Dial H for He Returns!

With the announcement of a new Dial H for Hero series in DC's second wave of New52 titles comes a renewed commitment to at least completing Robby Reed's tenure as H-Dial holder in House of Mystery. British "weird fiction" writer China Miéville will be at the helm, making sure this will be a DC Dark book, so you won't get any complaints from me before it actually hits the stands. But for our wacky Silver Age fix, we still have Robby Reed. He's back and guess what, so is his nemesis, the small town "international crime combine" known only as Thunderbolt!

As a change of pace from the string of Midwestern small towns Robby usually patrols, he, his gramps and their housekeeper are on luxury cruise in the Mediterranean. What DOES Robby's grandpa DO exactly? They even get to sit at the captain's table. Anyway, it gives Spain a chance to believe it's got a superhero or three protecting lives in their own corner of the world.

Case 15: House of Mystery #170
Dial Holder: Robby Reed
Dial Type: The Big Dial
Dialing: Two out of three times while in the Mediterranean, the Dial turns Robby into a hero appropriate to that region. Because it takes its cues from his subconscious? Or because it is actually attuned to its environment?
Name: Baron Buzz-Saw (aren't Barons usually evil in comic books?)
Costume: A green mesh number with a sexy, sexy plunging neckline and super-not-sexy giant trunks with a B-belt buckle. Spinning blades can be found on top of his head, over his hands, on his belt and on both sides of his ankles. Approach with caution.
Powers: Baron Buzz-Saw is not only royalty, but he can fly and rip most anything to shreds. He can even do both at the same time, turning himself into a spinning human blade that can deflect even red-hot rivets. Strangely, Buzz-Saw is a narcoleptic who micro-snoozes to get inspiration right in the middle of a battle.
Sighted: Near Gull Island on the Spanish coast. The Baron tried to take a stolen robotic construction machine called WHRRR back from Thunderbolt. He failed when he had to rescue a salvage ship put in danger in retaliation.
Possibilities: I know Wolverine and his claws are popular and all, but a hero who is a human buzz-saw likely to fall asleep in your lap? Not so sure. Buzz-Saw has a terrible name, costume and concept, which I realize isn't a deal breaker in the New52 (ha ha), but unless Hero Hotline's night shift is hiring AND getting its own series, we're unlikely to ever see him again.
Integration Quotient: 5% (there's comedy potential, but little else)
Name: Don Jaun (wow, misspelled)
Costume: A Spanish caballero costume and ruffles and rapier. Classic look. You can't go wrong with traditional ethnic wear, really. However, it is a bit poofy around the shorts area. I kinda hate the red feathered hat too, but it's not that distracting.
Powers: Don Jaun's sword can fly and drag him along on a "sword ride", and it's sturdy enough to deflect a missile, but his actual power is being attractive to women. They throw themselves at him and try to rip his clothes off (poor Robby is still at that age when girls are yucky). The effect lasts beyond the dial-out, and the girls respond to the appearance of a winged stone man with "Who cares?"
Sighted: The Spanish seaport of Malaga after a fly-by over Cadiz. Don Jaun chased down a caravan stolen by Thunderbolt to carry WHRRR to their secret HQ, but was Justin Biebered by the townswomen and lost the trail. And half his shirt.
Possibilities: The Global Guardians are always looking for new people, and if Don Jaun would know how to spell his own name, maybe even Booster Gold's JLI could consider a team-up. The super-pheromones are a particularly interesting power that would play havoc with any team's sexual politics.
Integration Quotient: 75% (a potent ethnic hero/rogue that would have gotten a better score if spellcheck had been invented)
Name: Sphinx-Man (since a sphinx is already a lion-man, he's basically lion-man-man)
Costume: Some fancy burgundy undershorts on a thick stone body, part lion, par pharaoh, with wings on.
Powers: Robby complains about having no powers, but he's got rock-hard skin and enough power in those wings to lift such a body. No wonder his flight kicks up a sandstorm. He later discovers another power - by asking the Sphinx's classic riddle and not getting answer, he whisks the Thunderbolt agents to "Never-Never Land". Seeing as the actual legend (as related by Robby) is that people with no answer were DESTROYED, it looks like Robby's responsible for his first murders and is in deep denial. Presumably, had the Thunderbolts gotten the right answer, Sphinx-Man would have had to grant them a wish (or passage?).
Sighted: In the Mediterranean somewhere, perhaps closer to Egypt than Spain. Sphinx-Man defeats Thunderbolt in this area of the world, but can only surrender an empty base to the authorities.
Possibilities: Like Don Jaun, the character's ties to a particular country would give him a specific niche not filled by DC's usual cast of U.S.-based heroes. Obviously, he can't keep using that riddle power every time, so a character to be used sparingly.
Integration Quotient: 35% (there's a place for international heroes, but they need to have balanced abilities)

Only three issues left to the House of Mystery run! See you next week as we start the final countdown!


snell said...

Sphinx-Man versus the Riddler?? It wriyes itself...

Martin Gray said...

What a fantastic sounding issue, it's a shame so few stories have used the idea of holidaying heroes. A different setting can be so refreshing.

Gotta go now, I need to stroke the screen. Don Jaun ... dreamy!

Siskoid said...

You also get a Martian Manhunter backup!

Watch out for shocks!

thecomichunter said...

If ever you feel like reviewing the Adventure Comics run of Dial H or the 2004 run by Will Pfieffer, I'd be willing to lend you 'em! :-P

Siskoid said...

That's nice of you (c'est tu Rémi?!) but I have them all already!

The Adventure and later New Superboy run is when I became a fan of the series (with Chris and Vicki). Don't worry, they'll win a spot on this here blog in due course.

thecomichunter said...

Yup, it is Remi! :)

Those Adventure Dial H were some of my earliest comics and easily my earliest run of comics! :D

Siskoid said...

Eerie! Did you ever send in a superhero (or villain) for consideration? I have a feeling I did because one of my comics has the coupon cut-out, but damned if I know what it was.


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