Comic Vine Review


Dial H #1 - What's the 411?


A new take on the old familiar concept. China Miéville and Mateus Santolouco unleash a new hero as part of the "Second Wave" on the "New 52."

If you're looking for a new comic series and a new type of hero, this is a book you'll want to check out.

The Good

I had read a couple appearances with the Dial H for Hero idea. I thought it was an interesting idea, being able to simply dial and become a different hero. From what I recall, many of the stories came across as a little cheesy. That is not what you're going to get here.

From the incredible Brian Bolland cover, you immediately get a slight creepy vibe before you even open the book. I will admit, I am a sucker for Bolland's art and despite its simple nature, I absolutely love the imagery.

The great thing for new (and old) readers is we are introduced to some new characters right away. You do not need to a thing about the H-Dial and the history of those that used it. (If you are so inclined, be sure to check out the Dial H for Hero page to see all the different hero identities that have appeared over the years).

Not all heroes are cut from the same cloth. That's what is a breath-taking treat when reading this issue. We already have multiple titles with the perfect heroes or ones full of angst as well as the troubled, down on his luck hero. We have something a bit different here. It's not fully clear where this is going to go but you can bet I am already committed to finding out.

Santolouco's art sets the mood for this dark and dreary corner of the DC Universe. It's not dark in a scary or supernatural way, but dark in a more sad or depressed nature. Again, this sets the book apart from the other titles on the shelf along with the fact that even the characters don't look like your typical main characters. And the 'heroes' we see in this issue are something to see.

The Bad

While it is a first issue and is meant to lure us in, there are some unanswered questions. There's no explanation as to the purpose or origin of the H-Dial. It's not so much of a problem that it will frustrate readers but it's possible some readers might wish for a little more explanation.

I do dig Santolouco's art but there were some times the raw nature of the character designs distracted me. Nelse's nose, for example, felt like it changed a tiny bit at moments. It was almost as pointy as Penguin's in some panels and a little more subdued in others.

As part of the "Second Wave," this sure doesn't feel like it's part of the DC Universe. That's not necessarily a bad thing. I could easily see this in its own little corner in the Vertigo universe but that isn't the case. With the darker and slightly more mature angle, I'm almost afraid of what will happen when the obligatory superhero appearance has to occur.

The Verdict

I had read a couple Dial H for Hero stories in the past. I wasn't sure how it would play out in today's comics and in the "New 52." The darker, more mature approach doesn't feel as if its part of the "New 52" universe so we'll have to wait and see how it is incorporated. The concept and the characters here are easily approachable for new readers. There is no need to know anything about the H-Dial or the past users of it. For all we know, there is no past history in this new DC Universe. China Miéville's take on the idea and set up for the series has definitely aroused my curiosity. There is an extreme mysterious nature to the events that occur so we have to have a little faith that this series will be as good as this issue is setting it up to be. I don't know what's going to happen next and I don't want any clues. I can't wait for the next issue to find out first hand. This wasn't one of the "Second Wave" books I thought would be at the top of my list but its made a great debut as a new series. Find some spare change and dial up a taxi to take you to the comic shop so you can pick up this issue.