Dial H for He's Back!

The Silver Age event brought back Robby Reed, basically at the tail end of his House of Mystery adventures (the Thunderbolt Gang is still causing trouble), and before whatever you think is his proper future (the Plastic Man appearance or the Wizard/Master stuff from the Chris & Vicki stories, or somehow both). Secret Files and Origins acts as a prequel to the Dial H for Hero special; both are covered in this article.

Case 68: Silver Age Secret Files #1 and Silver Age: Dial H For Hero #1
Dial Holder: Robby Reed / Suzy Shoemaker (who dialed once before in House of Mystery #169)
Dial Type: The Big Dial
Dialing: The Secret File on Robby confirms the 10 letters on the Dial as A-D-E-H-I-L-N-R-O-V; enough to spell HERO, VILLAIN amd HORROR, but not SPLIT (as per New Adventures of Superboy #49). Since that story happened at the very end of Robby's career, we will suggest he eventually finds an alt-key on the Dial to access other letters. Robby calls the alien (or extradimensional) letters "Interlac", and that he used the writing on an alien weapon Superman once disabled as a cipher. He says that the persona's name only "sometimes" pops into his head. Sometimes he can dial another identity immediately after the previous one, sometimes he has to wait; this is apparently as random as the identities themselves. Suzy reveals she feigned amnesia and wants to dial for hero again; when they both do, they become Silver Age heroes who, from their perspective, haven't been active yet - Supergirl (no doubt active, but still Superman's "secret weapon") and Tommy Tomorrow.
When Robby becomes a giant, the Dial remains its normal size, making it difficult to dial again. While it is rare for an identity to show up twice, this marks the first (possibly only) time one is dialed for the third time, and that identity is Radar-Sonar Man (House of Mystery #157 and 167).
Name: Twilight (no glittering vampires here, but DC owns a workable logo thanks to Howard Chaykin's space opera version of Watchmen)
Costume: Black and dark gray with a cowl and cape that might remind some of Marvel's Shroud. The black shoulders resolve into an upside down triangle struck through with gray lines. Otherwise very basic.
Powers: Twilight can project absolute darkness in various shapes and intensities. Its normal setting impairs vision, but he can also dissipate or redirect a laser beam (this seems to be based on particular shapes). He can also fly.
Sighted: In Littleville, subduing members of the Thunderbolt Gang.
Possibilities: Though he may want to trade on Batman's look, Twilight works best as a day time hero, and yet, doesn't have a power set with enough depth to work alone. He might be better suited to be a Dr. Mid-Nite or Shadow Lass to a contemporary team, like some iteration of the Teen Titans. Expanding his powers by taking a page from Marvel's Dark Dimension characters (Blackout, Darkstar, Cloak) might give him a shot as a dark, tortured and actually versatile hero, but not as is.
Integration Quotient: 50% (too generic for more, but there's potential there)
Name: Pyronic Man (that's... not what pyronic means)
Costume: A traditional superhero costume, except that where the color switches from mustard yellow to brown (the boots, mid-arm, torso) is defined by a flame pattern. On his chest, a big brown "P" in that same pattern. His hands and cowled head are ablaze with flame. He appears to have a fleshy face despite saying he is "a creature of living flame".
Powers: Flame projection. The flames can take on specific shapes, like a cage.
Sighted: At Fort Masterson, fighting what appears to be a JLA gone bad.
Possibilities: The one story I would write is a confrontation between him and the Cryonic Man. But as flame throwers are a dime a dozen, that novelty tale would probably be a one-off, and then again only tickle very specific fans of Batman and the Outsiders.
Integration Quotient: 15% (it's all a little ridiculous, and yet, generic as hell)
Name: The Giant (does not actually get a name, but that's as good as any)
Costume: Another very traditional costume, this time in dark gray and dark purple. His unmasked head features purple goggles and a Superman haircut.
Powers: He's a massive giant who can hold a tank in his hand (it's about the size of a large iPhone) with corresponding strength. Unlike similar heroes, he can't return to normal size (Robby has to dial out with using an object as a needle).
Sighted: At Fort Masterson, fighting what appears to be a JLA gone bad.
Possibilities: The twist is that this guy can't resume normal size. He's a giant at all times, and more or less crippled by fear of causing damage. I'd go weird with this one. A hero from a dimension that's slightly out of scale with ours, trapped here and forced to spend his time sitting in empty fields. The stories would be bird's eye view reflections intercut with kaiju battles.
Integration Quotient: 20% (face it, despite my brilliant idea, the Giant is neither workable nor interesting enough to merit the attention)
Name: Quadruplets (not necessarily their name, but works fine)
Costume: Mostly white with purple gloves, belt and Roman numerals on chest and, bisecting a circle, forehead, these are again traditional spandex costumes.
Powers: This team of four heroes share the same mind. They do not otherwise have powers, nor do we get a chance to see how that ability can be used to coordinate their efforts.
Sighted: At Fort Masterson, fighting what appears to be a JLA gone bad.
Possibilities: While they could easily work as actual mutant quadruplets who share a hive mind, more gonzo ideas are evoked. Like having a guy break the dimensional barrier, meet his other selves and connecting with them mentally by accident. The number scheme on their shirts means they're not Multiplex or Maddrox wannabes, but other takes away from the possibility of confusing enemies. If each of the IV have different skill sets though, it could be interesting.
Integration Quotient: 55% (interesting possibilities, but a bit of a muddle with what little we're shown)

Next: What happens when a superhero dials up another?

2 comments:

snell said...

Other words that can be dialed:
ANVIL
HIDE
LOVE (!)
HEAL
VADER (!!!)
RADAR
DINNER
Man, I would love a Dial D For Dinner series...

Siskoid said...

Coming this Fall on the Food Network.

 

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