Fresh from the final issue of Shadowland, we have issue #1 of the latest incarnation of Heroes for Hire.
Originally published in the late 70’s when Luke Cage and Iron Fist teamed up, Heroes for Hire has gone through various team rosters. The newest cohort is virtually straight from the pages of Shadowland. For those who haven’t been following that story, this gives you: Ghost Rider, Iron Fist, The Punisher, Moon Knight, Black Widow, Misty Knight, Paladin, Falcon, Silver Sable and Elektra.
Two things immediately spring to mind for me. Firstly, can you have a Heroes for Hire without the Luke Cage? Secondly, this is a massive roster for a relatively small offering, especially considering that at least two of the “squad” are doubling up with the Secret Avengers and others are notorious for working solo.
The former is answered very quickly as Abnett and Lanning have stamped their own mark on it to ensure you don’t need Cage in there, however I wouldn’t be surprised if he showed his face at some point regardless of Thunderbolts and/or Avenger commitments.
The latter however I am still very conflicted over. The cover was beautifully aggressive and vibrant featuring Iron Fist, Ghost Rider, Elektra, Moon Knight and Punisher all champing at the bit for action, only half of the full roster. Imagine my disappointment when the first issue betrayed my excitement by not having all the cover stars inside.
The other predicament was that the issue just had too much by the way of hero. The premise of a new narcotic and greed is an oldie but a goody. Sadly the constant chopping and changing from the handler to the different heroes became dull as if they had simply been used and discarded. There was no emotional attachment to characters I wasn’t overly familiar with. A couple of points did pique my interest, such as the silent Paladin, but this was my interest in the person and not really the story.
A saving grace is that amongst all the action and direction shifts, the artwork behind it is great. Full of colour - even the lettering for extra emphasis - it’s a credit to inker Jay David Ramos’s good work. If the art hadn’t been strong enough I don’t think the story would have held up. It is only the final pages of the story that had the extra save for me, as the twist was one that gave me a head tilt.
The extra inclusion of the Heroes For Hire history was interesting but not enough. It is frustrating to see a title with so much potentially that failed to deliver for me. I may pick it up again in the future but it will be cautiously and when the dust has finally settled leaving the group to establish their own roots.
Matt Puddy likes his heroes to be team players and not agency temps. True story.