Thursday, June 10, 2010

The majesty of Diamondhead

I love Paul Tobin’s still freshly-re-launched Marvel Adventures Super Heroes for a litany of reasons, but certainly not small among them is the fact that he chose to place Nova on one of the neatest Avengers line-ups in recent memory/possibly ever (the other folks on the team are Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, The Invisible Woman, The Vision and Black Widow).

However, not only does Tobin clearly have an affection for The Human Rocket, as he demonstrated in the currently-on-sale issue #3—the one with Captain America adorning a gorgeous cover by Clayton Henry—he digs on his kooky rogues gallery as well!

In said issue, the pairing of Vision and the Widow are out getting lunch and trying to pick out a civilian name for Vizh—everybody but Nova thinks “Victor Shade” is too dark—when a reformed counterfeit artist approaches them seeking help getting her out of an extortion scam perpetrated by The Owl and his partner, none other than the devious Diamondhead! Of course once Nova gets wind of what’s going on, he charges the scene being all “He’s one of mine!” (he does actually say a close approximation of that) and the battle is on.

It’s a neat little in a series that is packed with them—Tobin is so good at balancing civilian life with action in stories that don’t just appeal to kids but are great for adults—but I love the fact that Diamondhead, in all his weirdness, has become something of a “go-to” villain for writers using Nova in their stories.

Now granted all of Nova’s personal villains are fairly eccentric, as I wrote a little while back, but Diamondhead has a special place in my heart. I’d love to hear his secret origin some time, but my guess is really that Marv Wolfman came up with a cool name, told Sal Buscema, and he did a wonderfully on-the-nose design of a guy who quite literally had a diamond for a head.

There’s really not a lot to Diamondhead other than that his real name is Arch Dyker (awesome) and he was a member of the fearsome Terrible Trio (no, not the Batman villains) alongside Condor and Powerhouse. Far as I know, the guy never got an origin, he’s just a dude made out of diamond who is really strong and indestructible (though he constantly gets shattered and then has to regenerate).

In many ways, Diamondhead has served as more of a litmus test for Nova’s evolving power level through the years than anything else. Back when he first appeared, he gave the inexperienced Rich Rider fits. When he came back during Fabian Nicieza’s 90’s series, he still posed a challenge, but not nearly as much. In his most recent main Marvel Universe appearance in the Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning Nova series, he literally waited outside of Nova’s house after the New Warriors’ secret identities were revealed in Civil War—which is just tremendous—and got his ass handed to him by post-Annihilation Rich.

So yeah, Diamondhead is never going to be the next Joker—though that would be amazing—but good on him for having a neat enough look and hook that it’s pretty rest assured whenever Nova shows up somewhere, he won’t be far behind for his token every-decade-or-so appearance.

Now back to my pitch for a team book starring Diamondhead, Diamondback and Blue Diamond called Diamonds in the Rough…

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