Dial H for Hero #3 – Sam Humphries, Writer; Joe Quinones, Arist Deyn, Artists; Jordan Gibson, Colorist
Ray – 9.5/10
Corrina: More Heroes! (And Villains)
Ray: Creative team Sam Humphries and Joe Quinones get an assist from indie creator Arist Deyn making their Wonder Comics series even more surreal in Dial H for Hero #3., What ensues could easily be mistaken for a Young Animal title. Summer and Miguel are still on the run from their hated hometown, and the H-dial is in the hands of a corrupt cop who tried it out and became addicted – and is now working for the mysterious Mister Thunderbolt. The idea of this conspiracy of former H-dial users who have become addicted to the high is pretty brilliant and a great hook I’m surprised no other run on this concept used before. Aside from a brief flashback to Robby Reed’s time with the H-dial, most of the first half of the issue is devoted to Summer and Miguel hanging out and we learn a lot more about Summer – and what drove her to run away so many times. The fact that she’s a former pageant kid whose mother turned abusive when she rebelled is an intriguing hook, but this is the second teen character in recent weeks locked into closets by an abusive guardian – an odd repetitive choice.
Then the issue takes a huge turn when Officer Corrine Benson gives into the temptation and dials the H-dial again, transforming into a surreal Vertigo-inspired hero called the Bluebird of Happiness. I’m really not sure what this character is supposed to be – she doesn’t get the complex origin that past heroes do – but it doesn’t matter, because Deny’s splash pages showing Bluebird’s surreal impact on the world around her are fantastic. That leads Summer to take the lead as the edgy punk-rock hero “Lolo Kick-Em”, who has a pulp-inspired origin and an Allred-inspired vibe. A big part of the joy of this series has been watching Quinones and now guest artists cut loose with inventive art styles, showing off what they can do and bending the limits of the comic book format. Some of the best art in the series in this issue, but watching Summer cut loose and get to tell her story rather than playing second fiddle to Miguel is the real highlight here.
Corrina: More than half the fun of this title is the whirlwind of heroes created by the H-Dial. It must be a blast for artists to work on this concept, as they can let their imaginations run free, creating character concepts and images that don’t necessarily need to make sense, save for one issue.
And Deyn has clearly gone all-out with the Bluebird of Happiness who seems to be a hero but is more of a godlike being whose help may actually be hurtful. Plus, there’s Lolo, and giving the spotlight to Summer, and that’s a blast too.
Unfortunately, the base of this series, Miguel and Summer, still needs work. I like knowing more about Summer, and I guess abusive parents are now required for runaways, but this pair needs some fleshing out, as they’re less interesting than the concept of the former H-Dialers being addicted to becoming heroes.
Can I recommend it yet? The artwork is a serious draw. I wish the story was up to its level.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.