Dial H for Hoops

Dial H #5 has Manteau finally introduce herself as Roxie Hodder, a hippie chick who was part of a commune in the 60s and whose studies in telephony led her to an H-Dial. But her Dial is in the hands of the comic's villain Ex Nihilo, so she isn't one of the the issue's dialers. It's Nelson, Nihilo, and... a third, very mysterious character I will touch on at the bottom of this page, as Miéville starts to hint at a greater H-Dial mythology.

Case 83: Dial H #5
Dial Holders: Nelson Jent, Ex Nihilo, The Fixer
Dial Type: Phone booth Dials, Bronze Dial
Dialing: Manteau found her dial by researching a confluence of math, philosophy, history, spiritualism, telephone engineering and keeping an open mind. It was in a small bronze chest in an attic somewhere (not unlike the Dials found by Chris and Vicki). Nelson's Dial can be patched up with random bits of telephone equipment, but his powers/identity tend to flicker in and out. It isn't clear if these random bits are specific to H-Dials, or just to normal telephones. Dialing up powers does not negate one's skills, even when those skills are magical and thus, their own power set. Ex Nihilo, for example, can still use nullomancy when in a superhero identity. Once every 10-20 times, a Dial will offer something spectacular (read: Superman level), which was also true of the push-button dial from the previous series. Manteau claims she's dialed Nihilo's last identity herself years ago. Somehow coming out of Abyss (so through the null-space?) is a dial holder eventually known as the Fixer. His H-Dial is large and made of a bronze-like metal, evoking an Aztex sun dial. It seems to be embedded in the chest of every identity he takes. This dialer can change identities very quickly, mid-battle. Nelson seems to know things he shouldn't as if there was a connection between dial holders; he says this is the way the Dials SHOULD be used. Manteau calls him the "shadow on the line". He goes right for Ex Nihilo, as if drawn to the other Dial, bent on destroying it. At the end of this story, Manteau's Dial has been damaged beyond repair, returning Ex Nihilo to her normal self (she falls to her death).
Name: Hairbringer (a mangled "Harbinger", which is silly, but somehow works)
Costume: A layered leather costume in pinkish red and purplish gray, with spikes on the shoulders and devilish mask. That mask has a metal jaw with sharp green teeth locked behind a piece of metal. Her abundant hair (see Powers) is that same lime green. Her arms and legs are in loose white fabric, resolving in black gloves and boots.
Powers: A mass of prehensile green hair that can form attacks and can apparently add mass and density so that she can stand on it several stories up, as if she were flying.
Sighted: In Littleville, fighting Cock-a-Hoop, then joining forces with him to fight Abyss.
Possibilities: That severe look speaks to a hero with baggage (I'm reminded of Speedball as Penance). The character might have been experimented on and been disfigured, a super-soldier program gone wrong that created a dark avenger that probably started by killing everyone responsible. Or possibly, she is an extradimensional being (not to call it a demon) summoned by some well-meaning soul to inflict harsh justice on the guilty. Kind of a Ghost Rider for beauty salon set. He needs a Bull friend to really get the preposterousness across.
Integration Quotient: 40% (I'm sort of into it)
Name: Cock-a-Hoop (it means being proud of one's successes, so there's an irony there)
Look: A large talking rooster whose wings end in feathered fists, but its body is a black spinning hula-hoop from which the arms, head and tail more or less pop out. On the front of the hoop is a perpetual feathered section with a yellow "C" on it.
Powers: Cock-a-Hoop's crow acts as a powerful sonic attack. The spinning hoop is not only used for locomotion, but to spin around an opponent' waist, making them confused and possibly (with simpler creatures) crazed.
Sighted: In Littleville, fighting Hairbringer and then Abyss.
Possibilities: It's a hard life for animal superheroes, but there are a couple of corners of the DCU where they might exist. One is the DC One Million version of the Super-Pets (sorry, Executive Familiars), the other is the Zoo Crew's Earth-C. I'd love for the latter to have its version of the Doom Patrol, filled with oddball animal heroes.
Integration Quotient: 10% (I'm a realist)

Bonus Fixer Identities:
The Fixer, whatever he is, turns into a number of heroic identities "faster than [we] can follow". From the top, the first one wears a complicated jetpack that emits dark smoke. Then he's a female flyer/blaster in red and white. Followed by a black and purple knight with Kirby-computer eyes. Then an army of tiny pilots in toy biplanes. He subsequently turns into a clockwork robot/man in armor who uses a screwdriver as a weapon. Finally, he's a crystalline, winged, humanoid rhinoceros and flies away. What these identities might be called, or whether they will be seen again, remains to be seen.

Next: The stay-at-home hero.


Kurt "Welcome to Geektown" Onstad said...

As the World's Biggest Speedball fan...we don't talk about the P-word.

Siskoid said...

It's hard being a Speedball fan. I think you've done your p-word.

Anonymous said...



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