fabulous, he says, before proposing they perform a duet. In unison, they tell him to shut up. He thanks them for complying, in their own way.
Enraged, Dazzler turns to Lois and asked why she did this to her. Lois tells her to think real hard. She knows it’s tough, being blonde and all, but somewhere in her head, she’ll figure it out. She once swore she’d never lose her, right? In response, Dazzler reminds her sister she chose to stay in Los Angeles, just as she chose to go off with Selene.
Turning things back to Alison, Lois reminds her that it was she who walked out! She knew what kind of person her father was, and she left her with him anyway. He eventually found out what made the two of them special, and needless to say, he wasn’t a fan. Selene, on the other hand, offered her a life—her! And she swore to her that she would help her get revenge on Alison. But then, she died, and Lois was left alone again—but not for long.
Suddenly, the hard-light platform Dazzler was using to reach the control booth disappears from beneath her, and she falls to the stage. While Dazzler rubs her aching wounds, a new voice adds that she has ruined a lot of lives. Looking up, Dazzler beholds this latest speaker to be none other than Klaw, the sound-based supervillain whom she once killed in self-defense. “It’s been far too long. When was the last time? Oh yeah,” Klaw says, “—when you killed me.”
Springing into action, Dazzler somehow deduces that this Klaw cannot be a robot like the others. He uses his powers too deftly and too realistically. Klaw manifests a giant, sound-based mechanical dinosaur creature to attack Dazzler. In response, she creates a light-based super-dinosaur to battle his, all the while wondering how the hell Klaw and Lois hooked up. That girl has never made a good choice in her life, Dazzler remarks.
Arcade, meanwhile, beholds the stage in disbelief. Where did Klaw come from, he asks? He doesn’t recall him being on the set list. Scowling, Lois warns him to not make her melt his face. This is her fight; they play by her rules.
Back on the stage, Dazzler continues her duel with Klaw. He unloads lethal attack after lethal attack at her, but she manages to evade them. She somersaults through the air bearing swords made of hard-light, all the while planning her next moves. Klaw is thinking at the speed of sound, so she needs to react at the speed of light. She confirms that this is no robot, meaning it’s the real Klaw—the Klaw she stood trial for murdering.
It’s the same man she killed in self-defense before he could kill her—the man made of living sound, which is something she can use.
Dazzler prepares to absorb Klaw—or enough of him to stop him, at least. Last time she couldn’t control it and accidentally absorbed him all, but now…
Klaw smiles and tells her it tickles. Dazzler, realizing her attack is ineffective, notices a familiar noise—the same noise she heard outside the club before she lost consciousness. She thought her drink had been spiked, but now she realizes it may have been something else. Frightened, she asks what’s happening. Klaw tells her she’s dying. It sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?
Confused, Dazzler remarks that she absorbed him once before, but Klaw informs her that he adapted. He had to make sure that it didn’t happen again. Now, she can’t absorb him; he’s like a cancer to her. Dazzler falls to the ground, her body severely weakened. Klaw approaches her, telling her that it doesn’t matter if she intended to or not, she killed him once before—and that wasn’t very fun for either of them, was it? Leveling the gun on his arm, he aims it at Dazzler and fires.
Dazzler writhes in agony. She feels like there are a million bugs inside her, screaming and clawing. She can’t convert the sound Klaw is firing at her. Continuing his diatribe, he reminds her that he was inside of her. He could hear her, and only her: her secrets, her dreams, and her fears. Now he’s here to ensure those come true—well, not all of them. He only cares about the nightmares. Dazzler lets out an agonizing scream.
Delighted at the suffering he’s inflicting on his foe, Klaw asks her to please not stop screaming—not that it matters to someone like her. Sound waves travel forever, he says, becoming too faint to be heard, but still traveling. They’re out there to sift through. If one listens close enough, one can hear the last breath of the dinosaurs, the screams of tortured prisoners, and the secrets they are forced to reveal. One can hear the cries of a lost little girl—a kindred spirit—cursing one name: Dazzler. One can hear a soft prayer that someone could make her dream of killing Dazzler come true. So please, he tells her—scream. Beg. Cry. Do whatever she needs to do. Her swan song will live forever, even if she doesn’t. Sound, he says, never dies. Pointing his sound gun at her head, he asks Dazzler if she has any final words.
