Dial H for Hero #6 Review – Q for Quality
Dial H for Hero #6
Written by: Sam Humphries
Art by: Joe Quinones
Inks by: Scott Hanna
Colors by: Jordan Gibson
Published by: DC Comics
So after the dirge that was last week’s releases, this week fared much better. There were some great releases, there were some disappointing releases but it was, all in all, an eventful week. However, since I’m 100% certain you’ve either read every important issue or have already decided to not read them, I’m going to be talking about one of my favorite ongoings and encouraging you to get on the boat if you’re not on it already.
If you don’t know, the premise of Dial H is basically Ben 10 before Ben 10. It’s about a mystic dial that turns you into a superhero, usually a completely new one, never seen before and never to be seen again. This particular incarnation goes to a kid named Miguel, who is now travelling across the country to hand the dial to Superman (who he feels is the most trustworthy with it) and things go awry with the Heroverse and the Villainverse, as well as the previous owners of the dial. In this particular issue, the main villain, Mr. Thunderbolt, has turned almost everyone in Metropolis into a superhero! Oh no!
The thing that makes Dial H for Hero so fun is that it’s basically an excuse to play around with crazy and creative ideas, so you need a person who gets it to really make the book work. Fortunately, Sam Humphries knows exactly how to work this comic over. He anchors the story in Miguel’s coming of age journey and then he can go wild with all the insane concepts for heroes and bringing back weird DC accoutrement like Snapper goddamn Carr.
This version of Dial H also has a strong streak of parody/ homage, where the various heroes represented are clear stylistic homages to the works of various comic artists, some more subtle, some more direct, and this issue takes things much farther with what I can only call “Comic Book Picture in Picture”.
But, if I’m being honest right now, the writing isn’t exactly the main discussion point for this series. It is what keeps the book on track and I’m sure Humphries is the guy giving direction and focusing everything, but the art is king in this comic.
I’ve never thought much of Joe Quinones’ work before. I remember him from that Black Canary and Zatanna graphic novel a few years back, and I’ve seen some of his cover work, and, while I think he’s good, I’ve never considered him an outstanding artist. Welp, tar and feather me for blaspheming, because Quinones is spectacularly, mind blowingly amazing in this book.
The problem with doing style parodies in a comic is that for them to really hit, you need to create an atmosphere as close to the subject you’re parodying. Artists usually accomplish this through usage of shadow, color and maybe a slight artistic shift, but Quinones apparently wasn’t satisfied with this and said “How about if I just learn to draw like the artists we’re parodying?” and THEN HE DID IT. Dial H for Heroes is a feast to the eyes because in every issue Quinones perfectly captures the thing he’s parodying and, a lot of times, draws it as close to the original as possible. This issue is a culmination of that, where all the styles have to fit together and clash, from Michael Allred all the way to generic anime look.
Dial H for Hero is fun, amazingly drawn, totally creative and, while the story is occasionally a little light, it more than makes up for it with sheer energy. Pick it up and read if you’re not doing it already.