Hero Hotline #2 (1989)
Hero Hotline #2 (May, 1989)
Writer & Colorist – Bob Rozakis
Artist – Stephen DeStefano
Inker – Kurt Schaffenberger
Letter – John Costanza
Editor – Brian Augustyn
Cover Price: $1.75
So impressed was I with the Hero Hotline, I decided to check in on their next issue. It’s funny when you have books in your collection for years and years… just sitting there, unread. Just acting like collection fodder… or collection flavor, I suppose. This is just another one of those reasons I started blogging. It gave me a productive excuse (which, perhaps I needed) to dive head-first into my boxes.
An unexpected bonus… I’m actually remembering a lot more of what I read… which, before now, I never realized was a problem. I often think about books I like, or dislike… and I cannot put into words why I feel that way… or even remember parts of the stories that made me feel that way. Suppose that’s just one of the disadvantages to trying to think about a million things at once… yeah, that’s what I’ll go with. Makes me sound smarter than I am!
Now, let’s try not to become too transfixed on Mister Muscle’s perky bottom on the cover (you just looked, didn’t you?), and see what lurks inside!
Note: If you need to catch up, check out my Review/Discussion of Hero Hotline #1 here.
It is the next day at the Hero Hotline, and our young friend Hot Shot is being escorted in by his dear mother. She is upset that her son has been put on the night shift. Why, a superhero could get hurt working at night, don’tcha know? The Coordinator reminds her that her little boy is both legally an adult and contractually obligated to work whatever shift the Hotline requires.
My main man, Voice-Over is reconnoitering with his buddy Invisible Fred over his Martian stakeout the night before. Fred unfortunately has some bad news… it turns out he fell asleep (or, ya know… doesn’t exist, and is just V-O throwing his voice…) and missed the entire thing. This morning, the old woman under his protection had vanished. Voice-Over is ordered by the Coordinator to find her.
We observe Diamondette studying for an Anatomy exam. A piece of her background I neglected to include in my previous review is that Diamondette is a Med-School student. As she studies, a report of a school bus hijacking is reported on the television news. It turns out Microwavabelle’s three children just so happen to be on board. ‘Belle is chomping at the bit to get to the scene, however, is told not to interfere by the Coordinator. He feels the appearance of superheroes may cause the situation to escalate.
Voice-Over and Fred arrive at the old woman’s house to check for clues. Everything seems normal… boring, even… until, under an easy chair cushion V-O finds an alien ray gun!
Back at the bus, the hijackers begin making their demands. Diamondette and SOOZ do their best to comfort Microwavabelle. A call comes through for Stretch, it’s his favorite (read: absolute least favorite) kind of call… a cat stuck in a tree. The guy with the stretchy powers always gets stuck pulling kitties outta trees. He phones his daughter, Eloise and tries to postpone their lunch plans as SOOZ pushes him out the door.
The abusive husband (who we now know as Mr. Bartoli) from the previous issue arrives at HQ. He is both bandaged and lawyered up. Bartoli’s lawyer, Mr. Schuster announces that they will be pressing charges against Mister Muscle and the Hero Hotline for damages. Upon hearing this, Mister Muscle does what any defendant would do… oils up!
Stretch arrives at the scene of the missing cat. It turns out this cat chose to get stuck in a tree… on a block absolutely jammed full of trees. What’s worse, the Tubby (from Little Lulu) lookalike who called in the ticket hasn’t the foggiest idea which tree the kitty ran up. Stretch calls in to see if Private-Eyes can give an assist, P.I’s however is just about to head out on a trouble call himself… in search of a lost will. A call he will attend to as soon as he finishes examining Miss Boulder’s… er, upper respiratory system.
Microwave Mom can finally stands no more… she heads out to the site of the hijacking. When her absence is discovered, SOOZ assembles and orders the rest of the team to the school bus.
‘Belle has a brief standoff with the hijackers, who are now threatening physical violence to one of her own children. She ‘waves the knife he is brandishing, causing him to drop it. Even unarmed, he poses a threat. He cinches in a tight headlock on Microwave Mom’s daughter.
