Dial H for Halloween

No, Adventure 490 doesn't have anything to do with Halloween, except... Chris and Vicki dress up as different heroes? Good 'nuff. This is part 2 of 3 on this issue, Adventure's last before Dial H moves on. I'd be remiss if I didn't point out yet another Stephen DeStefano design (Blackjack), whom DC would go on to hire. If Dial H had gone on for another few years, 'Mazing Man and Hero Hotline would have been write-ins.

Case 38: Adventure Comics #490
Dial Holders: Chris and Vicki
Dial Type: Watch and Pendant Dials
Dialing: As mentioned in the previous Case, since Chris is in a timeless dimension, his Dial's one-hour limitation is not in effect. Given the low power level of many of the heroes conjured up, it's possible the Dial is compensating for its being used before it can "charge up". It's not clear how fast time passes where Vicki is, but her hour seems to go by very quickly.
Name: Centaurus (I'm not sure what he's got to do with centaurs, maybe he's an alien from Centauri?)
Created by: David T. Satterlee, Age 15, of Meadville, PA
Costume: In browns and oranges, Centaurus has a passing resemblance to Wolverine, including a mask with horn-like pieces. There's yellow trim on all the spiky parts of the costume, including the full-faced mask, shoulder pads, gloves and boots.
Powers: He is the "Master of Vibration" (keep your jokes for yourself). He can absorb the vibrations made by such sounds as card shuffling and voices and turn it into "viblasts" that can... uhm... open a curtain! Or... ahh... blow a shallow hole in a wall. (Ok, let loose with the jokes.)
Sighted: In a timeless dimension, playing cards with Blackjack.
Possibilities: Seeing as there's nothing horse-like about him, we'll just have to say he's an alien. Someone like that might show up on the Omega Men's doorstep, or get rejected by the Legion (for an ineffective power).
Integration Quotient: 12% (I bet his creator didn't expect him to be such a lame duck)
Name: Deflecto (bit cheesy, but the kind of deterrent name if you don't want people to throw things at you)
Created by: Darin Hackenbrook, Age 16, of Mattawa, Ontario
Costume: In pleasant blues and whites that match his silver hair, Deflecto's caped uniform is pretty standard except for some asymmetrical white piping, and a mask in the shape of those crescent moons worn like glasses.
Powers: He can deflect incoming attacks with blasts from his hands. Presumably, these cannot be used an offensive manner.
Sighted: In a timeless dimension, playing cards with Blackjack.
Possibilities: The costume links him to the Moon, some kind of nocturnal defender of the innocent, possibly a pacifist (those are Dove's colors, after all). There could be an interesting story there for a protester or conscientious objector.
Integration Quotient: 20% (just doesn't have the range of powers to make it on his own)
Name: Worm Man (exactly what it says on the tin, ridiculous but accurate)
Created by: Robbie Halvorson, Age 15, of Grand Forks, ND
Costume: A handsome man with a yellow cape, red and yellow shirt, a black "W" and Captain Marvel's bracers, his most memorable bit is all under the belt, where you'll find some 40 feet of worm tail!
Powers: Worm Man's coiled body can probably be used to entangle opponents and he can definitely lash out with his powerful tail, but his main power is burrowing. Some kind of energy comes out of his face to dig tunnels in front of him (it's possible this effect is just meant to represent his eating rock and dirt though).
Sighted: In a timeless dimension, escaping Blackjack's realm.
Possibilities: I'm sure there's a place in some of the more comical corners of the DC Universe for a grotesque hero like Worm Man. His look is perfect for a hero who takes himself very seriously, yet is ridiculous to everyone else. He might even grow to be a phenomenon like Squirrel Girl.
Integration Quotient: 40% (uniqueness counts for a lot, but it's not the complete equation)
Name: Spinning Jenny (just rustic enough kids will have forgotten the original meaning)
Created by: Paul Speidel, Age 19, of Winnipeg, Manitoba
Costume: In orange and black, this redhead's costume features some pleasant curves (I like the arm bandage on her right side, for example), and a black X that covers part of her face like an incomplete mask. Very "fashion".
Powers: Jenny is a human top, constantly spinning (though it looks more like a field around her is actually spinning) and thus able to create a vortex of air that allows her to fly and blow off enemies. If she spins at the speed of light, she can "travel into the past" and wind up where she used to be.
Sighted: On the Serpent's planet, fighting him off and escaping back to Fairfax.
Possibilities: Showing she has the ability to "spin" for different effects, she might be tapping into the Flash's Speed Force. How about making her the Top's daughter, doing good to make up for his life of crime? And in real life, she's in the P.R. business, of course. A real "spin doctor"! I'd read that series.
Integration Quotient: 88% (an evocative concept that links pretty easily to the DCU)
Name: Spectro (there's a Dr. Spectro, any relation?)
Created by: Eric Mohn, Age 14, of Lakeville, MN
Costume: The color scheme is dingy, all blues and purples, and the cut isn't too memorable - high boots and gloves, flared shoulders, and a simple starburst on the chest. What makes it interesting at all is the mask, a spooky white cross over a faceless mask. Like a creepy Azrael.
Powers: Unknown. This is the first of four throwaways (the rest in our next Case File) that appear in a single panel. So we're left to imagine Spectro's powers, and from name and costume, they're probably light-based, possibly ghost-based. An artificial ghost who can phase through matter, appear out of nowhere, etc.?
Sighted: In a timeless dimension, an identity taken on and immediately shrugged off by Chris.
Possibilities: A vigilante who uses holograms/illusions to scare the bejeezus out of criminals, he may or may not have ties to a Christian cult like Azrael does. He's probably not all there, physically AND psychologically.
Integration Quotient: 75% (it's all about that creepy face, man)

