Dial H for History

New Adventures of Superboy's double-sized Anniversary 50th issue combined Superboy's adventures with the Dial H back-up that just ended in the previous issue in a fun and unusual way. Mildly telekinetic 30th-Century thief Nylor Truggs steals Chris' H Dial from the Museum of Heroes and Legends, and goes back to 20th-Century Smallville, a few Legionnaires after him.

Case 57: New Adventures of Superboy #50
Dial Holder: Nylor Truggs
Dial Type: The Watch Dial
Dialing: Chris' Dial is an exhibit at the Museum of Heroes and Legends 1000 years hence. While it is smashed by the end of this story (returning everyone to normal before the 1-hour limit), Vicki's Dial is also in the collection, so will be exhibited instead. Initially, while a Dialed identity allows Truggs to fight a Legionnaire, it does not allow him to kill, something he overcomes - thereon creating "villains" rather than "heroes" - with some 30th-Century tinkering. The Dial can also somehow transport Truggs to the 20th Century (though not Chris' time, Superboy's adventures took place some 15 years earlier) with "last ditch adjustments", which look like it's just about stroking the "H". Since Truggs then needs help building a time machine, it would seem the Dial cannot be used to move through time willy-nilly; perhaps it homes in on the date of its creation by the Wizard. With FURTHER tinkering, Truggs makes the Dial transform others into villains as well, all under his nominal control, though they are horrified by their actions and beg Truggs not to make them. Though they are all presumably under the same 1-hour limit, there are as many as five people simultaneously affected by the Dial's power. These extra villains share physical traits with the kids they used to be - members of Superboy's supporting cast - perhaps because the Dial's power is spread thinner than normal. As one of his single identities also looks like him, it's possible this is a side-effect of his tinkering, and possibly damage the Dial. Unusually, we see Truggs "morph" from a super-powered identity to his normal self rather than just instantaneously transform as is the norm. The Dial has a unique energy field Brainiac 5 can track through time and space.
Name: The Cyclone (a perfectly good weather-themed name)
Costume: A simple purple and blue outfit that covers the entire body, with a tornado at the center. The blue running in the middle might be a water spout motif. Don't think too hard about it. The look is completed by circles of spinning air around wrists, shins and waist, as if to delineate gloves, boots and belt.
Powers: No surprise here, the Cyclone is basically Red Tornado, spinning and creating air currents.
Sighted: At the Museum of Heroes and Legends in the 30th Century, making off with an H Dial after a short fight with Chameleon Boy.
Possibilities: "Elemental" types are fine on some team or other. I'd replace Red Tornado with him on whatever B-team he's on (Primal Force, a bad version of the Justice League for having Reddy on it), and the next writer can reveal it was Red Tornado all along, in disguise after having been thought destroyed. Ridiculous? Explain Bloodwynd to me.
Integration Quotient: 35% (as a hero, he's a little generic, but not unusable)

