Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dial H for Horror

After Adventure Comics folded, the Dial H strip didn't take long to relocate. First, a pit stop in DC Comics Presents #44 to team up with Superman - and to get his stamp of approval - and then to the back-up pages of The New Adventures of Superboy. DCP 44 also introduces the story arc that will resolve Chris and Vicki's entire story! Oh, the "Master" had appeared before, just as much in shadow, and behind certain threats in Adventure, but here it's made clear that a lot of Fairfax villains are super-powered clones created by a process not unlike that of the Dials. You never know what you're gonna get, and the Master has to ask his villains just who they are and what they can do. He was apparently responsible for the Evil Eight, Abyss (the rebooted Dial H comic would seem to contradict that, but maybe not), and Cancero, among others. Pretty much any villain that doesn't have a back story. So forge ahead, R-E-A-D-E-R-S, as we explore the first installment of this classic story...

Case 40: DC Comics Presents #44
Dial Holders: Chris and Vicki
Dial Type: Watch and Pendant Dials
Dialing: Dialing H-O-R-R-O-R turns a person into a rage monster (see Beast-Maniac, below). Superman's super-vision is unable to determine how the Dials work, so magic is suspected (Beast-Maniac also seems to have magical properties that affect the Man of Steel).
Name: Beast-Maniac (like he wanted to be called Beastman, but heard from the He-Man people)
Created by: Rocky Bakletta, no city given
Costume: A werewolf body wearing ripped, gray pants. A green ape-like head. Beast-Maniac can also grow bat wings on its arms. A bit of a Frankenstein.
Powers: Beast-Maniac is a super-strong and tough monster with low-level intelligence. It has claws on its hands and feet and can fly on wings that grow out of its arms. It is inherently magical and can affect Superman more easily than it should, though that may be an effect of the H Dial itself.
Sighted: In Fairfax, fighting Sphera and Superman after punching the GBS copter out of the sky.
Possibilities: Wolf, bat or gorilla? A bit of everything, actually. That spells science gone mad, and Beast-Maniac could be the kind of creature built by, say, the Ultra-Humanite. Maybe in multiples. Maybe each one represents different animal mash-ups.
Integration Quotient: 10% (even if we can work it into one story, its lack of focus would probably make it a one-off)
Name: Sphera (a bit obvious, but nothing wrong with it)
Created by: David Brown, Age 13, of Fresno, CA
Costume: For some reason, Sphera's costume is split black and white down the middle. It also features bubble-shaped windows down her front, a double-circle collar, pointy shoulder pads, and rather extreme flares on her boots and gloves.
Powers: She can form spheres "of any material" (though they all look like they are made of solid light) "for any purpose", including flight and force fields. The spheres are sometimes flattened into circles or are really oval shapes.
Sighted: In Fairfax, capturing Beast-Maniac.
Possibilities: There's a character later called Spheror, but let's say I'm not really drawing a connection right now... The strange costume choices and faux-girl's name might make her a potential New God or Forever Person.
Integration Quotient: 10% (the costume, powers and what she says about her powers fail to gel coherently)
Name: Prism (X-Factor has one, but perfectly fine "teen" name)
Created by: Jay Dickson, Age 15, of St.Paul, MN
Costume: You'd think the costume would be more colorful and/or look more like a Pink Floyd album, but no, the rainbow colors are limited to thin stripes on boots, gloves and along the sternum. Otherwise, a standard superhero costume in purples and blues.
Powers: Prism can absorb energy - any energy - and release it again multiplied in power.
Sighted: In Fairfax, defeating the Nullifier.
Possibilities: Prism sounds like a 3rd-tier Titan or maybe a latter-day Outsider, someone to die violently at the start of a crossover even DC wants to show is "badass".
Integration Quotient: 10% (a single note to play in the powers department, with a lackluster look)
Name: Blazerina (any variation on the word "ballerina" is suspect at best)
Created by: Davey Crowe, Age 13, of Roupville, GA
Costume: Saucy! A black leather bikini with long, fetishistic gloves and boots. They do show off her gold skin and long platinum hair though.
Powers: Gracefully dancing and spinning turns her into a "generator" that can then let loose super-hot "laser-energy". The faster she spins, the more powerful the energy blasts.
Sighted: In Fairfax, fighting the Nullifier.
Possibilities: Blazerina is obviously a dancer in real life, but how she got her powers... If this were the Marvel Universe, I'd say she was a short-lived Herald of Galactus. In the DCU, I'd put her in a DC Dark title and give her a really strange origin, like she dances some secret code of the universe by accident.
Integration Quotient: 12% (I like my idea, but the character seems needlessly salacious)
Name: Essence (properly mystical and mysterious)
Created by: Brad Bechtel, Age 15, of Millersville, MD
Costume: A real riff on Doctor Fate's outfit, in blue and yellow with a yellow cape and a mouthless helmet. The differences include burst flares on the boots, tuning fork horns on the helmet, and a big magic wand/scepter.
Powers: Essence uses his wand to draw the life-force out of people, presumably to weaken them or knock them out. His powers do not work on machines.
Sighted: In the Master's fake hideout, falling for the villain's trap.
Possibilities: He looks like he should have more magical spells in his spellbook, but maybe it's stuff he would have done after sapping life-force, denied to him in this story. The look is so strikingly like Dr. Fate's, he'd almost have to be Fate's counterpart from another Earth. They'd clash over the type of magic they use, cuz Essence's use of souls looks a bit amoral.
Integration Quotient: 25% (there are possibilities if we imagine there's more to his powers)
Name: Thundera (the ol' put an "a" after any word to make a female superhero's name trick)
Created by: Lannie Hood, Age 12, of Edmonton, Alberta
Costume: Thundera wears a relaxed, long-sleeved, short dress split down a shoulder with red and yellow electric lines, purple on one side, blue on the other. Her boots have a similar design. She has red, studded bracers on her arms.
Powers: She can use her booming voice to stun opponents, destroy equipment, and even vibrate falling debris into dust to protect herself and her allies. In addition, she can hurl thunderbolts from her eyes.
Sighted: In the Master's fake hideout, falling for the villain's trap.
Possibilities: Hit by a thunderclap, Lannie Hood wakes up unharmed, but slightly hard of hearing. But when she speaks more loudly than she should, she realizes she has gained the powers of thunder itself! Or something. I blame ancient gods.
Integration Quotient: 12% (I'm really coming up empty today)

