Dial H: China Mieville, Mateus Santolouco, Tanya & Richard Horie, Steve Wands, Brian Bolland
Another outstanding issue of this quirky fun book. Even with people being murdered and gross ink monsters running around the city, it’s still a book with a very strong feeling of lightheartedness. And that’s the oddest combination I think I’ve ever seen. Also, no, I don’t read a lot of Deadpool.
So Nelse is trying to figure out the Dial and how it works. He finds he turns into a new hero every time, and he remembers the experience every time. But if he uses it too many times in a row, too quickly, it wears out. Runs out of juice. Wouldn’t it suck if, also, you had to put in correct change for the call? Oh, man, I’d hate that. I think I might just say forget it if it were me.
The problem is, with so many heroes Nelse transforms into, they’re all starting to blend in his head. He’s forgetting what does what, and who’s who, and he’s even losing bits of himself with it. I like this, that there’s a sacrifice to be made. It could turn him into quite the interesting character. I just hope they spend a while getting to the point where he doesn’t know who he is and is just some shut-in loon, because I’m having a hard time thinking about how he’d bounce back from that. You know, never write “the end” to the story, so don’t write the character into a place he can’t get out of.
Anyway, some of these other heroes are hilarious. I love them. I love the originality. I love the quirky fun. The creativity is absolutely astounding. I can’t say if any of these heroes are recycles from the old “Dial H For Hero” book, but it doesn’t matter. They feel so fresh, and so new that I get a real joy from seeing them on the page. I just wish we could see them all in action. Shamanticore? Pelican Army? Rancid Ninja? Hilarious stuff!
And then the most pathetic and sad thing happened. After he’s done playing with the Dial, he says he changes, “into the worst identity of all.” Oh my god my heart sank into my butt when I read that, and saw the look on his face. As a child, who was picked on all the time, and loved superheroes, I tell you I could relate 100% to this feeling. I always pretended I was something else, something greater. Going back wasn’t always fun.
So Darren’s recovering in the hospital, but X.N. (which stands for Ex Nihilo, “out of nothing”) sends in the Squid to take care of him. This enrages Nelse, who becomes Iron Snail! I’m seriously not making this up, you guys. This is the funniest thing. I love this character. He even has a gun canon in the back of his huge shell that sprays snail slime. Wow. He and Squid fight- Squid actually looks more like a reptile than anything- and Iron Snail ends up making a run for it before his powers wear out.
The art makes a return in a big way in this issue. Santolouco is an expert in this really stylish art. It’s exactly the kind of style I like, with exaggerations where they belong, and a great sense of action. It’s really fantastic.
Dial H #2, the verdict: I honestly cannot wait to see what comes next. I hope these arcs don’t last very long. I feel like we’re missing potential to see other heroes from the Dial. If it were more singular stories per issue, there might be a reason to use the Dial more than once per issue. Even though, technically, it’s used a bunch in this one. But my point is, a drawn out story may not serve this type of hero as well. But maybe it will, we’ll see. At the same time, China’s doing a great job of really using that Dial in each issue…which I’m sure he knows is something we readers really want to see.
(Photo Source: iFanBoy)