This particular series has long been mourned by old time fans that remember the hay day of Vertigo’s ‘British Invasion’ recapturing the that unique taste of a Dada-esque mindset that permeated throughout one of Vertigo’s hit series, Doom Patrol by Grant Morrison and
It was cancelled, another editors axe brought down upon a cult classic. Is anyone really to blame? Usually when something of this parallel occurs the internet erupts in a fury of fire and rage that Lobo (pre-52) would shat himself something fierce, but the title went down with not so much whimper,but with a longing dial tone. It went down with fellow partners in arms Demon Knights and Legion of Superheroes, both great titles cut down before their prime. But let’s not mourn them any longer, let’s celebrate their doom!
With the final issue of Dial H we are finally given closure to the team’s pursuit of ‘O’ the rogue operator, the man behind the nefarious apocalyptic attacks across worlds our telephonic-super team, The Dial Bunch, as put by the overzealous and splendidly awesome Open-Window Man has endured since the team united in Issue # 11. When we last saw The Dial Bunch they were fast in pursuit of Fixer and Centipede, cobbling across universes and dimensions arriving on the Operators home world only to find the place in complete ruin. Scars from a war that’s long since ended and an ominous tower center of the land. I have to pause as I write this, cause honestly, the build up to this moment was so spectacular that I was bit let down at the conclusion of the entire thing. Our heroes press forward to launch a final assault on the mad villains and bring peace to the Dial H universe.
No spoilers! I’m not that kind of guy, I promise you that reader, but as a follower of the series since issue one I have to say the conclusion didn’t give it enough closure, even the Dial E follow up for in Justice League 23.3 didn’t really leave us much to draw on and at times it felt kind of hectic but that’s the the inner beauty of the whole series. We’re dealing with patch-quilt heroes from the spectacular dreams and marvelous minds of a unique writer and an amazing artist. Those final two chapters may not of been what we all expected but damnit, it give me hope and I hope the same to all of you.
There are two scenes I wish to address before we give this article a proper wrap up folks, if you don’t like some soap-boxy rant then you might want to skip the first paragraph below, but if you’ve ever been curious about the relationship between Roxie and Nelson, well, push through like champions!
I don’t think it’s very controversial but at the time it was brought up at my LCS water cooler one Wednesday. The overly ripe innuendo of Nelson and Roxie giving into crime fighting passion, getting freaky-deaky after a most dynamic bout with villains circa issue#10, opening in #11. Was it really bad? Personally I thought it was sweet, a role-reversal. The younger man, the older woman. The man attempting to scramble out in a huff. It’s something not likely seen in most media of entertainment. There’s a lot that can be addressed in particular about their relationship, I’m proud that Mieville addressed this and took it beyond a Dial-random kiss. And I’m happy that Nelson eventually comes to terms later in the series. It wasn’t ‘icky’ or ‘wrinklyed-blobby-grossness’ as a friend of mine put it. It was a sweet, awkward, human event that occurred and if more time permitted, could have been explored more in depth giving us something more than just ‘Yeah, now that I think about it, I love you too Roxie.’
Now, my final thought on a favorite scene and possibly one of the best lines from a DC title was spoken by a man in a garish outfit with the most unorthodox hero themes I’ve seen in all my years of reading comics, and yes, I lived through the 90’s as a nerd. Father Kirby help us then.
“I knew I’d find it sooner or later. No matter the world. It always has its alley. Its shot from the shadows. Its orphans.”
Issue #13 summed every variation of the Batman mythos beautifully in three letter boxes. The issue itself deals with the origins of Open-Window Man, similar circumstance drawing reference from the Batman mythos with a slight twist in the angle. Open-Window Man guides a young-graffiti-boy through a series of trials and training, helping him hone his skills to lead the fight on crime in his ‘wall-world.’ The ending ranks as one of my favorite sweetest moment in comic history more so than Damian’s ‘Bat-cow’ moment. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but to put it simply, the graffiti-child, if a possible variation of Bruce Wayne, I use if mainly because while Open-Window Man trains the graffiti-boy the Dial Bunch converses with what appears to be the graffiti-worlds version of the Justice League and there on the wall, a fully realized Batman doodle broods. But maybe only in name and not spirit… The boy had the spirit to become some great, but instead at the conclusion chose something… better. The child showed more ‘real-world’ maturity that caught me off guard, something I wasn’t expecting in Dial H.
But in the end, that’s Dial H’s charm. Something unexpected.