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Review Group: Heroes for Hire #3

Written by John Martin on Sunday, March 27 2011 and posted in Reviews

Recap for Review Group Week 261!  Heroes for Hire #3 by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Brad Walker as selected by Stephen Day.

The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse's News Stand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate.

DnA can obviously do cosmic, can they do street?

261_heroesforhire3Review by AMS

I didn't even know this title was relaunched. I haven't seen it on the stands and did not know it existed until I saw it listed as a rg pick. DnA on the writing duties though was enough to get me to try this particular issue out.

It seems like the central plot of the book is a mystery, just what is up with Misty Knight? This of course does not come to light until near the end of the book, until then we get a somewhat boring adventure with Moon Knight, and some odd behavior from Paladin. As a result I felt the first half of the book was underwhelming, but when the Paladin, Iron Fist, Misty plot came to some sort of a head, it got pretty awesome.

Likewise I felt that the art was lackluster until this point as well. The action scenes were really incredible, but the talking head scenes were not that great. Misty Knight in particular was drawn to be rather ugly.

A complaint that has nothing to do with the issue, the plot point about Misty not being pregnant is really stupid.

Anyways overall I liked the issue enough to pick up the next one if I see it, but it's a farcry from DnA's cosmic stuff up to this point.


Review by God Man

This was a really tight, well paced story with great art from Brad Walker. I don't know a lot of these characters, and this issue didn't give me a great sense of who these people are aside from mercenaries/heroes. But what this book lacked in character made up in exciting action and a fast paced plot. And I'm glad to see Brad Walker doing a monthly book. He's a real talent.


Review by Stephen Day

This was a fun, action packed issue that told an enjoyable one issue story, while keeping the overall sub-plot about where the Puppet mater has Misty Knight going quite effectively.

The dual fight scenes with Iron Fist vs Paladin and Moon Knight against the dinosaur were fun. The slave trade using women from the Savage Land was an interesting plot hook. Put together this was a good issue.

7 out of 10.

Review by starlord

Is this the weakest of the first three issues... yes. Would I take an entire series where this is the best it gets... hell to the yes! A & L have come back down to Earth after a phenominal run with Marvel's Galaxy Heroes and they've landed with feet running.

Both stories were well told with Paladin's being the stronger of the two. I'm very excited to see where Paladin's character goes here. These two have a knack for taking C and D characters and making them feel just as important in the Marvel Universe as Captain America and Thor. I can easily see Paladin becoming a leader much like Star Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy.

Coming from the 70's when Heroes focused mainly on Luke, Randy, Misty and Colleen, it was great to see Iron Fist grace this book again. Not a fan of him as an Avenger and would love to see him come home where he belongs.

In three issues this has already become my first read when it comes out.The art is really the only issue I have with it. Very weak in spots and dead on in others. Still, the first arc has me hooked so I'm on for the long haul with this book in general.

Story: 9
Art: 6
My Score: 8

Review by Sweet James Jones

Last time I saw Paladin this prominent in a book was when he was nailing the Wasp. Palandin has without a doubt being the star of this book whereas the rest of the supporting cast has taken a backseat. And rightfully so, if there's a guy that defines the "Hero for Hire" moniker better than Paladin I'd be hard pressed to find him.

As for this issue itself, Moon Knight vs a dinosaur was a fun to see. Still nothing new on Misty Knight, but the way all the pieces are slowly being moved around I expect a big payoff soon. The Paladin/Iron Fist fight was pretty well done too highlighting their abilities and showing why they're both so good at their area's without making one look like a chump.

A very fun, enjoyable read to say the least. Can't wait to see just what the Puppet Master's motivation is in sending all the heroes on these missions. Could he just be cleaning up the neighborhood the way he knows or knocking off his competition?

DnA have really adjusted well to street level Marvel after spending the better part of 5 years being the heads of marvel Cosmic. If they can give these characters just a portion of the prominence they gave the cosmic guys then this should be a book to watch for the long term.

Story: 8.5
Art: 7
Overall: 8.5

Review by guitarsmashley

So this comic was kind of good but in the end not very satisfying. It's like ordering something off a menu that just sounds amazing but once it comes to the table it's nothing like you imagined it. I felt that's how this issue set up things were kind of interesting but there wasn't a whole lot to happen next. What bothered me the most was Iron fist not landing every blow and even getting a kick to the chin. The best martial artist in the "universe" shouldn't have to ever throw a punch.


