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Dazzler #31

Issue Date: March 1984

Story Title: Tidal Wave!

Staff: Jim Shooter (writer), Frank Springer (penciler), Vince Colletta (inker), Janice Chiang (letterer), Ben Sean (colorist), Ralph Macchio (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description:
While on the set of a Hollywood action movie to observe the filmmaking process, Dazzler meets stuntman Bill Remington. Romance ensues. At first, she rejects the charmingly aloof stuntman’s advances, but eventually succumbs and agrees to a date. For their second date, Dazzler invites Bill over to her new apartment, which she rents from a pair of mutant-hating landlords. Later that night, she and Bill drive to his beachside residence, only to learn tidal wave is imminent. Bill refuses to leave his home because he values it more than his own life. Frustrated, Dazzler leaves. However, she changes her mind and returns in time to face down the massive tidal wave with a high-powered laser-beam—but the strain nearly kills her. After Bill finds and resuscitates her, he admits to his own self-destructive tendencies, and although he and Dazzler part ways, he vows to contact her once he sets his life straight.

Full Synopsis:
“Okay, I’m ready! Let’s shoot this stunt!” a stuntman named Bill says from atop a red train caboose. Dressed in a cowboy costume, he stands transposed against the backdrop of the beautifully sparse hills of modern-day Los Angeles and signals to his director. The director’s assistant hopes they get this take right the first time, and the director agrees; the clouds look like they might lead to rain. His assistant sighs; he was actually more worried about the eight-hundred-thousand dollars each take of this scene will cost them.

Another member of the film crew asks if this stunt is even feasible. “If it is, Bill Remington can do it,” the cameraman says, “—and he’s the only stuntman nuts enough to try!” The set coordinator tells everyone to get into position for the shot. Once the cameras start rolling, he calls for action.

Standing on the sidelines, a group of onlookers watch in anticipation. One man asks why they didn’t yell ‘quiet on the set’, like they do in the movies. An elderly woman informs him that isn’t necessary for scenes like this because they dub in the audio track later. Standing next to this elderly woman is Alison Blaire. She turns to ask the lady how she knows so much about movies. Is she in the business? Laughing, the old woman introduces herself as Kate Remington—Bill Remington’s mother. She tells Alison she loves to come to the set and watch her son work. She then asks Alison if she would like to watch the stunt using her binoculars. Alison enthusiastically obliges. As she focuses on the progress of the elaborate train-top stunt, Miss Remington compliments her beauty and asks if she is an actress in the film. Alison tells her no; her manager simply arranged for her to come and observe the filming process. Someday, however, she hopes to act.

The stunt kicks into action. As the freight train roars down the track, Bill Remington runs along the roofs of the individual cars, dodging simulated gunshots from two pretend-thugs. He shouts for them to ready the grenade. Charging at one of the men, he mimes a punch at his face, after which the man falls off the moving train as if injured. His ally lobs the grenade on cue. Remington leaps the gap between the two cars, tackles the man—asking him to scream in the process—and knocks the grenade out of his hand. It explodes, propelling Remington through the air and directly into the backseat of an old, green convertible driving alongside the train. Remington compliments Walt, the driver, for his precision driving. Now comes the hard part, Walt says; they have to duke it out at sixty miles per hour! “Who wrote this script?” Remington asks as he begins trading simulated blows with his fellow stuntman. After Remington uppercuts him out of the car, he braces himself for the final leg of the stunt. The car veers off the edge of a cliff and into a canyon, where it seemingly explodes.

Through her binoculars, Dazzler watches these events in horror. It looks like Remington died! At that moment, the director calls for the cameras to cut, and declares the scene a wrap! It starts to rain right after the filming ends. The crew walks over to the edge of the cliff and helps Bill Remington crawl over the ledge. He missed the net during his fall, but otherwise, he is okay.

Miss Remington watches from a distance and smiles. She tells Alison there was no need to worry; Bill is just fine! Frankly, Alison cannot believe he is still alive. The successful stuntman comes over to the onlookers, where his mom compliments his marvelous performance. She then tries to introduce Bill to her new friend… but forgets her name and calls her Alicia. “Um… that’s Alison… or Ali, if you like!” Alison says.

