Dial H For Hero #1 // Review
DC Comics’ new Wonder Comics imprint, led by Brian Michael Bendis, continues its winning streak with the release of this week’s Dial H For Hero #1. The series is a return to the classic DC concept of the H-Dial, a mysterious artifact that looks like the dial from a rotary telephone. The H-Dial grants its user the ability to take on a series of random and often bizarre and/or humorous hero forms.
This issue introduces us to the series’ protagonist, a teenage adrenaline junkie named Miguel. Miguel has been a thrill-seeker ever since a childhood encounter with Superman, and when an ill-advised stunt goes awry, he is mysteriously given the H-Dial, which saves his life by transforming him into the ridiculous Monster Truck. The issue also introduces Miguel’s acquaintance, a teen runaway named Summer who will presumably also interact with the H-Dial in later issues. The issue promises later connections to the larger DCU, with a rapid-fire set of cameos of some significant players who may come looking for the H-Dial in the future.
Writer Sam Humphries handles the introduction of new characters and concepts in this first issue efficiently and elegantly. The story never feels too exposition-heavy, and the characters are intriguing and charismatic. Humphries, well-known for his comedic work on characters like Star-Lord and Harley Quinn, brings a ton of humor to this first issue (the secret origin of Monster Truck is worthy of a literal laugh out loud).
Joe Quinones’ art is just gorgeous and versatile. Most of the art is an exaggerated Rockwellian realism, but when Miguel becomes Monster Truck, it shifts to a pitch-perfect Rob Liefeld pastiche, complete with gritted teeth and cross-hatching. Quinones colors, in particular, are sumptuous and versatile, switching between a gorgeous sunny day, a summer sunset, and the ben-day dot psychedelia of the world inside the H-Dial (not to mention the flat colors for the 1990s section). Letterer Dave Sharpe is clearly having a blast as well, matching all of the different styles and ideas in the story.
Dial H For Hero #1 is a promising start to what looks like another win for the Wonder Comics imprint. This first issue makes a lot of great connections; here’s hoping the call doesn’t get dropped as the series continues.