Dial H for Hero #1 – Sam Humphries, Writer; Joe Quinones, Artist
Ray – 10/10
Corrina: A Little Disjointed
Ray: The biggest unqualified win out of the Wonder Comics line so far, Dial H for Hero #1 shows that Sam Humphries is better than anyone in the business at fusing the absurd and the human. We saw it in Green Lanterns and Harley Quinn, but with a blank slate here he’s able to get even better. It stood out to me how much this first issue had in common with the cancelled Sideways (Latino teen lead, cosmic powers with ties to a larger conflict, unconventional family situation, spunky female best friend) but every element feels much more real, much more fleshed out.
The issue gets off to a good start with a young Miguel nearly dying in a pool stunt gone wrong and being flown to safety by a passing Superman. That rescue gave him a rush he’s been chasing ever since – but ten years later, his life is not what he hoped. His loving parents died in an accident and now he lives with a crude uncle and is forced to work in a Mayo-themed food truck. This segment felt a little more like a Mark Russell book, with its relentless spoofing of the American diet.
Despite the slight sheen of absurdity over these scenes, all the character moments feel great, including the introduction of perpetual runaway Summer and Miguel’s eventual decision to jump a gorge on a makeshift ramp – a near-death experience that brings him the HERO dial and kick-starts the book’s actual plot. While Humphries’ writing is a highlight, artist Joe Quinones is another star. Not only are his drawings in the main segment brilliant, he stunningly shifts his art style once the HERO dial is activated and Miguel transforms into “Monster Truck”, a ridiculous “XXXtreme superhero” given his abilities by alien monster trucks. Complete with pouches everywhere and sci-fi weaponry, the character is hilarious and Quinones shifts his art to resemble indie superhero artists like Michel Fiffe. This book’s first issue captures the sense of magic and adventure I’ve been searching for in other titles like Shazam, and it continues this line’s four-for-four success streak in a big way.
Corrina: Dial H for Hero #1 attempts to fuse the absurd with the human and it mostly succeeds but there are moments when it becomes too absurd and causes the story to lose its connection to the characters.
For instance, Miguel’s situation working in the Mayo-themed food truck was so over-the-top and satiric that I lost hold on any emotions I felt for him.
But, still, you can feel why Miguel wants to escape his life and his joy when he transforms into the Monster Truck.
And a big Wow for Quinones, who has the art style that’s perfect for this story, bright, bold, colorful, fleshing out the Monster Trucks and creating a new version of the Hero dial. The art makes everything look fun and fascinating and likely immediately appealing to the target audience.
But I didn’t find the characterization as fleshed out as Ray did. Miguel, rather than being someone inspired to adventure by Superman’s rescue, instead is turned into another sad-sack figure by being given tragedy in his origin. That makes me sad, rather than full of wonder.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.