“I like!” Bill Remington replies. After his mother informs him Alison wants to act someday, Bill removes his cowboy hat, holds it to his chest, and takes a bow before Alison. He picks his head back up, and with his dark hair and face soaked with rain, looks at Ali and says, “would you please marry me?” Alison gasps; she politely tells him she has other plans for her afternoon. He asks her if her evening is free, then. At the very least, she could let him buy her a drink, or dinner, or an Italian sportscar. Again, she begins to politely say thanks, but Bill Remington once again interrupts. “Ah! I know you’re wary of men introduced by their moms! I don’t blame you,” he jokes. It isn’t that, Alison tells him. Cutting his losses, Mr. Remington hands her a card and just asks her to call him if she ever wants to buy him a drink. Alison takes it—but jokingly bemoans her missed chance at getting a new sportscar.

After Bill leaves, Kate Remington tells Alison that sometimes her son acts a bit outlandish. She hopes Ali doesn’t get the wrong impression. “Not at all, ma’am!” Alison says. “I think he’s very charming and handsome—and I will keep this!” she says, referring to his business card. She explains to Kate that she is new in town and will need some time to get settled. As a matter of fact, she has an appointment to check out a new apartment later that afternoon and realizes she must get going. As Alison departs, Kate Remington smiles and wishes her all the best.

Shortly thereafter, Alison meets with two landlords outside a cute little second-story apartment in Los Angeles. She thanks them for showing her the apartment—which she loves—but feels she needs to admit she works in show business. The landlords catch her drift. They tell her the lack of steady income is all right in her case, though. They see a lot of showbiz types, and can usually judge which ones will make it—and which ones will bomb. They have Alison pegged as a winner. Mrs. McCorkle, the pleasant-looking female landlord, smiles and tells Alison she will probably earn enough to pay rent, at least. Besides, there is only one kind they do not welcome around there: mutants! “We sure don’t want none of them,” Mrs. McCorkle’s father, now scowling, says as he slams his fist into his hand. Mrs. McCorkle adds that just yesterday, a mutant tore up the convention center in San Diego! However, they can clearly see that Alison is as normal as smog—unless she is the one who brought all the rain to Los Angeles! Mrs. McCorkle laughs at her father as Alison climbs the stairs to her new place. She, too, wishes Alison the best of luck.

Later, the stereo fills Alison Blaire’s new, furnished apartment with the music of Barnes and Barnes, while Alison sits at the desk, reading the newspaper by self-emitted light. She needs to find a job while she searches for gigs, if only so she can pay the rent. I’ve also got to make sure the McCorkles don’t find out I can do this, she thinks referring to the living flashlight she makes out of her hand, as if being able to turn sound into light makes me an undesirable tenant! Bro-ther! An ad for a dance exercise teacher catches her attention, and the next morning, Alison heads to the studio to audition.

Dressed in pink tights and a striped, yellow leotard, Dazzler performs a series of aerobic maneuvers for the prospective employer, Mr. Witwicky. As she does a series of alternating toe-touches, she lists off her credentials: a whole series of self-invented aerobic exercises, dancing since age four, studied kinesiology and physical therapy… Mr. Witwicky cuts her off and says he has seen enough. The job is hers!

After she thanks Mr. Witwicky for the job, a familiar-looking gentleman with bandages on his face approaches. “Hello, gorgeous! Haven’t I seen you someplace before?” Bill Remington says. Dazzler swivels around and asks what he is doing at the health club. He tells her he is a member and works out there four times a week; he has to maintain his magnificent body somehow! Alison supposes that’s true. “Listen, when are you going to let me take you out? I’m running out of lines!” Remington says. He asks if she would accompany him to dinner by candlelight at his place in Malibu Beach—provided the rain hasn’t yet washed it into the ocean. Alison begins her next rejection line, but Bill asks her to cease and desist. He knows when he is getting brutally rejected! He excuses himself to go sulk—and think up some better pick-up lines. As he leaves, the giddy Alison Blaire smiles to herself. Bill Remington may be weird—and not exactly Einstein—but he’s cute! If he doesn’t call her, she intends to call him.

She returns to her apartment later that day, takes a shower, and speaks with her manager Harry S. Osgood over the phone. “Got any bookings for a dynamite blonde vocalist?” she asks. Regrettably, Osgood informs her that her contact is up—and he does not want to renew it! She will have to find another agent. Alison gasps; he cannot be serious! Unfortunately for her, Osgood is deathly serious. He cannot do a good job representing her all the way from New York. She needs an agent in L.A. who has connections to the motion picture industry. Alison begs for him to reconsider, but Osgood remains firm, and asks her not to make this any harder than it already is. He loves her like a daughter, but must do what is best for her.

