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X-Men Retro Collection
by yo go re

In our world, people know Stefani Germanotta's real name, but still casually think of her as "Lady Gaga"; do you think the same is true in the Marvel universe, and the average person on the street thinks of Alison Blaire as "Dazzler" first and foremost?

Dazzler uses sonic vibrations and impressive speed to take down her enemies. Though she can channel sonic energy in many forms, her preferred method of sonic battle is through the power of music.

Impressive speed? She doesn't have speed, she wears rollerskates. Sometimes. By that logic, would all the X-Men have super speed because they sometimes ride in a jet? Also, despite using the word "sonic" an average of every eleventh word in that bio, it never once mentions what she actually does with that energy: turns it into light. Lasers, force fields, gentle glows, full holograms, hypnotic strobes... the bio makes it seem like she generates sound, not that she uses sound to generate light. Wolverine doesn't generate beer, he uses beer to generate urine. The whole thing is just badly written.

Dazzler is part of the Marvel Retro Collection, the figures on the oversized throwback blister cards. Initially it seemed like this line was meant to be all "plain" repaints that referenced old ToyBiz releases, but the X-Men series is chock full of characters who don't fit those criteria. For example, ToyBiz only ever made a single Dazzler, in 1997, and she was wearing her original silver costume (or at least as close to it as an Invisible Woman repaint could get), not this one.

Technically, this toy doesn't represent any costume Dazzler ever wore - it's more a "greatest hits" version, kind of like the Minimate was. The jacket and belt were a '90s Jim Lee addition (though blue, not brown). The star in the center of the chest, rather than offset over the heart, was a feature of her "Outback" costume, but that one also had a bare midriff and capri pants. The red stripe on the left shin and the star on the right calf came from the costume she wore when she first joined the X-Men, though both that and the Outback suit shared asymmetrical gloves/sleeves that this toy clearly does not have. In fact, the closest she ever came to looking like this was in the Pryde of the X-Men cartoon (and thus also the X-Men arcade game) - that's the only time her jacket has been brown, but that version didn't have gloves and did have pink leg-warmers, so it's not definitively that, either.

The head is the only new part about her. The arcade game based on the cartoon was based on her first appearances as a member of the X-Men, and back then she had short hair held in place by a red headband or bandana - something this figure delivers. The sculpt is by that same unknown artist who does the wide eyes, though it's definitely been improved here. Either they're honing their craft, or they read all these reviews and are tired of hearing us needle them.

Being made on an existing body means all the existing articulation: a balljointed head mounted on a hinged neck, swivel/hinge joints in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, balljoints in the torso and hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, and swivel/hinge rocker ankles. The swivel part of the ankles is very stiff, so you've got to work to tilt the feet side-to-side, but better that than too loose, right? It's not like anyone ever complained that their toys stood up too reliably.

Dazzler comes with a pair of energy flare effects. They're just pink, not rainbow like the last Dazzler, and we still wish she had a "finger gun" hand, but the bright color contrasts well against her blue suit.

This may not technically be any "real" version of Dazzler, but if you're the type of fan who'd like to build a whole Jim Lee/Animated Series collection, she'll fit nicely. Yes, even though she wasn't officially on either of those teams. But you just know Hasbro is going to make an updated Longshot at some point, and you'll be kicking yourself then if you don't have her to team up with him.

-- 11/18/19

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