At the bottom of all this chaos, the struggle seems to be between the Operator and Mister Thunderbolt. But who are they, really? Find out in Dial H for Hero #8 from DC Comics.
Writer: Sam Humphries
Artist: Paulina Ganucheau and Joe Quinones
Colorist: Jordan Gibson and Joe Quinones
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 23, 2019
Previously in Dial H for Hero, Miguel and Summer have found and lost the H-Dial. As they cross the country trying to find a hero who can help them, Mister Thunderbolt chases them trying to get the H-Dial. In a truly chaotic moment, all the phones in the city are turned into H-Dials. With hundreds of heroes getting in each other’s ways, it isn’t clear that any progress can be made. But then we find out there isn’t just one H-Dial – there are four. What powers do they have?
ALWAYS PUSHING THE ENVELOPE
Dial H for Hero #8 continues to take what you expect of comic books and twist it around some more. It opens with breaking the fourth wall enough to tell you how to read the comic, because this issue tells two stories at the same time, one forward and one backward. Thankfully there are page numbers.
The stories are both origins. One tells us how Robbie Reed eventually became The Operator, and this one runs forward. The other is the origin of Mister Thunderbolt and this one runs backward. The thing that is cool about it is that if you read the book as usual – one page at a time, reading left to right – there are connections between the two stories. Every final panel of a page has a phrase that occurs in the first panel of the following page, even though it’s in an entirely different context. To read it straight through makes more sense then you might expect.
But you can also read it in page number order, and it makes even more sense. Odd connections are on-theme for a story where a phone takes center stage. And odd connections are true for The Operator and Mister Thunderbolt as well.
Suffice it to say, we find out a bit more about the yellow H-Dial and what Mister Thunderbolt’s overarching plot has been all along. It doesn’t exactly move Miguel’s and Summer’s story along much, but it does clear up a few loose ends.
IN AND OUT OF THE HEROVERSE
The art styles do not change as much in Dial H for Hero #8 as we’ve seen in some previous issues. These stories really have their base in the Heroverse, which has a location just beyond the Speed Force Wall. It looks fairly untamed, and I love the bright colors. Those colors are subtly different for The Operator and for Mister Thunderbolt, but they complement each other.
There are also a couple fun double page spreads, and some interesting symmetry and parallels between the stories. I enjoy when books take some time to explore some of the fun things you can do in this medium that affect the mood and atmosphere of a story.
BOTTOM LINE: AN INTERESTING ORIGIN
There’s a sense that since the series has been expanded, Dial H for Hero #8 is taking a breath to pause and fill up some of those pages with more details that we might have otherwise gotten. It is well-articulated, and it has fun with the intertwined stories.
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Dial H for Hero #8
Welcome to the Heroverse, where heroes exist in potentia, and narrative flow has no set direction.