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Dazzler #22

Issue Date: December 1982

Story Title: The Sisterhood

Staff: Danny Fingeroth (writer), Frank Springer (penciler), Vince Colletta (inker), Don Warfield (colorist), Janice Chiang (letterer), Dennis O’Neil (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description:
Mystique and her Sisterhood sic a stolen flock of experimental attack- hawks after Angel, whom they target for his affiliation with the X-Men. Angel survives and returns home to recover from his injuries. Meanwhile, Dazzler suffers through a strenuous-yet-productive recording session for her first album, and then goes on a disastrous date with her boyfriend, Ken Barnett. The fallout of her date leaves her confused, so she goes to see Angel for advice. After talking all night, the two decide to visit Professor X for help, but on the way to Westchester, the Sisterhood ambushes Angel again, this time inadvertently bringing Dazzler into the mess. The mutant-powerhouse Rogue quickly incapacitates both Dazzler and Angel. To obtain the information she and her teammates want about the X-Men, Rogue intends to use her mutant ability to absorb Angel’s psyche, but hesitates for too long, giving Dazzler time to recover and intervene. She defeats Mystique, Rogue, and Destiny, and escapes safely with Angel. Meanwhile, Lois London, after learning of her relation to Dazzler from her mother Barbara, arrives at Dazzler’s apartment to meet her long-lost half-sister for the first time.

Full Synopsis:
Warren Worthington III, the mutant and former X-Man known as Angel, recently came to New York City to court Alison Blaire, the mutant singer known as the Dazzler. Alison is all he thinks about these days. On his current flight through the skies of New York, however, thinking about Alison is a luxury he cannot afford. He instead focuses his attention entirely on the savage flock of raptors viciously clawing at his body and pecking at his face.

While struggling to break free of their attacks, Warren wonders where these hawks came from, and why they are after him. They have clearly been trained to kill; regular hawks never behave this way. Who might have sent them? he wonders. An enemy he made during his days with the X-Men, or the Champions? Shaking free, he decides to worry about that point later. For now, he intends to focus only on getting to safety, but he wonders how. The hawks fly as adeptly as he does; they can even predict his moves based on his body language. He realizes he must act as quickly as he thinks.

With the hawks on his tail, Warren cuts to the right moments before colliding with a building. One unfortunate hawk fails to copy his maneuver in time and smashes into the window. Next, Angel dive-bombs toward the street, but pulls up at the last second, reversing his trajectory. Another hawk falls victim to his trick and slams into the sidewalk. While soaring upward, Warren crashes through the window of an empty office building, hoping to confine the birds in close quarters. Another one of the hawks follows. Warren abruptly opens a set of filing cabinet drawers in its face, putting a decisive end to its pursuit.

Only one hawk remains. Warren berates himself for recklessly breaking through the window; he tore his wings in the process. Before he starts tending to his wounds, however, he needs to shake the last hawk off his tail. He soars out of the high-rise office and flies toward the ground with the raptor following closely behind. He realizes he could probably take the bird in a one-on-one fight, but would prefer not to. After landing in a garbage-strewn alley, he grabs a trashcan lid and spins around, just in time to use it as a shield against the dive-bombing bird. It flops to the ground, possibly dead. Warren laments; it gives him the creeps to see another winged creature go down like that. However, they would have done much worse to him. A bruised, bloody mess, Angel shakes it off and heads back to his hotel, intending to figure out who exactly wants him dead this time.

Meanwhile, not too far away, Dazzler rides with her band's assistant manager Lance to a recording session. She can barely believe she gets to cut her own record today! Lance reminds his elated client it's only a demo; it doesn't qualify as a record until the music executives say so. Lighten up, Alison tells him; this might be her big break! Lance just doesn’t want her to get her hopes up. He turns his attention back to the bustling, gridlocked traffic of New York City.

