Dial H for Hope

Though DC would publish one more Dial H Miéville story as part of its Forever Evil month, issue 15 was the last of the series per se, and it took us a couple posts to get through it. This time, Dwan and the Fixer (mostly Dwan). This version of Dial H was wild and wooly, and I enjoyed it a great deal. It really went for broke by creating a Dial Mythos, even though it sort of ended before it could fully explore it. Its most important contribution to my life was making me discover Miéville's prose fiction, as I went from this to Railsea, The City & the City, Embassytown, Perdido Street Station, and more. He's become one of my favorite writers over the last few years.

Case 94: Dial H #15
Dial Holders: Dwan, the Fixer
Dial Type: Autodial, Bronze Dial
Dialing: Dwan's broken Autodial may have made him crazy. When the Operator speeds Dwan's Dial up, he goes into a fugue state, crackling with energy and becoming identities too quickly for us to see, and for him to use them. The Autodial is normally too fast for the Operator to cancel any given identity. The Fixer's true appearance is seen for the first time; he is of the Operator's race (bald humanoid with pointy ears), natives of the Hub dimension. He continues to speak in mechanical tones, perhaps a side-effect of his dial use.
Name: Watertower (has a nice ring to it)
Look: A regular-sized humanoid made of buildings, with a head that's a top-of-building water tower.
Powers: The top of its head can open to release vast amounts of water. It also knows a specialized urban martial art that includes a "Manhattan Strike".
Sighted: At the Hub, fighting the Fixer.
Possibilities: Seeing as DC has a doll elemental (as someone was kind enough to remind me last week), city elementals are a natural. Anything elemental, really, but cities have an actual claim to a "soul". People always go on and on about cities being a "character" in movies, etc. All hail Watertower, he's our guy(ish).
Integration Quotient: 50% (a crazy idea, but the DCU has worse)
Name: Blink Centurion (an odd one, but I do think there should be more Centurions in comics)
Costume: Dressed in full Roman Centurion regalia, what's most distinctive about the look is that his head is just a bald eye ball.
Powers: Heightened visual perception. He uses a sword and wears armor.
Sighted: At the Hub, fighting mash-up monsters.
Possibilities: Eyeball alien falls to Earth at the height of the Roman Empire. Goes home, returns. Relativity effects have made him dated, but he still goes with it. Is our last line of defense against another race of aliens who hide in plain sight, only he can see them...
Integration Quotient: 15% (too bizarre)
Name: Ponder (works in a 90s kind of way, if the 90s were about thoughtfulness)
Costume: A bluish-black body suit with skull cap. Pretty nondescript, actually.
Powers: Ponder levitates in a thinking position, which sends out destructive energy waves.
Sighted: At the Hub, fighting mash-up monsters.
Possibilities: As the member of a teenage team, he might be an interesting concept. The powers are fairly generic, on the face of it, but seem to come with an original personality. The character is withdrawn, introverted, philosophical, but his thinking has all these superhero-type effects. He might even be on autopilot while he does the heroics, a side-show to his actual activity of thinking, and a necessary release of energy.
Integration Quotient: 60% (could work, but not as a solo thing)
Name: Crosshairs (good name!)
Costume: Impossible to see. Looks gray. I would imaging there are crosshairs somewhere on it.
Powers: Super aiming accuracy through the projection of a crosshair effect. It's not perfect.
Sighted: At the Hub, opening a window in the Exchange with a pebble.
Possibilities: You know if this character existed, he'd be loaded with guns. But what if he isn't? More Bullseye than Deadshot instead? Using almost anything to make impossible shots? I kind of want him to be powered by pure zen, but it looks like his powers might have a technological component that still allows him to miss. Like a guy who wanted to be great a aiming, but decided to cheat rather than train. That's an interesting wrinkle, surely.
Integration Quotient: 80% (the name alone warrants a series)
Name: Captain Baker (could be a normal rank and name, until you see his powers)
Costume: Jeans, t-shirt and large apron, plus a goalie-type face mask. A masked baker, essentially.
Powers: The ability to project and manipulate dough, to entangle foes and probably other effects. He also carries a rolling pin, but it seems too small to fight with.
Sighted: At the Hub, fighting the Operator.
Possibilities: A like the idea of working-class heroes like this. Is it so ridiculous, in a universe where there's a brand of pop that gives you stretching powers, for someone to come upon a magic dough recipe?
Integration Quotient: 35% (an unexplored niche)

Bonus Dwan Identities:
Dwan changes a lot. Among the identities seen but not named, we have a living canon, a giant maple seed, and a knight off a chess board. Among those named and seen, but not actually used, there's Galaxy, Girl Coelacanth, Pie Chart, and Kid Red (at the top of this post). When he fugues, we only get names: DeFacer, StillSmallVoice, Matterhorn, Jabcross, Muriatic Man, The Coagulator, Lobotomist

Bonus Fixer Identities:
The Fixer never names his identities, which is really too bad, because he's got some fun ones. A super-rabbit in the tradition of Hoppy and Captain Carrot, who fires beams from his ears. A character with cement buckets for fists. A spaceman-type with a ringed planet for a head, its orbit able to deflect powers. One that's made entirely of ropes. Another that's a human electric fan. A living factory with a devastating smokestack blast.

Next: Dial E for Evil!


American Hawkman said...

DC kinda already has City Elementals too, as Danny the Street proves, so Watertower fits right in there.

Blink Centurion might be one of the agents of the alien conspiracy that created the Alpha Centurion. I'd assume he's from Penelo, where the giant eyeball Green Lantern Penelops is from.

Ponder is a great concept, lends himself to the Golden Age.

Heck, Captain Baker would work as an enemy to the entirely food-themed Eurocrime.

Andrew said...

My first thought for "City Elemental" was Jack Hawksmoor of the Authority. Anyone else think he and Danny would get along famously?


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