Lance and Cassandra listen to this conversation from outside Osgood’s office. Lance cannot believe he actually did it. Cassie, on the other hand, breathes a sigh of relief now that her nemesis is gone. Osgood suddenly slinks out of his office, ignores Cassandra’s request that he sign some letters, and says he wants to go home to rest. He has had a rough day and doesn’t feel well. “Hmp! He should have done that long ago! She’s been nothing but trouble!” Cassie says after her boss leaves. “I can’t understand why he’s so upset!” Lance turns and puts his finger in her face. Of course she can’t understand, he says; she’s a cold, insensitive witch! If she weren’t so jealous of Alison, she might almost be human! With that, Lance leaves the office and slams the door behind him. Cassie runs out into the hall to apologize, but Lance has already left.

Meanwhile, three thousand miles away, Alison leans over her table and hangs her head in grief. Suddenly there is a knock at the door. She opens the door and finds no one outside—but does find a bouquet of roses left in the hall. Her sadness immediately retreats as she reads the sweet note Bill Remington left for her. He must have conned somebody at the club into giving him her address. Alison cannot help but smile at this adorably sneaky gesture, which arrived just when she needed it.

The next morning, at the Los Angeles Health and Racquet Club, Dazzler leads her very first aerobics class. Lying on her back and sticking her legs straight up in the air, she tells her class to point their toes and keep in tune with the music! Someone next to her whispers and calls her name. During their next stretch, Alison looks over and sees Bill Remington stretching beside her. “How about this line—Hey baby, what’s your sign?” he jokes. Alison calls him a big loonie toon and tells him to hush. After class, he follows her to the shower and tries another pick-up line. “Let me buy you a drink or else I’ll hold my breath till I turn blue!” he says. Dazzler finally concedes to his offer. Bill doesn’t quite hear her, and starts in with another cheesy line before Dazzler stops him and reiterates that she just accepted his offer. “But… I have a hundred and thirty-two more lines!” he says. Sighing, Alison asks him to just meet her in the lobby.

Soon, Alison Blaire and Bill Remington enjoy a romantic dinner at a fancy restaurant. Their waitress returns to refill Bill’s drink, and asks Alison if she would like another club soda—an offer Ali declines. “Talk about a cheap date!” Bill jokes. “Ever go on a wild binge and have two sodas?” After giving Ali a hard time, Bill admits that he fancies himself a go-for-the-gusto type. He hopes to live a short and merry life. Fortunately for him, opposites seem to attract. He raises his drink for a toast with Ali. He asks if she would like to see another stunt tomorrow. She asks if it will be dangerous. “Is the Pope Polish?” he asks.

The next day, on the rainy set of the movie, Remington explains to Alison the dynamics of this new stunt. He has to brake-slide on his motorcycle, drop the bike, run into the burning barn, and as the fire completely engulfs it, duck out the back! To Alison, it sounds impossible. Remington smiles and just asks her to watch. As he hops on his motorcycle, Alison begs him to be careful. Remington doesn’t know the meaning of the word; he can’t spell it, either.

The set coordinator signals the men down in the canyon to start the fire. He gives Remington the signal to get moving—preferably before the incoming rain storm drowns them. He careens down the steep slope toward the burning barn, noting that the fire seems to have already spread quite far; perhaps the men used too much gasoline. Nevertheless, he gives it his best shot, deciding he needs to hurry. He approaches the barn far too fast, however, and slips into a skid, no doubt fueled by the wet surface. Remington loses complete control of his bike and crashes headfirst into the burning barn.

As fast as they can, the set’s firefighters man their truck and head in to save Remington’s life. They figure his flame-proof racing suit will only give him ten seconds to live inside the raging inferno. They begin dousing the flames with their hose, but to their surprise, Remington emerges, covered in flames. They turn the hose on him and extinguish his burning frame. In a panic, Dazzler runs toward Bill and throws her arms around his neck—once the flames die out, of course. She was so worried! She asks if he feels okay. Remington tells her he felt just fine until Alison practically tackled him! He suggests she apply for a job as a linebacker. Joking aside, he tells her the job was no sweat; it’s all in a day’s work for a stuntman. Now that he’s finished for the day, he asks if she would like to get dinner. Shocked, Alison asks how he can even think of eating five seconds after he nearly died. Remington tells her something reminded him of cooking. They decide to play it safe and eat at Alison’s place, as Remington’s house might have already been washed away in the rainstorm.