Review by Eli Katz

This book is pretty good. It has a pretty good story, pretty good action, and pretty good art. I liked the cheesy opening line, "Hero, are you for hire?" And I loved the bustling appearances of so many cool but underappreciated Marvel characters: Paladin, Moon Knight, and Iron Fist.

But there is no emotional hook for me in this book. At no point does it go from mildly entertaining to a must-read. This is the kind of book that I would pick up on an impulse, meaning when the cover is extra cool and I have a few extra bucks to spare. It's a good read, in other words, but hardly an essential one.

ART: 6.5

Review by Royal Nonesuch

I've enjoyed the first three issues of this new Heroes for Hire book enough, but this was somehow the least satisfying. There just wasn't as much to get hooked into this time around. I like that Paladin is looking for the truth about where Misty is, but I do wish we could have gotten to the recruitment of Danny Rand into the effort more quickly (in fact, as of the end of this issue, it hasn't been completed yet). The pace slowed down a little here, but it wasn't as interesting as it could have been. It's still a good story overall, and I like the art quite a bit.


Review by Punchy

Story - Throughout their exemplary tenure on Marvel's Cosmic Books, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (DnA) have, alongside writing kick-ass epic space operas, made it their mission to revitalise and revamp as many previously lame space characters as possible. Losers like Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Mantis and Jack Flag were all turned into something worth reading (although much of the work with Jack Flag was done by Warren Ellis in Thunderbolts, it was still awesome that DnA picked him up in such a surprising way. Even Nova (who was always pretty cool) was improved under the pen of DnA. But now, this dynamic duo have been brought crashing down to Earth, and seem to have taken to making street-level characters awesome just as they did in Space.

Heroes For Hire is a book rooted in the 1970s, the very concept comes from Luke Cage, Power Man, possibly the most 70s thing ever, but the whole book is full of classic 1970s Marvel characters, from bigger guns like Iron Fist, Falcon and Ghost Rider, to minnows like Misty Knight and Satana. The 1970s was a golden (although technically Bronze) period for Marvel, with so many awesome concepts and characters being thought up, and it is only recently that the wheel of nostalgia has turned to them, rather than the 60s. It's great to see these characters who in today's market don't really have the pull to merit their own solo series have a book to call their home. Heroes For Hire under DnA has become a one-stop shop for anyone less than a B-Lister, and every issue promises something different, a done in one, almost Marvel Team-Up style jaunt.

But of course, that sort of thing doesn't really cut the mustard today, and DnA have sensibly framed the various team-ups and adventures with an ongoing story. You see, whilst our heroes may think H4H is being run by Misty Knight, it isn't, she's been kidnapped and is being controlled by the Puppet Master. The reasonings behind why exactly Puppet Master is doing this are very interesting, and Paladin's attempts to find out why are the connective tissue that holds Heroes For Hire together. They provide the reasonings for why Moon Knight fights a Dinosaur, and however awesome that is, it does need an explanation.

One of the other things I've liked about this series so far is how it puts classic Marvel Universe elements, right next to real world criminal activities. So, for example, the first issue had an Atlantean Mafia working in the states, and this issue featured the sexual trafficking of women from the Savage Land. Some readers may find this melding together of the fantastic and the horribly real a bit unsettling, and maybe that it's making light of serious issues, but for me, it's an inspired idea, and serves to enhance the Marvel Universe, and really reinforce it's claims to be more realistic than other superhero universes. In a world where Daredevil rubs shoulders with the Silver Surfer, this makes perfect sense, and is a middle-ground between two schools of superhero thought that hasn't really been explored.

Plus it means we get to see normally uber-serious characters like Moon Knight fight a Velociraptor, which as previously noted, was awesome. This particular issue was mostly made up of two fight scenes, first of all the aforementioned Moon Knight/Dino, and also Paladin Versus Iron Fist. One of these is standalone, the other is part of a larger story, and that's this book's main strength, each issue will give you something fresh, but it's all part of a bigger picture, and in the current market, most books struggle to do even one of those things.

