Heroes for Hire #3
Control continues to make a difference one mission at time, but what happens when a mercenary puts his conscious on display? The answer may prove to be one of the best moments of the year when its all said and done.
It really does take age and experience to understand appreciate certain things, and this reviewer could name countless examples of things he dismissed as a kid, only to become fond of as he got older, and Non-Franchise Big-2 Comic Books are no exception, along with non-Big-2 books, period. When I first got into Comic Books when I was 12, nearly my entire comic intake consisted of X-Titles after being ensnared into reading them due to the Arcade Game and the TV Series . Did I read other comics? Definitely, but when I look back upon it in hindsight, my intake was shamelessly shallow. However, if it wasn’t for those days, I wouldn’t have gained the appreciation, knowledge and sheer passion I have for the medium that I have now, which is why it saddens me that Marvel and DC have taken measures to kill the variety across their Superhero lines (no matter how economically justified). Such Business measures have made books that aren’t connected to those big tickets all the more precious, due to the different ideas and characters that are promoted, and Heroes for Hire is quickly become one of the best of the bunch. Does Issue 3 continue to add to this book’s strengths? It certainly does, if in a less epic manner as the previous issues.
When I first got into Comics back in the early 90’s, the era of Comic Book Storylines being almost exclusively one and done was a memory that could only be experienced though past issues. Now we hadn’t gotten to the point of books being written almost exclusively for trade sales, far from it to be honest, but the books that came out would have 1 to 4 part stories that helped to serve the overall story that the book was telling. Even with those rules, accessibility was still quite high, because a majority of those books were written with the understanding that each issue could be someone’s first, and everything someone needed to know to follow what was happening was included in the story being told. This helped to make intimidating Issue counts a lot more accessible, because there wasn’t a wall of immediate continuity that need to be scaled, and what makes Heroes for Hire stand is that it embraces that concept with Gusto. Each of these 2 issues that proceeded in Issue 1 start with virtually unique scenarios, which require very little knowledge of the last issue’s proceedings to follow everything that’s happened, a creative choice that should be praised and used more all around the Industry.
Now it goes without saying that even with a refreshing format, this book must still be worth reading at the end of the day, and thankfully this book delivers. Not only do Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning continue to write their traditionally strong dialogue, but they also continue to deliver strong character moments during the proceedings. Despite the fact that this book offers a hefty dose of action, the writers do use that opportunity to have the characters interact with each other, and in turn help to shed light on the relationships that are being forged between the characters, which in turn helps them to seem like fully formed three-dimensional fictional characters (instead of the cardboard cutouts that have tragically come back into Vogue in many comics). It also helps to take a bit of the sting out of why this issue may seem weaker than the other issues, which is the fact that mission that Moon Knight is sent on never has any real sense of danger. Of course there is a problem that he has trouble solving, but unlike the last issue which gave an epic sense of completeness in how everything went down from beginning to end, this issue sadly lacks the Villain that would’ve been the X-Factor. Still, that shortcoming doesn’t take away from the continuing plot thread that was taken to the next level in a sequence that has to be seen to be believed. The overall writing package definitely stands up to virtually everything that came out last week, and it definitely needs to be recognized as such.
As far as the art goes, Heroes for Hire’s art also has a very unique style for Marvel Street Books. Unlike most of those books that use gritty tones and dark colors, Heroes for Hire is colorful and vibrant which not only helps to set it apart from its sister books, but adds a tone of optimism and fun that makes it quite unique in its family, which is a big asset on its part. It also helps that everything is drawn very cleanly and the characters look how you expect them to look. The action is easy to follow, and it helps to carry the overall story. In a perfect world (and I don’t mean this in an insulting manner), this type of effort would be considered the standard. Of course books would still have differing art styles, but expectations would be raised, which would help to raise the game of everyone around the Industry. There is nothing truly special about the drawings in Heroes for Hire #3, but every panel is a good one and that’s a positive in my book.
When everything Is said and done, Heroes for Hire #3 does what It has to do. It helps advance the story, and makes us want to come back for more to see how it ends. We not only see a side of Moon Knight that sometimes gets underplayed with his psychological issues, and we also see that Paladin has a bigger conscious that one would think that he has. Even the after effects of Misty and Danny’s breakup are in play here. If Heroes for Hire #3 might end up being the weakest issue of this arc, then it has a fast track to being an early contender for 2011 storyline of the year, and that is a credit to how great this comic has been overall. Here’s to hoping that Marvel gives it the time it needs, and that the fans put their money where their mouth is when it comes to excellent comics.
Final Judgment: 8