Bonus Supervillain
Name: The Nullifier (not quite Ultimate, but does what it says on the tin)
Created by: Nicky Alvarez, Age 12, of Long Beach, CA
Costume: Wow, those are some major shoulder pads! These "flames" are just about the only thing notable about this green, red and yellow uniform.
Powers: The Nullifier can nullify any energy, even kinetic (stopping cars and bullets cold), by firing "null-beams" a its source. These null-beams are apparently a form of "negative energy". According to Superman, he was made of this energy.
Sighted: In Fairfax, caused some chaos to attack the Dial heroes so he could kill them.
Possibilities: A villain that can counter any energy power can act as a "service villain" - all-purpose assassin like Bolt, or a guy to beat up in an issue's teaser - or as a member of a B-list supervillain team (same as Neutrax in the League of Super-Assassins).
Integration Quotient: 30% (the powers work, shame about the costume)

When next we open the Dial H case files, we'll be at the back of Superboy's new adventures!

6 comments:

sonofthesun said...

Sphera's outfit kind of reminds me or Marvels' Mockingbird.

Siskoid said...

I see it!

Anonymous said...

Y'know, DC ended up with a Prism from Eclipso's short-lived series. You pretty much called his entire life and career in your speculation.

Siskoid said...

From Bloodlines, right? I can't be blamed for forgetting him then.

Peter LoCasto said...

Here's something to ponder about Sphera. If she can create spheres or any material for any purpose, is there any limit to how big they are, and if that's any material, then that could mean she could create tiny universes if her spheres were made of the very matter of space time itself.

Siskoid said...

A beautiful idea that would have fit quite well in the latest Dial H series.