Looking at the shelves a fellow comic book reader (with excellent taste and insight) and I were talking about Greg Pak’s new X-Treme X-Men. Almost in unison we say “I’m giving this book a shot for Dazzler.”
How a character that should have failed (the Disco singer was created at the end of the Disco era) still be so beloved? Ali debuted in 1980 in Uncanny X-Men #130. Marvel worked with Casablanca Records (home of KISS and Donna Summer) to develop the character and even proposed a movie for the character. Dazzler soon rollerskated her way into her own series. It didn’t last.
Alison Blaire survived and became part of the Chris Claremont/Marc Silvestri Uncanny X-Men era. Matt Fraction moved Ali out to San Francisco when the mutants relocated out west. Pixie was a fan but Ali soon fell to back burner status.
Greg Pak is sending Ali (along with alternate versions of Emma Frost, Wolverine and Nightcrawler) across the dimensions on a mission to kill…Professor X.
Dazzler is a creation from a bygone era that has been dangling on the edge of comic book banishment for years. Greg Pak tells Comics Newsarama why he saw potential in Ali and put her on his new team.
“I bought that first Dazzler issue way back in the day and always though the character was a hoot. But I never had the chance to write her before, so I hadn’t really thought deeply about her until her name came up while I was in the early stages of developing X-Treme with the X-Editors. But as soon as I started mulling it over, I realized she was just perfect. First, she’s hugely powerful — her ability to manifest solid light blasts make her a pretty good Cyclops analogue, power-wise, which is a nice thing for a team leader.
But more importantly, she’s a great, grounded character with a fun self-deprecating vibe who would be a great POV character to run through a bunch of alternative realities with. Finally, she’s a straight-up hero. And embracing her sometimes goofy past while seriously delving into her character gives us great contrast, increased believablity, and a really strong hero’s journey. ”
Pak gave Ali a new boyfriend named Johnny Ito in X-Treme X-Men #1 and the a change in her sound. Why did this former disco diva go country?
“She’s getting real. And she’s having fun. Dazzler’s a pop star and an icon, which means she’s constantly reinventing herself,” Pak explains, “Keep your eyes open, too — she’ll go through a variety of costumes throughout the series. And she’ll sing a song in just about every issue. [Laughs.]”
In case you’re just joining the series here’s my review of X-Treme X-Men #1. The rest of Dazzler’s team is Emmeline Frost from Ghost Boxes story by Warren Ellis and James Howlett and Kid Nightcrawler are from Pak’s Astonishing X-Men Exalted arc. And how could I forget: the severed head of Professor X in a bottle!
Here’s a link to Dazzler Essentials Volume 1 by legendary X-Men writer Chris Claremont. Ali went up against gangsters, Gods and even Galactus!
For more of Pak’s interview here’s the Comics Newsarama link.
I did it for Dazzler but Pak’s writing is keeping on the X-Treme team!