"Tekel Upharsin": Open-Window Man has taken the Dial Bunch to another dimension populated by living graffiti. Unfortunately, he arrived too late - as he always does - to prevent a young boy from being orphaned by crime. When he discovers that the boy can see him,
- Careful... Feels weird... Don't fall on your ass... Damnit, my thoughts are legible. Think mysteriously...
Appearing in "Tekel Upharsin"
- The Fixer (Flashback only)
- Centipede (Flashback only)
- Boy Chimney (Dies in flashback)
- Graffiti World
Synopsis for "Tekel Upharsin"
Open-Window Man has taken the Dial Bunch to another dimension populated by living graffiti. Unfortunately, he arrived too late - as he always does - to prevent a young boy from being orphaned by crime. When he discovers that the boy can see him, he decides it's best to do what he can to prepare the boy for his future of heroism.
Nelson Jent and Roxie Hodder are also preparing, as Nelson needs to be trained to keep a handle on his identity while under the influence of the H-Dial. Roxie is searching this graffiti world for something in particular: a J-Dial. This world's hero, Captain Random, was killed by the Fixer, and had her dial stolen. However, she managed to grab the J-Dial from him. This device allows the dialler to jump between worlds, and the loss of it has forced the Fixer to travel between dimensions by complicated back-ways.
If Roxie and Bansa can find this J-Dial and fix it, they might be able to jump to the Fixer's home base. Unfortunately, even if they find it, the problem is how they can get it, when it's merely graffiti on a wall. The Dial Bunch has been fighting the Fixer for years, but it's too strong to kill. While they thought they had got rid of it recently, the fact that they sent the Centipede with it is problematic. Bansa has been able to track the Fixer's movements for some time, but since they disposed of it, he has lost the trail. Something must be brewing.
Open-Window Man explains all this to the boy, while his friends struggle to find a way to get into the graffiti world, or get it out. The boy asks why the Fixer is after dials, and where they come from. Open-Window Man explains that the fixer wants to shut all of the dials off, and that they came from a war; the creations of a lost operator. They have been travelling by whatever routes they can find to more dials or the Fixer itself. On their way to this world, they passed through another that was ravaged by the Fixer and the Centipede. These two will stop at nothing to get all the dials.
The Dial Bunch is comprised of numerous members, all touched by the Dials. Yaaba had found an H-Dial on Earth. Nem found a G-Dial which conjured gear. Ejad found a dial-tapper, which can copy any H-Dial in range. Dwan found an auto-dialer that was so jammed that he is now in a state of constant flux between identities. Unbled was a demon, who found a dial in Hell that was so broken that it could only dial half-ruined heroes. Open-Window Man himself is not a dialler. He was recruited by Bansa after his partner Boy Chimney was killed when his powers disappeared. Bansa had come to confess. She had learned that her dial stole powers instead of merely copying them. For all she knew, she could have been responsible for numerous heroes' deaths.
However, that is not the only tragedy in Open-Window Man's life. He was once Jed Oliver, and his parents were taken from him as a boy by a petty crime. After years of intensive study and training, he took on the identity of Open-Window Man, in order to fight for justice. This world is uncomfortable for him, because it has no windows - at least not in the conventional sense. The boy reminds him that while there are no windows as he is used to them there are graffiti windows. This brings Open-Window Man to a realization.
He approaches Nem, and asks him to dial up a particular conveyance, settling on a bus. He then crawls into one of its windows, and, to everyone's surprise, he ends up leaping out through a window in the graffiti world. He meets with the few heroes who remain in that world, and they gladly give up the J-Dial in the hopes that he can use it to avenge Captain Random.
After returning to his companions, Open-Window Man offers his young friend a parting gift. While the boy slept, he drew an entire super-hero hideout underneath his house, so that he could fulfill his own destiny. Though he is excited, the boy explains that he can't accept it. It doesn't belong there. Uncomfortably, Open-Window Man admits that it is time for him to leave, and before he and the others use the J-Dial to find the Fixer's home, he wipes the cave he drew off of the wall, and says goodbye to his young friend, who vows to make his city better - his way.
- This book was first published on June 5, 2013.
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