This is one of two Civil War reviews that I’ll have up by Wednesday. The other is the “Civil War: Choosing Sides” one shot. Also, expect a review of “Essential Hulk Vol. 3” soon.

General Information

Title: Heroes for Hire #1-3

Author: Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti

Illustrator(s): This seems to have a rotating team in order to keep a

schedule. It’s primarily pencilled by Billy Tucci and inked by Tom Palmer,

but Palmer pitched in on pencils and Francis Porela pitched in with both

areas in the course of three issues.

Original Publication Date: Cover dated October through December 2006.

Cover Price: Each issue is cover price $2.99 US or $3.75 Canadian.

Past comic reviews can be found here.

Premise

Misty Knight and Colleen Wing have restarted Heroes for Hire, and

they’ve been hired by the government to hunt unregistered heroes. The team

includes Shang Chi (Master of Kung-Fu), Humbug (ex-con master of

communicating with insects), Black Cat (yes, that one), Orka (a big bruiser

I don’t recognize), Paladin (a mercenary that I also don’t recognize), and

the new Tarantula, who is by far the most intersting character of the

bunch.

High Point

Tarantula’s conversations with Reed Richards and Tony Stark. Marvel’s

loaded with brilliant characters: Reed, Tony, Hank Pym, Victor von Doom,

and even the Leader. Note that none are female. Before now, Shadowcat was

the most intelligent woman in Marvel’s universe, and she wasn’t in the same

league as these others. This Tarantula is, but she’s got a clear mean

streak, too. I like the way she plays off the others well enough that I’m

tempted to keep collecting this title just for her.

Low Point

The extreme attempts to play up the sexiness of the characters. I’m not

just talking about dialogue; I’m talking about drawing characters from such

a high angle that you can’t make out any details on their faces, but

Colleen’s hair still swings far enough to the side to reveal her butt

cleavage.

The Scores

This is a somewhat original

title. It’s a relaunch without the previous leads, but with characters

connected to them. The main story is a “yet another hero hunter” deal,

which are cropping up with the Civil War, but there’s a side story that

starts to set this title apart from the rest. I give it 3 out of 6.

The artwork gets the job done, but never

impresses in any extreme way. (This could be a direct result of the number

of bodies needed to finish the job.) The panel arrangements start great,

but move to pedestrian and standard by the end of the set. I suspect that

this would have been a superior product had it been allowed a delay with

the other Civil War titles. I give it 4 out of 6.

There are two stories running here.

One is the direct connection to Civil War, with the Heroes getting hired to

bring in Captain America. The other is a tangent to the Civil War, in

which the Heroes discover a ring of Skrull organ implants which grant the

recipients shape shifting abilities to avoid identification and

registration. This story will be picked up and continued in issues 4 and

5. The plots connect nicely, and are well delivered. I give it 5 out of

6.

The quality of the

characterization varies wildly depending on the character we are

discussing. Misty is well understood, as she narrates the entire story.

Humbug and Tarantula are fairly well handled. Orka, Paladin, Black Cat,

Shang-Chi and Colleen might have one clear character moment in the whole

set. I still know next to nothing about Orka or Paladin, and I certainly

didn’t learn anything about the other three that I didn’t already know from

previous appearances. It’s not like you can expect people to know Orka or

Paladin, either; they need clear moments to let readers know exactly who

they are. (I’ve read, literally, a couple thousand Marvel comics. If

you’re using characters I’ve never heard of, you’re using characters a lot

of readers have never heard of.) I give it 3 out of 6.

The emotional response to

the heroes in action is weak. Shang-Chi’s shining moment was too

predictable, as was the recruitment of the team. The new Tarantula is an

interesting character, but the rest of the crew didn’t really entice me to

keep collecting the title. I give it 3 out of 6.

The flow was well done, with a smooth transition

from the Civil War title to the secondary storyline. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a decent title that may

work very well over time. It needs a chance to let all the characters

shine on their own, and it may get that once it’s removed from the

pressures of the Civil War. Some of the cast are definitely interesting,

while others are simply there. I give it 4 out of 6, though I do believe

the title will probably improve over time.

In total, Heroes For Hire #1-3 receives

28 out of 42.

Civil War Review Checklist