The team arrives and instantly makes their presence felt. Diamondette uses her diamond-strong hands and slices the bus open. Mister Muscle follows up by turning that slice into a large hole. The other hijacker threatens to detonate a grenade. Luckily, Private-Eyes is present to inform the team that the grenade she’s wielding is in fact, a fake.
In the confusion, Microwave Mom fires a ‘wave bolt into the first hijacker’s gut causing him to release her daughter. Mister Muscle crushes the fake grenade along with the hand that was holding it. Diamondette then slices the first hijacker’s gun in half. The police intervene and take control of the situation.
Back at the tree-lined road, Stretch is now calling his daughter to cancel lunch… and try to make dinner plans. Those plans would also fall through, as he continues seeking the cat into the night. Finally, Tubby realizes that his cat was asleep in a box the whole time. Stretch freaks out and runs off as… hey, a Little Lulu lookalike joins Tubby.
Private-Eyes finally arrives to the great will-search, and is led to a room almost packed to the ceiling with paper-filled boxes. Any small talk Private-Eyes attempts is brushed off by the couple. They are only interested in finding their Grandfather’s will. Finally, it is located… much to the couple’s chagrin, the Grandfather decided to leave them… his collection of important papers.
Microwavabelle and her children arrive back at Hero Hotline HQ. Moments later, Voice-Over (and Fred) enter the scene, alien ray gun in tow. Belle’s son instantly recognizes the “ray gun” as a Captain Zingaroo Space Blaster… a toy. Shocked, and embarrassed V-O (annnnd Fred) bolt out of the office to resume their search.
I’m still digging this. Hero Hotline has proved to be a ton more fun than I was expecting. In this part, we begin to flesh out some of the players. Much of the information which was relegated to the “character bios” that closed out in issue #1 are now being peppered into the narrative.
We see Microwavabelle as a mother to her actual children, and not her teammates. Her emotional outbursts throughout are just what one would expect from a mother whose children are in any sort of danger. At one point she reflects back to having lost her husband… that would certainly compound her feelings of dread and urgency in this situation.
We get a brief look into Hot Shot’s home life. He may technically be an adult, however, from even his small part in this issue, we can see that he is not quite equipped to be one. His mother still “babies” him, and it appears as though he treats this job as a 16-year old would treat an after school job at McDonald’s.
Diamondette is that person you would see when you were working a crappy part-time job. They would have their school books with them, and they wouldn’t ordinarily socialize with the group. They were the ones that wanted more for their lives than a menial entry-level gig, but knew they needed some way to support themselves while continuing their education. I’ve seen that person… hell, I currently am that person.
Stretch’s story is broadened a bit. We now know he has a daughter with whom he is having trouble connecting. We can tell that he wants this job at the Hotline to be more than what it is. He’s is sickened at the thought of being relegated to “cat rescue” guy… but, he performs to the best of his abilities… for one reason or another.
Upcoming plot threads are hinted at quite handily. The pending lawsuit from Mr. Bartoli is surely something that will be revisited. The wedding of Private-Eyes to Miss Boulder may also pan out in the remaining issues. We still haven’t seen the Coordinator yet, either. Will be present himself? Speaking of people we “haven’t seen”, we will have the continuing story of Fred and Voice-Over as they hunt for their client.
A lot of stuff to look forward to… and (without nit-picks) not a single complaint. I’m looking forward to seeing how this one plays out. Still recommended, definitely check this series out.!
|The first “prestige format” book I’d ever seen in a cheap-o bin.|
|To my knowledge this one wasn’t delayed for months and months…|
UPDATE 5/7/23 – “Remastered” for WordPress!
2 thoughts on “Hero Hotline #2 (1989)”
Very odd book. I hope the crapbox provides one. It comes off as parody and slapstick, which isn't bad but certainly an something DC hoped to find a payoff with. This would have been 2 years into Giffen's JL run and DC might have been trying to get lightening to strike twice.
Better that than any of the grim-gritty stuff that would follow.
Nice catch on the Tubby and Lulu. That's kind of awesome.
This is a lot like if Bob Rozakis was writing the JLI… I never thought of that. It's pretty soapy, has some silly… but can take a turn for the serious.
I knew that chubby boy's sailor suit had to mean something! I was (sadly) quite satisfied with my powers of perception when Lulu showed up!