Heroes For Hire (2006 Series) #8
Quick Rating: Average
The team faces off with the Headsmen – and Paladin ponders a new offer.
Writer: Zeb Wells
Pencils: Al Rio
Inks: Scott Koblish
Colors: Brad Anderson
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Cover Art: Billy Tucci, Mark Sparaccio, A. Crossley
Publisher: Marvel Comics
This issue the Heroes For Hire face off against some of the goofiest villains in Marvel Comics’ history (and for a company that produced the Hypno Hustler, that’s saying something). The trouble is, I’m not sure anyone told writer Zeb Wells that these villains aren’t exactly menacing, and he plays them far too heavily. The Headsmen are four villains with a single gimmick – wacky heads – and one of them has decided to transfer his head onto Humbug’s body. Shang-Chi and Orka are trying to stop the plot, but the headsmen have a convenient Doombot on their side.
The resulting scene is played entirely too heavily for a group with a member who has a mad scientist’s head grafted to a gorilla’s body and another member named “Ruby Thursday.” Shang-Chi loses it, the rest of the team pops in just a little too late and we’re drenched in schmaltz as one character professes his deep feelings for another. To a degree, I can appreciate the idea of using this title as a sort of nostalgia book for some of Marvel’s forgotten characters from the 70s – the concept is straight from that time period and many of the characters involved have an inherent goofiness to them — but in matters of tone and mood, the book is played completely, consistently wrong, and falls totally flat.
The artwork is a step up. Al Rio is quite competent in his storytelling and skilled with his fight scenes. Visually, the only real issue I have with this title is Misty’s costume and hairstyle, which go beyond the ugly right into the stereotypical, but I don’t think he’s to blame for that.
In a nutshell, uninteresting characters and poor execution – I blame no one who passes on this issue.