Tag Archives: longshot

85 – DAZZLER (and Post-Comic-Con)

10 Aug

Subject: Dazzler
Real Name: Alison Blaire
Height: 5’8″ Weight: 115 lbs.
First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #130, February 1980

Power Ratings:

  • Energy Projection: 4/7
  • Mental Powers: 1/7
  • Strength: 2/7
  • Fighting Ability: 3/7
  • Intelligence: 2/7

In a way this post is the culmination of all the work I’ve put into this blog, thus far at least (I know you guys can’t wait for me to review the Checklist card). As I’d alluded before with the Longshot card, I’ve developed a soft spot for X-Men‘s more ridiculous characters, ones that don’t hold up to face value across the sands of time. DAZZLER is the pinnacle of this.

My renewed affection for Dazzler came when I was reading collections of Chronological X-Men (google it if you don’t know what that is). In the midst of the Dark Phoenix saga,  at the height of X-Men’s resurgence under the team of Chris Claremont and John Byrne, Marvel decides to introduce a mutant for our (their) time: disco queen Allison Blaire, aka the Dazzler.

The very definition of synergy, Dazzler sprung from an epic collaboration between Marvel and Casablanca Records, to have spanned a comic book, toys, disco records, and a movie (Bo Derek had been tapped to play her real-life appearance). Of course, by the time of her first appearance in February 1980, disco was already on its way out. Casablanca pulled out of the project, but Marvel decided to launch as a monthly series anyway, perhaps hoping to at least continue riding the mutant mania, her series lasting an otherwise miraculous 42 issues (the tag for issue #42 declares “Because you demanded it, the LAST issue of the Dazzler!”)

The comics were ridiculous and insipid, and whatever charming sincerity was found in the book seemed more a manifestation of the creators’ desperation to not concede defeat, but that’s precisely what made Dazzler a disarming distraction among the other mutant books. And by now you know how I love rooting for the losers.

And lest you doubt my devotion to Ms. Blaire, just see what I spent most of my time doing at this past Comic Con:

That’s right, I spent most of my time in the 50-cent bins, buying every Dazzler I could find (in fact I even accidentally bought two copies of issue #2). I currently have 26 of the 42 issue run, and I can’t wait for next year’s Comic-Con to finish out the collection.

Even better, guess whom I got to sign my (second) copy of Dazzler #1:

That’s right, A-list artist John Romita Jr., co-creator of Kick-Ass, and penciller of Dazzler #1. He let out a loud sarcastic laugh when I brought this in front of him to sign, and then told the person next to him “you know how actors have that one role they really regret having done? This is it.” And then upon asking him for a Dazzler sketch, he refused me. But he did agree to pose for the picture.

In the 80’s Dazzler subsisted as one of the members of the X-Men benchwarmers (the more popular members having moved into X-Factor or were otherwise indisposed), and by the Jim Lee X-Men she joined Longshot in Mojoverse to help free his people, which is the Dazzler we see depicted in this card. She looks pretty badass, and Lee actually seems to have enjoyed drawing her, but man those weapons are ridiculously unnecessary. This is the same girl that (somehow) stood against Hulk, She-Hulk, Galactus, Dr. Doom, and the Enchantress! Maybe those power packs on her are really big speakers. Her Power Ratings show formidable Energy Projection ratings, and 3/7 for Fighting Ability seems to account for her freedom fighter status.

83 – LONGSHOT

5 Aug

Subject: Longshot
Real Name: Longshot
Height: 6’2″ Weight: 80 lbs.
First Appearance: Longshot Limited Series #1, September 1985

Power Ratings:

  • Energy Projection: 1/7
  • Mental Powers: 3/7
  • Strength: 2/7
  • Fighting Ability: 5/7
  • Intelligence: 2/7

Whoa, Longshot is only 80 pounds? Those thighs must be filled with helium!

Longshot is one of those character’s that’s just too quirky, too whimsical, and surprisingly, too sincere to hold much cred with fans. It doesn’t help that he looked dated the moment he debuted (created by Art Adams and Ann Nocenti), he wasn’t a mutant (he was a genetically-engineered being for Mojo‘s entertainment), and he had one of those annoyingly cute and vague powers (somehow he is able to alter probability in his favor, aka he’s super lucky).

Given enough time I end up finding myself acting as a defender of such silly characters just for the sake of being different (as a kid I chose Michelangelo because none of the other kids wanted to be the goofy turtle with chainsticks). Longshot isn’t one of my passion projects, but someone very close to him is (you’ll know soon enough if you didn’t already).

Longshot was gone from the X-books when Lee took on X-Men, but he soon reappeared for another quick stint at the Mojoverse, wherein we see him leading a rebellion with his lady love, and I guess it’s that depiction that Lee chose when he decided he was gonna put Longshot in a jetpack. Clearly Lee and co. couldn’t take Longshot at face value either.

I don’t remember if Longshot’s luck had been explained as a psionic ability at this point, but that would be the only way to explain how he has a 3/7 for Mental Powers. His 5/7 for Fighting Ability is apt, as are the rest of the ratings.

53 – MOJO

27 May

Subject: Mojo
Real Name: Mojo
Height: Unknown Weight: Unknown
Group Affiliation: None
First Appearance: Longshot Limited Series #3, November 1985

Power Ratings:

  • Energy Projection: 1/7
  • Mental Powers: 1/7
  • Strength: 1/7
  • Fighting Ability: 1/7
  • Intelligence: 4/7

And here he is, a full eight cards after his obviously inferior successor, Mojo in all his bulging glory. In retrospect I really have to appreciate how Mojo was a character that no kid would want to assume the role of in a session of schoolyard pretend.  At a time when all the characters fit some sort of physical idealist archetype (even the villains), Mojo just stood out as disgusting and unappealing… yet commanding of attention (the character literally demanded it). A perfect villain, really.

Well, perfect except for the fact that he just barely fits in with the X-Men universe. Now, I’m all for creating a diversity among villains and locales, and if they’re executed in storylines that are engaging and entertaining, but I can’t help but be weirded out whenever the X-Men venture into fantasy or even space-opera land. Mojo, as the tyrannical ruler of a planet addicted to television, straddles both those genres, and in the grand scheme of things at best his stories are palate-cleansing distractions from the heavier, more convoluted plotlines.

Anyone who gets Mojo’s character at all can draw a decent portrait of the big guy, and Lee definitely does. Sure, he could’ve gone even more nuts with it (would’ve loved a full view of his cybernetic crab legs), but he totally nails the crazy eyes and gigantic evil grin. I’m not crazy about the side-b portrait, though; Mojo is certainly prone to pouting, but he never looks as somber as that.

Power Ratings-wise, Mojo is given credit for his intelligence, and nothing else. I do think he could stand to have higher strength ratings, though. I understand he comes from a species of spineless blobs, but his size and cybernetic attachments have got to count for something more than 1/7.