Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dial H for Hearing

Dial H has a new home! The New Adventures of Superboy! And it's where I personally first found the strip! (But the back issues were really cheap, so I'm not missing any of Chris and Vicki's journey.) Their first issue introduces Nick Stevens, a classmate who likes to draw superheroes and may have a connection to the Dials even he doesn't know about. We'll keep tabs on that. And of course, the Dialers are now in back-up land at 7½ pages an issue, so we're going to look at as many as THREE issues per Case File, to get as many of Your Own Heroes and Villains(TM) as possible. You ready?

Case 41: New Adventures of Superboy #28-30
Dial Holders: Chris and Vicki
Dial Type: Watch and Pendant Dials
Dialing: Nick Stevens is somehow connected to the Dial transformations, since he is seen drawing the Monarch just before Vicki turns into her. Is he guiding the transformations? Tapping into whatever universe spawns these heroes in the first place? Both? The Dials are susceptible to the powers they dial up. For example, Miss Hourglass can speed up their one-hour time limits, and Mr. Opposite can make them act in an "opposite" way. Someone can dial for you, even you're unconscious (Vicki is likely overthinking it when she theorizes that Chris becomes Mr. Opposite because she dialed and was of the opposite sex).
Name: Red Devil (Kid-Devil wound up taking the name after he grew up, so it's clearly a good one)
Created by: Jon Potter, Age 12, of Skaneateles, NY
Costume: A red one-piece with a devil's tail and horns on the mask, and flared yellow gloves and boots. The latter clash a little bit and might have been better colored the same dark red shade as the plastron piece (that's not just shading), which itself is a little weird, going as it does from chest to crotch.
Powers: Red Devil can "flow" into demon shapes that have various powers. Presumably, these are actual demon types from "down there". Among the forms he assumes, there's an invisible demon, and one that looks a lot like Dial H foe Grockk, who here has mystic senses that allow him to trump the Senses-Taker's powers.
Sighted: In Fairfax, capturing the Senses-Taker.
Possibilities: The kind of edgy dude would might work with Shadowpact, the fun part being when he takes the shape of demons who have appeared before in the DCU, from Etrigan to the Demons Three to really obscure ones that would send readers to their collections.
Integration Quotient: 90% (I want to play that find-the-demon game!)
Name: The Monarch (well, the name "Monarch" has been tainted, whether you put a "the" in front or not)
Created by: David Brown, Age 13, of Fresno, CA (possibly the same David Brown who contributed artwork to the spanish-language comics Humor a Trope and Cimoc?)
Costume: A cute one-piece purple bathing suit with blue gloves, boots, mask (sufficiently butterlfy-like) and textured corset. She has small antennae coming out of her brown hair. The yellow diaphanous butterfly wings are held in thick black frames. What this costume is not, is in any the colors of the Monarch (blood orange and black).
Powers: The Monarch can fly on her butterfly wings, and can use her antennae to home in on her partner and track him (presumably, she can track anyone's "vibe"). She can also spin a magic cocoon that is unbreakable (except by herself) and impenetrable (even by powers).
Sighted: In Fairfax, capturing the Senses-Taker.
Possibilities: Definitely needs a change of name (is there a butterfly closer to her coloring?), but otherwise, the magical source of her powers could make her a good fairy-like ally to someone like Amethyst or even Warlord.
Integration Quotient: 40% (needs work on the surface, but a cute character)
Name: Tar-Man (fits a man-monster perfectly)
Created by: Bennie Stillwell of Scottsville, KY
Costume: As a big ape-like tar creature, Tar-Man's look is memorable, but the red and white shorts contrast perhaps too much with his dark "skin". It's a big "T", not a thong print.
Powers: Tar-Man is literally made of tar. He can control that tar's consistency to achieve various power stunts - bouncy enough to jump up buildings, hard as pavement to make his punches count, soft and gooey to trap enemy fists within it. He is also able to throw soft clumps of tar. He may be vulnerable to certain solvents.
Sighted: In Fairfax, fighting the Disc Jockey.
Possibilities: A dude falls into hot tar, comes out a tar elemental. It's a classic DC origin! One that leads him to wander America's highways, hated by those he is sworn to protect.
Integration Quotient: 90% (no reason a tar monster couldn't find work in a superhero universe)
Name: Miss Hourglass (kinda clunky, drop the Miss?)
Created by: Steve Mattson of Portland, OR
Costume: Aside from the odd glass helmet, Miss Hourglass wears all metal clothes, including a curvy one-piece bathing suit with rims and both bracers and boots that have a telescopic look. Very futuristic.
Powers: Miss Hourglass can affect the passage of time for a localized target, either speeding it up (giving a person superspeed, for example, or making them heal faster) or slowing it down.
Sighted: In Fairfax, helping stop the Disc Jockey.
Possibilities: The look places her in the future, but the time travelling abilities might mean she was able to come to our time somehow. There's no real evidence of that, so I'm going to put her in with the Legion of Super-Heroes. She actually has a shot since no Legionnaire has her powers.
Integration Quotient: 50% (when are the next try-outs?)
Name: Mr. Opposite (weird and rad, like something out of Morrison's Doom Patrol)
Created by: Chris Adams, Age 21, of London, England
Costume: A full superhero suit in black and pink, split down the middle with a "negative" effect between those two colors. His chest emblem is a large "O" for Opposite. Simple, but striking.
Powers: Mr. Opposite has a strange, unexplainable power that can affect pretty much anything in a variety of ways. He has "the power to make things work opposite to the way they're supposed to". Over the course of this one story, he makes rubble light as a feather, reverses gravity, makes the Disc Jockey's sound powers create silence instead, reverses his own silence effect for him and his partner, and makes the end of a Dial's 60-minute limit turn into its beginning.
Sighted: In Fairfax, helping stop the Disc Jockey.
Possibilities: With those really wonky powers, there's almost nothing he couldn't do, which is both a boon and a curse. He's too powerful to make a good recurring hero, but weird enough to guest in books with weird stars, like the DP or Animal Man. He probably causes more problems than he fixes, so could be a good motor for crazy stories.
Integration Quotient: 35% (I like wacky powers like this, but they're harder to write for)

