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Hero Cruz

Alias: “Hero” (real first name unknown) Cruz

Titans Member
Joined: 
Titans Secret Files #2 [2000]

Related Links: Chris KingVicki Grant

Hero Cruz Quick Bio: On an adventure with Superboy and the Ravers, teenager Hero Cruz stole the mystical H-dial from the villainous Scavenger. By dialing H-E-R-O, Hero becomes a different super-powered guise on each mission. The openly gay teenage hero joined the short-lived Titans L.A. Branch before its rapid dissolution.

Teen Titans File Photos:

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History


Get The Party Started

Raised in a middle-class Puerto Rican family in Metropilos, Hero Cruz discovered a cache of technology stolen by the villainous Scavenger. He took the Scavenger’s Achilles Vest, using its invulnerable properties to join the Event Horizon, a cosmic rave party whose discretionary policy required super-powers to join.

There, Hero gravitated toward the party’s so-called Earth Clique, which came to include Superboy, Sparx, Aura, Half-life, and Kaliber. Together, they were familiarly referred to as Superboy and the Ravers. The voice of reason of the Earth Clique, Hero became known throughout the Event Horizon for his calm and thoughtful manner.

ABOVE: Hero Cruz meets Superboy in SUPERBOY AND THE RAVERS #1[1996].
BELOW: Hero Cruz reveals how he acquired the Achilles Vest
in SUPERBOY AND THE RAVERS #5 [1997].

A Hero And His Dial

At Christmastime, Hero invited the Ravers to his home for the holidays. The Scavenger, discovering his treasure was missing, teleported into Hero’s house and mistakenly blamed Sparx for its theft. Kidnapping her, the Scavenger took her and the Vest back to his cache.

The Ravers tracked the Scavenger to his lair, where Hero discovered a mystical dial with his name on it. He used the H-Dial to transform into different super-heroes, freeing Sparx and his fellow teammates from the Scavenger’s grasp. Hero abandoned his vest and used the H-Dial exclusively for his adventures at the Event Horizon, transforming into different heroes with distinct personalities.

ABOVE: The team meets Hero’s family in SUPERBOY AND THE RAVERS #5 [1997].
BELOW: Hero Cruz finds the H-Dial in SUPERBOY AND THE RAVERS #5 [1997].

In one of these guises, Hero sparked a romantic relationship with the smitten Sparx. But without the aid of the H-Dial, Hero became increasingly uncomfortable with Sparx’s amorous attentions. Their tension increased as Hero and Spark were savagely attacked by the H-Dial’s original owner, Vicki Grant. Constantly transforming into different villains, Vicki had internalized the dial’s power and was unable to change back. Hero reunited the hapless Vicki with her original dial, allowing her to dial back to normal and begin her psychological healing.

After witnessing Vicki’s dizzying identity crisis, Hero realized he needed to be true to himself.  At this point, Hero realized he was gay. He confessed this to a dumfounded Sparx, who had a very difficult time accepting Hero’s lifestyle.

Hero had also surmised that the H-Dials’s transformations were something of a psychological manifestation of the dialer. Thus, his friendly platonic affection for Sparx manifested as romantic feelings in one of his guises. Likewise, Vicki Grant’s self-loathing caused her endless array of super-guises. Intrigued with the dial’s potential, Hero resolved to explore its boundaries further.

Hero remained with the Event Horizon until its leader, Kindred Marx, put an end to the festivities. Marx left his dimension-opening mother box with Aura, who considered continuing the cosmic party on her own.

Hero reveals he’s gay in SUPERBOY AND THE RAVERS #13 [1997]

Dialing Up Titans

Since that time, Hero Cruz relocated to San Francisco, where he met fellow H-Dialer, Chris King. The two heroes struck up a friendship and compared notes. After some practice, Hero learned to concentrate on a specific power and dial it up.

