The record heat we’ve been experiencing here in the Valley reminds me of that memorable line from the Sling Blade movie, when Billy Bob Thornton’s character of Karl says, “Some folks call it Hell, I call it Hades.” No truer words have ever been spoken; and the delusional state that is brought on by 110+ degree heat got me to thinking, “What superhero, or super-villain for that matter, would ever consider calling our regional hades-scape their home?”
Of course there is the obvious, Dust Devil (Dustros), the local Arizonaut demon-child created by Russ Kazmierczak for Amazing Arizona Comics. Dustros was sent to Earth from Hades, so he feels right at home here in the Valley and in fact has made Arizona his state of permanent residence, helping our infamous Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to fight crime and evil temptations.
But what other overheated heroes would make a good fit here in the Valley of the Sun? Here’s a list of the top 10 sweltering super-beings that could easily make the Phoenix area their home.
#10 Pyro (St. John Allerdyce) – Pyro is an Australian mutant who is typically an enemy of the X-Men and he has been a member of both the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and the Hellfire Club. He has the ability to mentally manipulate flames, but he cannot generate the flames himself. To do that he wears a flame-throwing device and a special insulated suit to prevent burns from flames he does not directly control. He could make a fortune marketing those suits here in the Valley.
#9 Molten Man (Mark Raxton) – Raxton is a Spider-Man villain (and sometimes good-guy) and his body is covered in a metal alloy that he obtained from a meteor. Due to radiation the metal substance causes his body to emit intense heat, sometimes to the point that his body disintegrates and consumes itself. Kind of like that chocolate bar you accidentally forgot and left in your car seat.
#8 Firestorm (Ronnie Raymond/ Martin Stein/ Mikhail Arkadin/Jason Rusch) – Firestorm was created when Ronnie Raymond and Martin Stein were fused into the one hero after being caught in a nuclear explosion. The character has since fused with additional entities and has the ability to absorb unlimited amounts of radiation and shoot fusion energy blasts from his hands while being nearly invulnerable. Unlimited radiation absorption will be particularly handy if Ronnie decides to spend an afternoon at Sunsplash.
#7 Sunfire (Shiro Yoshida) – Sunfire is a Japanese mutant and was a member of the X-Men for a short time. Not only does he absorb solar energy, he can transmit it right back at you in the form of heat-blasts, radiation, flames or as a concussive force. Sunfire also has an overheated temper that he unleashes with little provocation. He’ll fit right in with the valley drivers on the summer afternoon commute.
#6 Firelord (Pyreus Kril) – Pyreus Kril is from planet Xandar and was a normal man until he was turned into a cosmic-flame-baton wielding herald of Galactus. He has flaming hair and the power to shoot cosmic flames from his eyes and his staff. He can also travel at the speed of light – and this ability will come in extra handy when traversing from indoors to his air-conditioned car.
#5 Son of Satan (Daimon Hellstrom) – Daimon Hellstrom is the literal Son of Satan and a mortal woman. He was trained by Lucifer, his father, but has clung to his humanity. He rides a fiery chariot drawn by demonic horses and has many magical powers, including the ability to project energy in the form of “hellfire” (also called “soulfire”) from his trident. I believe this feels something like the air that comes out of your car’s air-conditioner when you first activate it.
#4 Ghost Rider (John Blaze) – Johnny Blaze became the Ghost Rider when he was double-crossed by Satan and turned into a leather-clad flaming skeleton riding a motorcycle made of flames. He has superhuman strength and magical abilities that include manipulating hellfire. Although the leather makes him look really cool, I’d recommend shedding the jacket before hitting US-60 on the way home.
#3 Human Torch (Johnny Storm) – Johnny Storm is the brother of the Invisible Girl and the youngest member of the Fantastic Four. Cosmic rays gave him the ability to manipulate heat and flames, including enveloping his entire body in flame and being able to fly. He can turn his heat level up all the way to supernova – and I think that’s about the same temperature of the sidewalk when you run out to pick up that newspaper in your bare feet.
#2 Hellboy (Anung Un Rama) – Hellboy is a creature who was brought to Earth in a fireball summoned by the Nazis. He is not a devil, but has devil-like features; he is immune to all forms of fire and cannot be burned, in addition to having superhuman strength and healing abilities. This means he should be able to handle a steering wheel without using oven-mitts.
#1 Phoenix (Jean Grey) – Jean Grey started her super-life as Marvel Girl and became the Phoenix after absorbing fatal levels of cosmic radiation that, when mixed with her mutant telekinetic powers, gave her the ability to rearrange matter at a subatomic level. The Phoenix force allows Jean to create cosmic flames in the form of the hawkish-bird that is her namesake and she becomes one of the most powerful beings in the galaxy, so powerful she can even resurrect herself from death. Maybe she could rearrange the subatomic temperature levels of the valley to something more along the lines of San Diego.
PLEASE NOTE: Although I have included some super-villains on this list, I in no way endorse villainy of any kind (super or otherwise). This is merely a list of super-powered beings who would be most likely have the ability to adapt to our Hell-forsaken home here in the Valley. Please feel free to comment on or add anyone I’ve inadvertently missed in this index.