Bonus Supervillains
Name: Landslide (it's a winning name!)
Costume: This huge, bald, mustached bruiser with troll feet wears a simple purple tunic, with a black and gold studded belt and three gold bracers.
Powers: With a wave of his hand, Landslide can make materials crumble. His name suggests the powers might work like the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants' Avalanche. From the look of it, he's probably super-strong as well, but not so strong as to be able to destroy a prison wall without his power's help.
Sighted: In Smallville, breaking young Lex Luthor out of reform school.
Possibilities: Landslide's unusual appearance has to be explained, so I'm quickly sending him to some fantasy corner of the DCU, like Skartaris. I mean, it's okay if he comes out of his hole and gets trounced by Justice League Europe or something.
Integration Quotient: 15% (not the best pairing of look and power set)
Name: The Unstoppable Smasher (what happens the first time you stop him?)
Look: This naked creature mercifully has fur "pants" (and "sleeves"). Its hands have three massive clawed fingers, its feet two equally clawed toes. Smasher doesn't have a neck, and its mouth looks like a series of horizontal lines. A Shaggy Man type, odd when seen working on technology.
Powers: In addition to immense punching strength on par with Superboy's, Smasher's hands can disintegrate matter to dig tunnels, for example, and can shield him from energy blasts (he claims to "smashes through" metal, wood, flesh, rock and energy). He is not, however, unstoppable, easily knocked out by Superboy's own punch.
Sighted: Near Smallville, working with Lex Luthor on a time machine and fighting Superboy and the Legion.
Possibilities: Like something the Challengers of the Unknown or Cave Carson might have unearthed in the old days. Well... Cave Carson still has his own comic, at any rate.
Integration Quotient: 35% (distinctive look, but strictly from an age gone by)
Name: High-Roller (a pun that won't really attain its full potential, watch)
Costume: Yellow armor (a dull color scheme), vaguely like that of a knight's, but with big wheels at the feet. The helmet has a visor and a fin.
Powers: Despite the name, there's no luck power or gimmick. He can basically roll around on his own power. Quickly, but not so quickly that he doesn't need help to plant his devices in the span of the allotted hour.
Sighted: Near Smallville, recruiting Superboy's supporting cast as makeshift villains and watching them fight the Legion with glee until he is defeated by Superboy and Krypto.
Possibilities: A quintessential one-shot villain, with a single, fad-driven gimmick. He appears once during the early 80s, gets trounced by a Titan acting alone or something, and is never seen again.
Integration Quotient: 20% (I see it, but I don't see it ever again)
Name: Megaton (yes it works!)
Costume: A simple and generic outfit in two shades of blue, with stripes simulating belt and zipper, and silver bracers at the wrists. Megaton's one unusual feature is freckles.
Powers: Megaton fires blasts of energy that explode at there termination point and can make his entire body explode (radiate with?) the same energy.
Sighted: Near Smallville, fighting Wildfire against his will. He is actually Superboy's best friend, Pete Ross.
Possibilities: Fits easily in a supervillain team, as the resident blaster. Alone, not so much; the costume doesn't inspire. One idea is to make it an older, corrupted Pete Ross from an alternate future, who could easily be on par with Superman and cause him problems as an adult.
Integration Quotient: 65% (a bit lackluster, but entirely usable)
Name: Wisp (not to be confused with Aquaman's little friend Quisp)
Costume: An Arabian Nights motif gives her a white strapless top, beaded bottom, ballooning pants and slippers. Her red hair is long and flowy.
Powers: Wisp is light as a feather enabling her to fly, and can make herself intangible, able to go through people and even force fields. It appears phasing through opponents hurts them in some way.
Sighted: Near Smallville, fighting Chameleon Boy and Brainiac 5 against her will. She is actually Lana Lang, Superboy's paramour.
Possibilities: Unlike Pete, Lana already has a commonly seen superheroic identity (Insect Queen) so it wouldn't do to have her become the Wisp at some point. Lana abstracted, the character could work solo as a ghostly figure with a tragic past. Half the game is for heroes to figure out what she wants, what will make her spirit rest. Unlike your normal revenant, she could return again and again whenever something made her spirit restless again (a genie connection, given the look?). A threat, even if it turns out she's not expressly evil.
Integration Quotient: 70% (has potential)
Name: Blizzard (obviously Marvel already has an Iron Man villain by that name)
Costume: In blues, purples and whites, a cute outfit with fur-lined boots, cuffs and hooded cape. Icicle motifs shape the waist area.
Powers: Blizzard can create cold and ice from her hands, and her breath obscures her opponent's vision with snow. That's a near little effect you don't see often.
Sighted: Near Smallville, fighting Colossal Boy against her will. She is really Lisa Davis, Clark Kent's girlfriend.
Possibilities: Everything that comes to mind would just create a Superman-centric Killer Frost, but why not? They never did anything with Lisa post-Crisis, so the character could easily be reinvented as an adult romantic interest who unbeknownst to Clark, is mutated in this specific way and grows colder and more distant until she reappears as a supervillainess. I personally think we have enough relationship-themed supervillainesses - they sort of aggregate into malignant female stereotypes. But I liked Lisa a lot, I'd write her a story.
Integration Quotient: 50% (the power set is played out, otherwise a good character)
Name: Man-Mountain (he sure is big)
Costume: Just a tattered loin cloth. Man-Mountain is otherwise a long-armed shaved ape with giant hand-like feet and a dull look on his face.
Powers: This brute is super-strong, but also the proverbial immovable object. Even Superboy's hits fail to knock him down.
Sighted: Near Smallville, fighting Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes against his will. He is really Bash Bashford, Clark Kent's bully at school (this identity part of the humiliation this Flash Thompson wannabe routinely suffered from).
Possibilities: Hey, remember Conduit? Why couldn't he have been Bash Bashford instead of Kenny Braverman? I tell ya, they really washed away every trace of New Adventures of Superboy... Well, I doubt Bash would have one day become Man-Mountain. Instead, this would be a prehistoric man monster trapped in ice or something - the DCU played that card a few times during the Silver Age - which never earns the poor Encino Man a second appearance. Man-Mountain is incredibly powerful though, more than any primitive man, so we'll need to throw in a radioactive meteor in his origin story, which might keep him around in something like the Monster Society of Evil or something.
Integration Quotient: 15% (there are plenty like him, all forgotten)

Next: Òdds and ends.

2 comments:

Dylan Carroll said...

Hey Siskoid, I just wanna say that I discovered your blog a while ago, and love it! I'm currently going through Classic Doctor Who for the first time, and reading your daily reviews of it as I go along is really enjoyable.

Your posts on Dial H got me to check out the nu52 series, then go 'what the hell' and read everything Dial H up to the current post! I've been meaning to get more into comics (I've read some stuff; Watchmen, The Maxx, I Hate Fairyland and some other odds and ends), thanks for introducing me to this really fun series!
I just love how you analyse these disposable characters and imagine where they'd fit into the wider DCU, it's just such a good, fun idea for a series of blog posts.

I know that was probably a bit too gush-filled, but I thought that you'd appreciate the feedback.

JeffJedi said...

As seen on the inside cover of Who's Who!

 

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