When it comes to the subject of DC Comics' "Villains Month" -- whereby every title in the publisher's New 52 line of superhero books is being "taken over" by a supervillain -- most of the conversation seems to focus on arcane retailing controversies about the initiative's 3-D covers or reader debate about questionable character revamps. What really got our attention was Dial E, the villain takeover issue of Justice League #23.3, a comic that's distinct because it serves as a coda to one of DC's best series in years, the recently concluded Dial H created by China Miéville and Mateus Santolouco about Nelson Jent, a schlubby bro who temporarily becomes a brand new and occasionally universe-traversing superhero when he dials "H-E-R-O" on a mysterious phone-like device. Dial E is an auspicious sendoff for the quirky and acclaimed series, one that features 20 pages each drawn by a different artist. Many of them are ComicsAlliance favorites like Jock, Emma Rios, Frazer Irving, Sloane Leong and. Annie Wu.

Courtesy of DC, we've got advance looks at five artists' pages, but even better, they're without any letterings so you art fans can enjoy their great work without any obfuscations. Additionally we're pleased to preview the first five story pages as well, featuring the words of Mieville and pictures by Mateus Santolouco, Carla Berrocal, Riccardo Burchielle and Liam Sharp.

Art by Brian Bolland

From its onset Dial H stood out from every other New 52 title. Written by Miéville, an award-winning fantasy fiction author and academic, the series was a revival of DC's Dial H For Hero. While several of the odd characters created for each issue made for humorous situations, the series was also more serious and somewhat darker in tone from previous incarnations, using an unemployed, depressed but gifted everyman in middle America, who suddenly gains the ability to transform into unpredictable and bizarre super powered beings, to explore issues of identity, depression and existentialism (the title of the first collection, "Into You," is a play on the famous Nietzsche quote), among other themes.

On sale this week, Dial E is the story of four criminals who discover an E-Dial (the evil version of the H-Dial, naturally), and what happens to them as they try to use the crazy thing to escape from an unknown pursuer. Each page is drawn by one of these talented artists, not including the ones already mentioned above: Tula Lotay, Marley Zarcone, Brendan McCarthy, Emi Lenox, Jeff Lemire, David Lapham, Carmen Carnero, Kelsey Wroten, Michelle Farran, Zak Smith, and Alberto Ponticelli & Dan Green. It would seem like overkill in a different context, but it's an ambitious and fitting approach to a special one-off issue designed around a specific theme, a very efficient sampling of the work of some cartoonists you may not have seen before, and a cool way to say goodbye to one of the most interesting and fun comics of DC's New 52 era.

Here's the first five story pages to get an idea of what to expect from this issue:

Art by Mateus Santolouco, color by Eva De La Cruz
Art by Carla Berrocal, color by Eva De La Cruz
Art by Riccardo Burchielle, color by Eva De La Cruz
Art by Liam Sharp, color by Eva De La Cruz
Art by Jock, color by Eva De La Cruz


Now here's five wordless pages from some artists we think you'll really dig. For the whole story, you'll have to buy Dial E (aka Justice League #23.3) when it goes on sale this Wednesday in comics shops or digitally.

(Click images to enlarge)


Art by Jock, color by Eva De La Cruz
Art by Emma Rios, color by Eva De La Cruz
Art and color by Frazer Irving
Art by Sloane Leong, color by Eva De La Cruz
Art and color by Michelle Farran