Dial M for Metropolis

So many heroes last issue, they just had to do a one-off where we look at a few of them before their hour is up. While artist Sam Humphries has been very good at aping other styles, here each hero actually does get his or her own guest artist: Joe Quinones & Colleen Doran, Michael Avon Oeming, Erica Henderson, and Stacey Lee all pitch in.

Case 107:
Dial H for Hero #7
Dial Holders: Tony Altman, Tara Shmura, Lucy, Gretchen, Fiona
Dial Type: Red Dial
Dialing: When you get a call from the Red Dial, the number appears as (555) 555-5555. The message that makes any phone into an H-Dial can be used several times, if by different people within the time allotted. In some cases, when family members both dial, their new identities may come from the same heroic/villainous tradition/culture. If an animal is skilled enough to dial H-E-R-O, that animal can be turned into a hero (not necessarily an animal one, though its mind falls something short of human).
Name: Sir Prize (we never find out what the surprise is - unless it's his finding out his boyfriend is cheating on him!)
Costume: An armor in gold tones with red gloves, boots and cape. The latter is clasped with rounded triangles. Leathery straps flap like a loincloth, and around the shoulders. The breastplate looks like those straps have been overlayed at an angle, and does not cover his sides. His helmet has a red gemstone at the forehead, and a tall yellow feather at the top. He sports neatly trimmed facial hair, and a long black mane.
Powers: He can fly, but otherwise, his abilities are unknown. I would like to imagine surprising things happen to him, especially socially. Some surprises are bad (cheating boyfriend), some are good (sudden invitation to join a team). Is that a power?
Sighted: In Metropolis, flying and having fun, eventually joining a group to chill with, City of Heroes-style.
Possibilities: Since Sir Prize looks like an idealized version of Tony, I like to think they're one and the same, and that the shlubby secret identity is what he must go back to when he returns to civilian life. From that, we can imagine powers conferred by some Arthurian ancestor, and a private life that seems fit for the Young Heroes in Love.
Integration Quotient: 50% (it's just that no one's done anything with the YAiL for the longest time, and we're missing key pieces, like his actual powers, to really get invested)
Name: Phantasma (a strong mystical name)
Costume: A blood red one-piece with black arms and legs starting mid-forearm/thigh, with a hooded red cape attached by a skull pin. Phantasma has blue skin.
Powers: She glides on the air leaving black smoke behind her, unerringly drawn to wrong-doers. Smoke-like, she can slip into tight spaces like ventilation ducts, and manifest as a fearsome giant, forcing her prey to stare into the Abyss, i.e. the darkness in the human soul. This allows her to turture people with illusions that represent their guilt. She can also "return" a person's heart, making them compassionate and remorseful, so much that they will do anything to redeem themselves.
Sighted: In Metropolis, making LexCorp Insurance executives pay for all hospital care across the city, no questions asked.
Possibilities: Again, a character that is informed by the human identity. When she dials, Tara is terminally ill, in a hospital bed, and presumably crushed by debt. A kind of Spectre figure, I certainly think there's a place for her righting the kinds of wrongs the Spectre doesn't normally deal with. He can do violent crime, and Phantasma can be more of social justice spirit, going after politicians, corporations, polluters, etc. I'd read the heck of that, if it could go beyond the satisfyingly horrific vignettes. Maybe she's drawn back to her ailing body each day, and feels like her mission must be accomplished as quickly as possible before she succumbs. That might put a ticking clock on a mini-series. Perhaps it's a mantle that passes from one wronged person to another, if we want to write more stories.
Integration Quotient: 75% (the world needs her, but she can also seem one-note)
Name: Lucy, the Monster Hunter (not really trying)
Costume: Like something out of a Hindu painting, Lucy has six arms, each bearing a different weapon (knives mostly, but also a curvy trident and brass knuckles). She wears an orange sarong over a white blouse with puffy sleeves. The collar is black, the line of which goes down the middle of the chest and opens into a leaf pattern that covers the left breast. Under the jacket are black bike shorts, and white stockings over her legs. Her belt is a metal cobra, lifting its head. She wears large traditional earrings, has blue skin, jet black hair, and has a vertical yellow eye on her forehead.