Lance is so focused on his driving, actually, that he neglects to notice a traffic-accident-in-progress ahead in the road. Dazzler sees it as it happens. A roller-skating woman wearing headphones uses the crosswalk up ahead, failing to notice an out-of-control car barreling in her direction. Dazzler realizes she can save her, if she acts quickly. She turns up the car radio and transduces the sound into a laser. She uses the laser beam to destroy the roller-skating woman's pocket radio. With her blaring music interrupted, the woman finally hears the car's horn honking and skates out of its way just before it would have creamed her. Lucky for her she's a better skater than a street-crosser, the relieved Alison grumbles. Also lucky for her that I'm a mutant.

Lance asks Alison why she turned up the radio so loud. She lies and tells him she confused the dials. Lance, after all, still does not know about her mutant powers. The fewer people know, the better, Alison thinks to herself. She notices traffic slowing to a halt and realizes why: the out-of-control driver finally stopped his car. The police have arrived as well, causing a huge traffic jam. The irate Lance begins honking his horn; they're already running behind schedule, he shouts! Alison asks him to take it easy, but before she can finish her sentence, a police officer pops his head in the window. If Lance has a problem, the cop says, a judge downtown will gladly help him solve it! Lance, suddenly bumbling, ekes out an apology. The officer stops listening to Lance as soon as he spots his passenger. Isn't she the Dazzler, the cop asks? Alison answers yes and formally introduces herself. The star-struck officer compliments her on her singing, and asks when he can expect her to finally put out an album. Funny thing, she says; she and Lance are en route to the recording studio right now! The police officer tells her she need not say any more; he can get her there in style. Moments later, Lance and Alison continue on their way to the recording studio, with one of New York's finest as their escort.

A short while later, at a state-of-the-art recording facility called Electronic Oz, Alison Blaire prepares to record her first album. While she and her band tune their respective musical instruments, Alison cannot help but ponder her boyfriend Ken's absence. Maybe he will show up later, she tells herself. After a few encouraging words from the band's manager Harry S. Osgood, as well as a supportive exchange between Alison and her guitarist Marx, the red light in the recording room flashes and the session begins.

Dazzler cannot help but feel awe-struck in the presence of the studio's sound technician and unparalleled electronics-genius L.B. Holman. Today, the living legend’s experience and knowledge are neither questioned nor contradicted. The recording begins. Alison starts in with one of her songs, but before she gets past the opening verse, L.B. calls for a cut. "Ms. Blaire, you were a little behind the beat. And, Marx, I don't remember that chord in the sheet music," L.B. says. "If you're going to improvise, make it better than what's written, okay?" Somewhat stunned, Alison asks her manager if this guy is too much of a perfectionist. That’s why they’re paying him so much, Osgood says, smiling.

The recording session quickly turns frustrating, as L.B.'s continual criticisms grow on everyone's nerves. He calls Alison out for singing half a note flat. He corrects her for holding the microphone too close to her face. The guitarist, he criticizes for playing half a note sharp. Everyone will hear these blunders on an album, L.B. insists. The session proceeds slowly and tensely, inciting anger, fear, and hostility in the process, but in the end, produces some wonderful music. As the session continues, Alison and her band tighten up their act, creeping ever closer toward the elusive goal of "quality". Behind the recording window, L.B.'s assistant remarks on how good the band sounds. L.B. knows; Alison Blaire has more potential than any singer he has heard in years. Why else would he push her so hard?

After singing countless takes of one of her songs, Alison delivers her best performance yet. L.B. congratulates everyone once the song ends. They laid down so much great material today that they will surely have the guys at the record company drooling in their annual reports! Osgood pops a bottle of champagne in celebration. Alison, however, feels no compulsion to celebrate. Ken Barnett never showed up to support her; with him around, the session would have gone much more smoothly. She tries not to let his absence upset her too much.

Meanwhile, Ken sits in his apartment, poring over legal journals in a desperate attempt to find a way to defend his latest client, just as he has been doing for the past fourteen hours. Work is the only thing on his mind.