Soon after, Beast Boy’s obnoxious cousin Matt took it upon himself to hold a membership drive party for an all-new Titans West. Beast Boy finally agreed to have the team reorganize, and Titans West was renamed Titans L.A. – with members that included Beast Boy, Flamebird, Herald, Bumblebee, Terra, Hero Cruz, Captain Marvel Jr. and Bushido. But Titans L.A. was short-lived. Eventually, the new West Coast group of Titans dissolved before it ever truly began.

ABOVE: Hero masters his H-Dial in TITANS SECRET FILES & ORIGINS #2 [2000].
BELOW: Titans L.A. Together! [from left to right]; Matt Logan, Bumblebee, Flamebird,
Captain Marvel Jr., Beast Boy, Hero Cruz, Terra and Herald [Bushido not pictured].
From TITANS SECRET FILES & ORIGINS #2 [2000].


Powers & Abilities


By dialing H-E-R-O on the mythical H-dial, Hero Cruz can transform into a different super-powered hero. Hero Cruz has learned to concentrate on a specific power when dialing, and manifesting that power in his new superhuman guise.

Hero has also surmised that the transformations are something of a psychological manifestation of the dialer. Thus, his friendly platonic affection for Sparx manifested as romantic feelings in one of his guises. Likewise, Vicki Grant’s horrific transformations were linked to her poor self image at the time.


Essential Reading


Superboy and the Ravers #1-2 [1994]: The Event Horizon – just like a typical Earth rave, it’s got kicking music, people in awesome clothes, its location is never in the same place twice, and it’s got a discretionary door. The differences are: the people in awesome clothing are all aliens from other worlds and dimensions; those locations include places like the asteroid belt, Atlantis, and Daxam; and the discretionary policy is that you have to have super powers to get in the door! As part of the Event Horizon, Superboy banded together with some fellow Ravers, including Hero, Sparx, Kaliber, Half-life and Aura. The young heroes found themselves traveling to exotic adventures from different locales. The Rave was organized by the mysterious Kindred Marx. When Hero originally joined the Rave, he owned the Achilles Vest, which generated an impenetrable force field that he could use to protect himself and/or others. First appearance of Hero Cruz in issue #1.
Superboy and the Ravers #5:
 put the spotlight on ‘Hero’ Cruz. At Christmastime, Hero invited his fellow Ravers to his house for the holidays. The Ravers meet Hero’s nice middle-class parents and younger brother. It was also in that issue that the Scavenger tried to get back his Achilles Vest, which we learn that Hero had taken from his stash. It is also in this issue that Hero acquires the H-dial and keeps it.
Superboy and the Ravers #13: Ex-Dial-H-Hero Vicki Grant encountered Hero Cruz. She first savagely attacked Hero Cruz, but was then reunited with her dial. She dialed and was able to change back into normal Vicki Grant. After the battle, Hero finally confessed the truth to Sparx: The reason he didn’t respond to her flirtations was that he was gay.
Superboy and the Ravers #14: Sparx had a hard time accepting that Hero is gay. Hero has also surmised that the transformations are something of a psychological manifestation of the dialer. Thus, his friendly, platonic affection for Sparx manifested as romantic feelings in one of his guises.
Superboy & the Ravers #15: Hero meets a green alien named Leander. It appears Hero and Leander are attracted to each other and started some sort of relationship.
The Titans Secret Files #2 [2000]: It’s the debut of Titans LA in an astonishing all-new Special. Whether he wants it or not, Beast Boy finds himself saddled with a new West Coast branch of the Titans. But it may be the new team’s final appearance as well if Fear and Loathing and the madcap Harlequin have their say. First Titans L.A. Titans LA members include Beast Boy, Flamebird, Herald, Bumblebee, Terra, Hero Cruz, and Captain Marvel Jr.

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Superboy and the Ravers in SUPERBOY AND THE RAVERS #4 [1997].

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 Q & A with Karl Kesel and Steve Mattson


Q: What makes SUPERBOY AND THE RAVERS different from any other super-team book?

