Off The Shelf: Dial H and Earth 2
This week saw the release of a number of comic books from DC’s New 52 series including Worlds Finest, Batman Incorporated G.I. Combat and the Ravagers. I want to talk about the other two big releases of the week Earth 2 from James Robinson, Nicola Scott and Trevor Scott and Dial H from China Mieville and Mateus Santolouco.
A Different World! A Different Destiny! That’s the tag-line used to open Earth 2 #1, a fun though at times frustrating read. The writers and illustrators of this certainly have their work cut out for them here trying to re-imagine the earlier incarnations of the Justice Society of America and the whole Earth 2 alternative universe. The first choice by writer James Robinson appears to have made is to tell the story of the origin of the JSA and their formation from the very beginning. The second big decision appears to have been to use three incredibly important and well established characters to set up this new story.
My main criticism would be that people who are unfamiliar with the DC universe might find the story confusing at times, though I doubt that many people who even visit comic book stores will not know who Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are. My other criticism, and the source of my frustration, would be that the writer seems to mention and then promptly skim over several really interesting stories that are probably deserving of their own books. Overall Earth 2 is worth a read though #1 did seem to be an exercise in just going through the motions in order to get to the bigger story.
Changing tack entirely we have Dial H #1 which is a relaunch of a DC concept that has been around since 1966 and which is possibly one of the most unusual and interesting comic’s I have ever read. The basic premise is that there is a mysterious phone booth somewhere in Littleville that allows the dialer to become one of a wide array of random and very weird superheroes for a short time if they dial the word H-E-R-O.
In this iteration the story opens up on a pair of uninspiring, overweight city dwellers who’s lives take a sudden turn when Darren is set upon by a group of thugs outside of his friend Nelse’s apartment. Nelse tries to help but is promptly knocked aside and then fumbles with the dial of a nearby phone in an attempt to get help.
A quick flash later and the demented Boy Chimney emerges from the booth, smoke belching from his top hat who deals with the thugs and delivers Darren to the hospital. That’s barely half of the story in this issue and it only gets more strange and amazing as it goes on, I absolutely recommend that you pick this up if you can.
There were of course tonnes of other releases this week and I will have a review up soon of Dark Horse Comics B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth: The Pickens County Horror (scary), Valient’s X-O Manowar (awesome) and of course Avengers vs. X-men: Round 3 (Wolverine!).