Nearby, at a fashionable apartment in Sutton Place, Mystique, Rogue, and Destiny sit around discussing recent events. The experimental anti-personnel hawks Mystique stole from the Pentagon have failed in their mission against the Angel, Mystique explains. However, she expected no other outcome. If that's the case, Rogue asks, then why did she send them? Mystique explains that she merely wanted to scare the Angel. This way, he will already feel frightened and confused when she and her Sisterhood make their move, and through him, they can exact revenge against all of the X-Men. Sounds good, Rogue says; she has wanted revenge against the X-Men since their last fight at the Pentagon, and she can hardly wait to have another shot at the big guns like Wolverine and Colossus. Do not be so over-eager, Destiny advises. Although the futures she sees are by no means certain, she can plainly see the Angel is not as helpless as he seems. They must form a definite strategy before proceeding. Mystique agrees. Rogue still just wants to rush in and bust some heads.

Meanwhile, at his home in Long Island, Carter Blaire toils in the attic, boxing up the old possessions of his ex-wife, Katherine. He writes her new name — Barbara London — and address on the box. All these years, he could never bear to get rid of these items go, in a way hoping they would lure her back to his side. Now that they have reconciled, the least he can do is return to her stuff, finally letting go of the ghosts of their old love. Carter removes his glasses, sensing the onset of tears. The tears somehow make him smile; it has been years since he allowed himself to feel enough to cry.

The next day, at Barbara London’s place on the Upper West Side, the former Katherine Blaire anxiously prepares a fancy dinner for her daughter Lois, who returns home from college that night. Lois always knew of her mother's obsession with Dazzler, but never suspected that Dazzler is her mother's daughter... or her own half-sister. Tonight, Barbara plans to tell her. She regrets not revealing it earlier, but could not do so without admitting to her shameful, sordid past. This dishonesty created an emotional distance between Lois and Barbara. Lois deserves better, Barbara says. She stares longingly at a picture of Alison Blaire, the Dazzler, in the newspaper. She knows Alison wants to get to know her better, to form a real relationship to make up for lost time, but Barbara cannot do it just yet. She needs time. Suddenly, the doorbell buzzes, causing the nervous Barbara to drop her eyeglasses. She hopes the shattering of the glass does not portend anything ominous.

Later that night, Alison enjoys her date with Ken Barnett. "Gee, Ken, that movie was fun! Decapitation, disembowelment, and death-dealing," she jokes as the happy couple exits the movie theater showing Conan the Barbarian. After sitting in a movie theater for two hours, Alison feels unusually fidgety, and asks Ken to take her dancing. He claims he would love to, but needs to get back to his work. Alison groans. Can't he ever let his work go for a night and spend some time with her? After all, he did miss her important recording session, when she needed his support more than ever. Isn't he taking his dedication to his job a bit too far? Ken recalls it was precisely that dedication that kept Alison from spending the rest of her life in jail! Other people need his help too! "Look, I know better than to try and argue with a lawyer. I'll never convince you I'm right," Alison says, "—but I am!" She gets in a cab and tells Ken she might talk to him later.

Alison plops down onto her comfy living-room chair immediately after returning home. She instantly regrets the way she behaved with Ken. Why did she have to blow up at him like that? It isn't his fault requires so much dedication and overtime. "Maybe he's right. Maybe I am too self-centered, too narcissistic," Alison thinks. "But, to be a performer you have to be that way, don't you?" As she continues to second-guess herself, Alison realizes maybe her pursuit of fame and stardom is a waste of time after all. Maybe she should think about using her powers to help the world. She needs to talk to someone about this, and she knows just the man.

Alison heads straight to the Plaza Hotel's presidential suite to find her friend Warren Worthington III. She knocks on the door a few times, but gets no response, even after calling out his name. On a hunch, she tries the handle, and surprisingly finds the door unlocked. No one leaves their door unlocked in New York, Alison says to herself as she creeps into the darkened hotel room. Something must be wrong.

