Dial H For Hero #1 Opens Up A Whole New Universe

by Tony Thornley

The idea of the H-Dial, a rotary phone dial that transforms you into a superhero, is probably the greatest wish-fulfillment MacGuffin in comics. In DC Comics’ Dial H For Hero #1 we get so much more than wish fulfillment though.

The latest Wonder Comics series comes from Sam Humphries, Joe Quinones, and Dave Sharpe. It’s not just a fun return for the concept, it’s also yet another great new mythological addition to the DCU.

Miguel was once saved by Superman, and it was the greatest thrill of his life. He’s spent his entire life trying to recreate that thrill, becoming a daredevil, and longing to leave his small town. He may get his wish when a stunt goes dangerously wrong, and he’s saved by the appearance of a mysterious device…

It’s been a long time since I liked a comic so much for just being FUN. Humphries and Quinones craft a world that’s engaging, bright and hopeful. Miguel and Summer, the other lead, are both instantly interesting and relatable, but best of all they feel like actual teens, not small adults.

Humphries’ skill as a writer is put to the test, making a concept like this feel so relatable. Miguel really is an every man though, with hard knocks that could happen to anyone. I grew up in a small town, and I can’t tell you the number of times I daydreamed of experiencing so much more than home offered me, just like Miguel.

Quinones seemed like a great fit the moment this series was announced, but it was stunning HOW great of a fit he was. His designs are solid for the kids, and he makes the town of Devil’s Canyon jump off the page and feel very real. However, as the series takes a turn for the heroic, he kicks it in high gear and crafts one of the most exciting sequence of pages I’ve read in comics.

For the first half of the book, panel borders were very straight and rigid. Then, as Miguel has his accident and the H-Dial appears, suddenly the layouts shift into something much more dynamic, shattering the panel borders, then outright challenging what a comic layout should be. Then Miguel’s first transformation happens, and Quinones shifts his style completely, blending together Jack Kirby and Rob Liefeld in a bombastic and over the top sequence that’s just absolutely thrilling to read.

The Brian Bendis curated Wonder Comics imprint continues its streak of wins in this issue, providing perhaps the best first issue of the quartet of books in the imprint. I’m already giddy for more.

Dial H For Hero #1 is available now from DC Comics.

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