Dazzler lifts her head. “%^$# you,” she tells Klaw.
Above, in the control room, Arcade questions Mortis about their latest guest. She brought in Klaw—the actual Klaw, and not one of his creations—without his permission? This was not part of their arrangement, Arcade says. Lois asks what that matters; she just brought in her own guy in case Arcade failed. Now Dazzler is dying, and Murderworld is living up to its name—for once. He should be happy, she tells Arcade. In response, he tells her that if she’s going to kill someone, she should at least have the decency to do it honestly. Cheaters, he reminds her, never win. With that, he flips a switch on his control board.
Down below, the machinery of Murderworld whirrs to life. Cranes and robotic arms begin cleaning up the mechanical debris scattered around the stage. Dazzler supposes that Arcade must be clearing out. She has no idea why, but now she has a shot at redemption—one shot. The chaos of the machinery creates sounds she can use, which power her up. Since Klaw is made of sound, she just has to find the right light spectrum frequency to surround him and he’ll skip like a record. She does this, creating a hard-light cage for Klaw, that she then launches across the arena. The soundproofed room lands with a crash. Dazzler hopes it absorbs some of Klaw’s energy if he escapes—assuming either of them survives this ordeal.
Enraged at her sister’s victory, Lois London growls and descends to the floor of the stage. She supposes she’ll have to do the job herself, she says. Alison is thankful that her sister still has some reason in her after all.
As Mortis approaches Dazzler, she tells her sister that she just bought this outfit, and asks her to try not to bleed on it. She then lunges at Dazzler, wrapping her deadly hands around her neck. The two sisters snarl at each other, locked in an angry embrace. Lois angrily asks her why she won’t die. Dazzler responds that she doesn’t think Lois can kill her. Lois is pretty sure she can, but Dazzler disagrees. She may want to kill her, but she can’t—at least not by using her powers. Dazzler will counter her, every time, because unlike Lois, she won’t be holding back on using hers. It’s in her blood.
Lois tells her to shut up. She didn’t ask for this, she says: being a mutant, having powers—all of that is Alison’s thing, not hers! She just wants to be herself!
Dazzler, recalling now the life she wanted for herself, informs her sister that none of them asked for this. Alison could have been a lawyer, but she wanted more: she wanted to entertain. She got way more than she bargained for, though. She recalls her time with the X-Men, her time in Mojoworld, her days in Britain with New Excalibur, and her life on Utopia. She tells Lois she thought she had to be one or the other. She gave it that power. She made some bad decisions, losing herself and letting herself be the label: the mutant, the has-been, and the joke. But the greatest realization she made in all of it was that it didn’t matter how everyone else saw her. She’s not just a mutant, or a singer, or any one thing. All of this, she says, is her.
With that, holograms of Dazzler’s various aspects swarm Lois, quickly overwhelming her. Lois strikes at them futilely, mocking Dazzler as she swings her fists. Look at her, all well adjusted suddenly, Lois sneers. Of course, she tells Dazzler, everything has been handed to her. She’s been the one screwing up her own life. She asks Alison to try walking in her heels for a while. She trusted their mother to raise her, and the woman turned out to be a drug-addicted weakling. Lois trusted Alison to guide her, and she walked out on her! When she finally thought she found someone who loved her for who she was, he cursed and rejected her! Her own father! She’s everything she is today because she’s a mutant—a freak! They both are, Lois asserts, and it’s all they ever will be. That’s why she wanted to kill every one of them. They’re abominations, she says.
“Okay, point missed completely,” Dazzler replies to her furious sister. “Lois, the only thing we have in common,” she adds, “is a bloody nose.” With that, she reaches through the holograms and punches Lois in the face, knocking her out cold.
Later, outside Murderworld, Dazzler, now dressed in her civilian clothes, meets with the police. Several police cars encircle the secret entrance to Murderworld, concealed in a normal-looking garage. A team of paramedics, meanwhile, loads the unconscious Lois onto a stretcher and into an ambulance. Dazzler folds her arms and observes this scene with conflicted emotions.