Suddenly, a man reaches out from the shadows and grabs Dazzler by the neck. She screams. The man hits the light and sees his supposed attacker is Alison Blaire. She shouts at the man, whom she now recognizes as Warren, for scaring her like that. Why would he do that to her? Warren apologizes. He thought Alison was an attacker. He tells her about the hawk attack, shows her his injuries, and explains that someone out there means to kill him. After the attack, he returned to his room and must have passed out before locking the door. Again, he apologizes. Alison accepts and jokingly tells him self-preservation is a healthy instinct.

Warren asks why she decided to visit. Alison confides in him about her fight with Ken, which got her thinking about all of her inner conflicts, leading to yet another one of her perennial identity crises. What should she do with her mutant powers, she asks? She wants to limit their use to sprucing up her musical act, but sometimes she wonders if there truly is a responsibility that comes with great power. Warren tells her she came to the right guy to talk about mutant-hood. The two friends converse long into the night. After the sun comes up the next morning, Warren apologizes for rambling, but Alison thanks him for his input. Her situation remains as confusing as ever, though. Warren stands up and begins putting on his Angel costume. He has helped all he can, but now, for the best answers, she needs to talk to the world's leading expert on mutant issues — Professor X. If anyone can offer Alison guidance, he can! Smiling, Alison doubts she and Angel will be taking the train to Westchester.

As the sun rises over New York City, the airborne Angel carries Alison safely in his arms, not noticing the two objects discretely tailing them: Rogue, who flies using the superpowers she absorbed from Ms. Marvel, and a helicopter that carries Mystique and Destiny. Using the chopper’s radio, Destiny asks Rogue for a recon update. Rogue reports that Angel is heading northwest, most likely to Xavier's. Then prepare to attack, Destiny tells her. They want to confront him before he reunites with the X-Men. "No problem, ladies," Rogue says. "And speaking of ladies, he's got one with him!" Destiny tells her this other woman's presence matters little to them. If she must die along with Angel, then so be it.

Rogue dive-bombs toward the woods below and grabs hold of a tree. Using her super-strength, she effortlessly uproots the thick oak, and takes a swing at the airborne mutants. Angel gasps at the sight of Rogue, whom he immediately recognizes as a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. With Alison in his arms, he doesn't stand a chance against the powerhouse. He has no choice but to land.

Angel lands on a bluff overlooking a roaring waterfall with Alison safely in his arms. Rogue, Mystique and Destiny show up shortly thereafter. Alison asks what they want; Warren tells her he does not know, but if they wanted them dead, they would be already. It's been a long time, X-Man, Mystique says as she steps out of the helicopter. The way she sees it, she and her Sisterhood owe Angel and his fellow X-Men big time for botching their plan to assassinate Senator Kelly. Now, she intends to use Angel's knowledge of the X-Men's weaknesses to destroy his precious teammates, once and for all! Angel insists he would never betray them. Of course not, Destiny says; not willingly.

Rogue suddenly recognizes Angel's passenger and interrupts. That's the Dazzler, she announces, pointing at Alison! She may be a good singer, but Rogue instantly dislikes her for associating with Angel. Destiny admits she does not know the girl, but senses a great tragedy in her future involving loved ones. Alison asks how she could possibly know that. Enough, Mystique says. The girl may not even have a future.

Warren steps forward and asks Mystique to leave Alison out of it. She has nothing to do with their conflict, he says. "Did anybahdy ask you, wings?” Rogue asks. She takes a swing at him, leveling him with one of her powerhouse blows. "You're lucky ah'm pullin' my punches, wings! If I wasn't, you'd be gettin' more than this little massage I'm givin' you!" She hits him again in the stomach, and he collapses, winded. Rogue towers over his body and tells him that maybe now he will tell the ladies what they want to know. Warren can barely remain conscious, let alone reveal valuable strategic secrets.

