Comic Book Review: Dial H #1 and #2
I’ve been reading comic books for a long time. I mean the better part of three decades. I’ve read a lot of great new ideas. But unfortunately, I’ve also seen a lot of old same-old-same-old repackaged and pimped as the new hotness.
What I’m saying is I’ve learned to expect very little from mainstream superhero comics. When you’ve read comics as long as I have, not much can catch you by surprise (How many plausible reasons are there really to have the X-Men go to war with the Avengers?). I mean, when you pick up any Batman comic, you’ve got a pretty good idea what kind of story you’ll get.
So my search for fresh and unique comics continues. And the latest spark of potential has come from the unlikeliest of places, one of the Big Two: DC Comics.
I decided to pick up Dial H after watching the crew at KaPow! review the first issue. And boy am I glad I did.
Let me introduce you to Nelson; late twenties, living in Littleville, eating crap, and smoking all the time. He looks more like Chris Farley than the kind of character you’d expect to see front-and-center in a superhero comic.
Nelson finds himself headfirst down the rabbit hole when his friend Darren gets mixed up with some criminal lowlives. Nelson attempts to call the police, but finds the phone booth he’s calling from is actually… well… I don’t even know what it is. All I (and Nelson) know is that his random fumblings on the old school phone dial somehow transformed him into a bonafide, genuine super hero: Boy Chimney.
So what we have here is an alien or magical phone that turns Nelson into a completely different superhero every time he uses it.
I’m not familiar with either the writings of China Mieville or the art of Mateus Santolouco, but I really enjoy what they’re doing here. So far the story is compelling and Santolouco seems as ease with the Victorian era Chimney Boy sequences as he is with the more mainstream superhero stuff. I don’t really have much more to say about these two but I look forward to seeing just what they can come up with.
The thing I am completely loving after two issues of Dial H is this: the untapped potential. Not just in the superhero characters and designs (though I really do want to see more of The Iron Snail) but also in what this comic can be. Dial H can be a cosmic intergalactic comic, a street level vigilante comic, a disturbing horror comic… the limits are, for once, literally the writer’s imagination. This comic can literally go anywhere! Let’s hope DC gives the creators the space to flex their muscle and make a truly awesome comic.
Go pick up Dial H. This is one of the few books that, in my opinion, has delivered on the New 52′s promise of taking comics in a bold new direction.
Now let’s sit back and see just where Mieville and Santolouco take Nelson throughout the DC Universe.