I’m sure that everyone was really looking forward to ‘The Secret Origin of Mister Thunderbolt’, but who could argue with an issue spent on showing us some of the standout individuals who became heroes when Metropolis became ground zero for the power of the H-Dial unleashed? Issues like that are something to embrace. Particularly when leading up to a story which might better make sense of why Mr. Thunderbolt would go to such lengths to share the power of the H-Dial to an unsuspecting world.
Now while I say this is the story of Mister Thunderbolt, this is actually a double treat we got where at the same time there was the opportunity to understand The Operator as well. The fun part is the fact that they decided to tell these two stories interwoven into one. So while there was two stories, it took one to grasp the other. Which works excellently considering these two are tied together so strongly. Of course there was some points here and there where the story jumps to a different period of time which only older readers could truly appreciate, but there was no denying what we were learning overall.
With that said, let’s start with The Operator. For as much as we thought we knew about this guy, there was so much more for them to unravel about this mystery man. If I’m being honest, I was always given the impression that there was never too much to The Operator. He gave off that vibe where he did find himself chosen to receive a Dial, but everything after that was pretty superficial about his responsibilities and personality. I mean, what person with his kind of power just sits on the other side of a phone calling other people to a sense of duty? I was happy to see that there was much more to him than that impression. This was someone who experienced the Dial, felt the power, the responsibility, but took that extra step to really ask the right questions about the source and limitations. That is what you can say really separates someone who is called The Operator from someone who randomly picks up the Dial.
As for Mister Thunderbolt, things definitely got interesting with him because for all that you knew about Mister Thunderbolt, there was very little that we knew about the man underneath the hood. Up to this point we never got a name, or even a glimpse of someone recognizable behind that sinister grin. The answer to that mystery was satisfying once we understood what happened when The Operator got to his place of power. The lead up to that point was excellent too for the fact that this was the first time we were really seeing the two of them interacting and finding that one thing which set them on two ends of a war. It was engaging to get to that conclusion that the two really do want the same thing. The only difference of course is the realization that it is only really the approach which sets the both of them apart.
Now I know I say this every time that there is a new issue of Dial H for Hero, but Joe Quinones does amazing work with this interior art. There is nothing more admirable than an artist who knows how to take advantage of so many different styles to tell a story. It helped to even have another artist onboard like Paulina Ganucheau to further shake things up with more which takes you out of one story and into another. Some readers simply don’t understand how refreshing it can be to have your eyes met with something new and unique with every flip of the page. If it isn’t the art style, then it is the layout, and if it isn’t the layout, then it is simply the presentation of it all. These things make a big difference in ensuring engagement from start to finish. Especially when this is also one of the more colorful issues with the exploration of the Dials and Heroverse. I mean that first page in specifically blew me away. I don’t know which did that specifically, but it was brilliant work between the colors, lighting, and textures of the dial.
The best takeaway from Dial H for Hero #8 was the challenge in asking yourself who is really the bad guy. The one who wants to save everyone? Or the one who actually knows how to save everyone? Sounds to me like two guys who want to do the right thing, and that is what makes this conflict so compelling right now.