Dial H for Here, You Do It

The Brave and the Bold revival featured two Dial H stories with Robby Reed, and though they could be set in the past, they still pretty much wiped away the H-E-R-O series' take. I guess the Infinite Crisis happened between the two appearances. Anyway, very different writers on each tale. B&B #9 is by Mark Waid, one of my favorite superhero writers, the other by Michael J. Straczynski, one of my least favorite. Indeed, the first is a fun Silver Age vignette where one of the Metal Men gets a shot at the Dial. The other is a speech-heavy Batman story in which Robby lets one of the Joker's henchmen steal the Dial because he foresaw the next user would die and he's a coward.

Case 78: Brave and the Bold (v3) #9 and #27
Dial Holders: Robby Reed, Tin, Travers Milton
Dial Type: The Big Dial
Dialing: The alien symbols on the Dial are specifically said to be Interlac. A robot can use the Dial; the identity turns out to have some robotic features, but human ones as well. In the case of Travers Milton, he doesn't need to read Interlac, he feels compelled to dial the right letters. He feels similarly compelled to act heroically (so the Dials seen to date in the 2000s - Push-button and alt-design Big - are no doubt the aberrations). Oddly, his dialed identity has his fingerprints.
Name: The Bruiser (it's just okay, if that's his name)
Costume: The red and yellow luchadore mask and hairy chest with X-straps gives him a strong wrestler's look. He has dark blue pants, red knee pads, and red and yellow boots and gloves. His yellow belt features a large, round, red buckle. Oh, and he's several stories tall.
Powers: This giant is strong and invulnerable, and probably has some good pro wrestling moves.
Sighted: Fighting Megistus' robot dinosaur across the United States, from Colorado to New York.
Possibilities: A luchadore-inspired comic where the lead fights kaiju-level threats? I'm not made of stone, here! At the very least should be part of a traveling hero's hook-ups when he visits Mexico. Leading to a quirky mini-series, then nothing, but fans keep bringing it up. Shame about the name, which needs a little Spanish flavor.
Integration Quotient: 70% (name aside, the concept has weird and wacky legs)
Name: Manbot the Mighty (that's a mouthful)
Costume: Looking for all the world like a cyborg Lightray (the red shape on his chest is reversed so as to look like a fat mechano "M"), Manbot wears blue and silver "armor" that seems grafted to a young human face with blond hair flowing up the top.
Powers: Strength, invulnerability and flight. Whatever powers his body, it glows green and is sufficient to destroy a giant robot with one blow.
Sighted: In New York, destroying Megistus and kissing Platinum.
Possibilities: Manbot's resemblance to Lightray is too uncanny. Maybe the forces of Apokolips built him as an answer to the New God, but then it rebelled and turned on its masters, a lover not a fighter. Now he races around the DCU looking for romance with robot and cyborg ladies (or guys), sort of like a non-emo Red Tornado, hoping against hope he's not alone in the universe.
Integration Quotient: 50% (even I can tell my "possibilities" are extremely convoluted)
Name: Mental Man (a perfectly fine name, if old-fashioned)
Costume: A cultist's robe with optional hood. It has wide sleeves, brownish boots and belt, and a shield-shaped buckle with an ornate "M" on it. The most distinctive thing about his appearance, however, is his enlarged cranium and glowing red eyes.
Powers: Dubbed "The Greatest Psychic Who Ever Lived", Mental Man's powers seem limited to seeing into the future. His name might suggest more psychic/psionic abilities, but they are never shown.
Sighted: In a Gotham City hotel room, gazing into the future.
Possibilities: In appearance, a member of DC's mystical class, he's someone who might do well in combination with others like Shadowpact or Justice League Dark. Inevitably, he'd probably become the Dr. Druid of the bunch, no one's favorite, but still useful in that context.
Integration Quotient: 40% (if you note the difference between psychic and magic, he sort of creates a fairly fresh niche for himself)
Name: The Star (overly simple, but it's not bad; of course it belongs to someone in the Dragonverse)
Costume: Blue torso with giant white star on it, white pants, blue-black boots that resolve into knee pads, no gloves, a red cape with a circular clasp with a star on it, blond locks. Traditional and heroic.
Powers: Super-strength, limited invulnerability (short of surviving a large dynamite explosion), flight, and heightened senses (especially hearing).
Sighted: In Gotham City, working with Batman to stop a rash of terrorist attacks by the Joker. He dies flying a bomb away from a building.
Possibilities: Between name and powers, we might assume he got his powers from a meteor, perhaps some of that fabled dwarf star matter we keep hearing about. If we let him stay in Gotham, does it break the world, or could he, for a time, act as the daylight defender of the city, a mirror of Batman? Perhaps in the metaphorical scheme where Gotham and Metropolis are New York by night/day, with the Star standing in as Superman. He still dies a fiery death before it does break the world.
Integration Quotient: 40% (competent, but either too generic, or has no permanent place in Gotham)

Next: Teen Titans Go!


snell said...

" The other is a speech-heavy Batman story in which Robby lets one of the Joker's henchmen steal the Dial because he foresaw the next user would die and he's a coward."

Pretty much everything wrong with JMS' DC run in a nutshell...

Breenlantern said...

I'm loving your "chronicles of the H Dial" and I will be very sad when it comes to an end.

Siskoid said...

Thanks. Long way to go yet.

American Hawkman said...

My favorite site feature! Mental Man is interesting in light of Aquaman using that name once in the Silver Age... Perhaps he's empowered by Atlantean crystals, Edgar Cayce-style?

Anonymous said...

It should be noted that "Bruiser" was not the character's real name, but just a nickname applied by the Metal Men. Oh, and "Megistus" wasn't the mecha-dragon's name, but the name of its master, the big bad of the story arc.


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