Dial H for Hero Cruz

Superboy and the Ravers banked on the popularity of Superman's young clone by giving him a secondary team book. The premise was a little crazy, but I think, fun. Superboy gets wind of a never-ending party in an interdimensional night club called the Event Horizon. Making his way there, he gets a glowing mark on the back of his hand that allows him to pop in and out of this "rave", and other young heroes from across the universe aggregate around him as the "Ravers". Among these, Hero Cruz, who originally had a force field vest, but soon got his hands on an altogether more interesting piece of tech, i.e. an H Dial! Specifically Vicki's, in issue #5 taken from the Scavenger' hoard. The aptly named Hero would use it until the end of the series.

Case 61: Superboy and the Ravers #5-6 and 8
Dial Holder: Hero Cruz
Dial Type: Pendant Dial
Dialing: Vicki's Dial is part of the Scavenger's treasure hoard; we are not told how it got there. When he hears the Ravers call Hero by his first name, the Scavenger thinks there's a connection to the Dial and fears it's someone who has come specifically to get it back (which is what draws Hero to it, ironically). Scavenger believes Hero's ability to even use the Dial is a sign that it is rightfully his. So he couldn't himself use it? This has never been a problem for villains before. But remember, Vicki (and the Children of the Sun?) modified it in some way. In fact, here Hero is able to redial while he's one superhero, right into another! In one instance, Hero becomes someone the Scavenger recognizes of old (Human Justice) and has a history with; he also seems to take on that person's memories of those events. Indeed, Hero's dialect seems to change with every superheroic identity; gaining something of their alter ego's personality, and not just their appearance (something Chris had to fake). One identity even denies being Hero, and must be reminded of the Dial, at which he says "I have had my time. Others are waiting." Similarly, one of the identities is able to return Sparx's romantic feelings and kisses her, though Hero himself (as will eventually be revealed) is gay. Just as Chris and Vicki were usually white heroes, Hero only seems to become black characters. In Hero's possession, the Dial usually becomes a belt buckle often incorporated into the identities' costumes.
Name: Badaxe (it's almost absurd that there isn't a 90s superhero with that name)
Costume: A huge, muscled black man in black leather and jeans, the former straining over his bulk. He has a gold, studded belt with a big circular buckle, laced-up boots, fingerless gloves, spiked thigh straps, shades, a beard and a ponytail at the back of a bald skull. Badass indeed.
Powers: In addition to great strength commensurate with his body's physical perfection, he wields the Vibro-Axe, a melee weapon that appears solid, but can be dissipated into energy, and can cut through anything. Possibly, it is made up of vibrating molecules?
Sighted: In the Scavenger's lair, fighting a robot partly constructed from one of Steel's battlesuits.
Possibilities: Very 90s indeed. There's no reason this character couldn't have had his own series during that era, an easy blend of 70s blaxploitation and 90s EXTREME!!! And he might even still work today if those various brands of nostalgia are played with, tongue firmly in cheek.
Integration Quotient: 100% (it's obvious, really)
Name: Human Justice (if divine, why is it called Human?)
Costume: A Greek toga with a white veil that completely hides the head, crowned with laurels. Golden bracers, a golden belt held with laces, and sandals with long straps completes the look.
Powers: Human Justice is "he who sits at the left hand of Zeus", whatever that means. He appears as a levitating figure, and his special speech bubbles seem to imply a resonating divine voice. Perhaps he has the powers most associated with the Greek gods as seen in Wonder Woman? General magic?
Sighted: In the Scavenger's lair, convincing the villain to let the Ravers go. The Scavenger seems to think his offerings have been accepted for this figure to appear, and reveals a connection to Greek myth by mentioning his role as one of the Argonauts, punished by the Greek gods (perhaps through the intervention of "Human Justice"?).
Possibilities: It seems like this character was already part of the DCU before Hero took on his identity. A messenger of the gods? It might be interesting to see a sort of Justice League of the Ancient World where he stands shoulder to shoulder with Hercules and others, perhaps as an analog of the Spectre.
Integration Quotient: 90% (if only they were telling tales set in the far past)
Name: Stormfront (another 90s name, I was sure it was an Image book or something)
Costume: Like a buffer version of Static, Stormfront wears different shades of blue with a yellow stylized lightning bolt "S" on his chest. He gloves and boots go past the joints. His belt is made of silver. His cape is made up of several slats of material. And his open-faced mask (à la Gambit) reveals glowing eyes and long dreads. He speaks like a Norse god we know.
Powers: Flight is all we see, but presumably, he controls the weather and/or slings lightning around. He quickly heals from getting hit by an energy discharge.
Sighted: On the planet Vasden, getting in the way of a civil war.
Possibilities: A Thor analog from a completely different mythos, whether spoof or sincere, he could play a similar role in the DCU, though only as a Marvel guest-star with the numbers filed off. Connecting him to Static might be interesting, perhaps as a godling who learns to pass for human by studying the young hero and immediately causing problems for him as an unwanted mentor treating him like a sidekick.
Integration Quotient: 30% (too derivative, but that Static story has promise)
Name: Titanic (does he get that sinking feeling?)
Costume: Very tall and buff, he wears a forest green and black costume (the lighting makes that unclear above), with a blade-like "T" on the chest. While he has spiky studs on the trim of his boots and gloves, the shoulder pads show the worst of that style. He wears no mask and has long lustrous hair. It's ugly in a 90s kind of way.
Powers: Titanic is essentially a "brick", super-strong and tough.
Sighted: At Warriors Bar, getting in thanks to his apparent age, the fighting Loop-Hole and making out with Sparx.
Possibilities: He really looks like would be on an Image team. So at DC, a one-shot bruiser in a one-shot parody of an Image team, and little more. The story would have him fight a proper team (in the Marvel way) and get hit by ice (or Ice, let's make this a JLI story) and go down.
Integration Quotient: 15% (this is what I call dated)

Next: Hero continues to play hero.


American Hawkman said...

Stormfront bears a slight resemblance to Stormguard from the Justice League Futures End, which I find interesting.

Anonymous said...

Badaxe's Vibro-Axe sounds a lot like the Atomic Axe wielded by the Fatal Five's Persuader.


Green Luthor said...

Stormfront is... an unfortunate name. You might not have heard of it (lord knows I wish I hadn't), but it's also the name of one of the biggest white supremacist sites on the Internet.

Yeah. As I said, unfortunate.

(The odds are good that no one involved in making the comic was aware of the site; the issue came in out in November 1996, and the site went live on the web (after being a BBS before that) the same year, and the web wasn't really as much of a thing at the time. So it's safe to conclude it's a coincidence, but... yikes. Suffice it to say, he'd need a new name, unless DC is really, REALLY tone deaf to these things.) (Then again, they did allow a Green Lantern story to be titled "Triumph of the Will" and the third Dark Knight Returns series to be called "The Master Race", so... one never knows.)

Siskoid said...

No way the writers knew this, or else they wouldn't have saddled a black, gay character with the name. Nazis ruin everything. #understatements

Tony Laplume said...

This was one of my favorite series that decade. Shamefully overlooked, not “cool” enough for the cool-obsessed ‘90s...

Anonymous said...

Kind of like KT Tunstall's song "Invisible Empire". She's Scottish so I'm certain she didn't know.


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