Her long-lost sister came back and still wanted to kill her because she’s a mutant, she thinks to herself. Suddenly agents and label reps look almost human to her. She advises the paramedics to be careful with Lois, and to keep her sedated. Alison is just grateful that the X-Men have a place of their own right now, considering how insane the rest of the world it. Maybe there, Lois can get the help she needs—and she can keep her eye on her. As far as the authorities go, they were both victims of Arcade’s insano funhouse. She’s comfortable blaming it on him, and Selene, and Klaw—which reminds her, she lost him in the chaos. Who knows when he’ll show up again, she wonders. She got lucky this time, and she’s not afraid to admit that. She needs time to process this, and to figure out what to do. She can blame Selene and everyone else, but she knows she’s responsible too. She can’t just let Lois go out of her life again. She needs help. She needs her sister. Not to mention, she probably still wants to kill me, Dazzler thinks. This should make for some interesting family therapy sessions.
Seeing Lois like that—hating herself and the world—has led Dazzler to realize what she’s been missing. After all this time, it wasn’t the fame she was missing, or the heroics; it was simply respect. She silently thanks the universe for showing her this, and sarcastically asks it if it can’t send her a less lethal clue next time. Sure, it took nearly being killed by a man she thought she murdered and her now-insane sister, but she understands it.
Carrying her old disco jumpsuit over to the garbage, Dazzler holds it for a moment and ponders what it means. Say what you will about me. What I’ve been or done, she thinks. Call me a has-been. Too nostalgic but too soon to be retro-cool. Tell me I have an “image-problem.” I don’t care anymore. What matters is I’m here. To stay. With a smile on her face, she turns away from the alley, taking her jumpsuit with her and holding it with pride.
Get used to it.
Utopia, home of the X-Men…
“…which would have been the proper course of action,” Cyclops interjects. If that had happened, Dazzler rebuts, they would have arrested her and tried to contain her—and they can’t contain someone like Lois. She can kill with a touch! Besides, she’s mentally unstable, has had years of mental and physical abuse, and god only knows what Selene did to her mind while she was with her.
Cyclops reminds Alison that Lois was running around killing other mutants—which is exactly why she’s a danger on Utopia. Utopia is a place for every mutant, Dazzler says to Scott, reminding him of his earlier statement. Is that not what he said about Utopia? She asks him to take a look at her unconscious half-sister. What more can she do to them?
Cyclops replies that he’s more concerned about what might happen to Lois is she stays there. People want retribution, he reminds her. Her sister, after all, killed their friends. Dazzler reminds him that Lois also tried to kill her—and so has Magneto, and so has Scott’s girlfriend! Also, who else in the room has murdering psychopathic siblings? Frankly, she asks Scott why he’s employing such a double standard.
First of all, Cyclops rebuts, Emma never killed an X-Man. He concedes that although some people deserve a second chance, there are those who are beyond help! When Alison reminds him Lois is her sister, Cyclops adds that she also wants to kill her, and will do so the first chance she gets! Alison disagrees; Lois had the chance to kill her twice, and didn’t. She needs them.
Folding his arms, Scott sternly addresses Dazzler and Psylocke. Selene raised the dead and used them against the X-Men, he says. She used everyone, including the Hellions, Emma’s former students. Emma had to watch her children die, again—and Lois went along with it. Alison shouldn’t expect any help from Emma, he adds.
Psylocke, however, volunteers to help Lois. The girl has suffered great emotional trauma, Psylocke says, and her psyche is shattered. Right now, she’s beyond their reach, so Psylocke has to put her into a psychically induced coma. She pledges to work with her on the Astral Plane, healing what Selene, her father, and Ali’s mother did to her. It could take years to rehabilitate her, she says—but she will help her.
As he prepares to leave the room, Cyclops concedes to Psylocke and Dazzler. As Lois’s next of kin, this is Alison’s call, he says—and her responsibility. To that, Alison says it’s the best chance Lois has.
After he leaves, Alison sighs. “That went well,” she says. Psylocke asks how she’s holding up, or if she can get her anything. No, Alison tells her—she’s done so much already. Psylocke kisses her friend on the forehead and tells her she’s there for her, any time. Alison realizes that the hard part has come. Psylocke knows what she’s thinking; is she ready for this? She has to be, Dazzler replies. She’s the next of kin—it’s her responsibility.
