The Weekly Pull (3/6/13) – DIAL H #10

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Because of the machinations of Agent Centipede, Nelson Jent faces faces off against the Canadian government’s dialed soldier. But DIAL H #10 proves that not all dials were created equal. What is the secret behind Canada’s inability to properly dial? What does Centipede want to prove by his independent actions? And how can Nelson keep hold of his personal identity when he becomes so many different heroes?

So Nelson Jent and Manteau have tracked an additional dial across the world, desperately needing one after Manteau’s old one got destroyed. On Nelson’s turn, he uses the stealthy powers of The Glimpse to sneak into a Canadian secret base, aiming to swipe their dial. But Centipede, the super fast Canadian spy, had his own questions about how the dials work, and decided to force a confrontation. He coerced the soldier assigned to the dial to prepare for battle against the Glimpse. When he did, he came up Bristol Bloodhound, a dog man with a nuke on his back and the ability to sniff out the Glimpse even if he can’t see him!

I suddenly realized that I completely forgot why I loved this series so much. The strange and varied heroes!

Anyway, the two prepare to engage in battle when…the Bristol Bloodhound starts taking orders from the Glimpse. As if it were the most natural thing in the world. It’s immediately after (once Nelson captures the soldier and swipes his dial) that we finally learn what the deal is with the Canadian dial.

I’m going to reference Genius the Transgression again. Don’t worry, I’m not going to make a habit of it. And sit tight, because I want to lead you through the thought process. It’s going to pay off. Trust me.

Genius the Transgression, for those who don’t know, is a fan supplement to the New World of Darkness, centering around mad scientists. It’s awesome, go download the free source book. Of note in this case is the concept of Beholden, mortals so enamored by the inventions and dominating ego of a genius that they bond to them as loyal thralls. They have their own wills and morality, but have no capacity to maintain a world view outside the one given to them by their masters.

If the concept is nebulous, know that the common nickname for a beholden is an Igor.

I bring this strange, meta-fictional, and slightly disturbing concept up for two reasons: 1) because Genius the Transgression is amazing and deserves to be checked out, and 2) because the idea of a beholden in many ways run parallel to what we’re shown in DIAL H as of now. Because the dial Nelson and Manteau recovered can’t dial for a hero.

It dials for a sidekick.

This concept blew my damn mind – not the least because it allowed me to shamelessly plug Genius – because DIAL H as a whole has always been about a deconstruction and reconsidering of basic superhero tropes. Sidekick dials exist as lesser devices that naturally cause users to defer to the authority of a hero dialer. The way the book explains this concept is better than I ever could, but suffice to say it’s device that makes a person into a beholden temporarily to a regular dial user.

There’s also some stuff about Centipede meeting with a priest of dial worship, but by this point I’m already resold on this series. DIAL H #10 just reignited my love for the series. Seriously, why aren’t you reading it yet?

And while you’re at it, go download Genius the Transgression! It’s free, and it has mad science!

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