If this guy is relying on phone booths, let alone phone booths with rotary dials, he's humped.
Dial H is written by China Mieville. I had never heard the name but DC was hyping the fact that an actual, real honest-to-goodness author was at the helm of one of their comics that I decided to see who the hell this China was.
Bit of an up and comer over the last decade, isn't he? I don't generally read a lot of new Science Fiction or Fantasy literature. Mostly it's because there is so much of it that I've never taken the time to research what's worth reading and the other mostly because I still have many Philip K. Dick novels left to read. But I'll give this author the benefit of the doubt seeing as how he likes the weird (so do I!), he played a lot of Dungeons and Dragons (as did I!), and he's a card carrying Marxist (I have a worker owned business!). Plus he's a writer who had the motivation and ambition to actually write novels in the actual world whereas I have never had the ambition nor the motivation nor the need for pats on the back and thus my writing languishes in pads and pads of paper, multiple text documents on laptop desktops, and my litter of webpages across the last decade and a half (most notably 1/3 of No Apologies! but my current homestead, somewhat abandoned as I catch up on comic books, Places & Predators). But just because he's an award winning and established author doesn't mean he can write a decent comic book! Look at that other writer they've got over there doing Birds of Prey! Bleck!
Before I jump into Dial H, I think I'll head over to The Cup and Saucer for breakfast. Be right back.
The hero. Quite a bit fatter than Bolland's cover.
Darren knows Nelse has been really down on himself lately seeing that he's jobless and out of shape and nearly died. And Nelse knows Darren is only looking out for him so Nelse runs off down the alley to catch up to Darren and apologize.
That phone booth you ran buy is magic, H.R. Huffenpuff!
Nelse gets punched in the face and knocked backward by the decrepit phone booth in the alley. Since he seems to have forgotten his cell phone, he jumps into the phone booth to call someone for help. When he uses the phone, he's transformed into Boy Chimney.
Is this is super persona because he smokes?
After reading about Dial "H" for Hero, I'm guessing Boy Chimney won't be a constant character in the book. Being that China's fiction is described as Weird Fantasy, he probably was attracted to the idea of creating new and strange super heroes every month. This title already feels a little bit like Doom Patrol. Boy Chimney would certainly fit in there.
Nelse's mind seems to be somewhat split as the new hero. He knows he's Nelse but he also knows he's Boy Chimney. He instinctively understands all of his new smoke powers but he doesn't quite understand the strange things he's saying although they reflect what he's thinking. By breathing in the smoke of the city, Boy Chimney knows everything the smoke has touched. He can see the entire city by breathing deep. He also nearly kills Darren's attackers by drowning them in the poisons of the city. But he allows them to live as he makes his escape with his unconscious friend.
Oh! Nelse is short for Nelson. I is smartish!
Later, one of the guys that beat up Darren calls up X.N. to report on what happened. It looks like these trouble-makers already have a female super hero they're dealing with called Manteau. Which is fitting because she wears a hooded cape. But this bald asshole wants protection from Boy Chimney since fighting creeps with super powers if beyond them. And it sounds like X.N. is going to provide them with some kind of super villain.
The next day, Nelson heads back to the phone booth.
I would think somebody would have carted this Phone Booth off into their flat years ago!
Sometimes I sit in the dark and weep like a super hero too!
After the encounter, Vernon gives X.N. a call for new orders now that they've got some weirdo or weirdos constantly butting into their business. The new orders are to just kill Darren and be done with the whole mess. That actually sounds like a pretty good evil guy plan for once. Let's just wash our hands of this fuckery we've gotten ourselves into and move on. We also get a glimpse of The Owner, a guy sealed off behind some glass and wearing a radioactive suit of sorts. He also has long, weird fingers.
At the end of the issue, Nelson returns to the phone booth one last time. Curious? Or is he addicted to the power? He realizes just before dialing one more time that the number, 4376, spells HERO. And that's that for the first issue.
Dial H #1 Rating: I was prepared to not like this comic because an actual author was writing it and who does he think he is being all writerly and literate and shit? But this is a really good book so far. Doom Patrol has always been a favorite of mine due to all the weird and this comic has that feel. I also like that the protagonists are normal guys who, it appears, we're going to get to know as normal guys. What is going to happen to them when they have so much power at their fingertips? Especially since Darren is already into some pretty ethically ambiguous stuff. I'm going to place Dial H at Rank 15 just between Suicide Squad and I, Vampire.