Oh man, why are Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning out of Marvel? After totally recreating and revitalizing Marvel cosmic, they were doing a great job on Heroes for Hire, too. When was the last time Silver Sable, Gargoyle, or Paladin got this much love. Heck, I even liked Elektra as she was written here! DnA have a great, funny take on Spider-Man too, it’s too bad his appearance couldn’t raise sales enough to keep this book from being cancelled.
Far and away, the breakout character for me in Heroes for Hire is Misty Knight. I have read a lot of her adventures, at this point, but I’ve never liked the character as much as I do in this collection. She’s funny, smart, and when things get tough, she can go kick butt, too. She even gets Spidey’s nerd references!
DnA clearly have a lot of affection for Paladin. The professional hero is a bit of a sad sack through this entire trade, but that does make for compelling comics. It’s really neat seeing the constantly self-doubting Spider-Man held up as the paragon of heroics, while Paladin is unable to even compete in his shadow.
And who are all these heroes fighting? In the core story, it’s Batroc the Leaper. One of my all-time favorites. And he gets the respect he deserves in this trade. While everyone makes fun of him, Batroc kicks the crap out of just about everyone he goes up against. Tying this B-level villain to the ongoing crimes from earlier in this series raises the stakes nicely.
There are a few issues of Fear Itself plugged in the middle, but a different artist and the forced nature of the story forces the collection off target. The book can’t help but lose focus when it is dealing with random destruction and new villains rather than the long-simmering subplots that open and close the book.
The art in this collection is a bit of a mixed bag. That hurts the overall consistency too. Brad Walker’s art is fantastic. His Spidey has a bit of a big head, but Silver Sable, Paladin, Misty Knight, Moon Knight, they all look great. Walker gets to draw a real A-lister at the conclusion, too. I’d love to see him tackle that character more too. Tim Seeley helps out with this story, and his art fits pretty seamlessly into Walker’s. They work fine together.
Kyle Hotz draws the Fear Itself issues. Hotz’s work is a lot more cartoony than anything else in this collection. It is a bit jarring seeing the tonal shift in the artwork. The distraction is by the subject matter. Hotz is drawing mass destruction and chaos. Hotz draws a lot of horror, and he’s good at it.
I’ll miss this book!