Posted September 24, 2010 by Norby Ela in Comics



In Marvel: With the changes wrought to the streets of New York City and beyond during Shadowland, the Marvel Universe’s harried citizens need heroes now more than ever-fortunately for them, they’re once again for hire.

The writing duo of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, fresh off concluding their years-long cosmic opus in THE THANOS IMPERATIVE, will reunite with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY artist Brad Walker on HEROES FOR HIRE, a new ongoing series beginning this December, which assembles the likes of Elektra, Ghost Rider, Moon Knight, Black Widow, Iron Fist, Misty Knight, The Falcon and several other urban fighters to cope with the aftermath of Daredevil’s enforced martial law.

“It’s a treat for us to be playing with some of the all-time classic street-level Marvel characters, and it makes a very refreshing change of pace for us-about as far away from the big scale cosmic stuff as you can get,” says Lanning. “We were very keen to exercise some different areas of our imagination, and this is the ideal place.”

While HEROES FOR HIRE marks a dramatic shift from recent work on titles like NOVA and events such as War of Kings for Abnett and Lanning, they will continue using the skills and tools that have put them among the pantheon of Marvel’s most popular creators.

“[HEROES FOR HIRE is] gritty, hard-paced and treacherous ‘vigilante’ action thriller stuff, but it never forgets its Marvel Universe setting,” promises Abnett of the book’s mission statement. “If you dug what we did with the Guardians as a team, then you’ll find plenty to love here, especially in terms of strong character-driven plots, interlocking relationships, sassy dialogue, and the combination of unlikely characters.”

Don’t expect the Heroes to operate like the Avengers or X-Men though, as trying to get loners like Ghost Rider and Elektra functioning in a team environment would likely prove a losing endeavor for all involved.

“It’s not a team, at least not in the traditional sense,” explains Lanning of the sprawling cast. “[There is] a structure that allows mission-specific teams to be ‘hired’ depending on the type of problem that’s got to be solved. So there will be some really fun and often unexpected guest star combos, depending on what the threat is. Characters often get ‘hired’ without realizing how or why they’re being used.”

“However, we don’t want the book to feel like a disjointed team-up title,” chimes in Abnett. “There is also a very strong, intriguing ongoing story driving the series along underneath the missions in each issue.”

Given that their GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY run helped elevate previously forgotten characters like Rocket Raccoon and Groot into unprecedented popularity, the writers have high hopes for the characters now coming into their care, and hope to vault several to forefront of the Marvel Universe.

“We’re only picking heroes on the basis we like them and we think it’s going to be really fun to play with them,” says Abnett. “So far, Moon Knight, Falcon and Ghost Rider have exceeded our expectations in fun-factor. So has Black Widow.”

“If anybody’s going to emerge from this as unexpectedly cool and more interesting than people realize, it’s Paladin,” forecasts Lanning. “We like to play with neglected or underappreciated characters from the Marvel Handbook. Paladin is about to break out and kick ass.”

However, if one player in the HEROES FOR HIRE set-up stands out immediately from among the pack, it has to be The Punisher, who always represents the most dangerous wildcard around. Abnett and Lanning have significant history with Frank Castle, who they first penned during 1992’s “Eurohit” storyline and revisited with artist Dale Eaglesham in the acclaimed PUNISHER: YEAR ONE limited series.

“Punisher won’t play anyone’s game, so he’s going to be a bit of an ‘in case of emergency, unleash Frank’ option,” notes Abnett. “It’s great fun to be writing him again.”

Finally, for fans that associate the Heroes for Hire name with the classic adventures of Power Man, Iron Fist and friends, have no fear, as Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning number among your ranks.

“We fought to get the title for the book, and we wanted it because it’s iconic and there are fundamental aspects of this [series] that connect to previous Heroes for Hire continuity,” reveals Lanning.

“This is, organically, the next stage of development,” adds Abnett. “It relates to the previous Heroes stories the way our GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY related to-and respected-previous incarnations of the Guardians.

“Read it-you’ll find out just how much fun it is.”

Norby Ela

FlipGeeks Operations Editor, Managing Editor of Comics, Komiks, Manga, atbp.