Dial H For Hero #1 review

An ordinary kid in an ordinary town, Miguel fantasies about being special. He remembers once meeting someone very special.

Years later, Miguel’s parents are no longer on the scene and he’s living with his uncle and working in his food business.

It’s not the life Miguel wants, so he finds his excitement elsewhere.

Today, he finds too much excitement. Then, fate comes calling.

And Miguel transforms…

Dial H for Hero is one of the greatest concepts in comics; if you have an H-Dial, and spell out H-E-R-O, you transform into a superbeing for one hour. It’s not apparent if Miguel is Monster Truck for that long, and it seems just that first letter is needed, but this debut issue makes it very clear the latest version of the dial – attached to what appears to be a Batphone – goes back at least as far as Robby Reed, the DC Universe’s first known user.

What’s also a mystery for now is how the Monster Truck scenario connects to Miguel’s reality… he doesn’t just transform, he remembers an origin – does Miguel shift into an existing character from a parallel world for a while? That would explain why he doesn’t seem to be actually controlling the super-destructive Monster Truck. But how come the character is so spot-on for Miguel’s hated day-job? I look forward to writer Sam Humphries revealing all – he certainly has my attention with this entertaining opening, which also introduces us to Summer, a teenager whose hobby is running away. Miguel seems a good lad, Summer a handful, so when it comes to sharing the H-dial, there could be fireworks.

As drawn in full colour by Joe Quinones, Monster Truck is the Image of a Nineties throwback – all swagger, all muscles… all ridiculous. Signing every page on which he appears is a witty touch of verisimilitude for fans of Rob Liefeld, Marc Silvestri and co. Quinones will be altering his approach every time a new hero appears, and the lettering and colouring will change too. It’s clever stuff, but I just love the regular pages, which feature a more modern, attractive dynamism. The sequence in which failed daredevil Miguel is introduced to the H-Dial, for example, is a terrific piece of comic art, breaking the usual panel conventions in a narratively motivated way.

Partnering Quinones is Dave Sharpe, who does a tremendous job of adapting to the demands of the script. It’s likely Sharpe didn’t design the logo sitting atop Quinones’ tremendous cover, but whoever did deserves a massive mayo medal for tasty work.

The final page of Dial H For Hero #1 sets up something that should act as a story engine, while hopefully leaving room for adventures outside of the ‘series arc’. On the basis of this fast-paced first chapter, which introduces characters and concepts with confidence and style, I’ll be devouring every issue.

5 thoughts on “Dial H For Hero #1 review

  1. It was…okay. The mayo truck was a lame joke that dragged and the Monster Truck sequence fell as flat as a Liefeld plot. What exactly happened? Did Miguel destroy property attacking innocents during a delusion? Had those innocents also been transformed to justify what happened?

    Dial H is a great concept but this seems like a dumbed down take after that great Vertigo series but at least it isn’t as brain dead as Wonder Twins…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I liked this issue a lot; having the art style reflect the “era” of superhero summoned is a great conceit, and Quinones obviously has the chops to pull it off. I’ve loved his work since Wednesday Comics, and am excited to see him back on a regular book. (And man, the design of that telephone cord page is wonderful!)

    And Humphries script is fun. If squeezing in an Animal Farm joke into the Monster Truck sequence (“Four wheels bad. Eighteen wheels: AWESOME!”) is indicative of the fun Humphries will have with the book, I’m on board. I’m also VERY curious about how the heroes can feel the H-Dial being used, and the mysterious figure at the end.

    My only regret is that it seems like DC has stopped including variant covers on their digital releases. I wanted to get my virtual mitts on Nick Derrington’s knockout cover, which looks like it includes a lot of actual previous Dial H heroes!

    Liked by 1 person

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