With some of the “The New 52″ lineup facing cancellation after only 8 issues, DC decided to use this as an opportunity to release a second wave of reboots. ‘Dial H’ was one such reboot, but was it the replacement we needed?
‘Dial H’ is an interesting concept to say the least. Instead of the buff or mutated avenger we usually get, Dial H’s hero is an overweight chain smoker with self-esteem issues, fresh off a heart attack. Upon witnessing his younger brother being assaulted in an alley, our “hero” Nelson Jent hides out in an antiquated phone booth and frantically tries to call for help. In this moment of urgency he accidentally dials H-E-R-O (4-3-7-6), and in a brilliant flash of light, Nelson transforms into Boy Chimney, an eccentric chimney sweep with brick-hard skin and smoke based powers. As Boy Chimney, he makes quick work of the assaulters. All good things come to an end, however, as the effects are always temporary. Over the next few days, he learns that the old rotary in the alley never results in the same hero twice. While this sounds ideal (multiple identities with different weaknesses), not all the heroes are particularly useful.
With so many heroes, artist Mateus Santolouco and writer China Miéville have a difficult job, but take on the challenge magnificently. Each hero is heavily detailed and unique, making the discovery of Nelson’s transformation powers all the more exciting. The art is not afraid to be ugly, which a comic such as this greatly benefits from.
As much as I loved the Batman reboot, I must say that ‘Dial H’ blows it out of the water. Issue #3 cannot come soon enough!