Art - Brad Walker is an artist I've liked since he drew a fun Jimmy Olsen story for Kurt Busiek during his run on Superman (it was one of the few tolerable elements of Countdown), and I also very much enjoyed his work with DnA on Guardians Of The Galaxy, where he and Wes Craig alternated issues during the book's strongest period. His style doesn't appear to be everyone's cup of tea, but I like it, he can draw fight scenes well, and he can do facial expressions. What more could you ask? He draws a mean dinosaur too.

Best Line - 'Making a note here ... "sometimes Moon Knight watches the Flintstones"...' It's that juxtaposition of the Marvel Universe and the actual Universe in microcosm.


Review by Frank Einstein

DnA write good comics, Hero. Brad Walker draws pretty nice comics as well, Hero.

This comic is no exception, Hero, I just have one teensy tiny problem with it... it's Heroes For Hire, Hero. Meh, Hero! All those characters on the recap page, Hero? Meh, Hero! I do however like Moon Knight and Iron Fist and they make up about half of this issue so, yay I guess, Hero. The Misty Knight as Oracle controlled by Puppet Master seems to be the big mystery running through this series, but that's not enough to hook me in, Hero. I am kind of curious about why Danny's wearing white, but since it probably has something to do with Shadowland I probably don't need to know, Hero.

Story: 7
Art: 8.5
Overall: 7

Review by Always Right

I read this. And it's all pretty serviceable with some nice moments. I just didn't see a reason to come back. I didn't see a reason to think "man I need to read this". It just came, was enjoyable, and was over. A few minutes later I wouldn't be able to recount much. In other news it's a standard superhero comic book. With a good selection of characters.


Review by Agent Panic

Heroes For Hire #3, more than any other book I've read recently, has been FUN to read. I enjoy seeing an old school villain (Puppet Master) making moves in the Marvel Universe and watching several B- or C-list characters getting a chance to shine. As someone mentioned in this thread previously, one of my favorite factors in this book is that they are utilizing the Marvel Universe with a realistic touch.. Atlantean drug dealers, Savage Land sex trade.. and it makes me curious to see what else DnA will come up with.

Story - 8.0
Art - 7.5
Overall - 8.0 (thanks to that fun factor)

Review by Doombug

A comic which has Moon Knight fighting a velociraptor can never, ever be a bad thing. A comic that also features a guy like Paladin being the character I've really grown to enjoy can also never be a bad thing, especially when Iron Fist is involved. This is DnA at their best and I honestly will be checking it out more in the future.

Verdict: 8

Review by SilverPhoenix

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.

The Verdict

Story: 8
Art: 8
Accessibility: 9.5
Final Judgment: 8

Review by GHERU

Heroes For Hire has been getting a lot of love from everyone (that I have seen) and for the life of me I can't figure out why.

I know that in the group we should focus on the one issue assigned, but it is difficult for me to review anything in a vacuum, and for that I am sorry (I guess). But HFH #1 & #2 were major let-downs for me, with #3 being the best issue in a, so far, lack luster relaunch. Rather than give us a new take on an old idea, DNA seem to have taken the plot form New Thunderbolts and added a small twist, that being that instead of knowingly working for the bad guy, the leader of the group is unaware of her role as a puppet (pun intended). Marvel's, seemingly, constant need for twists in issue #1s getting old and hackneyed.

On to issue 3 - Finally, after 2 rather boring comics with one or two interesting pages, #3 actually moves the primary story forward without taking away from the "stand alone" feel of the missions. I am not very familiar with Paladin, but the usage of him as the reader's primary source of information was very well done, and the added awesomeness of Moon Knight fighting a raptor was just icing on the cake.

The art is sub-par generic comic book art, but does not take too much away from the story, except in cases of unmasked faces, they jsut look wrong.

This review is late, and I don't feel like typing any more

Story - 8
Art - 5
Overall - 6.5

That gives Heroes for Hire #3 a group score of 7.24.  Pretty good for a second tier book.

For what McKegan calls "all the geeky, bitchy arguing about comics you'd expect from a comic message board condensed into absolute awesomeness", check out our Heroes for Hire thread and post your own review in The News Stand forum.

Written or Contributed by: John Martin

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