cover image Dial H Volume 1: Into You

Dial H Volume 1: Into You

China Miéville, Mateus Santolouco et al. DC Comics, $14.99 ISBN 978-1-4012-3775-2

In noted SF author Miéville’s much-ballyhooed relaunch of the Silver Age classic Dial H for Hero, a pudgy telecom engineer named Nelson discovers a telephone booth where each time he dials a number he is transformed into a different superhero. One day it’s pollution-spewing Boy Chimney, the next it’s the armor-clad Iron Snail or the emo-goth Captain Lachyrmose, and so on. All of these (dangerously and unpredictably temporary) forms aid Nelson in his battle against a reptilian gangster threatening his town, and against Abyss, a cross-dimensional villain threatening all of existence. The concept of the randomized superhero is an addictive one, which likely explains why DC reboots this series every other decade. But even with an ace fantasist like Miéville crafting the story and some energetic art from Santolouco, it doesn’t come together. A fundamental problem here is that once Miéville comes up with a particularly engaging hero (Boy Chimney deserves his own series), it’s too soon on to the next one, and the next. Even more disappointing is the fact that the story in this collection of the first six issues is so pedestrian and, with the exception of some semipoetic dialogue, not befitting of Miéville’s great penchant for baroque oddity. (April)