Psylocke exits the room, leaving Dazzler at the bedside with her sister. Alison gradually grows forlorn, and buries her face in her hands. “Leave this one to the Dazzler,” she groans.
Pulling out her cellphone, she dials a number she hasn’t dialed in a long time. As the phone begins to ring, she notes that sometimes, the space between rings can cover a lifetime. During this time, one might think of all the things one wants to say—what one should say. And rarely are they the things, she thinks, that one actually says.
“Hello?” the party at the other end of the line says.
“Mom?” Alison asks into the phone.
“Ali, honey?” her mother responds. Alison confirms that yes, it is indeed her.
When her mother asks if everything is okay, Alison struggles to keep it together. She wants to scream into the phone that no, everything is not okay. Do they sound okay?!? Her other daughter just kidnapped her, made her fight robot versions of every big-bad—even some crappy C-listers—and then brought in Klaw, the one guy who could kill her, to finish the job! And she did this all because she hates Alison and hates being a mutant!
However, Alison refrains from saying all that. Instead, she remains silent for a moment, prompting her mother to ask if she’s still there. Alison just tells her that she’s calling about Lois. Her mother begins to fear the worst; is Lois…?
Again, Alison wants to scream into the phone and finish her mom’s sentence. Is Lois a psycho murdering bitch who killer her father and than came after her friends and tried to kill her? Is she someone that no one wants to take care of, but whom Alison now has to take care of because there isn’t anyone left, thanks to her mother? She wants to tell her mother that if she’d had the guts to get off the drugs or get herself into a safe environment where she could have grown up like a normal girl, maybe she could have stood a chance! However, she had to do what she did to Alison—what she always did—and run away, abandoning her daughter.
Alison wants to hurl the phone at the wall as she ponders this rant in her head. Somehow, she restrains herself, and calmly and politely tells her mother that Lois is going to be okay—she hopes.
Her mother, Barbara London, asks what happened. Alison tells her Lois is not well—she’s stable, but not well. Sitting at her piano at home, Barbara asks what Lois has done; she begs Alison to tell her what her sister has done. Replying that Lois is emotionally and mentally sick, Alison informs her mother that Lois has killed her father, Nick. She killed a lot of people, actually—and she tried to kill Alison as well. Lois is in a coma now, but it’s safe. She’ll be in the coma until she can get better.
Thoughts begin to whirl inside of Barbara London’s head. She blames herself for everything. She did this, she thinks. She was weak, and on drugs. She was out of her mind. She thought she could run, changer her name, and start over. However, she’s not fooling anyone—no one ever gets to start again.
After a prolonged silence, Alison asks if her mother is still there. Barbara confirms that she is, and that she heard her. She tells Alison that she is so thankful for her—and for her strength. Of all of them, Ali has always been the strongest. This—everything that happened—is her own fault, Barbara concedes. Alison begins to object, but Barbara stops her mid-sentence; they both know it’s the truth. She wasn’t there for Alison at all, and what she put Lois through…
Ali chalks this up to merely making some bad choices. However, Lois made some bad choices as well. Still blaming herself, Barbara insists these choices were based on her actions—actions Lois observed from her mother!
Believe it or not, Alison tells her distraught mother, she isn’t the only one to blame. Alison admits that she made a promise to Lois she didn’t keep. She promised Lois she would never lose her—but she did. Ali got caught up in everything but Lois. And then, she says, Lois lost herself. They all played their own roles there, but ultimately, it was Lois’s life, and Lois’s decisions—and her consequences to face. They all have to face the consequences, Barbara imagines.
Someone calls to Katherine Blaire in her apartment, telling her that her next appointment has arrived. Katherine tells her assistant, Connie, that she will just be a moment. Confused, Alison asks her mother why she’s now going by Katherine. What happened to the name Barbara London? Katherine tells her that was never really her—not really. “Sometimes you have to stop running form what you were and find out who you are truly meant to be,” Katherine says. “I trust you, honey. I said it before, but you are truly a remarkable young woman. And an inspiration. Lois is safe with you. I’ll be up as soon as possible. I promise. I love you,” she tells her daughter.
