"What's the 411?": Nelson Jent is out of shape and out of luck. He lost his job, his woman left him, and now he finds it difficult to take seriously any of his friend Darren's warnings about his health. He should though, given that he recently suffered a heart-attac
- How do you guess a phone number? Come on. Random ain't getting me nowhere, neither's 911. What about the letters?
Synopsis for "What's the 411?"
Nelson Jent is out of shape and out of luck. He lost his job, his woman left him, and now he finds it difficult to take seriously any of his friend Darren's warnings about his health. He should though, given that he recently suffered a heart-attack. Disappointed with Nelse's lack of motivation, Darren leaves, warning that while Nelson might not be killing himself, watching him throw his life away is killing him. Trying to cover his hurt, Nelson shouts back some things he would soon come to regret.
Feeling the need to apologize, Nelson runs down the alley to catch up with Darren, only to find that his friend is under attack by a gang of thugs. Huffing and wheezing, Nelson can't do much to stop the thugs from beating and kicking his friend. Having forgotten his cellphone, Nelson struggles into a nearby phone booth, and starts dialing numbers at random.
Suddenly, there is a burst of light, and Nelson is gone. In his place stands a tall, unusually garbed man, shrouded in smoke. This is Boy Chimney, a hero whose thoughts are as cohesive as puffs of smoke. Nelson is still conscious, as if inhabiting the body of this strange man. As if urged on by Nelson's desire to protect Darren, Boy Chimney uses clouds of smoke to confuse and incapacitate the thugs. Through Boy Chimney, Nelson can sense every smoking chimney in Littleville, and what lies nearby. He scoops up his unconscious friend and begins to leave the alley. Nelson, however, is not a killer, and acquiescing to Nelson's desires, Boy Chimney allows the thugs to breathe clean air again. After dropping Darren off in front of the hospital, Nelson feels the Boy Chimney disappearing. He collapses, wheezing, on the roof of a nearby building. It is hours before he comes to again.
Elsewhere, a man reports back to his superior about how his thugs were beaten by a weird super-hero. He begs to have more protection sent, as these kinds of encounters go above and beyond what he was hired for.
Nelson visits Darren in the hospital, where his friend explains that he got in over his head with some drug dealers. He warns Nelson to stay out of it, but he gives him the name Vernon Boyne - the man who runs him. Outside Darren's room, Nelson runs into Dr. Wald, a psychiatrist who has been assigned to Darren, given the weird things he described about how he got there. Nelson tries to plead ignorance, despite knowing that whatever Darren said was probably true.
Hoping to help get his friend off the hook with Vernon Boyne, Nelson returns to the phone booth from the night before. Unfortunately, he can't figure out which numbers he needs to dial in order to bring the Boy Chimney back. He begins simply dialing numbers based on the words he's thinking. Idly, he dials "IFSO" - 4376, and the flash of light comes again.
This time, it is not Boy Chimney who appears, but Captain Lachrymose. This hero seems to be fuelled by sadness. As he approaches Vernon Boyne's office, the guards posted around are suddenly overcome by depressing thoughts, and he is allowed to pass without interference. Even as Boyne pulls a gun, Captain Lachrymose reminds him of his seventh birthday, when he had been given a present that wasn't what he'd wanted. The thought sends Boynes into such a depression that he collapses in tears. However, an elderly woman - apparently Boyne's mother - who spews a black fluid at the Captain. Fortunately, the accumulated sadness has given him enough strength to knock her off her feet. Before leaving, he warns Boyne to leave Darren Hirsch alone.
Through his tears, Boyne calls up his superior and explains how he was attacked by another weird hero. Apparently, the old woman was sent as protection against heroes. The man in the shadows warns that when dealing with threats, the answer is always the same - they will kill Darren Hirsch, and see if the mystery man gets the message.
Nelson returns to the alley and the phone booth, wondering what he did to make it work again. Staring at the dial, he realizes that while 4376 corresponds to IFSO, it also corresponds to another word: HERO.
Appearing in "What's the 411?"
- Nelson Jent (First appearance)
- Boy Chimney
- Captain Lachrymose
- Darren Hirsch (First appearance)
- Vernon Boyne (First appearance)
- Ex Nihilo (First appearance)
- Pandora (Cameo)
- * Pandora makes a brief cameo appearance to witness the events of this story, as she does all #1 issues published as part the first wave, and most of the second wave of The New 52. She can be seen as part of Boy Chimney's vision of Littleville.