Abnett and Lanning are two writers who flew under my radar until they pretty much revitalized the moribund Marvel cosmic titles with their writing on Annihilation, Nova, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Thanos Imperative (amongst other titles). When I discovered they were switching over to street level heroes, I became intrigued.
Heroes for Hire is, in execution, almost what Secret Avengers promised to be (nevermind the fact that there is some character overlap). Misty Knight acts as “Control” and co-ordinates the efforts of any and all superheroes who can help her take down a variety of scumbags. Moon Knight, Ghost Rider, Elektra, Silver Sable, Black Widow and the Falcon are some of the weapons in her arsenal as she takes on Atlantean drug dealers, magical arms dealers, slave traffickers and maybe even a super-villain or two. More importantly, the character of Paladin finally gets the portrayal he deserves as a hyper-competent mercenary who is the watcher for all of Knight’s operations. His putting together of the bigger mystery in this first arc is fun to watch and makes me like the character for the first time in years.
The first trade is called “Control” to not only focus the reader on Misty Knight’s role in the series but also to ask the larger question “Who is in control of Misty Knight?” While an immediate answer is forthcoming in a great cliffhanger ending to issue one, the larger question is not resolved in this volume. There is great action and well thought out uses of the various heroes. There is also an instant catch phrase in the “Hello, Hero, are you for hire tonight?” question that Misty uses to begin every mission.
Brad Walker pencils the first three issues with Andrew Hennessy on inks. There is real weight to their actions and Walker takes pains to insure that all the characters have well-defined features (instead of “generic man face #4” that I see so many artists relying on). As strong as these first three issues are, Robert Atkins finishes out the trade in a less impressive manner. While the action is clean and easy to follow, sometimes the faces are a little askew. Also, the textures and three dimensional feeling of Walker isn’t pulled off as well by Atkins (although his line work is in the same mold).
Consider the first three issues the proof of concept and the second two as a resolution to the master plot. If the rest of the series reads like the beginning of this trade, I will be impressed. The art could use some tweaks if Atkins stays on board but, otherwise, this is shaping up into a strong series. Recommended for fans of Secret Avengers or Suicide Squad. Although, see if you can find it discounted as $16 is a little steep for a 5 issue trade.