Dial Q for Qued

So the big question I had about Dial E was whether the artists (one per page) created their own villains, or if Miéville suggested them. I wondered because Jeff Lemire's, for example, was a frogman (the diving kind, not the anthropomorphic kind), which seemed to resonate with his Underwater Welder graphic novel. So I reached out to all the artists involved in the issue via Twitter. The one to answer was Zak Smith who is a bit of a special case, so I don't know how his case relates to the others. For one thing, he got to draw 6 villains rather than one, for another he had previously collaborated with Miéville on a children's book (The Worst Breakfast). Anyway, what he told me was that Miéville suggested three and asked him to make up three more. So it may just depend on the artist, or the needs of the story (here it can be any villain, there the villain must do something specific...). My thanks to Mr. Smith for getting back to me with this small nugget of behind the scenes information. This is the last post derived from Dial E, but I've got a couple more cases to go; hope you'll stick around.

Case 98: Justice League #23.3 - Dial E
Dial Holders: Ben, Centipede, Roxie Hodder
Dial Type: E-Dial
Dialing: If someone isn't bad enough, the E-Dial won't work. We discover here that what's actually dialed is Q-U-E-D, a archaic word that means evil or harm. Since rotary dials do not have the letter Q, the O must be used, so it's really O-U-E-D (which isn't a pun; there's no relationship to North African rivers that we can discern). When the Centipede unsticks from time, each of his selves can be a different simultaneous identity (as previously seen). At the end of the story, Roxie Hodder returns to conk Centipede on the head, possibly thanks to a J-Dial, but dressed in her own (non-dial) identity, based on one made up by Nelson Jent in an earlier issue of Dial H (see below). Presumably, she retrieves the E-Dial and may, along with the rest of the surviving Dial Bunch, be on a quest to get all the Dials back.
Name: Bad Dressage (an equestrian term, fits but rather silly)
Costume: A skull-faced gentleman in a black jacket and boots, gray riding crops, and a top hat. He's most recognizable by his giant purple horse with a demonic skull face, white blanket saddle, and a fiery tail.
Powers: Controls a giant horse that can stomp on his enemies with its terrible piaffe! (That's a dressage move where the horse trots in place, by the way.) The villain is also tough enough to survive a fall from his saddle (a height of about 8 full-grown men, or ±40 feet).
Sighted: In Littleville, fighting the Centipede.
Possibilities: Strictly demon stuff, but weird demon stuff. You'd see him in the Demon, or up against the Doom Patrol in one of their darker episodes. The high society theme shouldn't be overlooked, but I'm not sure if he should show up in a rich millionaire's book, or a blue collar hero's. Either way, feels like that hero should have a connection to horses.
Integration Quotient: 30% (a good, unusual demon, but hard to fit into a specific rogues' gallery)
Name: Captain Quag (for Quagmire, obviously)
Look: A musclebound woman made of mud and vegetation. She has a receding hairline and ram-like horns around her ears.
Powers: The ability to turn the ground into quicksand, even if it was paved over, etc. at least to about waist level (depth seems to vary). Presumably, having a body made of earth also has its advantages, and she may have powers not unlike the Swamp Thing's, though is certainly not immune to a conk on the head.
Sighted: In Littleville, fighting the Centipede before disappearing in the Melt.
Possibilities: In the elemental scheme of things, Swamp Thing was tagged as the Earth elemental, but the Mark Millar run put a lie to that strict interpretation when Swampy had to gain the powers of the Melt, so there's a difference between the Green and the Melt. If Swamp Thing is thus better referred to as the Plant Elemental, then Quag here would be the true Earth Elemental of alchemy. Probably see about as much action as, say, Naid, but that's still something. She would similarly be angry with humanity for pollution and thus register as a "villain".
Integration Quotient: 70% (a definite niche, but whether that name really works for the concept is a matter of opinion)
Annie Wu's page in Dial E features three villains (well, more like 7, but three are named). First is Frontal, a Zeus-looking dude. Maybe his power is to always be in front of you, so some kind of teleporter, but not sure I get why he has that look. The second is Gallowman who appears to be hung from a rope and has arrows shot through him. This undead creature would hover over heroes and take any amount of damage, probably dish it out too. He's here to take revenge on all judges, juries and executioners, including your badass vigilante. And then there's Topiary Rex, a dinosaur made of plants with roses for eyes. If that isn't a plant elemental from the dawn of time...
Zak Smith's page features six further villains. Recluse is the froggy brown one, which I see as a super-powered take on Gollum, DC's answer to Mole Man, but he works alone. The Skink appears to be female, which makes for a more interesting take on the classic lizard-man idea. Skins are snaky burrowers, so her powers would be based on that. Mechasumo is a cybernetic sumo wrestler, easily inserted into superhero fights with which to open a book. Huldra refers to a wood nymph from Norwegian folklore. We don't see a lot of her here, but she could be made of wood. She seduces men and takes them to their doom, I'm sure. I love Piñata. The more he gets beaten up, the more he gains access to the goodies inside, which he uses as weapons (not the tiny bomb and spikes). He hangs from balloons, so he's not that easy to hit when he doesn't want to. And finally, we have Snail Devil (not to be confused with devil snails you might have in your aquarium tank), who's a little demon with a big snail shell. Speaks for itself.
Name: Rescue Jill (the female analog to Rescue Jack, which we covered before)
Costume: Basically Rescue Jack's costume, but this time Roxie wears it. The only notable difference is that the sledgehammer looks more makeshift.
Powers: None, but Jill is equipped with all sorts of tools to use in melee or as thrown weapons - a sledgehammer, wrenches, etc.
Sighted: In Littleville, arriving through a portal and putting her hammer to Centipede's head.
Possibilities: I said about Jack, that it could be Nelson's superhero identity if he chose to give up the Dial and still keep heroing. Looks like Roxie's done exactly that. In a universe without Dials (or Nelson or Roxie), Rescue Jill would have taken over from Jack to act as the blue collar hero after his death. They look too similar to act as partners.
Integration Quotient: 60% (no reason to change from Jack's score)

Next: Young Animal Dial H!


Overwatch World said...

Am I the only one that wanted to see the Candy-Woman in the comic? I mean, she pulls off the cocer alone. Getting a whole page would've been awesome!

Siskoid said...

She IS in it, it's just an alternate design for Suffer Kate.


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