In the one-shot Dazzler X-Song #1, writer Magdalene Visaggio, artist Laura Braga, and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg deliver a powerful story about facing down hate and bigotry using the power of music (and cool light shows) just in time for Pride Month. (I seriously wish that Alison Blaire’s new band Lightbringr was playing my local Pride festival.) They use the “rivalry” between mutants and Inhumans that has been simmering in stories like Death of X, Inhumans vs. X-Men, and even in the recent Secret Warriors series as a metaphor for intersectionality in marginalized communities adding layers to the frankly, quite old mutant=minority. And, along the way, Braga and Rosenberg craft hip, energetic visuals and an explosive color palette worthy of the disco Dazzler even though she’s going by Alison these days and doesn’t really want to be a superhero or X-Man for now despite Colossus begging her to join the new look team.
Visaggio and Braga kick off the book with a beautiful establishing page: a four panel entry into the world of Alison and her bandmate Farley setting up for their show; an Inhuman Nora, who has similar powers to Dazzler, and her pal Zee getting ready for the Lightbringr gig, and a member of the Mutant Action ready to get his hate on. Dazzler X-Song #1 has plenty of stylized music video touches, especially in Rosenberg’s colors when the crowd at Alison’s show is overwhelmed by pink, but the narrative is fairly grounded in overcoming hatred through the power of music. Alison wants the “others” of the Marvel Universe to enjoy their music and have an opportunity to be themselves for one amazing night. But, sadly, like the “no fats, no femmes”, white gay men on dating apps (and sometimes at the club), some folks just wanted to be bigoted and not share the love and enjoy the scene.
One interesting part of Dazzler #1 is Magdalene Visaggio and Laura Braga’s nuanced approach to violence. Many X-Men comics are known for their big, pitched battles to show off the various mutants’ cool powers, but Alison only fights when it’s necessary. Thanks to a sobering tip from Nora after a show, she is aware that the Mutant Action members are at her show and staves them off with a no violence tolerated policy and focusing on the music and de-escalation. In the long run, this doesn’t work, and the Mutant Action starting act worse and even bring power dampeners to gigs so they can assault Inhumans. Seeing a helpless Nora causes Alison to return into action in a a powerful splash page from Braga where you can see the Mutant Action member’s cheek wobble as she decks him Richard Spencer style with Rosenberg adding pink speed lines. Maybe, Alison isn’t ready to put on a spandex costume yet, but she has a good heart and cares about protecting people, who are discriminated against. And her fans end up giving her an assist in the big climax where their vocals amplify her light abilities, and Alison scares away Mutant Action once and for all.
What makes Dazzler #1 refreshing is that Magdalene Visaggio and Laura Braga gives readers a mutant/Inhuman perspective on the Marvel Universe in a way that doesn’t involve folks wanting to be superheroes in a similar manner to the late, great Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat. Nora doesn’t want to beat up supervillains; she wants to use her light abilities to make the dance floor an even more epic place. However, when threatened by mutant bigotry (In a great metaphor for white members of the LGBTQ community being racist towards people of color.), she confronts it directly without getting all superhero clubhouse about it, and Dazzler does the same and even makes a big speech about how mutants and Inhumans can stand together and be powerful without being a part of a superhero team. Their abilities might be fantastic, but they can find community in a way that doesn’t involve costumes, codenames, and Danger Room training.
Dazzler X-Song #1 light show visuals from Laura Braga and Rachelle Rosenberg that perfectly fit a book starring Alison Blaire and a strong message of pride and intersectionality from Magdalene Visaggio. It shows that cool mutant/Inhuman powers, social commentary, characters arc, and sassy humor can co-exist in one great comic book. Now, I need a follow up comic where Alison meets Karen O…
Story: Magdalene Visaggio Art: Laura Braga
Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg Letters: Joe Sabino
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy
Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review