KK: Well, who would buy it if we said it was just like every other team? But seriously, I think it’s pretty much unique in that they don’t have a HQ or set mission – they’re just a bunch of friends hanging and having a good time. And sometimes saving all life in the cosmos as we know it. You know, the usual stuff, Also, more than any other book I can think of, “anything goes” is the rule here. For example, Steve and I have thrown around the name “Ultraa the Multi-Alien” in a few plot sessions. Nothing definite, mind you, but that’s just an example of how just about anything and anyone might show up in the book!

Q: What makes SUPERBOY AND THE RAVERS different from SUPERBOY?

SM: SUPERBOY AND THE RAVERS is going to be much bigger in scale. It’s going to expand Superboy’s rep far beyond Hawaii and Metropolis. We’re going around the world, to other galaxies, and even other dimensions with this one!

Q: What characters did you try to get into the series but rejected?

KK: The thing about the Event Horizon is that anything goes! I honestly cannot think of one character that I would like to do who couldn’t show up at the rave at one time or another,

Q: Which Raver are you most like?

SM: Probably Half-life He’s kind of a loner; kind of different.

KK: Unfortunately, I’m not hip enough to be like any of the Ravers!

Q: What’s the biggest pain about working in comics?

KK: It’s more fun than human beings should be allowed to have and I fear that someday I will have to pay the ultimate price.

Q: Who would you like to get into the Ravers?

KK: Well, we have a pretty good cast already, if you ask me. I wouldn’t mind seeing Impulse guest at some point… and the Forever People boom-tubing through would be groovy, man!

SM: We hope we can meet EVERYBODY in this series. There’ll be a lot of old favorites showing up.

Q: Which Raver is your favorite?

SM: We all got our favorites. Mine’s Aura.

KK: Hmmm… probably Kaliber. Although I also have a great fondness for Sparx.

SM: It’s funny. I said, “The fans are really going to dig Aural” Which is what Karl said about Kaliber. And Paul Pelletier said the same thing about Half-life!

Q: Which is your least favorite Raver?

SM: Superboy, but only because he’s the toughest to write. He gets the most exposure with his own title, so we have to work harder to keep him fresh.

KK: I don’t understand the question. How can anyone have a least favorite Raver?

Q: Any childhood creations make it into the Ravers?

KK: Actually… no. But now that you mention it, this would be the perfect place for some of my childhood creations to debut! Like: Captain Kid! Thorzzak! The All-Feminine Squad! Hey – I got a million of ‘em!

Q: What are the pros about working in a collaboration like this?

KK: One of you has a good idea, and the other makes it better!

SM: Ditto.

Q: OK, then, what are the cons?

SM: With two writers, each one should have to do only half of a normal work schedule. Sometimes it seems like FOUR times the work!

KK: One of you has a good idea and the other doesn’t want to do it!

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 The Secret Files of Kindred Marx


NAME: Hero
ALTER EGO: Hero Cruz
GROUP AFFILIATION: Ravers (Earth Clique)

The voice of reason of the Earth Clique, Hero is known throughout the Event Horizon for his calm and thoughtful manner. When Hero first joined the Rave, he was quick to befriend others. Out of the Earth Clique (Sparx, Superboy, Aura, Half-life, and Kaliber), he was the only one not to pick a fight or otherwise engage in battle with other Ravers.

When Hero originally joined my Rave, he owned the Achilles Vest. Stumbling upon the Scavengers weapons cache in Metropolis, he took the Achilles Vest, which generated an impenetrable force field that he could use to protect himself and/or others. The Scavenger, discovering his treasure was missing, teleported into Hero’s home and mistakenly blamed Sparx for its theft. Kidnapping her, the Scavenger took her and the Vest back to his cache.

