|Dr. Beau Tox|
September 26th, 2003 (in shadow)
Dr. Beau Tox was a cosmetic surgeon who operated a legitimate medical practice in Dick Tracy's city. He was also known to provide services to members of the criminal underworld (similar to Dr. Will Carver).
He was a slightly heavy-set man with an avuncular face. He had light, wavy hair, with a dark streak in the center.
Dr. Beau Tox was consulted by Tess Tracy when she became self-conscious about aging. Tox assured Mrs. Tracy that he could restore her youthful appearance and encouraged her to recommend treatment to her husband as well.
At this same time, Tox was approached by the known criminals Dab Stract, Heartless Mahoney, and Prune Hilda, who all sought cosmetic treatment. Stract wanted to alter his features to evade capture by police, but Prune Hilda and Heartless were motivated by vanity. Tox saw this as an opportunity.
Tox treated Prune Hilda and Heartless, making them appear young and beautiful. He then enlisted the two women to act as "nurses" at his medical practice. Tox also altered Stract's face, incorporating elements of Salvador Dali's work. Tox then operated on Tess, giving her a much more youthful appearance. This success inspired Dick Tracy himself to seek a treatment from the doctor.
The Art HeistEditTox's plan soon came together. He sent Prune Hilda to recruit the inconspicuous criminal No Face into their plot.
When Tracy arrived for his treatment, Tox altered half of Tracy's face to be gruesome and misshapen, resembling the notorious felon Haf-and-Haf. Tracy, determined not to let his friends and relatives see him this way, went into hiding. With Tracy unable to interfere, Tox altered Stract's face again, this time making Dab Stract look like Dick Tracy.
Tox then had No Face steal a valuable painting from a local gallery. Stract, posing as Tracy, arrived to investigate, and confiscated several other paintings as "evidence". He then continued to pose as Tracy, going so far as to impersonate the detective at work, making sure that the investigation was stalled.
Tox took custody of the stolen paintings, killing the 2 henchmen that had driven the getaway van. Tox, Prune Hilda, and Heartless hid at Tox's secluded home in woods until the stolen paintings could be sold.
An Abrupt About-FaceEdit
Unbeknownst to Tox, Tracy was continuing to investigate the crime and was able to track the stolen artworks to Tox's house. Tracy arrived on the scene just as Tox was having a falling out with his accomplices. Prune Hilda and Heartless discovered that Tox's treatments were not permanent, and their faces were returning to their original aged states.The two women attacked Tox with acid, attempting to disfigure him as they felt they had been. Tox was armed and he shot both women, but not before Heartless doused half of his face with acid. Prune Hilda died from the gunshot wound, but Heartless survived. Tracy (who, no longer ashamed of his face, had called for backup) stormed into the house shortly after the assault. Heartless and Tox were taken into custody.
Much like Heartless and Prune Hilda, Tracy and his wife (and Dab Stract) soon found that Dr. Tox's treatments were wearing off, and their faces returned their original states. Stract, having undergone multiple procedures, found his face deteriorating into a shapeless mass, similar to the face in the famous painting "The Scream". As a primary witness against Dr. Tox, Stract later received treatment from a different surgeon which restored his original face.
Getting Away With ItEdit
Dr. Tox was later brought to trial. However, his attorney was able to make the case that neither Heartless Mahoney or Dab Stract could accurately identify the defendant, since his appearance had been so drastically altered. The judge accepted this argument and all the charges against Dr. Tox were dismissed. He was apparently set free.
- "Beau Tox" is play on the term "botox", which is a cosmetic treatment that uses a bacteria-based neurotoxin to reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles.
- Dr. Tox's procedures were presumably all chemical and/or hormone based, as an actual surgical procedure could not "wear off" like his did.
- The Beau Tox storyline serves as a sort of "greatest hits" story for writer Mike Kilian, as it featured several of his own original creations (Dab Stract, Heartless Mahoney and No Face) as well as multiple callbacks to classic Tracy villains (Prune Hilda's connection to Pruneface, Tracy being mistaken for Haf-and-Haf, a brief appearance by a possible relative of Flattop). This is notable as it doesn't seem to correspond to any major anniversary, taking place as it did around the time of the strip's 72nd year of publication.
- The Beau Tox storyline is also one of the very few in the history of ship in which readers are shown the villain's trial (see also Steve the Tramp, Baldy Stark, and Chameleon II).
- At the conclusion of the story, all charges against Dr. Tox are dismissed and he has not been seen since. This makes Tox one of the very few villains in the history of Dick Tracy to "get away with it" (see also Pouch). This is especially egregious as Tox was known to have killed at least 3 people, as well as mutilating Tracy and orchestrating the art thefts. An argument could be made that the killing of Prune Hilda was self-defense, but he still murdered the 2 truck drivers in cold blood. Having his face disfigured does not seem to be sufficient justice, and it remains to be seen if the matter will be revisited by a subsequent creative team.