I remember a time when comic books were a straight monthly affair. After ravaging each panel of every issue, the 30-day countdown began. Even though I could drown my sorrows in countless other titles, if a specific book dug its claws into my brain, the monthly wait becomes torture. But lately, comics have been coming out whenever they want. It used to be that certain books were just delayed beyond cognitive memory (I’ve been waiting over 12 years for issue #13 of the original Tick series). Currently, books come more rapidly than we expect. I looked back at my review of Heroes for Hire #6 and saw that I wrote it in May. It’s been less than a month later, and I’m doing the review for issue #8. So finally (for once), I come to a comic book change that I actually love. Not only have I become spoiled by getting several issues a month, but also by incredibly written ones — just like Heroes for Hire #8.
Can you believe this book still has the great feel and style that launched this book so successfully? And this month really stresses the whole point of this book to its core — Heroes for Hire isn’t a club like the Avengers or a brotherhood, like the X-Men, but just a temp agency that hands out paychecks to those who work when they can. At this point in the series, we’ve discovered that our only two constants are going to be team leader/control Misty Night and (hopefully) semi-charming rogue Paladin.
Obviously, Misty will be the forever consistent, which is just fine. There are no rules about team books…except that there has to be more than 1 person. But we’re veterans; we’ve seen people come and go through the revolving membership door. Change-ups keep things new and enjoyable. But this idea of no real allegiances being pledged keeps every story arch just as fresh as the last. For example, the cover for next issue’s Fear Itself tie-in features Elektra, the Gargoyle, and some other guy I didn’t recognize who sorta looks like Cloak. How awesome is that? What a strange assortment of characters that for sure would never carry a monthly book… but would totally carry one’s interest for a few issues. Even the comic’s current arc features the minute inclusion of everyone’s favorite she-devil: Satana. And as quickly as she arrives, so she is gone — just enough time spent to put a smile on our faces.
So, with that glorious praise having been spouted, do I really need to discuss Abnett and Lanning’s writing? Here’s a duo who not only weaves stores and plot points as tight as a fine cotton shirt, but throws out spot-on character-centric dialogue like it’s no big deal. In my last review, I raved about their perfect depiction of Spider-Man and the same thing can be said this issue as well. Abnett and Lanning present to us a classic Spidey depiction — one who throws out wisecracks not to be mean, but as a defense mechanism, even commenting on the quality of them. It’s really saying something that these two writers can piece together a Spider-Man more true and enjoyable than any writer has done since “Brand New Day” and beyond.
Speaking of immense quality, let me once again showcase Brad Walker’s phenomenal penciling. It’s hard for me to compare his style to anything else, because it’s one of the few examples that isn’t over-the-top stylized. Sometimes that’s okay, but sometimes I want to see the specific details like Paladin’s costume or the fragmented aspects of Spidey’s webbing. And with a book that has random inclusions of dinosaurs, armored villains, and dudes with crazy mustaches, detail is everything.
So here’s to you, Heroes for Hire! You’re one of the few $2.99 Marvel comics I’d gladly pay $3.99 for (please don’t tell them I said that!). Issue after issue, you leave me happy and satisfied, like a Slurpee served at perfect temperature. Maybe if I play my cards right, Marvel will stop releasing this bi-weekly, and go the daily route…? Pretty please?
Ray Tate also reviewed Heroes for Hire #8. Read his thoughts, too!