When Aura, Superboy, and a now-powerless Hero attempted to free her, the Scavenger fought back, capturing both Aura and Superboy. Just when matters seemed hopeless, Hero spotted a dial with his name on it. Dialing it, Hero transformed into several different heroes, one at a time. One guise, Human Justice, awed the Scavenger so that he was tricked into freeing Superboy and Aura.

Abandoning his vest, Hero now uses the H-Dial exclusively for his meta-human abilities. Hero can transform into different heroes, each with different powers and distinct personalities. Hero’s personality seems to submerge beneath that of whatever hero he becomes. I am still uncertain whether he is merely acting, is unable to influence whatever heroic guise he’s dialed up, or is simply getting into character.

Hero seems able to change at will into another meta-human, as opposed to having to wait at least an hour, like previous H-Dial owners did. One such holder of the dial, Vicki Grant, was constantly transforming into different villains but was unable to transform back into her original human self. She attacked Hero recently, and the two wrestled in a dizzying array of super guises. Vicki managed to snatch the disk away, and with it, transformed herself back to normal.

Hero is unable to control which guise he takes. I am unsure if he is somehow unconsciously influencing the dial with respect to which powers would be best suited at that moment. Perhaps the dial somehow “decides.” On at least one occasion, however, Hero has noted that his ‘others” wait to be summoned, which suggests that each character has a separate consciousness.

In the short time that Hero has held the dial, he has already “dialed” up a huge catalog of characters, including one female character. None of the other H-Dial bearers have exhibited the ability to become the opposite sex before Hero. In order of their appearance, Hero has transformed into Badaxe, Human Justice, Stormfront, Titanic, the Feathered Serpent, Hothead, Death’s-Head Moth, Ferronaut, Captain Elastic, Diamond Lord, Isis, the Radio Ranger, and Faust. Although he has no powers as Hero, in his various guises he has exhibited super-strength, invulnerability, transmutation, flight, and heat projection, among other powers.

BENEFITS

Honorable to a fault, Hero has a strong sense of responsibility and loyalty. In many ways, he is the linchpin of the Earth Clique, as he has earned the rest of the team’s respect. When most of the other Ravers deserted me, his core team were among the few that voluntarily stayed by my side when Kindred Grim attacked me. Although he, like Superboy, seems more ready to challenge my authority, he can still be manipulated to benefit my cause.

In terms of sheer power, Hero may be third only to myself and Superboy. With the wide range of abilities at his disposal, it would be foolish of me not to use him for as long as possible. Kindred Sol, my beloved, must still be found, and Hero may still be quite useful in finding her.

NOTES

Since discovering the H-Dial, Hero has become engrossed in discovering the extent of his abilities. It is unknown how much he actually knows about its properties and how much he is keeping from the others, including myself. After meeting Vicki Grant, he practically interrogated her on its uses, despite the fact that she was not quite recovered from her mental trauma of being trapped in the various H-guises. If I could somehow get more information on the H-Dial operation, perhaps I could use the knowledge to bind him closer to me.

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Superboy and the Ravers

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 The Rise and Fall of Titans L.A.


Titans Times Two
information courtesy of Comic Buyers Guide

DC Comics’ Titans will be getting their second Secret Files treatment this coming August, but the special’s lead story won’t feature the characters who currently reside in the super-team’s headquarters, Titans Tower. In fact, the heroes featured are another team of Titans, based in another locale.

Illustrated by Drew Johnson and co-written by Ben Raab and Geoff Johns, the story is a continuation of a sort of loosely connected storyline that started in Raab and Johns’ Beast Boy limited series, continues in this summer’s Titans’ “Planet DC” annual (also by Raab and Johns) that finds Beast Boy and the revamped Flamebird encountering a new Japanese super-hero, Bushido, then heads into the August Secret Files.

In the story, Beast Boy and Flamebird return to Japan to a huge, already-in-progress Titans membership drive and super-hero party thrown by Gar’s slacker cousin Matt Logan, with the goal of creating a new “Titans West” team. Raab and Johns explained, “There will be lots of guest stars from the Titans’ bicoastal past, and we get to use a dozen characters that haven’t been seen in a while, specifically Duela Dent, the Joker’s daughter!

