Dial H for HERO #3 // Review
After two issues of moving forward, Dial H for HERO takes an opportunity to look backward--both backward into the history of one of its lead characters, and backward into the history of the DC Universe itself.
The issue begins with a flashback reintroducing Robby Reed, the original wielder of the H-Dial in the 1960’s series, a flashback that pays off later on in the issue. The rest of the issue sees current heroes Miguel and Summer’s latest efforts to get the attention of a superhero--the Flash, in this case--interrupted by the return of the police officer who stole the H-Dial from them in issue two. That officer uses the H-Dial, prompting Summer to finally have her chance to use it as well to save Central City.
Even more so than previous issues, Dial H for HERO #3 is an artistic smorgasbord. The series’ regular art team of line artist Joe Quinones and colorist Jordan Gibson, shift styles throughout the issue. From their more sculpted consistent manner to a 1990’s Vertigo pastiche when the police officer uses the H-Dial to become The Bluebird of Happiness, to a Paul Dini-esque newspaper strip style when Summer becomes punk rocker Lo Lo Kick You. In addition to all of this, artist/colorist Arist Deyn takes over for flashbacks to Summer’s past life as a teen pageant contestant with an abusive, pill-popping mother. These four different art styles alternate throughout the issue, sometimes sharing the same page. As Quinones, Gibson, and Deyn break the boundaries of the comic itself, playing with page orientation and layout (you will have to turn the comic on its side a few times for maximum effect). Letterer Dave Sharpe continues to have a blast, with his styles changing along with the rest of the art, particularly in the Bluebird sequence.
It is absolutely to the credit of writer Sam Humphries that all of this artistic experimentation remains coherent, telling a clear and compelling story throughout. Humphries really gets into Summer’s head in the flashback sequence. Despite the issue’s focus on the past, the story ends with a new plan for our main characters and a good segue into chapter #4.
DC’s Wonder Comics line has been a string of successes for the publisher, and Dial H For HERO remains one of the line’s crown jewels. Highly recommended.