Sadly, Dial H is becoming a bit repetitive these days. Nelse and Manteau are trying to figure out the mystery of the dials but making very slow progress, and in the mean time their relationship doesn't really change. Manteau takes things more seriously than her partner, who just wants to have fun and be a hero. This was established pretty firmly last month, so for the first chunk of pages of this issue to do nothing but reestablish it feels like a waste. Things do pick up from there, but only slightly, with a tiny clue being discovered and a new bad guy ever-so-briefly introduced. Not a bad comicbook, but not a good one, either. It was extremely, consistently middling, and I know this title can do better.
David Lapham's artwork is pretty strong, but it just doesn't mesh with the tone of the book in the way Mateus Santolouco's somewhat zanier style did. It is just this side of being too reserved, and it detracts from the wacky humor this series has thus far employed. He does an ok job with the various ridiculous superheroes that Nelse or Manteau transform into, but they aren't funny like they should be, somehow. The Planktonian, for example, looked spectacular when it first showed up, and impressive when it formed itself into the weird blue giant, but it was never any fun. Dial H is so silly as a concept, there needs to be an underlying silliness to the art for it to be at its full potential, and I just don't find that in Lapham's work. He's a talented guy, and there's nothing confusing or poorly laid out or obviously bad here, it's just that I think he's a weak choice for this book.
But China Miéville is not at the top of his game here, either. As I said above, the beginning drags and feels unnecessary, and from there things only ever improve so much. The storyline with The Centipede trying to track down Manteau had some alright moments, but I'm not sold on him as a character yet. His dialogue was a bit mechanical, and as cool as his power set seems to be, it's not obvious from what's here what exactly he can do. Seems to be kind of like Multiple Man but with all the dupes being controlled by one mind. And, I guess, they're all connected to each other. But that could be me misreading things (though really that's a visual issue and not a story one).
I guess the problem is that this issue feels like it's gearing up for bigger and better things, and while I'm excited to see those things, the trip there just has me underwhelmed. I'm sure this issue was a necessary step, and it certainly advanced the plot in several ways, but I'd like a bit more excitement and hilarity. Also, I think it's time to start seeing some of the better heroes return. I know part of the fun of the title is seeing new weirdo superheroes pop up every time the dial is used, but the endless stream of gags needs to someday come back around so we can see the characters we most loved again. That's a 100% personal taste thing, though, so I can't really count it against the issue. And I did like The Planktonian a lot, conceptually speaking.
There's nothing to loudly bemoan in Dial H #7, nor is there anything to cheer for. That sentence could've been this whole review.