"Stop! Don't hurt him anymore!" a woman's voice cries. Angel lifts his head and sees his old lover, Candy Southern, reaching out a hand of support. He asks how she made it all the way here from her home in Colorado. Candy tells him she came to stand by his side and help him fight these witches. Drawing on the last reserves of his strength, Warren lifts his head toward the beautiful woman, allowing her to caress his cheek. He gets to his feet and takes her in a warm embrace. She asks him to hold her, kiss her, and trust her. Then she brings up her knee and hits him in the crotch. Fool, Candy shouts! She laughs riotously as she slowly transforms back into her true form: Mystique. The Sisterhood laughs; to them, it’s all a big joke.

Rogue now offers Dazzler a choice: stand by her friend and get the same treatment he gets, or join the Sisterhood and live the good life. Which side is she on? Although this question reverberates in Alison's skull, her choice is simple: she chooses the side of good. The sound from a nearby waterfall provides all the energy she will need to save both Warren and herself. She unleashes a blinding flash of light, and in the time it takes her foes to recover, slips on her magnetic roller-skates. She flips around and hits Mystique in the face with a blast of light. Destiny tries to warn her teammates of Dazzler's next attack, but Dazzler, acting too fast even for Destiny's precognition, kicks her in the face with a cartwheel and hits Rogue with a forceful eruption of energy.

With the three mutant women temporarily neutralized, Warren, having sensed Dazzler's attack beforehand, now opens his eyes and gets up off the ground. He is still too winded from Rogue's assault to fly very far with Alison. She tells him to go by himself; she can run into the nearby woods and escape that way. Angel begins his predictable refusal, but Alison tells him to shut up and go. He complies. Meanwhile, Alison takes off running for the thick cover of the woods. Before she can get very far, however, Rogue reaches out and grabs her by the ankle. "Did y'all think your pretty lights could keep me down long, little girl? I'm Rogue. Y'all don't mess with me. Understand?" she says, slapping Dazzler across the face. Rogue then picks her up off the ground and hoists her high overhead. She knows Dazzler isn't very dangerous, which is why, instead of killing her, she only intends to place her out of the Sisterhood's hair for a while. She throws the mutant starlet over the edge of the bluff. Dazzler screams as she plummets toward the roaring rapids below.

Rogue returns to check on Destiny and Mystique. Since they seem fine, she flies after Angel. He doesn't make it very far before Rogue gets in his face and knocks him out with an uppercut. Somewhat graciously, Rogue catches the unconscious hero and carries him to the ground. All the information the Sisterhood needs resides in his mind; it is Rogue's job to extract it through skin-to-skin contact. She leans in to give him a kiss, her method of choice when she must siphon someone’s memories and abilities. At the last second, however, she pulls away; she has never before absorbed the psyche of someone with a physical mutation like wings. What will it do to her? Turn her into some kind of freak? Angered, Mystique tells her she cannot falter now, when they are so close! Rogue adamantly refuses. She'd rather kill the man than risk absorbing his physical mutation. Mystique yields, but refuses to waste this opportunity. She orders Rogue to carry the man back to the helicopter. They can use another, albeit messier, method to extract the information they need.

As the trio walks back to the helicopter, Destiny senses something is amiss. She warns her teammates to stay cautious, as they might still face another attack from Dazzler. Rogue tells them not to worry about a one-trick pony like Dazzler! "Make sure you truss that turkey up good," she tells her companions as she loads Angel into the helicopter. Mystique asks her not to worry; when the Angel finally comes around, he will not be able to move.

Destiny's prediction proves accurate, however, when Dazzler pulls herself back up over the ridge. The ladies are not going anywhere, Alison says. Using the overbearing noise from the waterfall and the helicopter, Dazzler stuns both Rogue and Mystique with a single, blinding flash of light. Destiny proves to be more of a challenge, however, as she is already blind. Alison wastes no time in taking care of her. Before the precog can draw her gun, Dazzler lurches forward and punches her across the face. Next, she kicks the unconscious women out of the helicopter and shakes Warren awake. She doesn't know how to fly a chopper, but hopefully Warren does. Sure enough, after he regains consciousness, he wrests control of the helicopter and lifts off into the air. Mystique, Destiny, and Rogue all regain their senses and try to stop them from escaping. Alison stops them before they get a chance by hitting them with a barrage of lights and lasers. With their opposition neutralized, she and Warren finally make their escape.

