|What am I?|
OK, maybe not the most original name but back in 1989 when he was first introduced originality was not that hot anyway. Honestly - Mr Sinister? How about Mr Nasty or Mr Strong or Little Miss Mutant? But I digress.
Below is a potted origin story which was told in full in issue 17 of the Alliance of Awesomeness (known by its acronym AA). Most people don't remember but Krakistan was the last hardline Soviet Republic that was fighting the Cold War with any gusto. So villains were often secret agents from there trying to sabotage the scientific miracles being performed by the dedicated and selfless boffins of the free world. Agent 86 aka Mr Puffy-paws would be a thorn in the side of the Alliance of Awesomeness throughout most of the nineties until he accidentally caught his tail in a printing press while plotting against Mothron. As yet he is one of the few NDC characters to have died and not be resurrected in a ridiculously blatant way to try to generate interest and revenue, but I am sure it is just a matter of time. Today of course, Krakistan has abandoned its evil Communist overlords for evil Islamic Fundamentalist overlords. The poor old Krakis - they can't catch a break.
The transformation sent Handley mad (surprisingly) and he went on an uncontrollable rampage - after quickly stopping to put on some pants and booties of course - this was the eighties and all characters needed to dress well.
|The cover to Alliance of Awesomeness (AA) #17|
He gained his name the Hand from a person that phoned in a 911 call. The exact words were:
'Help! We are being attacked by a... a Hand!'.
'I'll send AA straight away!'
'I'm not drunk I tell you! It's a monstrous hand!'
The only two available members of the Alliance were Leather Lass and the Converter, as the others had their own books and were caught up in the blatantly revenue focused crossover event running through that winter - 'Beware the Body Parts'. This involved a completely disconnected series of stories where the only thing any of the issues had in common was that costumed heroes fought baddies whose names reflected various parts of the anatomy; and a cross-over announcement appeared on the cover. Mothron took on the Achilles Heel - who could find an opponent's weakness and exploit it. This was when Mothron pushed himself and learned to control not just 3 but 5 moths at a time.
Iron Butterfly took on the Nostril, and Big Ted fought the interstellar menace, Gluteus. Dustmaster's conflict with the Sphincter is one issue that should probably be removed from memory.
Eventually defeated when Converter used the energy of a Big Mac to make an explosion that knocked him out (product placement has been alive and well for a long time in comics), The Hand would return several times in the nineties before Dustmaster tricked the monster into a matter converter that he had built using Handley's records. Transformed back into a human scientist he became an even greater menace when he quit science and put together a boy band called 'Hands Up' that would hypnotise adolescent girls into taking over governments. Whether or not we have seen the last of The Hand is easy to answer. Yes we have.