Bonus Supervillains
Name: Senses-Taker (a terrible name until I realized it was a pun on Census Taker, and now it's a HORRENDOUS name)
Created by: Eugenio Ocasio Jr., Age 26, of Mayaguez, Peru
Costume: Kinda disco and Age of Aquarius with his plunging neckline (which ends in an arrow head pointing at his... uh... belt) revealing thick curly chest hair. ST has a high collar, a Lincoln beard, a third eye drawn on his yellow mak, and otherwise a mix of pastel blues, greens, reds and yellows. Maybe it's good thing he can't always be seen.
Powers: ST can cloud peoples' senses, including their sight, hearing, touch and even equilibrium. They usually become "blind" to certain things, like the villain himself, rendering them invisible in an otherwise visible world.
Sighted (if that truly applies): In Fairfax, stealing a component from a nearby atomic plant so he can later hold it at ransom, but getting captured by Red Devil and the Monarch.
Possibilities: Powers like his (and Null's) are rare and could be interesting, but his look relegates him to some of the stranger titles, like Doom Patrol, or perhaps books referring to bygone eras like The Shade (he's very 70s).
Integration Quotient: 25% (he's just not the type to make a good repeat offender)
Name: The Disc Jockey (I know quite a few, and yes, they're all evil)
Created by: Tony Medeiros of Montreal, Quebec
Costume: He looks like a hero, with his square jaw, blond hair and red and blue costume. Though some of his gadgets play on the DJ idea, his suit doesn't, unless those spiky patterns are meant to represent record player needles. I guess a contemporary uniform for him would have lasers coming off his thighs instead.
Powers: The DJ has no powers, but he uses a number of gadgets to further his plans. These include a flying disc in the shape of a vinyl record. It has a giant player's needle which acts as a console and also powers his biggest trick - making all sound emitters in range (phones, TVs, radios, P.A.s, hearing aids) broadcast his music unstoppably, going so far as to create harmonics that can topple buildings. The DJ also carries razor-sharp spindles to throw like shurikens, and cleaning spray that might be able to dissolve tar.
Sighted: Lou Yagger's ambition was to become a disc jockey on the radio, but a terrible stutter made that impossible. He became a radio technician instead, and eventually lost the stutter, but he never got over the initial rejection and went bad. He disrupted the entire town of Fairfax by broadcasting his show to every possible location and was stopped by Tar-Man, Miss Hourglass and Mr. Opposite.
Possibilities: A bit passé now, but the gimmick could easily make him one of Flash's minor rogues, maybe one nostalgic for the days of vinyl.
Integration Quotient: 60% (not quite focused enough)

The new era has begun even though the old era kinda continues. Next time, more Dialing and Undialing!

5 comments:

CalvinPitt said...

My first thought when I read that "Monarch" is tainted was, "What does he mean? The Monarch is awesome!"

Then I read the alt-text and realized you weren't talking about the Venture Bros. Yeah, Hawk/Captain Atom guy, that's not a great track record for the name.

But this is the nu52. We can all just agree Armaggedon 2001 didn't happen, right?

Siskoid said...

Since 95% of it didn't happen even during Armageddon 2001, that's pretty easy to do.

F. Douglas Wall said...

Norton Juster's book The Phantom Tollbooth made a "Senses Taker" joke a few years before this, if I recall correctly.

Siskoid said...

Doesn't make it right!

Jeremy Patrick said...

Senses-Taker has to be the worst supervillain name ever . . . I feel my IQ has dropped 10 points just hearing it.