A short while later, Alison and Warren decompress in Ali's apartment. Warren doubts the Sisterhood has finished hounding him yet. Alison assumes she made their hate-list as well. Probably, Warren says, considering their obsession with vengeance. Alison leans her head back in the chair and sighs. She's not a hero; this isn't what she wanted. What should she do? Warren decides he needs to check out of the Plaza Hotel and go underground for a while. He suggests Alison do the same, but she refuses. She has a career to consider, and besides, it isn't her style. Warren suggests she at least hire bodyguards and suggests Power Man and Iron Fist. Alison, having met both men at her recent Carnegie Hall concert, takes to the idea instantly.

Someone rings Alison's buzzer. She springs to her feet. What if the Sisterhood found her already, she asks? Warren doubts they would be so polite as to ring her doorbell. Throwing on a jacket to cover her tattered clothing, Alison walks to the door, peers through the peephole, and sees a young, familiar-looking woman. What does she want, Alison asks? “Are you Alison Blaire?” the girl asks. Alison asks who wants to know. “Er... I do,” the girl says. “My name's Lois London. I'm your... er... sister.” Alison gasps. She opens the door and, for the first time in her life, stands face to face with the sister she never knew.

Characters:
Dazzler

Angel

Destiny, Mystique, Rogue (Sisterhood)

Lance Steele
Beefer, Hunch, Marx (Dazzler’s band)
Harry S. Osgood (Dazzler’s manager)
L.B. Holman (recording technician)
Recording assistant

Carter Blaire
Barbara London
Lois London
Ken Barnett

Roller-skating woman
Police officer/Dazzler fan

Notes:
Angel was a founding member of the original X-Men. After the events depicted in Giant-Size X-Men #1, however, he left the team and formed a new crime-fighting team, the Champions, with his friend and teammate Iceman. This new team’s tenure was short-lived. Shortly after they broke up, Angel returned to the X-Men, but left again after growing tired of his new teammate Wolverine’s attitude.

During Angel’s brief reunion with the X-Men, he and the team encountered Mystique’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants for the first time in Uncanny X-Men #141-142, when the Brotherhood attempted to assassinate Senator Kelly. Both Destiny and Rogue were members of the Brotherhood at this time, but Mystique chose to leave Rogue out of this dangerous mission.

An unusual error occurs on page three: the second and third panels are printed out-of-sequence.

Mystique was first shown using her “Raven Darkholme” identity in Ms. Marvel (1st series) #16. This alter-ego of hers, whose works at the Pentagon with the title of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Development, was around for long before that, however.

Ken Barnett defended Dazzler in court when she was on trial for the murder of the super-villain Klaw in Dazzler #13.

Dazzler and Ken are shown leaving a screening of Conan the Barbarian, a 1982 film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and based on the popular pulp character. Incidentally, at this time, Marvel Comics owned the rights to the “Conan” franchise, and were publishing at least two different “Conan” comics: Conan the Barbarian, written by former X-Men scribe Roy Thomas and penciled by X-Men artist Barry Windsor-Smith, and another called The Savage Sword of Conan.

Although Angel already seems to know Rogue, this issue is their first meeting.

Angel has been steadily dating his former classmate Candy Southern since their reunion in X-Men (1st series) #31. Although they live together at Angel’s Aerie in Colorado at this point, Angel admitted the relationship had grown stagnant in Dazzler #17 and came to New York City to possibly meet other women.

The letters page of this issue, Dazzling Dispatches, reveals the identity of the Marvel Comics employee riding the bus in Dazzler #17 to be none other than the comic’s penciler, Frank Springer.

This Issue has been reprinted in:
Essential Dazzler Vol. 2 (Trade Paperback)

Issue Summary written by: Sixhoursoflucy


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