Powers: Great fighting prowess, and six armed arms to make her even more formidable.
Sighted: In Metropolis, drinking at Bibbo's bar, refusing to help a woman out of a crashed car (and later ignoring Supermiguel's inspirational call), fighting a couple of monsters, including her demonic Aunt Rita. She is apparently killed by the latter.
Possibilities: It seems Lucy's aunt poisoned her mother, and now she's all about revenge. As a recurring superhuman character, we might imagine she would be a kind of Punisher for the monster set, going after corrupted/possessed people who do horrendous things. The strong cultural look might make her an international hero, though there's no reason she couldn't be an American resident, especially with a name like Lucy.
Integration Quotient: 40% (feels like she's in her own world, not the DCU, but it's easy to write her story)
Name: Guardian Angel (wasn't there such a character in the Golden Age?)
Costume: A cute anime girl with silver air, purplish skin, a crown that creates two cosmic loops over her head, a pink and gold number with epaulets and other regalia, a silver skirt, buttoned boots, transparent sleeves, a belt with an "H" buckle to the left side, and long pink ribbons  acting as a cape and a loincloth.
Powers: Telekinesis which manifests as force bubbles. She can use it to fly, stop traffic, and softly carry people through the air. She cannot, however, speak.
Sighted: In Metropolis doing good works for no reward, such as replacing the Daily Planet globe on its building, stopping a bus to let ducks cross the road, saving a baby from a runaway carriage, and... putting a squirrel in its mouth?!
Possibilities: This is Gretchen, a Saint-Bernard service dog, which explains some of the odd behavior. Do we keep this? A dog that turns into a Sailor Moon type princess? How very manga. The style is kind of a deal breaker anyway for the DCU, so why not go all in? A space princess is forced into exile as a dog. Because of whatever trigger, she can be Guardian Angel for a short time each day. It's crazy secret identity shenanigans, probably with someone like the next character on this list fawning over her as if she were Tuxedo Mask. But does it fit in the DC Universe?
Integration Quotient: 10% (no, it doesn't, sadly)
Name: Futuristic Detective Flamingo (I read Euristic at first, which made more sense to me, as is, a crazy translation for a manga name)
Costume: A diminutive anime girl with pink hair, dressed in a noir detective's outfit (or Doctor Who cosplay). The vest under her big trenchcoat is blue with an undone red bow tie. There's a size leaflet in her hat band. And she wears a distinctive monocle. She carries a gold magnifying glass with pink wings on it.
Powers: Flamingo can fly (potentially because of the magnifying glass, which also gives her a measure of super-senses), but her main ability is being the best detective on Earth, deducing things on an almost intuitive level.
Sighted: In Metropolis, tracking Guardian Angel to discover how a hero can be so pure.
Possibilities: Again, too manga to fit the DCU, especially with that art style, and DC would never let anyone be competition for Batman. But what if her stories are set in another city and they never meet? Maybe. Does her name suggest she's from a future time anyway? And what if she's drawn more naturalistically? I'm not sure she's as interesting if she is.
Integration Quotient: 5% (even less than Guardian Angel, I'm afraid)

Next: A wrong number!


Anonymous said...

There was a Golden Age character called simply "The Angel" at Timely comics, but I don't know of any GA "Guardian Angel". There is one in the PS238 webcomic, however, a young girl with a powerful guardian spirit of some sort that was so overprotective that when she briefly lost her powers, she nearly died of a common cold -- having life-long protection from germs before that point, she had virtually no immune system, and worse, once her powers kicked back in, the spirit wouldn't allow medical personnel to hook her up to an IV, or inject antibiotics.

Siskoid said...

Yes, you're right (he was in Marvel Comics #1), but Hop Harrigan had a short-lived superhero identity called the Guardian Angel and I'd researched that within the last year. Probably where my mind went.


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