Alison, on the other end of the phone, tells her mom she loves her too, while tears stream down her face.
When the call ends, Alison walks over to Lois and rests her hand on her sister’s forehead. Sometimes you have to stop running from what you were, she thinks, pondering her mother’s words, and find out who you are truly meant to be.
“I won’t lose you, Lois,” she tells her comatose sister. “Not again.”
as robot duplicates only:
Dr. Doom, Enchantress, Galactus, Letha, Poundcakes, Rogue, Screaming Mimi, Titania, White Queen
Cyclops, Dazzler, Psylocke (X-Men)
Katherine Blaire/Barbara London (Dazzler’s mother)
in flashback only:
The image of Dazzler on this issue’s inside cover comes from the cover of DAZZLER (1st series) #25.
This issue takes place shortly after the NECROSHA crossover.
This issue’s third track, “Reflections,” isn’t a story, but a full-page pinup of Dazzler in her iconic disco outfit, as rendered by Robin Ha and Christina Strain. Strain previously lent her coloring skills to a Dazzler comic in WOLVERINE: FIRST CLASS #16.
Dazzler’s half-sister, Lois London, first appeared in DAZZLER (1st series) #22. Her mutant death-touch powers manifest in DAZZLER (1st series) #26. She and Dazzler parted ways in DAZZLER (1st series) #30, and Lois was not seen again until she appeared with Selene’s death squad in X-NECROSHA #1. To read the full history of London, see UXN’s Character Profile on Mortis.
Selene’s “death squad” was a group of jaded mutants with lethal powers whom she gathered to form her Inner Circle. The group included Mortis, Wither, Blink, Senyaka, and Eli Bard, and first appeared in full in X-NECROSHA #1. For a full history of this deadly cadre, see UXN’s Villain Team Entry Selene’s Inner Circle.
Blink is a mutant with the power of teleportation, whom Selene retrieved from the void and invited to her Inner Circle. She and Lois were the only survivors of X-Force’s raid on Selene’s citadel in X-FORCE (3rd series) #25. The X-Men later tracked Blink to Eastern Europe in X-MEN: TO SERVE AND PROTECT #3 and prevented her from resurrecting Selene, at which point she repented for the crimes she committed while in Selene’s service. Blink later appeared in NEW MUTANTS (3rd series) #34 and began sporadically working alongside that team.
The dead guy in the alleyway is reminiscent of the dead homeless man in DAZZLER (1st series) #26, the first person Lois killed with her mutant power.
Selene appeared to die at the end of X-FORCE (3rd series) #25, the finale of the Necrosha crossover.
Dazzler’s “pink wig” comment refers to the hairstyle she wore during her time in NEW EXCALIBUR.
Dazzler was outed as a mutant in MARVEL GRAPHIC NOVEL #12: DAZZLER – The MOVIE.
Perez Hilton is a notorious gossip columnist known for, among other things, doodling captions and cartoonish drawings on the subjects in photos on his blog, perezhilton.com.
Dazzler encountered the Grapplers (Letha, Poundcakes, Screaming Mimi, and Titania) in DAZZLER (1st series) #13, when she had to spend the night in Ryker’s Island Prison while awaiting trial for the murder of Klaw.
Dazzler speaks truth when talking to the robot version of Screaming Mimi: as a member of the Thunderbolts, Mimi has indeed since reformed, and now uses the codename Songbird.
Arcade telling Dazzler that he doesn’t really care if she survives the experience is a play on the classic X-Men catchphrase, “Welcome to the X-Men—hope you survive the experience!” This phrase was first used on the cover of X-MEN (1st series) #139, the issue in which Kitty Pryde joined the team. It was later used for Havok on the cover of UNCANNY X-MEN (1st series) #219 and for Cecelia Reyes on the cover of UNCANNY X-MEN (1st series) #351, among others.
Dazzler faced the White Queen in battle in X-MEN (1st series) #129-131, when the Hellfire Club ambushed the X-Men while they were searching for two new mutants. The White Queen and Dazzler have since become allies, of course, both serving concurrently on the X-Men. Incidentally, X-MEN (1st series) #129 was the first appearance of both Dazzler and the White Queen.
