Review: Dial H, Volume One – Into You / Author: China Mielville / Artist: Matteus Santolucco / Publisher: DC / Release Date: Out Now
Dial H is a reboot of DC comics classic Dial H for Hero, updated slightly for the modern day. The premise of the book is still the same as before; everyday guys finds themselves in need of help and rush to a phonebooth. They dial a number at random and suddenly manifest superhuman powers. They later discover that by dialling H-E-R-O they turn into a fully fledged superhero complete with an outlandish costume.
This new version keeps much of the charm of the original, but adds a fair degree of surreal strangeness to the entire affair. Writer China Mielville is better known for odd and surreal novels such as Perdido Street Station, and Dial H is more of the same; weird and wacky fun with a series of well thought out plot arcs. Fans of the old series will be pleased to know that the original elements, such as the dial and the operator, are still in place here; the book has not been modernised so much that it’s unrecognisable.
Matteus Santolucco’s art is perfect for the book; it’s crisp, clear and yet perfectly capable of the wide variety of bizarre personalities and powers that make up the world of Dial H. As this is the first volume, the plot pretty much concentrates on establishing who the main characters are, though not before it ensures that the book is one of the oddest things to hit DC comics since Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol. The nature of heroism and identity is explored in an interesting and heartfelt way, but not so much that it gets in the way of the action. If you like your comic books strange, with a touch of high concept and great artwork, then this is for you.