Writer: China Miéville
Pencils: Alberto Ponticelli
Inks: Dan Green
Colors: Richard and Tanya Horie
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Associate Editor: Gregory Lockard
Editor: Will Dennis
Special thanks to Karen Berger
I'm assuming this cover is by Brian Bolland (that looks like his signature on it, anyway), and I have to admit that I kind of like it. It is pretty funny to see a big fat guy squished into the Flash suit. Although we knew it was coming, it still works as a WTF cover — and in this case, the F stands for Flash.
So I don't know anything about Dial H, except for what I've read here and in issue #12. From what I can surmise, our main heroes are a big fat guy named Nelson and an old lady named Roxie. They have a couple of magical rotary phone dials that can turn them into bizarre, imaginary heroes and sidekicks. And the sidekicks apparently always have to obey the heroes.
It seems that in the previous issue, Roxie and Nelson decided to sleep together while she was a hero and he was her sidekick. They wake up the next morning back to normal, and Nelson begins freaking out. He feels like he was used and taken advantage of, so he spins the dial, hoping to become a hero that could quickly get him out of there. And he turns into the Flash.
Nelson has a hard time controlling his new-found speed, and he begins to panic some more, but Roxie is able to help him eventually slow down. She then explains that the dial usually calls in imaginary heroes, but this is a rare case where it has taken the powers of a real hero. Nelson starts to get some of the Flash's memories, and he heads toward Iron Heights to fight the Outlanders, and it looks like he races right past Barry Allen.
But instead of battling the Outlanders, Nelson chooses to search all of Central City for the Flash, but can't find him. After checking a few more cities, he comes back to chew out Roxie for not telling him he could steal powers from an actual hero.
While all this is happening, a weird guy in a blue suit named Centipede summons an inter-dimensional being known as Fixer. They start chasing Nelson and Roxie, trying to get the dial. Nelson uses the Flash's speed to run all the way to Australia, but then his powers wear off and Fixer and Centipede catch up to them anyway.
It was pretty fun to see somebody struggle to get a hold of Flash's powers. One funny moment was when he went to get Roxie a cup of coffee, then decided to get her three more cups to see which one's the best. This issue also helped show how scary it could be to have super speed. Unfortunately, these were only mildly interesting tidbits in an otherwise poor comic book.
Disturbing story. We start the story on the morning after a potential rape. Uh, no thank you. I did not sign up for this. I only came in here because I'm a Flash fan and I want to find out why he lost his powers. But here I am, presented with a rather disturbing story and disturbing art. I didn't need to see half-naked, fat, ugly and old people getting out of bed. Everything about that was just wrong. And then the side story didn't help at all, either. So this Centipede guy kills a bunch of people and melts his father? What the heck is going on here?
What was the point? Obviously, DC felt that bringing in an A-lister like the Flash would help boost sales for Dial H. But the creators of Dial H didn't do anything to help out the Flash fans like me, who started reading this series at issue #11. There should have been clear explanations to who all these people are, what their motivations are, and how their powers work. Instead, we're thrown right into the thick of things, and even after multiple readings, I still have no idea what's going on. But what makes me even angrier, is the fact that this Nelson guy didn't use the Flash's powers to do anything significant. He bought a bunch of coffee, name-dropped the Outlanders and Trickster, then ran away to Australia. If this is one of the only times the dial gives him powers of a real hero, then it should be a significant event, and he should have used these powers to accomplish something monumental. I expected him to go help out Barry Allen, but all we got was a quick glance of a guy who I think is supposed to be Barry, but I'm not sure. And if Nelson isn't going to help Barry fight the Outlanders, then he should at least use his newly-acquired super speed to fight this Centipede guy — not just run away from him in vain. Ugh. What a waste of an issue.
Final score: 3 out of 10
Next time: The Flash #19