Dial H: China Mieville, Mateus Santolouco, Tanya & Richard Horie, Steve Wands, Brian Bolland
Team House. ‘Nuff said. Who are Team House? Why, Eavesdropper, Open-Window Man, Spiralstair, Door-Pilot, and someone else who appears to be a living sink. This is the team on which Boy Chimney comes from, apparently. And I want to read THIS book. Team House! Make this a second story at the ends of Dial H! Please?
There were parts of this issue that confused me. For example, this Manteau woman is apparently another person using her own Dial to be a hero, like Nelson. However, there’s a moment in the story where she’s talking about herself, and it cuts to a red-haired woman who has a connection to Squid, the villain. I assumed this was Manteau maybe in a flashback, but no apparently it’s ANOTHER red-haired woman. Not there’s any shortage of red-haired women in DC, but that was really confusing.
Also confusing is when we see X.N. again, she looks decidedly female. In fact, I do believe it’s the red-haired woman that’s not Manteau. But I thought X.N. was male in the last issue. I’ll have to go back and check, but X.N. looked very much like a man.
Anyway this other red-haired woman and Squid are tracking down people who were in Fairfax, Maine, when something having to do with a Dial went down…and so now they’re susceptible to comas and also to some kind of dark energy called the Abyss or something. Again, not completely clear on the first read-through. They have one target in mind, and seek him out.
Meanwhile, Manteau teaches Nelse the importance of maintaining his own identity if he’s to use the Dial. That’s why she wears the mask and cloak when she uses her Dial, because it helps ground her in herself…and she never forgets her real name. This is smart, and it hearkens back to the first issue when Nelson was having a hard time picking himself out of Boy Chimney.
I like this concept of loss of identity in order to become a hero. I kind of think that’s how it would really be. You start to forget who you really are because you’re so wrapped up in this super-awesome form that you take. It’s so much bigger and better than the real you, so you start to ignore that part…and crave the hero in you. I can see how this comic could turn into an allegory for drug-abuse and things like that. Nice work.
The ending reveals something that appears to be pretty big, yet I’m unsure of its true impact at this time because nothing’s really been revealed about it, even by the villains. This last panel, interestingly, is the first time this whole series where I’ve actually thought of this book as a true superhero story, akin to Superman or Green Lantern. Before that, it just seemed like a quirky story about a guy who likes to escape his own life. Hopefully Dial H doesn’t grow too big for its britches.
Dial H #3, the verdict: So it’s still an interesting title, and I like how we’re seeing more of the other side of things, much like you do in Dial H #0 (don’t miss it!!). Though, now, reading this issue, Dial H #0’s twist ending is kind of obvious. Oh well. Still good! Point is, we’re getting to know more about the mechanics of the Dial, what it does, and who built it. The only frustrating thing about this book is how cryptic the villain plot is. They literally reveal almost nothing, even talking to each other. It’s as if they’re aware of the reader, and don’t want the reader to know! That’s not how I play.
(Photo Source: iFanBoy)