Later that evening, while Dazzler waits for her date to arrive at her humble abode, she sets the mood for romance. After setting the table and finishing dinner, she gets dressed, puts on some Paul McCartney music, dims the lights and lights some candles. Just as she finishes, Bill knocks on the door. Alison, glowing with excitement, answers it, almost forgetting to tone down her mutant glow before she gets there. Remington smiles at her and enters with a gift in hand. He notices how dark the apartment is and asks Alison how she manages. It seems Alison had been relying on her own emitted light to illuminate the room. Trying to cover her tracks, she tells Bill that she just has good eyes, which she credits to eating a lot of carrots. She flips on the light switch and asks if it’s better. “No! Now I can see the place,” Bill says, completely straight-faced. “Just kidding! It’s… quaint.”

At dinner, Bill proposes a toast to the Alamo. Alison giggles and calls him weird, to which he replies he has a million more jokes like that one. After they finish eating, Bill takes Alison by the hand and practices a few dance steps around the room. He asks where she has been all his life. If he gets comfortable, Alison says she will tell him all about it. They take their seats on her couch and snuggle up to each other. Alison, her eyelids heavy from the wine, rests her head on Remington’s shoulder and asks where she should begin? At birth? At this point, Remington suggests they save the chit-chat until later and start speaking with body language.

Dazzler’s body tenses. This does not go unnoticed by Remington. He asks if anything is the matter, and tells her to grow up; she isn’t in high school anymore. She hesitates, and when he presses the matter again, she sinks into his chest and tells him to keep talking. The sound of his voice comforts her, she says. Suddenly, Remington snaps. He jerks up and marches toward the door, asking why he should even bother. Alison tries to calm him down and get him to talk. Obviously she is not interested in him, he tells her with his head hanging. It’s the story of his life! Alison, doing her best to reassure him, admits she is very into him and apologizes for her own odd behavior. She asks if they can slow down and talk for a while. Remington is instantly enthusiastic about this idea and suggests they go for a walk. Although Alison agrees, she reminds him that outside, it’s raining torrentially. Remington suggests they instead go for a ride in his care. “I was hoping you’d say that! All I have is a pair of roller skates!” Alison says.

After hopping into the car, they drive through the storm toward Bill’s place on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. As they make their way there, however, they notice a long line of cars traveling in the other direction. Bill decides to slow down and ask one of the traffic-jammed motorists for an explanation. Fortunately, he spots his neighbor Steve and pulls alongside his window. Haven’t they heard? There was an earthquake in the ocean near Hawaii, and now, a one-hundred foot tall tsunami is heading for the coast of California, Steve says. He tells them it should hit in half an hour. The houses the storm has not already washed away will be gone for sure once it hits, Steve adds.

Bill slams on the gas and speeds toward his house. The frightened Dazzler asks if they shouldn’t turn around and head the other way—especially considering the police ordered an evacuation. Bill insists he needs to get to his house. He offers to let Alison out so she can hitch a ride with someone traveling in the other direction, but she refuses; she wants to come with Bill. As he barrels down the rain-slicked back-roads toward his home, he tries to impart upon Alison how much his home means to him. As a child, his family was quite poor. His father struggled to eke out a living for his wife and child, but every time things took a turn for the better, fate would kick his father in the teeth! Businesses would fail, plants would close, or he would lose his job in some other way. Finally, Bill’s father just drank himself to death—leaving his wife and son with nothing. They were homeless, and that’s when things got really bad. This miserable life motivated Bill Remington to make something of himself, if only so he never had to experience poverty again. As soon as he was old enough, he started working as a stuntman, eventually earning enough to buy himself the home he always wanted. He parks the car. Through the driving winds and pouring rain, Alison gets out and gets a look at Bill’s magnificent beach-side home. They run inside.

The home’s interior is even more beautiful than expected. While Dazzler gazes at in awe, Bill explains that his life, his world, is here, wrapped up tightly in the walls of this house. It represents the fulfillment of his life’s ambitions. Dazzler finally understands. She asks if he needs help gathering his things. No, Bill says; even though they could conceivably grab a few things and escape, he would rather stay and face the tidal wave. Alison can leave with the car if she likes, he says. She refuses, and although she begs him to change his mind, he remains adamant. With her arms thrown passionately around Bill’s neck, Alison explains that she knows how it feels to lose everything. “I know you do! You’re wonderful!” Mr. Remington says. “That’s why I’ve dreamed of making love to you!” He leans in and kisses her. Alison melts in his arms. He holds her loose, lithe body tight as they drift toward the floor.

