Dial H For Hero #10 review

A New Year and a new batch of comics to buy. And the first one read, Dial H For Hero #10 – I had to know how this glorious Joe Quinones cover – presumably a homage to a specific Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post piece – relates to the inside.

Well, on a thematic level, it could be that Summer and Miguel are aspiring to be true heroes, like Bronze Age Superman and Supergirl. More likely there’s no specific link – Quinones had an idea for an image and knew he could knock it right out of the park (the interior contents credit Doc Shaner with supplying a cover for this one, I guess that was shelved but it likely did connect to #10). If, come December 2020, I compile a Covers of the Year post, you can bet this will be there.

As for the interiors, this is my favourite chapter in ages; last time I reviewed Dial H – it feels like ages ago but was only last issue – I was moaning about how the overarching plot was going on too long. Well, this issue certainly has the desired injection of narrative momentum.

It begins with the Operator – former H Dial User Robby Reed – explaining the Very Big Picture as Miguel and Summer zoom from world to world in a pimped-up mayo-themed food truck. As you do.

So, the Heroverse is on the edge of the Speed Force. What does it mean for the story? No idea, but I like the sheer cleverness of imposing a telephone dial on the Multiverse diagram originated by Grant Morrison in his Multiversity series. And I love that there’s no nod from writer Sam Humphries to the tedium that is the Dark Multiverse.

The worlds we glimpse are familiar, including that from the Wonder Woman Earth One graphic novels, and, I think, Superman #349, the fabulous gender flip issue from the Seventies. Our heroes don’t hang around, though, having been tasked by The Operator with finding the Y Dial, one of four ‘Cardinal’ H dials Robby’s opposite number – Mister Thunderbolt, also Robby Reed (Facebook status – ‘it’s complicated’) – wants in order to give everyone in the Multiverse super powers. That would, according to The Operator – be A Very Bad Thing.

Finally, the kids land on an alternate planet they can’t simply skip away from, Earth 32.

This is the world where the target Y Dial is secreted, but when Miguel gains access to it he ignores the Operator’s warning not to use it, and brings big trouble…

Joe Quinones’ art has always been a big draw – no pun intended – for this series, and once again it doesn’t disappoint, even though he has less opportunity than usual to show what an artistic chameleon he is. The pages are eye-poppingly attractive, especially that first Young Justice International splash… I’m not sure who he’s taking off, but there’s certainly a clean Tom Grummett vibe, and the colours of Jordan Gibson make this world seem even more inviting, Harli-Quinnitor and all. And Dave Sharp’s letters are as sharp as ever – I wonder if he’s ever had to letter ‘nominative determinism’?

As for Humphries’ script, it’s compelling, with big-screen Crisis-style action and lively character work… I like that over the issues the initially sensible Miguel and impulsively headstrong Summer have swapped roles.

All this, and a killer closing splash! Not a bad way to start 2020.

4 thoughts on “Dial H For Hero #10 review

  1. Oh man – that panel from Earth 32 is just gorgeous! Not having read the issue but do we get to see more of those heroes? I’m guessing at names like Starborg/Cyfire . . . maybe Dr. Fatestorm? Plastic Beetle? Wonder Hawkwoman? Wonderwing?

    Has the whole series been like this, because that sort of amalgamated multiversal fun ticks all my boxes!

    Happy New Year, Martin!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m assuming you got the digital copy, so while you can see the coloring effects employed to make the Earth-32 pages appear to be browning with age, with the Ben Day color dots fading, you might not know that the paper stock used for all the interior pages is actually classic newsprint. I’m not sure the digital version entirely conveys how weathered and faded the comic looks and feels. They definitely commit to the concept!

    I’ve long since stopped trying to follow the story – it has gone on too long, and it’s possible we’re going to eventually figure out that unless they carefully plan ahead for the length, the 12-issue maxi-series is simply too long for a single story.

    But they are clearly having fun throwing this together each month, and I am having fun looking at what Joe Quinones and Jordan Gibson come up with.

    Like

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