This is a big month for China Mieville! His new Moby Dick-inspired adventure novel Railsea hit shelves, and along with it, the first issue of his new ongoing series from DC Comics: Dial H for Hero. Mieville and artist Mateus Santolouco waste no time in introducing Nelson Jent, an out of work and out of shape lump of a guy who happens to stumble onto phone booth with the power to transform him into superheroes. You read correctly: superheroes. Every time Nelson uses the isolated, old-fashioned rotary dial he transforms into another offbeat hero. In this, the first issue, Nelson assumed the form of Boy Chimney – a bizarre, smoke spouting steampunk monstrosity – and Captain Lachrymose, an emo superman who can make his enemies relive their saddest memories.
True to the tag line, Nelson is indeed “a most unlikely hero”: an overweight schlub who doesn’t necessarily “become” the bizarro heroes summoned by the phone as much as he’s possessed by them. On his first adventure he nearly kills a group of street thugs before he wrests control away from the persona of Boy Chimney. Learning to control his outrageous alter-egos will be a huge challenge, maybe even a larger one that the villains he’ll face, but it’s ample grist for the mill in what has the possibility to be the most intriguing title among DC’s already strong New 52 line-up.
Issue one of Dial H for Hero is available now.