Suddenly, Dazzler realizes the insanity of making love at a time like this. In a few minutes, the tidal wave will sweep away the entire house! She gives Bill one last chance to change his mind, and after he refuses yet again, Dazzler leaves on her own. Moments after she walks out the door, Bill realizes what he has lost. He runs outside to catch her.

Meanwhile, Dazzler, already having traversed the distance of several blocks, curses the stubbornness of Bill Remington. He must want to die, she says! She’ll let him do just that, if that is what he truly wants. The gravity of this thought suddenly weighs on Dazzler, however, and she decides she cannot just leave him. She turns around and runs back to the house—but finds no sign of Bill Remington. He has already left. Unfortunately, the tidal wave grows ever closer. Its roar builds louder and louder. Dazzler realizes with horror that’s too late to run; she has to stand her ground. Refusing to die like Bill, she vows to fight for her right to live—no matter the odds!

Walking out to a rock near the ocean’s edge, Dazzler plants her feet and faces the dark wall of approaching water. Bracing against the gale, she wills her mutant body to drink deeply of the storm’s deafening din. Power wells within her. The thunder, the shrieking wind, the slashing rain, and the roar of the tsunami itself feed her strength until she glows with power unmatched by any being on Earth. Like a goddess of light and life, she strikes, stabbing a bolt of laser light hotter than the sun’s core in the heart of the dark specter of death looming before her. Millions of gallons of water instantly explode into vapor each second as the searing beam guts the killer wave—like thousands of tons of T.N.T. detonating in its midst.

It is not enough. Still, the wave’s might dwarfs her, but she fights on, driven, possessed, consumed by the will to live! There is no room in her for fear. As the cleaved wave crashes down over Dazzler, she remains steadfast. She doesn’t even flinch, though death towers over her, falling heavily on her like a wounded colossus, finally snuffing out her light. She falls unconscious.

Moments later, Bill Remington arrives on that very stretch of beach in search of Alison Blaire. He sees her lying face down in the sand and sprints over to help. Once he realizes Alison has stopped breathing, Bill performs mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. After the passage of a long, tense moment, Alison begins breathing again. Bill scoops up her limp body, noticing her weak pulse, and carries her back to his home, which was miraculously spared only because of Dazzler. He is as stunned to see it still stands as he is relieved Alison survived the ordeal.

After taking Alison inside, wrapping her in a blanket, starting a fire in the fireplace, and giving her a cup of hot coffee, Bill asks why she came back. “To try and prevent you from throwing your life away—like you father did!” Alison says. Bill tells her he chickened out once he had to face things alone. However, this event made him realize that all his life, he has been both subconsciously trying to destroy himself and trying to ruin anything good that came along. Alison asks if he means his work as a stuntman. That, he says, as well as his compulsive drinking, and his attempts to alienate women like Alison. In a way, even choosing to build his home on the coast was a subconscious act of self-destruction.

Alison assures him that since they both emerged from the ordeal unscathed, it’s all okay. Plus, his house survived! Bill doesn’t think it should have; every other house for miles around was washed away. He doesn’t get it. Something must have weakened that section of the wave, he supposes. “Lucky for me, whatever it was!” Dazzler says with a grin on her face. She thanks Remington for loaning her some dry clothes and heads for the exit.

Outside, Remington asks if she will truly be all right getting home. She assures him she will be fine; besides, he needs to fix up his place. “Yeah, but more important, I’ve got plenty to do fixing up myself!” he says. He pulls Alison in for one last kiss. “If I ever get my act together, you’re going to hear from me again!” Alison tells him she would very much like that. She walks away toward the rising sun. Bill Remington, now standing on his own, waves goodbye as she walks out of his life.

Characters:
Dazzler

Bill Remington (stuntman)
Kate Remington (Bill’s mother)

Harry S. Osgood
Lancelot Steele
Cassandra Ferlenghetti

Mrs. McCorkle (landlord)
Mrs. McCorkle’s father (landlord)
Mr. Witwicky (health club owner)

Various film crew members

Notes:
First—and only—appearance of stuntman Bill Remington.

Dazzler was involved in the mutant attack at the San Diego Convention Center last issue, but her involvement consisted of subduing a rampaging mutant.

Barnes and Barnes were a comedic rock duo from the 70’s. Incidentally, they released an album in 1984 called Amazing Adult Fantasy, a reference to the Marvel Comics series of the same name.

Dazzler listens to the music of Paul McCartney while waiting for her date to arrive, making this the second Paul McCartney reference in two issues.

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

Issue Summary written by: Sixhoursoflucy


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