Dazzler encountered Dr. Doom in DAZZLER (1st series) #3-4, when she became embroiled in his scheme to retrieve the Jewels of Dr. Doom from a museum in New York City.
Dazzler encountered the Enchantress in DAZZLER (1st series) #1, the very first issue of her solo series. Oddly enough, their conflict arose because Dazzler beat out the Norse goddess in an audition for a low-profile singing gig at a nightclub. The Enchantress was not pleased and vowed revenge on both Dazzler and the club’s owner, but was thwarted when she attempted to exact vengeance in DAZZLER (1st series) #2.
Miss Locke was Arcade’s assistant. She first appeared in MARVEL TEAM-UP #65, alongside her employer, and seldom appears without him.
Dazzler’s one-sided feud with Rogue began in DAZZLER (1st series) #22, when Mystique’s Sisterhood of Evil Mutants, which included Rogue as a member, launched an attack on Dazzler’s beau, Angel, purely for his affiliation with the X-Men. After Dazzler defeated the Sisterhood, Rogue grew obsessed with getting revenge, and basically stalked Dazzler, ambushing her in DAZZLER (1st series) #24 and 28. Incidentally, both women ended up joining the X-Men around the same time, but the didn’t settle the dispute between them until UNCANNY X-MEN (1st series) #221-222.
Dazzler performed her original song, “A Little Girl’s Dreams,” in DAZZLER (1st series) #21 in honor of her mother.
Dazzler was involuntarily appointed as a herald of Galactus—and granted cosmic powers—in DAZZLER (1st series) #10-11. Galactus chose Dazzler in order to retrieve his rogue herald, Terrax, from a black hole in which he had gone into hiding. Dazzler managed to enter the black hole, subdue Terrax, convince him to return to Galactus’s employ, and, somewhat miraculously, exit the black hole from the same point she entered with Terrax in tow. After successfully completing this mission, Galactus reverted Dazzler to her original state and returned her to her home on Earth.
Mortis killer her father, Nick Brown, in X-NECROSHA: THE GATHERING #1.
Dazzler did indeed kill Klaw, albeit accidentally, when he ambushed her and Quasar at a Project: Pegasus base in DAZZLER (1st series) #9. Since he is made entirely of sound energy, Dazzler was able to absorb his entire essence into her body. Galactus later expelled this sound energy into space, where it was recovered by Dr. Doom—and used to reconstruct Klaw—during the Secret Wars crossover.
Klaw’s assertion that sound waves exist forever is dubious, as sound waves cannot exist without a physical medium to travel through. Not only do they lose energy to random molecular vibrations as they travel, but they cease to exist once they reach the vacuum of space, is it contains no medium through which they can move.
Mortis’s insinuation that Murderworld is ineffective is mostly true; Arcade has never actually succeeded in killing any of his intended victims with it.
Lois’s inability to kill Alison hints at the phenomenon of some mutant siblings finding their powers ineffective on each other, like Cyclops and Havok.
This story is dedicated to Frank Springer, penciler of the DAZZLER series from issues #4-31, whose iconic style defined the series at the time. Springer also penciled MARVEL GRAPHIC NOVEL #12: DAZZLER – THE MOVIE, as well as DAZZLER (1st series) #35. Springer died of prostate cancer on April 2, 2009.
Lois killed Diamond Lil in X-FORCE (3rd series) #23, during the NECROSHA crossover.
Emma Frost tried to kill Dazzler during their first encounter in X-MEN (1st series) #129-131.
Magneto tried to kill Dazzler during the EVE OF DESTRUCTION crossover.
Dazzler’s comment about murdering, psychopathic siblings obviously refers to Cyclops’s half-brother Vulcan, but also possibly to Psylocke’s reality-warping brother Jamie Braddock.
Katherine Blaire, who used the alias Barbara London during one phase of her life, hasn’t appeared since DAZZLER (1st series) #42, when she was held hostage by Dust and Silence. Presumably, Dazzler hasn’t spoken with her since she faked her death at the end of that issue.
Mortis has not appeared since this issue. Presumably, she was transferred off of Utopia, along with the rest of its charges, when it sank at the end of the Avengers vs. X-Men crossover.
Issue Summary written by: Sixhoursoflucy