Dial H For HERO #5 // Review
“What’s a secret origin?” Miguel asks the Operator at one point in Dial H for HERO #5. Is it the moment a hero gets their powers? Is it the thing that sets them on a path of righteousness and service? Most of the issue is spent unpacking this idea and teasing different moments as possible candidates for Miguel’s origin as a hero.
Picking up from the previous issue, Miguel enters the Heroverse, Mister Thunderbolt pursues him through secret origins of classic DC heroes and eventually through the gutters and panels of the comic itself until Miguel is rescued by the Operator and learns his secret: that he’s the H-Dial’s original bearer, Robby Reed. Meanwhile, Summer borrows the classic Supermobile in an attempt to fly to Metropolis to get Superman’s help for Miguel, with a pit-stop in a Gotham City that’s beautifully inspired by Batman: The Animated Series.
Sam Humphries’ writing continues to explore what makes Summer and Miguel tick, as people and as potential heroes, with great character moments. One heartbreaking flashback scene between Miguel and Superman is Humphries at his best. He also makes use of Grant Morrison’s map of the Multiverse, a brilliant structure that is too often ignored by DC writers.
As always, the main attraction of the book is Joe Quinones art (with additional inks by Scott Hanna and lettering by Dave Sharpe). In this issue, Quinones riffs on Batman: Year One, Golden Age Wonder Woman comics, Silver Age origins of Hal Jordan and Barry Allen, Darwyn Cooke’s DC: New Frontier, and others, while still finding time to cement his own identity as an artist with superb character work and splash pages alike. Jordan Gibson’s coloring is fantastic. Mixing benday dots and zip-a-tone and other classic coloring tools with modern techniques to create some really stunning effects.
Dial H for HERO #5 is a rip-roaring ride, while also ruminating on what makes a hero--the powers or the motivation? This title continues to be a hidden gem of DC Comics’ current lineup, and possibly the most heartfelt of the uniformly fun Wonder Comics line. Highly recommended.