Dial H: China Mieville, Mateus Santolouco, Tanya & Richard Horie, Steve Wands, Brian Bolland, David Finch, Richard Friend, Jeromy Cox
A hugely anticipated title in the Second Wave launch, this book takes an old title, “Dial H For Hero,” and gets a reimagining from acclaimed author China Mieville. I’ll start out by saying this was a really fantastic issue, and I can’t wait to read more.
Despite it’s previous incarnation, this is a wholly original idea. A “more-than-average” guy — way overweight, a smoker, possibly depressed, and a recent heart-attack victim — goes to help his friend by dialing the police from a pay phone…when SHAZAM! Well, not exactly “Shazam!” but you get the idea. He turns into Boy Chimney! A truly WICKED hero with the ability to emit any kind of smoke, dust, pollution, or anything like that and create constructs from it! His skin is made of brick, and he looks like a demon bug. He is tall and lanky, reminding me very much of Jack Skellington, and he wears a ridiculously tall top hat, which I LOVE. Take lessons, people, THIS is original character design at its PEAK.
After a spell, Nelse, the dude, loses his Boy Chimney powers and reverts to normal. Nelse decides to look for the people responsible, who are connected to a mysterious “X.N.” person (crazy initials, honestly, doesn’t roll off the tongue). He tries to figure out how he used the pay phone before, and ends up turning into someone different this time: Captain Lachrymose! Genius. It’s this emo superhero who induces sadness around him, and uses that as his strength. This is brilliant stuff.
Some guy in a hazmat suit with crazy alien/bug fingers decides to have Nelse’s friend killed to see if the “hero” comes back. Nelse wants to figure out how to get the pay phone to work, and we get a nice close-up of this really ornate, old-fashioned looking phone. He figures out that he has to dial “H-E-R-O” for it to work. Awesome.
I love this concept, that he turns into someone else each time, and I can definitely see how that would play both to his advantage and how it could totally backfire as the story progresses. I’m looking forward to both, to be honest. I also LOVE the art style in this book. I hope this team never changes. The art is just so perfect, especially for Boy Chimney. I think I’m a new, raving fan of this hero persona.
Dial H #1, the verdict: How awesome, I’m so glad I checked this book out. It’s going to be amazing. China definitely lived up to all the hype that DC was throwing out about this brilliant author taking on a comic book (for the first time, I believe). I’m definitely pumped to read more. This is one of the better Second Wave decisions DC made, and worth the cancellations of a couple titles from before.
(Photo Source: The Martian Manhunter)