Dial H for Devil

House of Mystery #173 is the last issue of the series to feature Dial H for Hero, but not the last we see of Robby Reed, don't worry. It's not that Martian Manhunter finally won the top slot, it's that House of Mystery stopped doing superheroes and became the beloved horror anthology hosted by Cain we remember today. So in this last regular Dial H story, we find Robby inside police headquarters, having won the Police Athletic Club's teenager of the year award. He's got full access for a month and hopes to learn how to do his own job better. Unfortunately, the Dial's about to go wrong...

Case 16.2: House of Mystery #173
Dial Holder: Robby Reed
Dial Type: The Big Dial
Dialing: The frequency pitch from a newly-invented, experimental boat's jet booster has some strange effect on Robby, "reversing [his] thinking" and giving his superhero identities criminal urges. Each identity starts out fine, then goes bad, at which point Robby blacks out. He comes back to his senses before dialing out. Presumably, his thinking is reversed only while the jet boosters are turned on (or from on-panel evidence, a short while after they've been turned on).
Name: Gill Man (not the best underwater hero name I've ever heard, but it would be funny if his real name was, in fact, Gil)
Costume: A scaly green ensemble with open-faced hood and fins on both his head and back. He has large webbed feet, like a scuba diver's, and thick gill flaps on either side of his head where the ears should be. On par with Legion rejects and Aquaman villain henchmen.
Powers: Gill Man can fly and swim at incredible speeds. Obviously, he has gills which allow him to breathe underwater, but can't breathe so well in air. To counter this weakness, he can super-suck water into his mouth from at least 20 feet away.
Sighted: At the Littleville racing track and a coastal highway. In preventing the Speed Boys to do so, Gill Man stole a racing horse worth millions of dollars called Whirl-o-Rama.
Possibilities: Thanks to the Dial malfunctions, we're allowed to imagine these guys as supervillains too, and that's where I see Gill Man - as a member of Aquaman's rogues gallery. Look at who's already in there and tell me he's not on the same level.
Integration Quotient: 12% (with his particular weakness and bad design, he wouldn't make it past one appearance even in as an Aqua-foe)
Name: Icicle Man (possible confusion with the Icicle)
Costume: He's a dude made of ice with blue trunks (possible confusion with Marvel's Iceman).
Powers: Icicle Man is literally made of ice and is in constant danger of melting. Somehow, he's still cold enough that he can freeze metal to make it brittle, or create limited ice structures like ice ropes. He can also turn himself into dry ice by standing in carbon monoxide like car exhaust. Can someone check the science behind all this? Oh, and he can fly.
Sighted: At the Littleville testing grounds. When the Speed Boys steal an experimental race car, Icicle Man steals it from them.
Possibilities: A character that might melt before the end of an issue? This is the kind of guy who might fight Mike Barr's Outsiders for one issue (and almost win), but that's about it.
Integration Quotient: 3% (we've already got a character like this in the DC Universe, and he doesn't have a chance of melting)
Name: Strata Man (old school, but remove the Man and you might have something)
Costume: Horizontal layers of earth tones, with a corrugated one near the top of the head just so it kind of looks like he's wearing a sweatband. The mix of purples, greens and browns is pukeworthy.
Powers: Each of those layers represents a different mineral strata. In so few pages (less than 2), Strata Man doesn't have the time to use very many, so his full potential is unknown. However, we do know he can fly (natural gas) and shoot power blasts (uranium).
Sighted: At the Littleville city pier. Strata Man prevents the Speed Boys from stealing an experimental boat, though its jet booster sinks to the bottom of sea.
Possibilities: Hey, how about putting him in Primal Force? He might even have become an earth elemental some day.
Integration Quotient: 10% (in need of a major redesign before he can be allowed to even think about maybe getting into the proper DCU)

If you think the Dial H adventure is over, think again. See you next week for more!


Robby Reed said...

"in need of a major redesign before he can be allowed to even think about maybe getting into the proper DCU."


That is not true. I am fine as is.

-Robby Reed

Siskoid said...

Robby, yes. Strata Man, no.


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