DIAL H FOR HERO #1 & MORE! [Mini-Reviews]

Books of Magic #6 CoverBOOKS OF MAGIC #6/ Script by KAT HOWARD/ Art by TOM FOWLER/ Colors by JORDAN BOYD/ Letters by TODD KLEIN/ Published by VERTIGO COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Newly returned from The Dreaming, Tim Hunter has discovered that more time passed in the waking world than he spent outside of it. Now, with another one of his teachers dead, the girl he loves missing and Tim more uncertain than ever if he can trust the mysterious Dr. Rose, Tim must make a fateful choice on where he must go next in his quest to master his magic powers.

Officially this is the last chapter of the first story arc of the new Books of Magic. Unofficially, this is a good place to start reading this magical little series before the next “book” starts next month. Kat Howard’s story is riveting and is perfectly brought to life by Tom Fowler and Jordan Boyd’s artwork. Todd Klein’s lettering, as always, is amazing. Perhaps the strongest title of the Sandman revival, this is a must-read!

5-5

 

Dial H for Hero #1 CoverDIAL FOR HERO #1/ Script by SAM HUMPHRIES/ Art & Colors by JOE QUINONES/ Letters by DAVE SHARPE/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Miguel is trapped in a lousy job in a lousy food truck in a lousy town. His only escape is his dreams of becoming a daredevil and his memories of the time when Superman saved his life. But fate, and someone called The Operator, have chosen Miguel for bigger things. All he has do do is protect an outdated artifact that offers tremendous power to those who need it.

With the exception of Wonder Twins, I haven’t felt a single one of DC Comics’ new Wonder Comics line for teen readers was actually written with teen readers in mind. Perhaps nothing exemplifies that better than the fact that they’re trying to revival the old Dial H For Hero concept for a generation to whom rotary phones and telephone booths are as archaic as buggy whips, sock hops and soda jerks.

Even that is not quite so dated as Sam Humphries’ story, whose protagonist is the classic cookie-cutter Chosen One, orphaned under mysterious circumstances and raised by a comically abusive uncle. His ticket to freedom is an even more poorly fleshed out Manic Pixie Dream Girl named Summer, of whom we know nothing except that she wants to get out of the same lousy town as Miguel  and she knows how to steal a car.

The only saving grace to this is the art by Joe Quinones, which is far better than this story deserves. Quinones’ color-work is bold and eye-catching, with outstanding visuals and a dynamic sense of action on every page. You almost forget that most of the comic is people standing around talking or floating in nondescript voids. Almost.

The artwork is great, but not nearly worth enduring the lackluster story and cardboard characters. Leave this one on the shelf and wait for someone at DC Comics to develop the sense to update this tired concept to Text H For HERO.

2-5

 

Fantastic Four #8 CoverFANTASTIC FOUR #8/ Script by DAN SLOTT/ Art by AARON KUDER, STEFANO CASELLI, DAVID MARQUEZ & REILLY BROWN/ Colors by MATT YACKEY/ Letters by VC’S JOE CARAMAGNA/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

With Galactus now acting as a power source for all the Earth and the Fantastic Four sealed in the ultimate prison, it seems that Doctor Doom’s triumph is complete. Will the Fantastic Four find a way to escape? Will Galactus somehow overcome the will of Doom? Will comic book critics stop asking rhetorical questions in their issue summaries?

Again I must complement Dan Slott for his command of Victor Von Doom’s character, though I know he can only do so much to subvert the status quo that demands he cannot be allowed to win long-term and that Reed Richards must be victorious. despite his clear inferiority. I shan’t spoil how this issue ends beyond saying that I laughed at it and must admit that Slott did come up with a convincing and logical reason for how Doom lost this fight by enraging the real power of the Fantastic Four.

Unfortunately, the artwork is as muddled as the story is brilliant. With four artists working on this issue in interchangeable order, there is no sense of unity to the book. Nothing really looks bad, as such, but there is no clear visual aesthetic and no purpose for the discontinuity. Fantastic Four fans will enjoy themselves, but this issue won’t win over any new readers.

 

The Flash #67 CoverTHE FLASH #67/ Script by JOSHUA WILLIAMSON/ Art by SCOTT KOLINS/ Colors by LUIS GUERRERO/ Letters by STEVE WANDS/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Newly returned home after thwarting a death cult in Opal City, Barry Allen is disturbed by an usually peaceful homecoming. There hasn’t been a crime committed in Central City in weeks, nobody has seen the futurist lawman Commander Cold and even Warden Wolfe at Iron Heights is smiling. Barry Allen is sure there’s some kind of trick at play and he’s right, but he doesn’t remember the existence of the man responsible… James Jesse!

As I’ve noted before, the classic Trickster is my favorite Flash Rogue, so I was anxious to see how Joshua Williamson was going to reintroduce him into the modern Flash comics. While it’s still unclear just what Jesse is up to and how he is doing what he is doing, the scope of this scam is worthy of the Trickster name and has all but eliminated my fears that Jesse is going to be turned into a joke or a Joker rip-off, as he has in other media.

The artwork by Scott Kolins is everything you could hope for. There’s a reason Kolins was considered the definitive Flash artist by a generation of fans and he’s still got it over a decade later. If you haven’t been reading the Rebirth Flash series, this is the perfect place to start and see what you’ve been missing.

5-5

About Matt Morrison

Matt "Starman" Morrison is The Grand Exalted High Macha of Raspur - a non-existent but real-sounding country. He has been writing about comics since before the word "blogging" was coined. He enjoys acting, role-playing, movie-riffing and sarcasm. You can follow his adventures on Twitter, @GeekyGeekyWays.

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