Dial H for Heck... Don Heck

Adventure Comics #482 marks the start of art from Don Heck on Dial H as some of the pressure off Carmine Infantino. Whether or not you're a fan of Heck's superhero art, I happen to prefer him to Infantino, and regardless, it's nice to see reader designs interpreted by someone else for a change. The following looks at the viability of the characters created for the two stories (one Infantino, one Heck) in the second half of the comic.

Case 27: Adventure Comics #482
Dial Holders: Chris and Vicki
Dial Type: Watch and Pendant Dials
Dialing: In the past, when one of them dialed up a hero, the other's dial would glow, informing them of the emergency. In both these stories, Chris dials a hero and Vicki's dial does nothing. Does that feature have a maximum range? In both stories, Vicki is out camping and Chris is in the city.Name: Dragonfly (following in the proud tradition of names based on insects and other bugs, Archie, DC and Marvel have a villainess called Dragonfly, and AC Comics had a Dragonfly heroine)
Created by: Jay Sorey, Age 13, from Las Vegas, NV
Costume: Dragonfly has the trademark wings and bug eyes of his totem animal, and a banded armored body that also reminds us of his namesake. In a clumsy white circle, his emblem is a stylized dragonfly that looks like a "C", so that doesn't really work. He seems to have stolen red pairs of gloves and socks from Spider-Man.
Powers: Dragonfly can use his wings to fly. They are strong enough to vibrate through a thin coat of silver. He also has 360 degree vision.
Sighted: In Fairfax and surrounding areas, fighting Silversmith. He brought the villain to justice.
Possibilities: There's a Dragonfly in the League of Assassins, a recently resurrected Archie version that's gone up against the Web, and a one-shot Teen Titans villain. Any room for someone else in this legacy? A new Dragonfly might redeem the name and hang out with the Blue Beetle.
Integration Quotient: 50% (looks good, but the name seems to have been overused)
Name: Cardinal (birds' names are fine, as are colors, but this feels incomplete to me)
Created by: Margaret Spiezio, Age 13, from Albany, NY
Costume: You'd expect someone called Cardinal to have more red in their costume, but this heroine keeps it to a minimum with scale-armor boots and a vaguely bird-like motif on her breast (like Wonder Woman's). Otherwise, she's in yellow with black leggings and gloves. Intriguing boots and sleeves, but just doesn't seem to match her nom de guerre.
Powers: Cardinal is a powerful telekinetic who can propel herself through stone, water and air, as well project a force field to reflect energy fired at her. What's that got to do with cardinals?
Sighted: Near Fairfax, fighting and defeating Silversmith.
Possibilities: I'd latch on to her similarity to Wonder Woman and make her an Amazon, perhaps one sent as an ambassador to another country, one known for its cardinals (South America, maybe?).
Integration Quotient: 10% (while a powerful female hero, Cardinal's design is just too muddled to be of much use)
Name: Aniwoman, formerly Starwoman (looks like they changed her generic name from what the Velasquez family chose for her; it now makes more sense, but sounds like "any woman")
Created by: Luis & Angel Velasquez, from Brooklyn, NY
Costume: A simple bathing suit with gloves and boots ensemble, but the red makes it striking, especially with that beautiful black hair. The gold belt matches the dial pendant. She looks like a more adult Wonder Girl, and that works for me.
Powers: Aniwoman can animate objects, re-shaping them and giving them mobility as needed.
Sighted: In Fairfax, fought and defeated the Blade Master with his own weapons.
Possibilities: Aniwoman isn't the greatest name for a heroine, but she has a powerful and interesting power, one we don't often see. I'd like to see her as a main player in the DCU, even in a group as important as the Justice League. Perhaps "any woman" could be exploited and make her an avatar that different women turn into. An idea intriguing enough to support a mini-series surely.
Integration Quotient: 75% (looks like a classic character, but is distinctive enough to forge her own way)
Name: Teleman (terrible name, it sounds like "tell a man")
Created by: Bredd Goede, Age 13, from Spring Valley, MA
Costume: Green and yellow, Teleman features an Iron Man-like mask with antennae on his ear pieces, and various lightning bolts on his legs and chest. It LOOKS like his powers have something to do with telecommunications, but they don't.
Powers: The "tele" in Teleman is "teleport". He can transport himself instantaneously (along with at least one other person) across space. His range is unknown, though his imagination is lacking, using it strictly for movement and never as an attack.
Sighted: In Fairfax and surroundings, brought Aniwoman to town so she could defeat the Blade Master.
Possibilities: Presumably, Teleman's teleportation works by turning him into radio waves, so it could be interesting to have him be some kind of sentient radio/tv program, brought to life by a power surge. As an impish character riding through channels, he could make an interesting addition to a low-level super team, or as an occasional ally.
Integration Quotient: 15% (a bit one-note when many teams have access to teleportation technology anyway)

