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Dial H has returned unscathed from its journey into Zero Month and from a rather entertaining single issue.
This month it drops us right back into the fray without missing a beat. A series quickly becoming known for its psychedelic art and outlandish use of panels and layouts - not to mention the similarly weird writing - it does not disappoint here. When the series first started out one could perhaps glimpse upon some sort of semblance of a plot in the first issue, behind the veneer of a fresh new take on an old formula. Fortunately for those who stuck with the book despite initial incoherency, each month afterwards brought new pieces to the overall puzzle. An engaging ride from start to finish.
For a series that can works only in reflection this issue was the culmination. It knocked it out of the park. To be poetic, heroes are molded, secrets are revealed, and a tensely written battle unfolds. All of this brought in the weirdly touching absurd tone that Mieville has come to mark the series with. He has taken the concept of the H-Dial and weaved an entirely enjoyable, and at times completely sidesplitting, story around it – creating new heroes with a skilled eye. A fanatastic one even makes their debut in spectacular fashion. You again feel deeply engaged in the fate of our unlikely hero Nelson Jent throughout this tale, his growth being carried through tersely written set-pieces.
China Mieville has not only started started anew with this title, but also has used the history of the various different incarnations to do it. And he has done it well. To fans this issue is a pat on the back for a journey well done, that they made it, but also setting up the scene for further adventures. The art is as on form as it has been. It’s raw and sketchy look complimenting the humorous, the dark, and the fantastical elements of the story all at the same time. One hopes that the artist to replace Mateus Santolouco on the duties will be as reliable to sync with the story.
Overall this month’s Dial H is the welcome climax to the first story arc and one that while may be outright confusing to new readers, steadfast fans will assuredly enjoy. Well, maybe after a read through or two since Mieville hits us again with a wall of his signature obtuseness. All in good fun though, and it is poised to continue that way.