Bonus Supervillains
Name: Blackjack (such a good name, it's been used on an Archie hero and, minus a C, in Atari Force)
Created by: Stephen DeStefano, Age 15, of South Ozone Park, NY
Costume: Blackjack is an impish very short bald man dressed like a riverboat gambler. He has a cane with a large diamond pommel.
Powers: Blackjack the "Death Dealer" runs a death trap casino in another dimension. The casino seems to have automated traps like robot tentacle arms, but mostly, he activates the various gadgets himself. These are gambling-based and include a throwable roulette wheel and slot machines that fire green coins at a deadly rate. He can shuffle cards so quickly that they can be used as a shield. The purpose of his asking victims to draw a card is unknown - Chris keeps losing (drawing the Ace of Spaces over and over again), but there doesn't appear to be any effect to this. Perhaps, Two-Face-like, it merely serves as motivation to keep torturing his victim or releasing them.
Sighted: In a timeless dimension, playing games with Chris King's various superhero identities. He is desperately sad to see him leave for good.
Possibilities: An impish, obsessed dude who lives in a dimension where the laws of physics don't apply? He's gotta be from the 5th Dimension or something, a cousin to Mxyzptlk, Bat-Mite and the rest. As such, he has a definite role to play, either finding our world or against dimension-tossed heroes.
Integration Quotient: 90% (there's nothing like a pan-dimensional casino in the DCU yet, so he's ready-made to provide a change of pace)
Name: The Serpent (more of a lizard, really, but serpentine names are always striking)
Created by: Joseph Harding, Age 20, of Portland, OR
Costume: A black one-piece (with a yellow strip running down the front) that must be really hard to put on unless he can somehow retract those yellow back fins, but when you look like a humanoid Komodo dragon, you don't really need to focus on your apparel.
Powers: The literally cold-blooded Serpent can animate strong entangling vines in his native habitat. He seems to have a symbiotic relationship with this specific plant species (he calls it a "servile vine-creature"), as he is not seen animating any other plants or animals.
Sighted: On a swamp planet that may or may not be in our dimension, fighting Vicki Grant's various superhero identities. He seems to see her as an intruder, though he would like to know the secret of her powers.
Possibilities: Stuck on a planet like that, it's unlikely he would show up on Earth or become more than a one-shot threat to some superheroic visitor. That said, plenty of space-faring heroes could benefit from that one-shot.
Integration Quotient: 20% (he fits, he just doesn't have any staying power)

One Case File to go before Adventure Comics wraps! Can you stand the excitement?!


Erich said...

Just wanted to let you know how much I've been enjoying the "Dial H" posts. In fact, they've given me a bit of inspiration...I've got a new blank sketchbook, and the next time I go to a comic convention, I'm planning on starting a "Dial H" sketch collection, just to see different artists' interpretations of these throwaway characters. (Now, if only Stephen DeStefano would come to DragonCon...)

Jayunderscorezero said...

So he's Blkjk?

Siskoid said...

Erich: Oooh, let us know how it goes!

Jay: That is OB-SCURE dude. :-)

Erich said...

Just wanted to let you know, I got my first "Dial S for Sketch" piece at a mini-convention today, and I've posted it on my blog:


Pretty cool that the first artist I approached for the project remembered "Dial H," and was eager to pick out a character of his choice.

Siskoid said...

Very, very cool.


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