Bonus Supervillains
Name: Silversmith (not to be confused with Sterling Silversmith, it's a good strong name)
Created by: Michael Clark, Age 15, from Cincinnati, OH
Costume: The encapsulated helmet with insectoid eyes on the side looks very modern, seeing overuse in the New52 lately, but the way the armor is jointed in the legs looks like old-fashioned steampunk. The winged cape gives it flair, but the double "S" giant nipples are silly.
Powers: Silversmith's main power is to fire a beam that covers targets with a thin and quickly-hardening silver coating. However, he can also fire destructive blasts and fly. His helmet radiates a wide beam of light in front of him when he flies, which is never quite explained. All his abilities are technology-based.
Sighted: Keeping a secret hide-out in the mountains near Fairfax (look for the silver door in the mountain side), Silversmith attempted to steal the silver reserves of the Fairfax bank before being brought to justice by Cardinal and Dragonfly. It is unclear whether the silver was recovered, or why someone who can produce silver at will would need to steal silver (unless it's to power that ability?).
Possibilities: I could see Silversmith as an evolution of the Sterling Silversmith character since they have the same obsession with silver. At some point, Sterling builds a suit and becomes better able to fight Batman and his allies.
Integration Quotient: 70% (already has his foot in the door with that name, though his modus operandi could use some help)
Name: Blade Master (a classic name for an assassin of great martial ability)
Created by: Lorenzo Duran Jr., Age 12
Costume: Purple, black and yellow is a proud assassin tradition initiated by Batroc the Leaper, though the golden head piece is a suspect element. On his chest is a gold saber that might hint at Middle Eastern origins.
Powers: Blade Master has unparalleled skill with blades of all types. He carries swords that can cut through steel, super-accurate throwing knives, whirling blades that can shred oncoming bullets to bits, and personal helicopter blades with which he can take flight.
Sighted: In Fairfax, attempting to kill Professor Oxford for H.I.V.E., who have hired him because he is the "world's greatest assassin". He is apprehended by Aniwoman. Detective King, Chris' father, once dealt with him in Tuscon.
Possibilities: By using H.I.V.E., Marv Wolfman makes Blade Master an easy fit into the DCU, though he not to be confused with the Stormwatch character of the same name (which has yet to appear in the New52 anyway, correct?). If H.I.V.E. ever becomes a player again, it could make use of Blade Master, though he seems to have been a free agent anyway.
Integration Quotient: 90% (already in the DCU through that connection, it's just a matter of contracting him for another hit)

So... Heck or Infantino? Who would you want to draw your heroes and villains? (Don't be shy, you can even propose your dream artist regardless of whether or not he or she ever worked on Dial H.)

4 comments:

Unknown said...

Wow, your mind immediately went to Sterling Silversmith, too? Crazy.

Aniwoman strikes me as the most interesting of these. "Animating inanimate objects" is a really underrated power that you don't see very often.

Siskoid said...

I agree. And she uses it in a variety of clever ways over the course of the story (rare in these Dial Hs).

As for Sterling Silversmith, what can I say? I was raised on Who's Who.

Delta said...

I'm reading the Cardinal character not as the bird, but as in "cardinal direction" -- being able to apply force and apparently change things direction at will, etc.

Siskoid said...

That makes a lot of sense! She does have a red bird on her chest though, so maybe it's a lot of everything.

 

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