All sorts of chaos ensues, and, in the end, several lucky fourth-string super-heroes will be stepping up to the plate and Los Angeles finds itself with a most unlikely team of heroes – Titans L.A.!”

Asked why the DC universe needs another new super-hero team – and another Titans team, at that – Raab responded, “Just because there are some super-heroes who just don’t have quite what it takes to be in the big leagues just yet doesn’t mean they can’t pitch in and do their part. Titans L.A. is, for lack of a better word, a ‘super-hero support group.’ They exist to help those heroes living on the West Coast that are a little less sure on their feet to stand up tall and proud so that they, too, can make a difference in the world – and in their own lives.” Will the new left coast Titans team have a future? That remains to be seen, but both writers say there are plans that are being discussed.

Titans L.A. Together! [from left to right]; Matt Logan, Bumblebee, Flamebird,
Captain Marvel Jr., Beast Boy, Hero Cruz, Terra and Herald [Bushido not pictured].
From TITANS SECRET FILES #2 [2000]

Ben Raab Sequential Tart Interview: Beast Boy, Bushido… and possible Titans West?
info courtesy of http://www.sequentialtart.com [July 1, 2000]

ST: I keep hearing rumblings of a Titans West. IF that becomes a reality, who would your dream team be composed of?

BR: Well, that would be giving it all away, now wouldn’t it? I will say this, though…Beast Boy and Flamebird would form the nucleus of that team as co-leaders. As for the other members…? Check out this summer’s Titans Secret Files, due in stores August, for the answer.

ST : Speaking of Titans, I hear you are writing the Titans annual this summer. With the international flavor sweeping the DCU annuals, what can we expect from your Titans?

BR: 40 pages of non-stop ACTION, guest starring Beast Boy and Flamebird…and introducing Bushido! In this story, the Titans journey to Tokyo to help stop a malevolent spirit from Japanese folklore – known as the Tengu – from unleashing his demon hordes upon the Earth. But to do so, must one of their own die by Bushido’s hand?! Dun Dun Duuuuun!!!

The lead story is drawn by fellow Beast Boy conspirator Josuae Justiniano, whose artwork keeps getting more and more exciting with every project. He’s really outdone himself this time. There’s also a 12 page back-up story that details the origin of our new hero, Bushido, drawn by the immensely talented Rick Mays. All in all, a kick-ass looking book!

ST: Who is Bushido?

BR: Bushido is the character Geoff and I will be introducing in this summer’s Titans Annual. Like the Phantom, Bushido has inherited a family legacy of service and protection. Yet, this Japanese hero – the embodiment of the “way of the warrior” – is a reluctant savior, torn between a filial duty that requires him to be a killer in the name of honor and justice and a conscience that tells him such behavior is wrong no matter whom it serves and protects.

Titans L.A. Scrapped

Titans writer Jay Faerber talks Titans L.A., in response to a DC Message Board post: “The reason there was so much set up for Titans L.A. in the pages of Titans Secret Files & Origins #2 is because, at that time, Titans editor Eddie Berganza and his associate, Maureen McTigue, really thought the Titans L.A. concept was going to get approved, and this was their way of putting out a little preview, to serve as a lead-in. ”

Geoff Johns on Titans L.A., in an exclusive interview with titanstower.com: Ben and I had pitch in for a Titans L.A. maxi-series that never got off the ground. It would’ve been fun, but it’s dead. dead. dead. I don’t really want to get into specifics since it is a dead issue.

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Sources for this entry: The DC Comics Encyclopedia, DC Secret Files, supplemented by titanstower.com


End of titanstower.com transmission. About this author:  Bill Walko is an author and artist and the man behind titanstower.com. He's been reading and drawing comics since he was 5 years old and hasn't stopped since. Read more from this author