Writer: Zeb Wells
Artists: Clay Mann (p), Terry Pallot (i)
“Killer Instincts, Part 2”
Writer: Fred van Lente
Artists: John Bosco (p), Terry Pallot (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: Bug juice. Brood queen. Alien technology. Humbug has changed a lot lately, and Misty and her hired heroes still haven’t caught on to the newly squicky lowdown.
Comments: I hope the folks making this book didn’t read last month’s Immortal Iron Fist because that’s how you do Heroes for Hire. What more do you need than Luke, Misty, Colleen and Danny Rand? Well, the artist must have seen it because the girls were wearing track suits. But there was a lot of badass dialogue and fun action. The whole thing should be like the Tarantino portion of Grindhouse, with memorable villains that can be hurt by a samurai sword and a bionic arm.
This book, meanwhile, has just gotten weird. It’s already overloaded with hot babes who all have the same power-set: Tarantula, Black Cat, Misty, Colleen. They’re good in a scrap, but Galactus is hardly quaking in fear. Still, rather than stick with shooting at the Rhino and convincing Orka he should mellow out, they’ve now done gotten lost in the Savage Land (dinosaurs? out of their league) and then become fodder in Hulk’s war with Earth.
The biggest change in the Savage Land was that Humbug, formerly laughable, recently beheaded (he got better), is now in touch with the “earth hive-mind,” a collective insect intelligence that reconfigured him (with the help of giant Savage Land bugs) as their slick new exo-skeletoned human agent. He’s like Humbug gone angry Swamp Bug, but what’s he gonna do against the Brood Queen (who, despite her tentacles and mouth full of teeth, is apparently more insect than flesh and blood – I think Wells has gotten her too confused with the Aliens that the Brood ripped off), who tries to work her wily pheromones upon him?
Just to show how outclassed the Hired Heroes are, the insects set them up against a group of giant interstellar warriors (as in, they’re really tall) who outclass all of the rough and ready scrappers, including Shang-Chi. How this crew ever makes a profit is beyond me.
There’s also an odd little backup where Paladin and the Scorpion play around in a superhuman evidence police storage locker (where one wonders why the cops would leave all the weapons loaded), that must be going somewhere but so far is just a Paladin solo story.
This issue is fine, as far as it goes. But the title has been swamped with villains and plots not its own and has really lost its footing on the original concept (bad girl bounty hunters). The cover, by Takeshi Miyazawa, is the best part of the book. Clay Mann isn’t bad, but his style is suited to Daredevil or Vertigo, not to alien invasions and little green men and insect goo.
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