“Was there a time when you wanted to fly away but you couldn’t?”
The H-Dial returns to the DC Universe with a KZZAK thanks to brilliant creative team of Sam Humphries, Joe Quinones, and Dave Sharpe. Choosing a new hero in the form of daydreaming, thrill-seeking, and hopeful Miguel, Dial H for Hero embodies everyone’s desire to escape the mundane and experience the feeling of having superpowers. Young Miguel chooses excitement and danger as a way to escape his boring life under his cruel uncle’s roof, but when the H-Dial literally falls into his lap, Miguel might have more excitement than he could have ever imagined.
Humphries, Quinones, and Sharpe have to carefully assemble a lot of moving characters and elements in order to make the H-Dials return feel as exciting, magical, and authentic as it does. When that red, obtuse, rotary dial appears out of thin air with a sharp crackle, it takes your breath away. The true collaborative efforts of Humphries and Quinones use multiple creative and artistic styles to bring an unprecedented level of authenticity to the H-Dial, the “Heroverse,” and new characters like Miguel and Summer. It is largely Quinones who steals the show by using two of the many varied and unique styles he is able to capture so well to bring awe-inspiring moments onto the page. Miguel is a young teen who has experienced more loss than any young adult should, and is looking to recapture the excitement and energy he felt in Superman’s arms as a child. It may not be super powers, but everyone has a euphoric moment in their lives they wish to feel again. Reading through the issue you can feel Miguel’s yearning to relive that moment, and the natural high when he finally does. The ability to capture all of those specific, nuanced, and intangibles feelings while using a variety of styles that depict a love letter to the medium is what Quinones brings to the table and represents the core of Dial H for Hero.
The color choices that Quinones makes are essential towards capturing the Dial H for Hero‘s impact on the reader. The brightness that Superman brings to the page and the bold, electric red of the H-Dial contrast beautifully with the cool night sky and Miguel’s mundane situation to make the issue pop and dazzle during key moments. You can’t help but grin while turning from one page to the next as the book practically screams exhilaration and creativity. Even the softer quiet moments of reflection or conversation are filled with a longing and mystery that keeps the reader glued to the page. It’s what makes Dial H for Hero a pleasure to read and reread.
Quinones’s phenomenal art allows Humphries’s writing to shine even brighter through his direct and honest dialogue, authentic reflections, and a bombastic ’90s-era origin story for Monster Truck. The issue shows plenty of strengths for Humphries and Quinones alike while also hinting that there’s more in store that we can’t even begin to imagine. Dave Sharpe brings a cohesive presence throughout the book as he guides the reader through the experience of transformation. The different fonts and styles given to Miguel, his uncle, Monster Truck, the Operator, and the police provide more emphasis during the jaw-dropping moments throughout the issue.
While the H-Dial has been floating around the DC Universe for decades, Dial H for Hero feels more connected than ever. As Miguel dials H-E-R-O for the first time, familiar figures from across the DC Universe such as Robin, Snapper Carr, and even Angel and Sam from Angel and the Ape feel the H-Dial’s reactivation. Its not much run with, but it leaves the reader wondering who Miguel may cross paths with while still wielding the H-Dial. There are clearly a lot of powerful people who have immediately felt its return and will do anything for the feeling of transformation again. Meanwhile, Miguel is having the time of his life with the weirdest but coolest telephone he’s ever seen, wondering what to do next. It’s an intriguing mystery hidden inside an exciting adventures.
Nothing’s more exciting, however, than Miguel’s first transformation into Monster Truck. Here is where we see styles change, transformations occur, and the birth of a new superhero. Monster Truck explodes out of the page with a fury seldom felt since the ’90s. Complete with a wild origin story, cheesy catchphrases, and crazy poses, Monster Truck is sure to bring joy to any Rob Liefeld, Todd McFarlane, or Jim Lee fan. He is loud, bombastic, and largely unnecessary but a ton of fun and an amazing way to show how two completely different styles can seamlessly fit into one issue. Humphries and Quinones provide an outrageous transformation built upon the rambunctious and exciting style they grew up with.
By the end of the issue, we see that the Thunderbolt Club has also returned and that the H-Dial now has an operator. All of this and more is packed into whirlwind of excitement, mystery, and love for an iconic era of comics. I don’t know there is a creative team out there having more fun than this one is in Dial H for Hero.
The Wonder Comics imprint continues to live up to its name. If Young Justice brings the wonder of youth, Naomi captures the wonder of discovering who we are, and Wonder Twins asks us to wonder about the would around us, then Dial H for Hero invites us to wonder about what and who we could be. Dial H for Hero #1 is a phenomenal first issue that packs more enjoyment into 21 pages than one could possibly imagine. Hang on the for ride, because we’re only getting started.