Saturday, May 16, 2020

Dial H for Hero #1 Review

For Your Convenience

Writer: Sam Humphries
Artist and Cover: Joe Quinones
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Variant Cover: Nick Derington
Assistant Editor: Andrea Shea
Editors: Mike Cotton and Andy Khouri
Group Editors: Brian Cunningham and Mark Doyle
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: March 27, 2019


It should be no surprise to readers of the site that your ol’ pal Reggie is a fan of Dial H for Hero. And not just the initial series seen in the pages of Showcase, or later in Adventure Comics, or when it had its own self-titled series, or the semi-inspired series Hero Hotline, or the most recent iteration at the dawn of the New 52—I have enjoyed them all for different reasons. So if I don’t like this version—it’s broken the chain! Or will this be my most favorite take on the Hero Dial of all? More will have to come out to be sure. For now, check out my review of Dial H for Hero #1, right here!

Explain It!

You don’t see as many daredevils since Evel Knievel passed away. Nowadays, it’s all viral challenges, like who can eat the most thumbtacks or taking cannonballs to the kidneys or whatever. Once upon a time, the style of execution was just as important as the death-defying challenge to hand. Amateur stuntman and Mayonnaise food truck employee Miguel understands that, ever since he knocked himself out on a diving board as a kid and Superman flew him to the hospital. If you want to get attention, you have to go big. You might even attract the attention of Superman.
One evening, after being yelled at by his Uncle Brent to clean out the mayo traps, and flirting with local chronic runaway/bad girl Summer, Miguel intends to jump a gap on his bike, after cruising down a perilously steep ramp that looks to have been put together with Elmer’s Glue and good intentions. And, he fails. While falling to his absolute death, a red phone appears and a voice calls his name…could this be the legendary Bat-Phone??? No, it’s the Hero Dial or whatever, and the voice tells Miguel he must dial H if he wants to live—that would be the number 4, or “GHI” in alphabetic terms. Upon doing so, he winds up in a phone booth—just like that poster of his hero, Superman…which would apparently be revealing the existence of Kal-El’s secret identity? That phone booth descends into the ground below and winds up in an alternate dimension, while around the world, Robin, Lobo, Snapper Carr, Angel and the Ape, Harley Quinn, and Alfred all get some kind of meaningful mental impression while a glowing number 4 appears on their foreheads.
In this other dimension, where Miguel is floating in some pink haze while a giant cloaked figure tells him to hero up, Miguel decides he is Monster Truck, an awesome 1990s-style extreme character that is like…part truck, part wrestler? The art style shifts appropriately here, and it looks pretty awesome. We even get a secret origin, but most importantly, this gives Miguel the power to leap out of the chasm into which he fell, and wind up safe and sound in a car sales lot, where every car has been destroyed. He comes to as the police are broadcasting from outside the lot for him to surrender, so Miguel runs out the back way to find Summer has stolen his uncle’s Mayonnaise food truck, and she’s looking for adventure—and whatever comes her way. Now on the lam, Miguel gets another call through his red telephone from the Operator—who says he comes from a place called the Heroverse, and something something prophecy something greatest champion something beware the Thunderbolt Club to be continued.
That was a reasonably fun story. There’s bound to be some commentary about hard-wired telephones in a cellular phone world, but anyone writing about that in their review is a lazy, piece of shit idiot. Everyone understands these things on a symbolic level at the least, and this comic does use a bunch of these “ancient” trappings in a symbolic way. I’m a little disappointed in the careless allusion to Superman emerging from a telephone booth—in a world where Superman exists, that should not be a trope. But I loved the homage to 90s comics, and of course you don’t need to twist my arm to look at some amazing artwork by Joe Quinones. There’s a little to hold on to with this issue, and I’m going to cling to it in hopes of a great series to come.

Bits and Pieces:

Learning just enough about the Hero Dial to definitively say we know nothing, this issue is all about possibilities. The setting in place, it is now up to the players to perform, and the readers to read. And to buy. The readers have to do that, too.


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